Michael Waters
Staff Writer, The Hustle

The Manhattan high-rise that shrunk itself down

In 1986, a New York zoning activist made a startling discovery: A newly constructed building was over a dozen floors too high. What followed was one of the strangest outcomes in the history of big-city housing.

Michael Waters • February 4, 2023

The quiet disappearance of the safe deposit box

Once revered as the safest way to store physical valuables, safe deposit boxes are now being phased out by major banks. The move is already starting to backfire.

Michael Waters • December 2, 2022

The fight to build more public bathrooms in America

Today’s cities are almost completely devoid of public toilets. An unfolding movement is trying to change that.

Michael Waters • November 4, 2022

The small town that saved its only grocery store — by buying it

Across rural America, independent grocery stores are shuttering. To keep its only store from joining the trend, one small town in Kansas got creative.

Michael Waters • September 10, 2022

The people making millions off Listerine royalties

A little-known provision in a 100-year-old contract opened up the door for private investors to mint money from mouthwash sales.

Michael Waters • July 28, 2022

Made a spreadsheet typo? Call an Excel fixer

There’s a growing industry of spreadsheet fixers, whom big companies hire to clean up their pivot table typos.

Michael Waters • October 16, 2020

Venmo and Cash App are a scammer’s paradise

Fraud rates on payments apps are 3x to 4x more than on debit or credit cards.

Michael Waters • October 14, 2020

Private coroners are suddenly in the spotlight

The little-known micro-industry is having a busy year -- and it’s been a long time coming.

Michael Waters • October 13, 2020

Can tech companies make bike commutes safer?

US cities aren’t well-designed for biking. But tech companies might be able to help.

Michael Waters • October 13, 2020

Free samples are coming to online shopping

Clicking on clown makeup on Walmart.com? Don’t be surprised if it shows up in the mail.

Michael Waters • October 12, 2020

The company that has a monopoly on ice cream truck music

How a small, family-owned electronics company came to control 97% of the ice cream truck music market.

Michael Waters • October 9, 2020

How much data do podcasts have on you?

They might be hurtling toward a micro-targeted future.

Michael Waters • October 9, 2020

Meet MacKenzie Scott, Amazon’s billionaire 1st employee

She’s bringing a new brand of philanthropy to the tech world.

Michael Waters • October 8, 2020

‘Streaming farms’ are Spotify’s newest credibility problem

Streaming giants might accidentally be shelling out ~$300m to bot listeners.

Michael Waters • October 7, 2020

The dentist’s office is getting an Insta-friendly makeover

*sunglasses emoji* Dentists are cool now.

Michael Waters • October 7, 2020

Why are VCs paying $300m+ for an insect farm?

Everything’s coming up beetles.

Michael Waters • October 7, 2020

Tech’s favorite virtual call center is the gig economy gone too far

Arise Virtual Solutions says it isn’t a customer service company, exactly -- it’s a “platform.”

Michael Waters • October 6, 2020

Truckee, California: America’s foremost ‘Zoom town’

How small, scenic towns are winning 2020.

Michael Waters • October 2, 2020

Roundup, Montana: The town with more Amazon packages than people

You might have this town to thank for your last Amazon order.

Michael Waters • October 2, 2020

Cheyenne, Wyoming: American crypto hub?

What Delaware is to corporations, Wyoming is to crypto.

Michael Waters • October 2, 2020

A peek inside the vote-tech industry

A small industry of tech companies ensure your ballots get counted.

Michael Waters • October 1, 2020

The big business of honey laundering

There’s about a ⅓ chance the honey on your shelf isn’t real.

Michael Waters • September 30, 2020

Can you fund a social media company like a video game?

The startup Yubo runs on in-app purchases.

Michael Waters • September 30, 2020

The hottest campus job is ‘COVID influencer’

Reminding other students to wear masks? Your school might pay you for it.

Michael Waters • September 29, 2020

The gig economy is coming for elder care

The platform Papa wants you to give company to older people on the side.

Michael Waters • September 28, 2020

Now you can find out which websites are tracking you

A new tool called Blacklight airs all the dirty ad-tech laundry.

Michael Waters • September 25, 2020

Forget gold: Meet the Diamond Standard

Diamonds really want to become more investor-friendly.

Michael Waters • September 24, 2020

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