🍋 AI Stands for An Indian

Amazon announced they're pulling the plug on Just Walk Out technology, plus Disney fought off an activist investor.

Together With

"Build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.” — Brian Chesky

Good Morning! Taylor Swift is officially in Forbes’ billionaire club, thanks to a monster 2023. Fellow billionaire Steve Cohen thinks a four-day workweek is inevitable thanks to AI. Disney was able to fend off an activist shareholder in a major win for Bob Iger. Apple is reportedly exploring personal home robots. One bearish Tesla investor thinks the stock could go to $14. And WeWork is hoping to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy within two months.


AI Stands for An Indian

Amazon was supposed to be launching the stores of the future with Amazon Fresh. You’d walk in to a store, scan a QR code, and then leave without needing to wait in line and check out. Amazon says they’d use cameras and sensors to figure out what you were leaving the store with.

It turns out Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology wasn’t all robot brainpower. A group of over 1,000 humans were playing the role of AI babysitters and cashiers, keeping an eye on transactions and surveillance over in India. 

Amazon is now walking back its Just Walk Out technology and removing it at US Amazon Fresh grocery stores.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing for Just Walk Out. Some customers complained about finally getting charged hours after leaving the store. And a report found that 70% of sales required human reviewers - and Amazon had an internal goal of around 5%.

Takeaway: It turns out that Amazon’s “machine learning data associates” were really a bunch of offshore video reviewers, sifting through hours of surveillance videos in India. So the technology really didn’t work - it was inexpensive and inefficient. Amazon is trying to replace Just Walk Out with Dash Carts. They’re embedded into shopping carts and will help shoppers scan and search for items, all while skipping the checkout line, too.


Best Buy Doubles Down on Smart Home Category

The leading retailer in the distribution of Smart Home products has recently unveiled a new addition to its lineup, Smart Shades.

With only 10% of windows currently automated, Best Buy is placing its bet that RYSE is the next disruptor in the smart home industry, stocking their product in over 100 stores.

The power of Best Buy’s distribution led smart-home giants Ring and Nest to billion-dollar exits, and for a limited time, you can invest in RYSE’s vision of owning the billion-dollar Smart Shades industry. 

But hurry, their share price has already grown 20% since their last round!


Top Reads

  • Taylor Swift named to Forbes’ billionaire list (Axios)

  • Steve Cohen says AI will give you Friday off (CNBC)

  • Disney fends off activist shareholders in major win for Bob Iger (CNN)

  • Apple reportedly exploring personal home robots (CNBC)

  • Noted Tesla bear says stock could go to $14 (CNBC)

  • WeWork targets Chapter 11 exit by May 31, secures $8B in rent reduction (CNBC)

  • U.S. venture capital investment sees dip during Q1 (Axios)

  • Amazon lays off hundreds of job cuts in cloud computing unit (CNBC)

  • Private payrolls beat expectations last month (YF)

  • Surging bond yields don’t change the narrative for stocks (YF)

  • Two investors in Trump Media insider trading case plead guilty (CNN)


Markets Rundown

Stocks closed higher after several days of losses.

Movers & Shakers

  • (+) Dave and Busters ($PLAY) +10% after the restaurant company upped its share repurchase authorization to $200M.

  • (+) Spotify ($SPOT) +8% because the streaming service is raising prices for its premium members.

  • (–) Intel ($INTC) -8% after the company announced a $7B operating loss for its chipmaking unit.

Private Dealmaking

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Love As A Business Strategy

In the face of ever-changing market conditions, leaders are looking for any advantage they can get. And yet, almost every attempt to adapt produces the same results: inconsistent adoption, nonexistent innovation, and flagging performance.

To get lasting results, it’s time for leaders to stop looking for quick fixes and start building a culture of love.

Yes, love.

This is love as you’ve never seen it. This is a love that leans into the hard conversations. A love that is equal parts inclusion and accountability. A love that focuses on solutions rather than dwelling on problems.

A love that gets results.

Anchored by Softway’s own transformational journey, Love as a Business Strategy offers a new, people-first framework for achieving any business outcome. A better way of doing business is possible. Get ready to ditch the status quo and embrace humanity.

"Love as a Business Strategy is the compelling story of one organization's gut-punch realization that success comes from embracing love as a core value."


Homebuilders Building Smaller Homes

The median size of new single-family homes peaked at 2,473 square feet in 2016 and stands at 2,237 square feet today

Source: Apollo


Add AI to Your Portfolio

Marketing is an art, not a science — or, at least, it was. 

Dubbed “essential AI” for brands, RAD AI decodes the language of the internet into actionable, highly valuable insights. These findings can be used to deliver outsized ROI, and sometimes, help brands avoid disaster.  

RAD AI is disrupting the $633B marketing technology industry and its potential is evident by the numbers…

  • $27M raised from 6,500+ investors, including VCs, and execs at Google, Amazon and Meta, and is also backed by the Adobe Fund for Design.

  • ~3x revenue growth from 2022 to 2023 — while landing major clients, including Hasbro, Skechers, Sweetgreen and more.


Self Control

Our ability to resist temptation and maintain self-control is significantly influenced by external factors, including our socio-economic background, upbringing, and the broader environment. This challenges the traditional view that self-control is purely a matter of individual willpower. Recent psychological research suggests that factors such as wealth, trust in promises, and environmental cues play substantial roles in our capacity to delay gratification.

For instance, children from wealthier families are more likely to wait for a bigger reward because they trust the promise of it. This indicates that our environment and experiences shape our ability to exercise self-control. Additionally, our genetic makeup is believed to influence our levels of self-control, pointing to a complex interplay between nature and nurture in shaping our behaviors and habits.

Moreover, the modern world is designed to exploit our reward systems, making temptations more prevalent and harder to resist. From the allure of ultra-processed foods to the addictive design of smartphones, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that challenge our self-control. Recognizing these external influences is crucial for understanding and improving our self-discipline.

Successful people, often seen as paragons of self-control, typically excel not because they exercise willpower more frequently but because they create environments that minimize the need for it. They understand the importance of avoiding temptation in the first place and are adept at forming healthy habits and routines that support their goals.

Ultimately, rethinking our approach to self-control involves acknowledging the significant impact of external factors and focusing on strategies that address these influences. By understanding and modifying our environment, we can better support our efforts to develop self-discipline and pursue our long-term goals more effectively.


Short Squeez Picks

  • 7 tricks from a Harvard neuroscience to keep memory sharp

  • Is productivity technology going to far?

  • Why Netflix, Hulu recommend garbage and how to fix that

  • Use the moon breathing hack to fall asleep instantly 

  • Use timeshielding to actually accomplish the things you want


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