Walmart’s AI fridge-stocker

January 11th, 2024

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Hey Fam. What do Stanley Cups, college sports betting, and in-app “streak” addiction all have in common? Well, they were big topics of discussion in our podcast episode out today. TL;DR…

  • Stanley Cups actually suck

  • Sports betting is a mental health epidemic

  • And manipulative “streaks” are just the tip of the iceberg

Anyways, you can get our full thoughts here — > listen 🔥

In other news… SoundCloud might sell for a billion dollars, millennials need side hustles to survive, and Walmart creates an AI fridge-stocker.

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Changing hands? // Illustration by Kate Walker

SoundCloud could sell for a billion dollars

The Future. SoundCloud is hitting the sales block sometime this year. If the company manages to secure the ambitious price tag, it may signal that the potential buyer is looking to not just keep SoundCloud alive but also position it for longevity… and double down on its mission as a user-driven discovery platform.

Check out my SoundCloud financials
SoundCloud’s leadership is looking for a $1 billion acquisition in an exit years in the making.

  • The sale would make good on an emergency $170 million majority investment made by The Raine Group and Temasek in 2017 that kept the company afloat.

  • Since then, company insiders say that many of SoundCloud’s moves — multiple rounds of layoffs, the introduction of creator tools — have been to help the company eke out a profit.

  • Reportedly, most of the interest for SoundCloud seems to be coming from private equity firms, as opposed to traditional music companies or a takeover by a bigger competitor.

Although SoundCloud hosts roughly 375 million tracks from 40 million artists, the sale shows how difficult it is for mid-level streamers to compete with the Spotifys and Apple Musics of the world. TIDAL was saved by Jay-Z’s buddy Jack Dorsey when Square acquired it in 2021, while Epic offloaded Bandcamp to Songtradr late last year.

Streamers need to make a lot of noise to survive on their own.

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One dude, three jobs // Illustration by Kate Walker

Millennials had no choice but to side hustle

The Future. H&R Block’s “Outlook on American Life Report,” which examined the info of 20 million tax filers, found that millennials turned to side hustles to pay the bills, attain job security, and open up new creative channels. With more millennials taking on second and third jobs to keep up with housing prices and inflation, companies may have to start building systems that support employees’ need for multiple sources of income if they themselves can’t pay higher wages.

Generational grind
For millennials making between $45,000 and $145,000, one job is never enough.

  • On average, the generation born between 1981 and 1996 works a full-time job and two additional jobs to keep up with inflation and the rising cost of living because most make under $80,000 per year.

  • One in three millennials plans to sign up for app-based gig work like Uber or Taskrabbit, and millennials are also the most likely to rent out part of their home for more money.

  • Additionally, the specter of entering the workforce after the Great Recession, the fear of arbitrary layoffs, and the need to take care of kids and parents drove millennials to collect jobs like horcruxes.

Side hustles aren’t always about survival. Many millennials surveyed by Fast Company found that while full-time jobs are the foundation of their professional lives, side hustles help them augment their skills, start something they’re passionate about, or solve a problem they feel uniquely skilled to handle.

 But, yes, the extra money’s nice, too.

So, now we want to hear from you…


We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Do you have a side hustle?

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73% of you voted Yes in yesterday’s poll: Could you survive without a smartphone?

“That being said, my only real hang-up would be getting rideshares. I guess I would have to get a landline to call cabs again.”

“But the hardest part would be going back to printed directions from MapQuest.”

“In some ways, life is more vulnerable because of smartphones. For instance, I was in Hurricane Sandy where no phones, ATMs, or wallet pay functioned. Cash, land lines, and a paper address or phone book would’ve gotten me through.”

“I’m 51. Didn’t have an email address until I was 27. Didn’t have a mobile until I was 30. Didn’t have a smart phone until I was 36.”

“I have done it before. I can do it again.”

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Courtesy of Walmart

Walmart wants to stock the fridge for you

The Future. Walmart has announced several innovations at CES, including an AI-powered way to ensure that you never run out of groceries. Coupled with its expansions into drone delivery, AR-enabled clothing try-ons, and chatbot assistants, Walmart may be evolving into a low-key tech powerhouse.

Personal AI shopper
Walmart wants to make grocery runs a thing of the past.

  • The retailer’s InHome Replenishment service ($20/month) is rolling out a new feature that not only tracks when you’re running out of items but also taps a delivery person to drop them off directly into your fridge.

  • The service employs AI to predict customer usage of items and keep things constantly stocked… and maybe even start to make your grocery list for you based on your dining habits.

The feature is part of Walmart’s larger push into AI, including a chatbot on its iOS app that lets people generate shopping lists based on queries like, “What do I need for a Super Bowl party?,” and another chatbot for employees dubbed “Ask Sam” to help with customer questions.

The hope: never leave Walmart without everything you need.

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  • Martin Scorsese is now an influencer — he’s the face of a new promo for UHD Alliance’s “Filmmaker Mode” for high-end consumer TVs. Read More → thr

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  • LeBron James has signed an exclusive, multi-year deal with collectibles marketplace Fanatics. Read More → bloomberg

  • Lionel Messi is putting his own spin on the Adidas Sambas as part of his ongoing (and very lucrative deal) with the German footwear brand. Read More → hypebeast

  • Three Apple Vision Pro headsets have popped up on StockX for a ridiculous $10,000 each… in case you wanted the mixed reality headset a few weeks early. Read More → highsnobiety

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • The SEC has approved new investment rules that make way for the creation of Bitcoin ETFs after countless delays. Read More → cnbc

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  • Microsoft said, with the help of AI, it’s discovered a new material that could reduce the use of lithium in batteries by up to 70%. Read More → insider

Creator Economy

  • X announced a slate of original shows from personalities like Don Lemon, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jim Rome. Read More → wsj

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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