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The CQ: Threads Becomes Most Rapidly Downloaded App, While TikTok Comes at Amazon's
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By Forerunner VC
What We’re Talking About on Slack:
The power of great distribution: over 10 million people downloaded Threads within the first day of its launch, far outpacing ChatGPT’s previously record breaking growth of one million downloads in ~5 days. “Threads was a surprise hit for Meta, which has been badly in need of a win after being scrutinized for spreading misinformation and other toxic content across the internet. Yet such early momentum does not necessarily translate to long-term engagement and success.” Also: Axios has a walk down memory lane with the timeline of “Meta’s copycat machine,” recounting failed attempts with Facebook Paper, Slingshot and Bulletin.
Finance is Gen Z’s most desired industry to work in — a flip-flop from 2021, when education and health topped their lists and finance ranked fifth, says a new survey of 10,000 people between the ages of 18 and 25 from 13 countries. The biggest reason for the switch: 62% said a good salary was the most important criteria, while in 2021, it was only 45%. “The most popular careers among young people are those with high-income potential…They see that as the best way to achieve personal fulfillment and happiness.”
The all-too-common problem with fashion’s sustainability push: It doesn’t make much money. Bloomberg takes a deep dive on how 100+ retailers from Shein to H&M and Patagonia jumped on the resale wagon within the past two years, but so far those programs haven’t caught on. “Trove, Archive and other clothing resale program operators say their brand clients have a goal of secondhand being 10% or more of their overall revenue in the coming years. But secondhand clothing business accounts for only ~5% of overall revenue for brands that have invested the most time and marketing in these programs — and almost no revenue for programs that do little marketing.” There are several hurdles getting in the way of growth, including proper consumer awareness, better logistics for acquiring used products from customers, and executive alignment on investment in programs.
TikTok is looking to encroach on Amazon’s turf with its $20 billion shopping pilot. TikTok Shop’s start in Southeast Asia is a livestreaming e-commerce success. Next up, the platform intends to launch a US marketplace, similar to a traditional shopping site. It’s setting up its own American warehouses and fulfillment operations, plus offering zero seller fees to get Chinese manufacturers and exporters on board.
Consumers aren’t the only ones feeling the weight of debt — hospitals are now strapped for cash to repay lenders after shelling out high wages to attract nurses during the pandemic. “Hospitals are closing or scaling back unprofitable services, selling assets or cutting pay, temporary staff and jobs…Some have refinanced debt, submitting to today’s higher interest rates in exchange for new loan terms. Others have sought to negotiate with lenders for more time.” The smaller or independent institutions in particular are struggling. All in all, about $12 billion in hospital bonds is impaired — nearly 4% of all hospital muni debt outstanding, the most in the past 15 years.
The self-employed are happier. According to Pew Research, 62% of those who are self-employed say they are extremely or very satisfied with their job, compared with 51% of those who are not self-employed. The self-employed report higher levels of enjoyment and fulfillment and feel like their contributions are valued. For those who are not self-employed, they say that their jobs are more stressful and overwhelming.
Business of Fashion deconstructs the life cycle of a viral fashion trend (think: Barbiecore, Quiet Luxury, Cottagecore). Whereas trends were once born on runways and in well-produced campaigns, they’re now cultivated in the corners of the internet, and brands and campaigns are beholden to following their lead. “Given that fracturing, what a trend is and what they’re worth to retailers is being called into question.” Considering the peak of most trends lasts two to four months, it makes sense brands are reorienting to focus on ones they think will have more staying power — and the longer-lasting trends are often the ones aligned on multiple fronts in the cultural zeitgeist. (Ex: quiet luxury was buoyed throughout the season of Succession).
As dementia cases soar, ‘Dementia Villages’ are popping up to offer a new model of care. There are more than 55 million people globally living with dementia, and the World Health Organization expects it to reach 78 million by 2030. There’s a great need to accommodate this population in a compassionate way, and these senior-living microtowns consist of communal housing along with shops, green spaces, and urban squares where patients can roam freely and interact with the community, creating the feeling of home while providing the needed support. The model has gained traction internationally and the first US community is in the works for New Jersey.
Amazon pioneered easy free returns — and then return rates went out of control. Now, Amazon is trying new ways to tame customers’ return habits, like adding fees to drop off at UPS and building incentives for consumers to drop off returns for free at stores that are cheaper for them, like Staples, Kohls, and Whole Foods, or offering discounts to drop off at Amazon stores. Another tactic is labeling items with a “frequently returned” warning and providing size suggestions on clothing to limit the chance of returns. This all comes at a risk of losing customers to Walmart, which has started offering more free returns options.
We’re on the brink of a childcare cliff, as $24 billion of childcare benefits from the pandemic era will expire in September, leaving an estimated 3 million children affected by potential tuition hikes, layoffs, and closures. “We can’t decrease their wages because then we will definitely not have teachers, and we can’t increase our rates for parents because parents cannot pay any more than they are.”
Work at a Portfolio Company:
Senior Project Manager - Creative | Ritual: Ritual is a personal health brand that is building the future of daily essentials. This role will be responsible for managing creative projects from conception to implementation, collaborating with multidisciplinary creatives, marketers and scientists.
People People Manager, Customer Experience | The Farmer’s Dog: The Farmer’s Dog is the fastest growing pet health service company in the US, and born from a mission to change the landscape of pet health by providing dogs and their humans with honest, smart, and simple care. This role will train, coach and mentor their Group Leads and Associates, focusing their groups on delivering exceptional customer support.
Strategic Partnership Manager | Chime: Chime is the largest and fastest-growing U.S. player in the challenger-banking space and believes everyone deserves financial peace of mind. This role will be responsible for driving the process to review and approve Chime’s priorities with our banks and product teams. This is a critical role to represent Chime’s strategic growth drivers with our bank partners.
There are ~503 other openings on our jobs site. Check ‘em out.