Here’s a fun fact. An average user could be spending 864 hours a year scrolling through apps and social media. That’s a little over 30 days a year. Sounds more scary than fun, we know. But there could be a new way to stop this endless scrolling. And it doesn’t involve going back to keypad phones or to the caves. Ironically, it involves more advanced technology loaded into a lapel pin. Or a screenless device of sorts that runs on voice commands.
Humane, an AI company backed by biggies like Microsoft and OpenAI’s Sam Altman recently came up with an AI Pin. You could ask it to send a message, play music, click a photo or translate chats into a different language. All of this by projecting the app’s display on your palm. And despite not having the video feature yet, it’s giving vibes of a screenless future. It comes at a price though. $699 a pop and a $24 monthly subscription in the first year.
We’re not sure if we’re ready for that yet. Are we?
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Bombay Dreams by KSHMR & Lost Stories
Thanks for the rec, Apoorv Gupta!
A couple of things caught our eye this week 👀
What’s the deal with Black Friday deals?
Black Friday Steals! Crazy Low Prices To Bag
Black Friday Sale! Up to 50% off
The last couple of days have been about Black Friday deals and discounts, not just online but at offline stores too. But ever wondered what’s the big deal about Black Friday?
See, the US and Canada celebrate the harvest and blessings of the past year on the fourth Thursday of every November. It’s called Thanksgiving, which is now celebrated in many other parts of the world too.
But back in the 1950s one of these celebrations turned into a commotion in the US city of Philadelphia. On the day after Thanksgiving, flocks of shoppers and tourists flooded the city before the big Army-Navy football game held on that Saturday every year. The unmanageable crowd was also a fat chance for shoplifters. This meant that the city police had to work long hours and couldn’t take the weekend off. Giving it the “Black Friday” label.
Over the years, vendors wanted to change the negativity associated with the day. So they smartly changed the narrative. They made it sound like Black Friday marked the beginning of the holiday season shopping, increasing sales. This meant that vendors who recorded tepid sales earlier would suddenly start making profits. Back then, the colour red indicated losses, while black meant profits. So their books of account going from red to black was their version of the origins of Black Friday.
From then on, Black Friday sales figures were often seen as a measure of the country’s economic health. So if sales were flat, it would indicate a slowdown. But does an increase in sales mean higher profits for vendors?
You see, having a huge sale in one day can be chaotic, so merchants have to spread out the Black Friday sale over multiple days. Customers also expect steep discounts. It lowers vendors’ margins. But that’s just about physical stores. Even online stores have now started these sales, spurring impulse purchases. This means that returns rise post the sale, increasing costs for vendors.
Black Friday sales have more than tripled over the past decade in the US alone, reaching $9 billion last year. And nearly half of the online sales generated on Black Friday end up being returned. It’s not something vendors can rejoice about.
Are you one of those who always looked out for Black Friday deals, but had no idea of its origins? Well, now you do.
Jargon of the day ✏️
This didn’t make the cut ✂️
Why farmers in Punjab can’t take lessons from the east and the south
On Friday we told you about stubble burning and why farmers in Punjab and Haryana choose it over other eco-friendly alternatives. And here’s an interesting bit that didn’t fit into our story.
West Bengal is India’s largest rice producer. And many South Indian states produce rice too. But there’s something they do to manage most of the stubble from their paddy crop effectively. They either convert it into fuel or simply feed the straw to the cattle.
But research suggests that most of Punjab’s farmers aren’t happy about using stubble as fuel as it burns quickly. Besides just 10% of them use it as animal feed because straw is high in silica which reduces milk yield. And milk is a commercial business in Punjab as opposed to West Bengal where dairy produced from farm animals is mostly consumed domestically. Bengal’s farmers normally treat straw with a pinch of Sodium Hydroxide to make it more palatable for animals. And that’s probably why their milk yields are lower than Punjab.
Money tips 💰
A letter to your future financial self
More often than not we derail from our financial goals. Last year you probably thought that you’d save up enough money for a new laptop by the end of next year. But it’s now time and you don’t see this happening. Or you may have thought of setting aside a set amount of money to meet a long-term financial goal 5 years from now. If you don’t succeed, how do you keep yourself motivated to keep going?
Well, there’s a way. You could write a letter to your future self. You could tell yourself what your goals are and why you set them. But that’s just the positive part. You also have to remind yourself that it may not always be possible for you to achieve your goals. And getting demotivated or giving up on them isn’t the solution.
When you read this letter a couple of years later, it could give you a reality check. You could look back at your efforts and contemplate if you were disciplined in your financial journey. If you were, this letter could be a pat on the back and act as further motivation. And if you weren’t, it could axe the regret of not being committed and help you get back on track.
Ready to imagine your future financial self?
Readers Recommend 🗒️
The Unusual Billionaires by Saurabh Mukherjea
Aditya Senapati recommends this book which has case studies of some of the iconic brands of India. There’s Asian Paints, Astral Poly, Berger Paints, Marico, Page Industries, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank. The author tells you why focusing on the core business is important for corporate success. He also explains how investors can beat benchmark returns by identifying similar companies using a simple set of metrics.
Thanks for this interesting recommendation, Aditya!
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
It’s time to announce the winner of our previous Weekly Quiz. And the winner is…🥁
Ashutosh Jha! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the weekly quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.
Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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