What the future holds for big cities

We’re collecting data on whether readers are moving in the next 6 months.
July 8, 2020
The Hustle
H&R Block

Zoom has conquered the COVID-19 era, but during the Spanish flu, the biggest disruptor was Dixie cups

When the brand first launched in 1907, it went by the moniker “Health Kup.” Few people bought in, preferring glass and metal cups, not paper ones. 

But when the flu hit, the company pivoted. Dixie cups changed its name and pitched itself as the sanitary alternative to drinking vessels like communal metal cups. Pretty soon, its paper cups were everywhere.

Pulling Up Stakes?

Are you moving to another city? Tell us your story

I’m writing this from my overpriced, $4,000-a-month, 900-square-foot apartment in San Francisco debating if I’m gonna move or not. Here’s proof.

I just finished reading about Bay Area rents being down ~12%.

Based on what I’m seeing on Facebook and Twitter (more proof), a 12% drop isn’t even close to representing how many people are truly leaving San Francisco and other major American cities.

I asked members of our Trends group what they think will happen. 170 people replied. A few favorites:

  • “I’ve seen at least 1 moving truck per day on my street in San Francisco for the past month. I’m moving to Austin next month!”
  • “Naysayers have been predicting the demise of cities for millennia. So far that hasn’t happened, and it probably never will. Cities are adaptable and flexible and mostly they have been reinventing themselves ever since they were first created.”
  • “I live in Chicago and can see the exodus happening in front of my eyes.”
  • “New Hampshire is seeing a big influx of both second-home buyers and full-timers.”
  • “I’ve lived in NYC more than three decades, born just outside. Eighty percent of our building fled by April and has not returned. Forty to fifty percent of our neighborhood left.”
  • “People left NYC in the years after 9/11, but the losses were more than replaced by new people moving in as everyone found their new normal.”

So, help me predict the future. There’s over a million of you. If enough readers answer, we’ll surely have interesting data covering the yuppie-ish/young professional demographic (most of you dear readers fall into that category).

Click below to tell me if you’re moving in the next 6 months or not.

I’ll show you the results tomorrow. Answer the survey here.

–Sam, Founder & CEO of The Hustle

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🎓  Higher ed ain’t gonna be the same. Student meme masters are having a field day with the news that all Harvard classes will be remote this fall. What percentage of universities will be out of business in 5 years?

🎵 Never gonna give Zoom up? Have a little fun with it: Try Rickrolls as a Service. Just drop your meeting link into this queue, and wait for Rick Astley to enter the chat.

👀  “Holy sh*t I beat Schefter.” Read the incredible story of the liquor-store employee who (kinda accidentally) broke the news of Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes’ $450m+ contract extension. 

🎮  Meet PlayStation’s secret weapon. There’s a fascinating fact behind the console’s staying power: The PlayStation 4 is assembled in an almost completely automated factory. Two people feed bare motherboards onto the line, and 2 other humans package the finished product. Robots take care of the rest.

🤔  Which side are you on? While we were searching for the next hot internet debate, we came across this hypothetical from David Perell:

There’s no right answer, but let’s be honest. Who wants to be hounded by fans and paparazzi? Is the wealth worth all that hassle? Doubt it. We’re Team Munger all the way.

Which would you choose? Let us know on Twitter @TheHustle.

Hostel Takeover

Hostels are having a rough go at reopening

Please spare a thought for the motel’s hip cousin who went to Berlin that one time. 

Hostels were not exactly built for a pandemic — these days, you don’t hear many people exclaiming, “Man, I wish I could wake up near a dozen total strangers on bunk beds!”

But as Europe reopens to travelers, hostels are trying to figure out how to add social distancing to a business model based on throwing together total randos. 

A few of their strategies: 

  • Cut the number of beds crammed into each room by half. 
  • Tape markings on the dance floor.
  • Pivot to long-term stays — who doesn’t love 3 months in a hostel? 

Extroverts, beware

In normal times, hostels offer more than a place to sleep. Some host yoga classes, open mics, movie nights, and pasta-making tutorials. 

But right now, they look… suspiciously like hotels. Take Tomas Polansky, a student from Slovakia who booked a 6-person room at a hostel in Amsterdam. 

When he arrived, there was almost no one there — so he got his own private room. 

What about the rest of the dorms-for-adults biz? 

Hostels are sitting empty, but one of their spiritual compatriots has never looked better: co-living communities.

One startup, Common, signed its most leases ever last month, according to OneZero

Scarcity, another co-living company, at first saw new inquiries fall by ~5x — but the numbers were up again last month. Plus: Scarcity just raised $30m.

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The average tax refund this year? $3,100. Here’s how to score every last penny

Ahhh, filing taxes. 

A true coming of age moment, right up there with your first parking ticket and the first time you cried in your car while eating Subway. 

Good times!

Now, unless you’ve gone off the grid (wise move), you’ll have to file those taxes eventually. But do it yourself, and you risk losing out on hundreds — even thousands — in your tax return… not to mention possibly even breaking the law. 


Receive your maximum tax refund guaranteed with H&R Block*

Why stress over all these forms when H&R Block will do it for you? 

They have decades of experience making tax season easy. File from the comfort of your home with their online tools, or visit a certified Tax-idermist (is that the right term?)  at one of their 12,000+ offices to go over your details face-to-face. 

It’s 2020, people. We have computers and the internet and even robots that clean our floors. So why are we still stressing about taxes?

Head over to H&R Block today to get 25% off your online tax prep and score every dollar you deserve.

Score more green →

FINE-ISH PRINT: *Not everyone gets a refund. All tax situations are different.

Play Ball?

The tech that’s tasked with making sports safer

How do you reduce contact for… contact sports?

That’s the Catch-22 big-league officials are wrestling with as they try and restart seasons safely. 

While there’s no clear path back — testing delays and player opt-outs have already dampered pro baseball and basketball reopening plans — leagues are experimenting with some creative tech to clear the many, many hurdles.

These innovations could be the MVP

As Wired tells it, here are some of the newest gadgets in the game:

The NBA purchased 2k Oura rings that track players’ sleep levels, heart rates, and activity. The rings can calculate “risk scores” and flag potential COVID-19 symptoms. Oura’s CEO says that so far, half of the NBA’s players have agreed to wear the rings. But some have privacy concerns — one Lakers player tweeted that the monitors “look like a tracking device.” 

Sunglasses manufacturer Oakley is designing a new mask-helmet hybrid for the NFL. The medical director of the NFL Players Association told Wired they’re pushing for masks to include an N95 internal filter to block particles. 

Facial recognition software could be deployed throughout stadiums for contactless concessions and ticket entry. Fans could pre-register and link their credit cards to their images to purchase hot dogs or merchandise. 

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Ooh, baby baby

One way to understand kids’ development: Get a baby’s-eye view

The SAYCam project takes the concept of baby monitoring to the next level. 

Parents strap GoPro-esque cameras to their babies’ heads to give researchers a better understanding of how the young’uns interact with their environments.

Goo goo ga… what?

As OneZero explained: Environmental factors play a huge role in a kid’s development, and differences can lead to advantages or disadvantages that pile up later in life.

Trouble is, we don’t always know which elements help a child thrive. But taking a closer look — that is, getting a baby’s-eye view — could help.

It’s way more than baby talk

Here’s how the research works: Typically, babies wear the cameras 2x/week between the ages of 6 and 32 months. None of these tiny filmmakers is the next Scorsese, but their videos do show developmental psychologists what the world looks like from their perspective.

That could mean views of the carpet as seen by a crawler or shaky, “Blair Witch”-style footage from a toddler learning to walk.

The footage could help grown-ups learn, by becoming more mindful of their interactions with the little ones.

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The Hustle Says

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