A Facebook “first”: a college-only social network

September 11, 2020

PLUS: Drive-thru tech is having a moment.
September 11, 2020
The Hustle
 Miso Robotics

Today marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11. We remember those who passed and honor the courage of the heroes who sacrificed their lives.

*Sunglasses Emoji*

Will Facebook Campus help it save face with teens?

There’s a new, college-student-only social network in town, and it works like so: You create a profile using your campus email. You add photos. You “friend” other kids at your school through a built-in directory.

Sound familiar?

Facebook has come full-circle: Its newest idea, “Facebook Campus,” just so happens to also be its oldest idea (from 2004). And they’re banking on it to revitalize a dwindling teen userbase. 

Take us back, kids? 

Last year, only about 3% of teens said that Facebook was their most-used social platform — on par with Pinterest and Twitter. That’s down from a peak of 42% in 2012. 

Facebook’s share of the pie has been eaten away by Snapchat (44%), Instagram (35%), and, more recently, TikTok (4%).

But Facebook Campus, which is in pilot-mode at 30 universities, could stop some of the bleeding and jumpstart the firm’s slowing revenue growth. 

Facebook Campus has its own separate section in FB’s portal 

If you don’t want your new classmates knowing about your Charlie Puth phase, just build a new, Campus-specific profile from scratch. 

On Campus, you can: 

  • Curate a campus-only news feed 
  • Launch dedicated study groups (which in reality means just a bunch of people asking, “Can someone send me the syllabus?”) 
  • Avoid your Uncle Tommy’s conspiracy theory posts   

An added bonus: more data for marketers

The platform will also implore students to make more meaningful peer connections by entering information like their major, which classes they’re taking, and which dorm building they’re living in.

As The Verge notes, that data will better inform Facebook’s ad targeting for a coveted demographic.

Teens have been called one of the “most elusive and valuable” customer groups — largely because they wield tremendous purchasing power and haven’t yet fully formed their brand preferences.

Marketers may not be invited to join the Campus party, but they’ll certainly be lurking outside the windows.

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  • Citigroup’s next CEO Jane Fraser will be the first female to lead a major Wall Street bank.
  • India’s richest man is offering Jeff Bezos and Amazon a $20B stake in the retail operation of India’s biggest company, Reliance Industries.
  • Tech companies are racing to hire for a new type of management job: Head of Remote Work.
  • Japanese sports fans are allowed back in stadiums — but they have to keep quiet
  • The coin shortage is hitting casinos hard. So some are asking their employees to bring extra coins to work.
  • Bonus: An AI called Musiio tried to reverse-engineer a viral TikTok song, and the result is… not bad?
Next in line please

Drive-thrus are going to look a lot different in 2021

Is it a bird? A plane? No, sorry, it’s just the Burger King drive-thru’s new floating kitchen.

With drive-thru visits up 26% this past April through June, several fast food chains are rethinking their approach.

Starting next year, Burger King, Starbucks, Shake Shack, and Chipotle are all giving their drive-thrus a tech makeover. That means more lanes, less sit-down space, and the possibility that your next Impossible Whopper might be grilled and delivered from above your car. 

Drive-thrus are all about minimalism now

Though drive-thus claim to be all about the ease, they aren’t getting any faster: drive-thru wait time has gone up 20 seconds YoY.

Some of the chains’ proposed drive-thru changes are on the back end:

  • Taco Bell is axing complicated items, like the 7-Layer Burrito. 
  • Starbucks is testing an AI tool called DeepBrew to streamline orders.

But the biggest change may be drive-thru menus

Companies like McDonald’s are infusing those hulking menu screens with responsive AI.

If the weather is freezing, for instance, you may see hot chocolate getting a top slot. Or if egg McMuffins are running low, they’ll disappear from the menu board entirely.

But others are ditching menus altogether. The way Taco Bell envisions it, a team of roving sales representatives will come to your car to take your order as soon as you pull up.

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Flippy & Miso go to White Castle: The AI assistant chef joining forces with America’s first fast-food hamburger chain

There are only 3 guarantees in life: 

  1. Death
  2. Taxes
  3. Us housing half a dozen White Castle Double Cheese Slider combos every other Sunday 

So imagine our surprise (nay, our delight) when we heard the big news — Select White Castle locations are bringing in Flippy the flying robot to help man the fryer in a pilot and eventual beta for White Castle’s North American locations.. 

Robots who can work a fryer…has someone been reading our dream journal again?

Helping White Castle make more green

Thanks to thermal vision (along with 12 different pending patents), this AI assistant chef from Miso Robotics is helping to address the challenges facing quick-service restaurants like White Castle:

  • Economical: Flippy’s low hourly cost can give quick-service restaurants a 300% lift in margins
  • Scalable: Flippy has cooked 60K+ lbs of fried food and 12K+ burgers, and counting
  • Responsible: Flippy makes for a safer work environment by keeping human workers away from dirty and dangerous kitchen tasks 

The cooking chops of this skillful little chef are paying off for his creators, too — Miso Robotics is now in prime position to be one of the main players in automating the up-and-coming cloud kitchen market

So, here’s your opportunity: Get in on their SeedInvest fundraising round while it’s still open (and before Flippy gets a movie deal with Kal Penn), and see where this investment takes you. 

Now, who wants a tiny slider? 

Invest here →
Puff, Puff, Profit?

A SoftBank-backed delivery company was started for stoners. Now valued at ~$2.8B, it sells everything.

If getting to the drive-thru is still too much work, check out goPuff.

In 2013, 2 Drexel dudes (Rafael Ilishayev, Yakir Gola) decided it’d be dope to do on-campus delivery of weed needs like rolling papers, cheese puffs, and Visine… hence the name.

For extra laughs, delivery ran till 4:20am (LOL).

Last year, the company raised an eye-watering $750m (mostly from SoftBank), and it now delivers 3k items — from junk food to diapers to booze.

goPuff has already spent $150m of that sweet SoftBank money

And has 3.5k employees working at 200 mini-fulfillment centers serving 500 cities.

The biz model? It buys wholesale inventory from the likes of PepsiCo and Unilever and delivers goods to customers within 30 minutes for a $2 flat fee.

Lately it’s courting older, better-heeled consumers than it did in its college days. The average customer is between 25 and 34, and goPuff makes most of its money from high markups and the sale of product placements in the app.

Orders are up 4x since the pandemic started

Which smokes the ~$250m in revenue that goPuff pulled in during 2019. 

But the company still hasn’t turned a profit and — if losses sustained by more seasoned food delivery plays like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and GrubHub are any signal — it’ll be hard to get the numbers in the green. 

Founders Rafael and Yakir are undeterred. “It’s forever work,” they told Forbes. “Amazon is going on 25 years and is still improving.”

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The Next Big Trend

Foldable screens are here. What’s next for ‘-able’ tech?

According to CNET, the dual-screen foldable Microsoft Duo smartphone is finally on its way.

Foldable. Now there’s a word you don’t see in tech much. That got us thinking — is this the first domino to fall, starting off a chain reaction of “-able” products? 

Here’s what The Hustle believes is next in “-able” trends:

Wave goodbye to the days of meticulously swabbing your keyboard with a Q-tip and say hello to spraying your MacBook down with a hose next time you get Cheeto dust on, well, everything.

We’re all sick of trying to find the one functioning outlet in the airport. How about plugging your laptop into a charger that’s stitched directly into the inseam of your pants? Sounds comfy.

Sometimes we just wanna crumple something up and toss it in the trash, sustainability be damned. Displays that you can smash at the end of every week? Uh, yeah, sign us up.  

This isn’t a tech thing, we just miss them. Oh, to be young again…

GIFs: @zzcrockett

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The Hustle Says

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Shower Thoughts

  1. We don’t check the refrigerator multiple times to find new food, we check to see if our standards have dropped enough to eat what was available
  2. The brain can remember that it forgot something but never make a way to find out what you forgot
  3. With so many Zoom classes, the chances of accidentally going to school naked have risen significantly
  4. Threatening to file a lawsuit is the adult version of “I’m telling”
  5. It’s not until you’re in charge of paying all the bills that you truly understand your dad’s obsession with the thermostat
via Reddit

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Telecommute Technology and Legal Writer, Impaction: Get ready to blind ‘em with science. This agency is looking for some sharp technical and academic research writers.

News Copy Editor, Blavity: Venture-funded new media company written for Black Millennials and Gen Zers seeks a sharp editor with a keen grasp on grammar and syntax… and a love for GIFs and Black culture.

See more →
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