🧘 The biggest four-day workweek pilot - The Hustle
The Hustle

🧘 The biggest four-day workweek pilot

Plus: A good tweet, a video about Crazy Eddie’s big scam, testing your music IQ, and more.

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New Mexico is considering a state aroma: green chiles roasting in autumn. If adopted, it’d be the first state to have an official scent.

In today’s email:

  • Lime: The scooter startup is in the green.
  • Video: Crazy Eddie’s big scam.
  • Study: The four-day workweek… works.
  • Around the Web: Big Mac tracking, music IQ tests, a funny kitten, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Mark and Rob break down how Lime made a profit in the scooter business, good news for the four-day workweek, AI updates, and more.

The big idea

A scooter company is… profitable?

Lime had its best year, while Bird cratered.
2023-02-22T00:00:00Z
Mark Dent

Even by the fail-fast, break-things standards of Silicon Valley, Lime’s prospects for long-term success appeared outrageous.

Now, the scooter company — or, as Lime likes to be known, “micromobility company” — claims it had its first profitable year in 2022, according to TechCrunch

Seriously, how did this happen?

We know. It’s wild. But Lime has found success improving its unit economics (i.e., making more money off every single e-bike and scooter).

The key is the battery. Last year, the company rolled out its Gen4 e-bike, which uses a swappable battery that can be replaced without having to take the bike off the street — reducing operational costs and increasing their availability to users. Lime’s scooters use the same battery.

As of last year, Lime had ~5m active users across ~200 cities. 

CEO Wayne Ting told TechCrunch the company will seek to IPO in the near future.

Meanwhile…

E-scooter competitor Bird, which recently merged with a Canadian licensee, is struggling. The company admitted to overstating earnings from 2020 to 2022. Unlike Lime, Bird has outsourced the development of its equipment.

Since going public through a SPAC in 2021, Bird’s stock has fallen from a peak of $8.40 to ~$0.20.

Things have gotten so grim for Bird that the company is seeking unpaid funds from past customers who owe less than $1.

TRENDING

Let’s see how this goes. Starbucks will launch a line of olive oil-infused coffee drinks in the US this spring. “This will be the most significant, transformative thing we’ve done in decades,” CEO Howard Schultz said.

SNIPPETS

Today in AI: Amazon is expanding a partnership with OpenAI rival Hugging Face, Microsoft will let users choose AI Bing’s chat tones, and the number of books listing ChatGPT as an author is rising.

More saving. More doing. Home Depot will spend $1B to bump hourly employees’ wages amid a tight labor market. The company also announced Q4 earnings of ~$35.8B, shy of Wall Street’s ~$36B expectations.

Not again: Formula maker Reckitt will recall 145k cans of its product Enfamil due to possible contamination. A previous recall at Abbott Nutrition led to a formula shortage in the US.

United Airlines, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Air Canada, GE Aerospace, and Honeywell formed a VC fund for sustainable aviation fuel to help the industry cut emissions.

Crypto dipto: Coinbase reported $629m in Q4 revenue, down ~75% YoY, beating analyst expectations. Monthly transacting users (MTUs) came in at 8.3m.

Duty calls: Microsoft signed decadelong deals promising Nintendo and Nvidia access to “Call of Duty” games in hopes it’ll help get EU approval of its Activision Blizzard acquisition.

Tencent is in early discussions to be the exclusive seller of Meta’s Quest 2 headsets in China, where Facebook is banned. China has strict regulations on video games, which may impact the deal. Speaking of…

Touchy-feely. Meta Quest’s new Direct Touch setting lets you touch virtual buttons more naturally than with controllers or a pinch gesture. The release comes ahead of Apple’s possible headset announcement in June.

Shift your outlook: If you often feel like your negative mindset is impacting the way you live your life, it’s not permanent. Here’s how to rewire your thoughts.

Chart

The popular electronics chain that scammed America

2023-02-22T00:00:00Z
Jacob Cohen

On Sept. 13, 1984, as stocks wavered through a bear market, a regional electronics chain held a hyped initial public offering.

That first day, investors purchased ~2m shares of Crazy Eddie for $8 apiece, under the ticker CRZY. By year’s end, the stock would climb 25%, far outpacing a flat market and boosting Crazy Eddie’s plans for greater expansion.

If it seems odd that a purveyor of VCRs and stereos could make investors swoon, remember that this was the 1980s and people were getting pumped about cellphones the size of microwaves.

And know that this electronics company was Crazy Eddie — a brand that, in so many ways, was breaking the usual rules.

The previous fiscal year, Crazy Eddie’s annual revenues were ~$134m (~$372m today). More impressively, the 43-store, New York City-area chain led the electronics industry in sales per square foot and profit margins.

There was just one major problem.

Crazy Eddie had been lying about its numbers since its inception — and the higher the stock soared, the further founder Eddie Antar went to maintain the illusion.

Watch the short clip. →
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Work Less, Get More

A study found the four-day workweek works

Across 61 organizations, ~2.9k employees tried the four-day workweek. Now, most of the companies are sticking with it.
2023-02-22T00:00:00Z
Juliet Bennett Ryla

Duh: Workers love a four-day workweek. And apparently, so do companies, per the results of the world’s largest pilot to date.

The study included ~2.9k employees across 61 UK organizations of various sizes and industries from June to December 2022.

Of those organizations, 92% have decided to continue with shorter weeks.

Where does this info come from?

New Zealand-based nonprofit 4 Day Week Global has been conducting pilots around the world, of which the UK study is the largest.

Workers agree to use a “100-80-100” model, which means they receive 100% of their pay for 80% of the time, but commit to 100% of the output.

Bloomberg notes that, while the studies are well-designed, they aren’t randomized because companies volunteer.

Now, the data

The pilot found consistent benefits across industries:

  • Revenue rose by an average of 1.4%
  • Staff turnover dropped by 57%

Employees apparently loved it, with 90% saying they definitely wanted to continue and 15% claiming no amount of money would motivate them to go back.

Employees also reported less burnout (71%), improved mental health (43%), greater satisfaction with their time (73%), and an increase in their abilities at work (55%).

Interestingly, women generally reported greater improvements, while men were able to contribute to their households more, including 27% who spent more time caring for their children.

What do people use the time for?

Not other paid work. Instead, they took on leisure activities, hobbies, and housework.

The latter may not sound fun, but one participant told CNN the “life-changing” model allowed her to get all her chores done on Friday and actually enjoy her weekend.

AROUND THE WEB

💰 On this day: In 2006, a group of men robbed a Securitas cash depot in Tonbridge, England, of ~$64m (~$92.5m today), the largest heist in British history. Lee Murray, an ex-cage fighter and the alleged mastermind, was sentenced to 25 years.

🎟️Get tickets: Work x Work, a creative agency that works with brands like Netflix and NPR, is hosting On Air Fest in Brooklyn from Feb. 23 to Feb. 26, and the HubSpot Podcast Network will be there.

🍔 That’s cool: A website that tracks the price of a Big Mac across the US.

🎼 Cure boredom: The Music Lab’s citizen scientists offer online quizzes to determine how we create and perceive music. Contribute by testing your music IQ.

🔫 Aww: And now, a caracal kitten that sounds like a laser gun.

TWEET

Straight out of a horror film. (Link.)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “32-hour workweek” Dent.

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