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🛒 Why shopping carts are disappearing

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The Dudley Library in England waived a $52.4k fine after a man returned The Law for Motorists 58 years overdue. He checked it out in 1964 when facing a minor traffic charge; it was not particularly helpful, he said.

In today’s email:

  • Explainer: The Big Tech vibe shift.
  • Chart: The made-in-India iPhone.
  • The case of the missing shopping carts.
  • Around the web: A digital art magazine, exploration dogs, ethical shopping tips, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about Apple’s India push, the NBA’s virtual reality news, the lowdown on Spotify’s layoffs, and a whole lot more.

The big idea
Google workers

Why are there so many tech layoffs?

On Monday, Spotify became the latest tech giant to shrink its staff, announcing it would cut ~600 workers, or 6% of its workforce.

That brings the total number of tech layoffs in 2023 to ~57k, following ~159k in 2022, according to Layoffs.fyi. The Great Reduction is happening in a labor market that, for the most part, is humming along just fine.

Why is it 2023 for most industries and 2000 all over again for tech?

For one thing…

… tech companies hired a ton of employees from 2020 to early 2022, when it seemed Americans might never leave their homes again (except to tour open houses and unsuccessfully bid on other homes).

  • Alphabet said it would slash 12k jobs on Friday after adding 30k+ jobs in 2022, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • Microsoft said it would cut ~10k jobs last week after adding 40k in the last fiscal year.

Basically, tech companies are backing away from staff counts they believed were necessary for a tech-centric future that hasn’t come to fruition.

Then there are the Fed’s interest rate hikes

As you likely know (especially if you kept trying to buy a house), borrowing has gotten more expensive. Without cheap money, investors are less willing to subsidize long runways and pie-in-the-sky projects, according to The New York Times.

Tech companies are shifting their focus accordingly to making money instead of chasing long-term growth. And terribly enough, investors have liked these recent layoffs:

  • Spotify’s stock jumped 5% after its layoff announcement Monday before cooling off in the afternoon. Alphabet and Wayfair experienced similar spikes after layoff announcements.

Is it all vibes then? The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson doesn’t rule it out, writing that one explanation for the layoffs could be tech CEOs mimicking each other to get a brief high from the market.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Bad at making eye contact on Zoom? Nvidia’s new Eye Contact feature makes it appear like you’re looking directly at the camera even if you’re most definitely not.

SNIPPETS

“The way of water has no beginning and no end.” The Avatar sequel became the sixth movie ever to surpass $2B at the box office, meaning our beautiful chart is already outdated.

Former President Donald Trump reportedly won’t re-sign a content exclusivity agreement with his Twitter clone, Truth Social.

Today? More like TodAI: Microsoft expanded its multibillion-dollar investment in ChatGPT maker OpenAI. In other AI news, here’s a collection of ~$300 ugly Italian sweaters that are invisible to image recognition software.

For those watching HBO’s “The Last of Us,” Google dropped a creepy, interactive easter egg ahead of the latest episode.

The SEC fined Bloomberg Finance LP $5m, alleging it misled customers on how it calculated some fixed-income securities prices.

Mars is ditching its M&Ms “spokescandies” over conservative backlash accusing the characters of being “woke.” Maya Rudolph will become the candy’s spokesperson instead.

Dieunerst Collin became a meme at age 9 while in line at Popeyes. Now a football player at Ohio’s Lake Erie College, he’s scored a Popeyes sponsorship. (Read our previous coverage about the NCAA policy that lets college athletes earn money here.)

Guilt trip: Do you find yourself feeling anxious or ashamed that you haven’t accomplished enough in a day? You could be suffering from productivity guilt — we’re here to help.

CHART
Apple moving manufacturing to India
Singdhi Sokpo

Is India Apple’s next frontier?

Yesterday, India’s commerce minister Piyush Goyal noted that Apple could make 25% of all iPhones in his country by 2025, up from 5%-7% today.

It’s “another success story” for a major business in the country, he said, according to CNBC.

  • Apple holds just 5% of India’s smartphone market. Last year, for the first time since it started manufacturing iPhones in the country, the company built its flagship phone there close to its launch.

Why India?

Doing so could help reduce the iPhone’s price in the country, which could increase Apple’s market share there.  In September, the standard iPhone 14 in India cost 79.9k rupees (~$980), compared to $799 in the US, per TechCrunch.

But the better question to ask instead of “Why India?” may be: “Why not China?”

The answer is that Apple, like much of the tech industry, is looking to move away from a Chinese supply chain that’s vulnerable to intensifying geopolitical risks and a shrinking workforce.

Meanwhile, we’re still unpacking the sight of Jeff Bezos leading Amazon’s fleet of 10k EV rickshaws into India.

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Free Resource

Five keys to cop leads and close deals

You know it, we know it — the pickings are slimming for salesfolks…

… which changes nothing. Act like you’ve been here. We teamed up with Sendoso to distill some classic and creative solutions for sales teams that keep working magic.

These insights stem from our survey of real-time revenue leaders.

Tips for winning in this economy (PDF guide):

  • Bolster your tech stack + data structure
  • Apply a disciplined outreach strategy
  • Nurture your account relationships
  • Simplify + personalize your messaging
  • Deepen the customer’s experience

It hits on prospecting, generating leads, and solving for the people.

5 gems on driving revenue →
Cart Capers
shopping carts

Where are the missing shopping carts?

Ever see a random shopping cart rolling down the sidewalk or tossed in a creek? Us too.

The Food Marketing Institute estimates ~2m carts are stolen per year. It’s been an issue since carts were invented, and costs retailers an estimated tens of millions annually, per CNN.

Costs include:

  • Replacing missing carts, which can cost up to ~$250 each
  • Paying vendors to retrieve carts
  • Lost revenue from shoppers who can’t find carts
  • Municipal fines related to cart retrieval and storage

Example: In 2022, Dartmouth, Massachusetts, fined Walmart $23k after public workers collected and stored 100+ carts over two years.

Why are people taking carts?

Even though cart theft is illegal, they’re pretty handy — and not just at the grocery store.

Unhoused individuals use carts as shelters or to store and transport belongings, while people without cars may cart groceries home or to a transit stop. And as homelessness has increased, so too have missing carts.

What can be done about it?

Apart from increasing affordable housing and improving public transit and accessibility?

Some stores are trying:

  • Wheels that lock if taken off-property, which sometimes irritate shoppers
  • Barriers that prevent carts from leaving stores — not ideal for shoppers with disabilities or heavy purchases

Meanwhile, Aldi’s requires quarter deposits as an incentive to return carts. Other stores use QR codes and member IDs to unlock and track carts.

BTW: Check out Julian Montague’s Stray Shopping Cart Project, featuring an extensive identification system.

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AROUND THE WEB

🍺 On this day: In 1935, the first canned beers — Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale — hit the market in Richmond, Virginia. With 91% customer approval, Gottfried Krueger Brewing Co. produced more.

👀 That’s cool: Arkive, an online museum we covered here, launched a digital magazine.

🐾 That’s interesting: From 1945 to 1994, Great Britain employed sled dogs to explore Antarctica.

🛒 Useful: NPR rounded up some alternatives for ethical shopping in the wake of AmazonSmile’s impending closure.

🐁 Aww: And now, a very tiny baby dormouse.

TWEET
coffee shop seating tweet

Hot commodity. (Link)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Always returns his cart” Dent.

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