A big moment for remote work

May 22, 2020

May 22, 2020
The Hustle
Maskd Health

Facebook is shifting to remote work in a big way. The company is already letting people work from home through the end of the year. But CEO Mark Zuckerberg said yesterday that in 5 to 10 years, ~50% of its employees could be working remotely. To put the announcement in context:

  • The perma-WFH bandwagon is growing. Twitter, Square, and Shopify (whose CEO declared yesterday that “office centricity is over”) have all jumped on.
  • Now for the sad trombone: People who move out of Silicon Valley could take a pay cut to account for a lower cost of living.
  • A smart question from Jo Ling Kent of NBC News: Will the move democratize economic prosperity, or deepen the divide between those who can work from home and those who can’t?

If all the remote work announcements leave your head spinning, this handy tracker has you covered.

RIP, Minibar

Pack your thermometers: Hotels are gearing up for new arrivals

Bangkok, the world’s most visited city, is readying the runway for tourists, and its new digs should be a wake-up call to anyone itching to jet away. 

Its hotels are deploying facial-recognition tools and touch-free buttons in elevators. Buffets are disappearing. Want to eat at a local restaurant? You might have to deal with plastic dividers on your table. Room service? The server will leave the cart outside your room. 

Bangkok was among the first major cities to jump-start its hospitality sector, but across the rest of the world, plans to reopen hotels look similar: Expect temperature checks on arrival, branded PPE, and one-way hallways marked with signs on the floor.

Sorry, sir, but this hotel, motel, Holiday Inn is maxed out 

Don’t be alarmed by the empty lobby — hotels are leaving many of their rooms open on purpose. The Eden Roc Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, for instance, has already promised it won’t exceed 30% capacity. 

That’s in part because many hotels won’t usher new guests into your room the day you check out. Best Western has said its cleaning staff will wait at least 24 hours before even entering rooms after guests leave.

And don’t forget: Check-in is happening curbside now. Key cards? They have to be sanitized too much, so hotels are switching to mobile locks. If you want a bathrobe, you’re going to have to ask for it. Bellhops, valets, minibars, decorative throw pillows, desk notepads — those are all on the outs. 

Please no one tell Mr. Worldwide any of this, because he will be devastated. That afterparty in the hotel lobby? Also a no-go. 

In the new hotel economy, only some will triumph 

Don’t leave the light on for Motel 6, because Forbes predicts that when hotels do roar back into action, luxury travel will be the first to take off. The big reason: Privacy. 

Some ritzy hotels are already courting the sophisticado class with, as one French resort put it,  “luxury and exclusiveness.” Translation: You won’t have to interact with other humans. 

Kid-free hotels might be another big winner. According to one tech travel group, 65% of new hotel bookings are for couples, up from 51% in the fall — because which parents don’t need a little social distancing from their tweens right now?

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Sunday Sneak Peek

Everyone wants to know where the post-pandemic world is headed. So we called up some experts who specialize in making projections: professional futurists.

They’re not prophets — you won’t find crystal balls in their office supplies. But they do study trends to inform their forecasts. Which industries could emerge? How might the corona crisis affect entrepreneurship? Watch this week’s preview for a taste of their answers. You won’t have to wait too long into the future for the full story — it hits your inbox on Sunday morning.

If you need some Sunday motivation, don’t just take it from us. Here’s what US Sen. Dan Sullivan of Alaska said about our Zack Crockett’s recent story — on the man who’s feeding a remote town with a Costco card and a ship:

TLDR: 10 Quick Takes to Catch You Up

New today: Amazon Prime Day is moving to the fall, Netflix will make sure you’re still watching, and Some Good News has big news.

1️⃣ Another 2.4m Americans filed new unemployment claims last week.

2️⃣ Amazon is delaying Prime Day — the shopping bonanza typically scheduled for July — until September, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

3️⃣ The actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, designer Mossimo Giannulli, will plead guilty to conspiracy changes in the “Operation Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal.

4️⃣ Netflix will cancel the accounts of customers who haven’t watched anything in the last 12 months.

5️⃣ Facebook Messenger will use a new AI-powered tool to fight scammers and bad actors on its platform.

6️⃣ L Brands will close 251 Victoria’s Secret locations — ~23% of the chain’s domestic footprint — and 51 Bath & Body Works stores. 

7️⃣ The Atlantic is laying off 68 staffers — nearly 20% of its workforce.

8️⃣ Coming soon to Tinder: Global Mode, an option to show off your profile anywhere in the world, no matter where you live.

9️⃣ Jack Dorsey is donating $5m to support Andrew Yang’s coronavirus relief and Universal Basic Income efforts.

🔟 Some Good News — John Krasinski’s web series that highlights nuggets of positive in a stinking pile of awful — is making a big jump to CBS platforms.

Like this new section? Let us know by hitting the smileys at the bottom of this email.

Your Move, Jeff

The pandemic heats up the ecommerce race to take on Amazon

Watch your back, Bezos.

The pandemic transformed the ecommerce landscape, and this week, we got some very loud signals about how much has changed: Online sales at big chains like Walmart (up 74%) and Target (up 141%) went gangbusters in Q1.

But one of the biggest beneficiaries of the online-shopping boom is Shopify, the Canadian company whose northward-bound stock price is making some people wonder whether Bezos ought to look over his shoulder.

Shopify wants to mom-and-popify online retail

Last month, Shopify rolled out a new app (called Shop… ’cuz if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it) to connect customers to nearby merchants who use the company’s ecommerce platform. (There are 1m+ of them.)

Bloomberg says the company’s going big in other ways, too: A tool called Shopify Balance will let business owners track bills and pay expenses.

Then came the big reveal: Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Shops, which lets business owners sell inside of their Facebook and Instagram footprints. 

The announcement led to the kind of hiccup only an over-caffeinated trader could love: Shopify’s stock price tanked on the heels of Zuck’s announcement, only to surge even higher when Tobias Lutke, Shopify’s CEO, calmly joined the chat.

But is an alliance with Zuck unholy?

The Wall Street Journal projected that it’s Facebook — not necessarily Shopify, just one of several partners in the Facebook Shops launch — that would end up eating Bezos’s lunch. Or maybe a bite of his breakfast octopus.

The tech writer and investor Om Malik asked: “Why do I fear that in the end Facebook will suck Shopify dry of its utility and become a competitor?” The ‘book, he wrote, “gobbles and destroys everything in its way.”

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Ditch the bandana 😷 affordable, safe face masks are here

Going crazy from all this extra time indoors? ✅ 

Bandana-as-a-facemask driving you mad? ✅ 

Wishing you’d stockpiled N95 masks 3 years ago? Weird… but ✅  

Since you can’t stay in your quaran-cave forever, the next best thing is making sure you’re protected when heading outside. 

Keep yourself and others safe with Maskd antimicrobial masks 

Facemasks can help prevent the spread of disease when you go out — whether that’s to the grocery store, on a walk through the park, or to that socially-distant picnic you’ve been dreaming of all week. 

And while your homemade masks are a fine start, Maskd goes several steps further. They’re:

  • 100% antimicrobial & machine washable
  • Help filter harmful airborne particles & droplets
  • Cost as low as $2 per mask and ship fast (2-5 days) 

Here’s the feel-good kicker: For every mask you order, they’ll donate one to first responders. On top of that, they also give 10% of all proceeds to organizations helping stop the spread of the coronavirus. Over 50K masks have already been donated to clinics & hospitals around the country. 

Protect yourself, protect others, and stop using that ratty bandana as a makeshift mask. 

Get 10% off your entire order with the code THEHUSTLE right now.

Protect yo’self → The Hustle Says

If you’re itching for fun ideas this summer, pick up the “100 Things To Do After Quarantine” scratch-off poster.

🚨 SUMMER BODY ALERT 🚨 Beach season is approaching, and if you’re like us, quarantine has not been kind to your midsection. Get back on the health wagon with a free trial of Noom.*

The Philadelphia 76ers have a startup incubator. Who knew? Try a sample of Hydrant (one of their startups), the creators of this rapid hydration formula packed with electrolytes and caffeine.*

*This is a sponsored post.

Very Wrong Number

Owning Elon Musk’s old phone number is a real headache

Other than Grimes and, er, X Æ A-12, no one bears the brunt of Elon Musk’s controversies as much as Lyndsay Tucker.

The 25-year-old skin care consultant, who spoke to NPR this week, has the misfortune of owning Musk’s old phone number. 

And whenever a new tweet from the Tesla CEO hits the news, a deluge of Musk fans and acquaintances, plus some reporters, sets her cell abuzz.

Even on normal days, Tucker gets about 3 messages meant for Musk, including one person who texted her blueprints to build a bionic limb and a call from the IRS (which had just a few tax questions). 

Keeping up with the Musks? It’s a lot of work

Tucker has never met Musk, and until she got the new phone number around 2 years ago, she had no idea who he was.

Tucker didn’t understand the gravity of the situation until she spoke to her mom. When she mentioned she’s been getting texts meant for someone named “Elon Musk,” her mom’s jaw dropped.

But now she is resigned to keeping tabs on all of the CEO’s latest antics — it’s the only way she can prepare for the onslaught of texts she’s about to receive. 

She told NPR, “Whenever I see his name pop up in the news, I’m like, ‘OK, I have to actually learn what he said because, chances are, someone is going to message me about it or call me about it.’”

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Weekend Wasters

🎵”It’s gettin’ hot in herre, so have some weekend fun (I am, getting so hot, I’m gonna kill some freeee timeeee)” 🎵 – Nelly, circa 2002

BLAST OFF INTO SPACE with this ISS docking simulator. (Warning: It’s hard, and it has contributed to 6 missed deadlines by The Hustle’s copywriting team this week. Oops.)

GO DEEP INTO YOUR OWN MIND with Tetris Effect. We really don’t know how to describe this besides “Tetris on acid,” so you’ll have to see for yourself. Available on PS4, Oculus, or your computer. 

FIGURE OUT WHERE THE F&#! YOU ARE with GeoGuessr. It uses Google Earth to drop you somewhere random on our planet — then leaves it to you to figure out where exactly you are (Hint: look at the road signs).

LOSE YOURSELF IN YOUR LAPTOP with WeaveSilk. Sorry folks, we can’t describe this one for you… you’ve gotta see it for yourself. 

CAUSE SOME CHAOS by tweeting a pic of your favorite peanut butter brand at Sam. We won’t tell him what’s happening (unless he sees this 🤫), but we will catalogue the chaos in our Slack channel. 


🖕Get your paws off our jeans: American Eagle employees are changing how they fold clothes to discourage hands-on shopping.

👀 Researchers say nearly half the accounts tweeting about the coronavirus are probably bots.

🎀 For decades, mathematicians have puzzled over how to solve the legendary Conway knot: One grad student solved it in less than a week.

🐑 Welcome to the Zoo-m: Animal-centric video calls are a lifeline for some businesses.

Want snippets like these in your browser? Download our Chrome extension here.

There’s a science behind creating successful products. Ready to learn it? We’re hosting The Ideation Bootcamp, a 2-week bootcamp that teaches the framework for spotting $100M/year startup ideas. Taught by Sam Parr of The Hustle and Gagan Biyani, founder of $2B startup Udemy. We’re 50% sold out. Starts June 8th.

Sign up for The Ideation Bootcamp here and get $100 off with code hustle100 🚀

Shower Thoughts

Eusxce us if thsee thuohgts r a litle messy… we’re typniy tehm up in th seohwr. 

1. Clicking a mouse is sending a signal from your brain to your finger to a computer’s finger to its brain.

2. In movies, there are two kinds of vents: Human sized vents, and vents that are big enough only for the smallest, least experienced member of the group.

3. The sense of hearing is wild. We can detect the air pressure changes caused by a paperclip hitting the floor from across the room.

4. Darth Vader lost all four limbs and still went on to rule the galaxy making him film’s most successful disabled person.

5. Blinking is the plural of winking.

via Reddit
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