Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, is dubious about working in the metaverse. In his words, “If you strip the entertainment aspect from it, you end up with a super creepy version of America Online chat rooms.” Yeah, I think we’ll pass.
In today’s email:
Textiles: Why the $1T+ industry needs an update.
Chart: CEOs had a lovely 2021.
Tipping: Has it peaked?
Around the web: The “Mother of Yoda,” wilderness pants, an online gaming console, and more cool internet finds.
🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s quick podcast for a special episode about the science and features driving TikTok’s dopamine machine, and why all kinds of apps — from dating to food — are mimicking it.
The big idea
Streamlining the textile industry
You know where you got your shirt, but do you know where your shirt’s designer got the fabric? Probably not — most consumers don’t think too much about the ~$1T+ textile industry.
Tengiva, a Canadian startup that bills itself as the industry’s Shopify, wants to simplify textile sourcing for fashion brands and promote sustainability through data.
Here’s how it works
Tengiva CEO and co-founder Annie Cyr told The Hustle that, while textile manufacturers are inclined to invest in the latest machines, software to manage distribution isn’t in their wheelhouse.
Meanwhile, large fashion brands typically have their own textile sourcing teams, but emerging apparel makers don’t.
These factors can make sourcing materials tricky for up-and-coming designers, from finding the right fabric and reliable suppliers to dealing with customs declarations when sourcing abroad.
Tengiva’s platform streamlines the process
It vets suppliers for quality and transparency, then connects them to buyers who shop the platform’s 300+ available materials online.
Currently, Tengiva has ~375 designers and eight textile suppliers globally, focusing on quality over quantity, with plans to grow to ~2k designers and ~40 suppliers by year’s end.
It also recently completed a ~$3.8m seed round, which it will use in part to add sustainability info to its marketplace…
… which can be hard for brands to navigate:
Polyester doesn’t break down in the ocean, but cotton needs so much water, it takes ~2k gallons to make a pair of jeans.
You’ve probably heard about how sustainable bamboo is, but the process to turn bamboo into clothes actually isn’t.
Tengiva will list info including CO2 emissions and recyclability, plus suggestions to reduce a fabric’s impact.
For example, a designer ordering water-repellent fabric could request the supplier use a less harmful chemical.
“I believe it has to be a common effort,” Cyr said. “Producers should disclose what they can provide in terms of chemicals, and brands can then make better decisions.”
BTW: If you were ever curious about the best scrunchie fabric, Tengiva’s got you covered.
Cruisin’: Top Gun: Maverickgrossed $124m this weekend, making it the top box office draw and Tom Cruise’s best domestic box office debut ever.
Pump the brakes: Substack, the newsletter platform, reportedly dropped fundraising efforts amid the VC market’s recent downturn. The company had considered raising $75m-$100m at a valuation between $750m and $1B.
New dongle: Microsoft is working on a cloud streaming device code-named “Keystone.” The device will plug into any TV or monitor and allow gamers to access Xbox Game Pass and its cloud gaming service without a console.
Beyond bras: Victoria’s Secret launched an online marketplace focused on inclusivity called VS&Co-Lab. It features 19 brands, 75% of which are founded, owned, or led by women.
American Girl — yes, the doll brand — is launching a podcast network. Productions include scripted mysteries and a show to support tweens’ mental health. #ecommerce-retail
NASA will conduct a feasibility study on space-based solar power, the collection of energy in space for transmission to Earth. #clean-energy
Rumor has it that Apple’s trademark of “RealityOS” is linked to its mixed reality devices, like AR glasses or an AR/VR headset. #emerging-tech
Tickets, please: From Deadspin, a case for NBA ticket stubs as NFTs, from rising resale value to tracking (and rewarding) fan loyalty. #fintech-crypto
Netflix’s Geeked Week (June 6-10) will feature 60+ genre projects, including “The Sandman,” “Arcane,” “The Umbrella Academy,” and “Stranger Things.” #big-tech
CEOs had a phenomenal year. Workers, less so
In 2021, based on pay scales at 340 of the S&P 500 companies, it would take the median worker at least 186 years to earn what their CEO did.
As stocks soared last year, S&P 500 CEOs saw their median comp packages reach $14.5m, up 17.1% from 2020, according to data from Equilar and AP News.
Notably, median compensation for workers rose just 4.4%, failing to beat inflation which rose some 7%.
It’s important to note: CEO compensation is heavily tied to companies’ stock performances, and they can’t necessarily cash in on these packages for years.
To Tip or Not To Tip
Have we reached peak tipping?
Would you like to add a 30% tip to that $6 oat milk latte?
According to The New York Times, a trend toward bigger and more frequent tips since March 2020 is due in part to cultural pressure to support frontline workers and the proliferation of digital tip menus.
… serving up tip choices to customers generally leads to bigger tipping. A working paper from the Stanford Graduate School of Business analyzed millions of NYC taxi rides, and found the average tip jumped by ~11% when customers were given menus with three tip options.
Then, there’s the social aspect of tipping. Tip menu options served up on point-of-sale tablet apps, like Square, can make it awkward not to tip — especially if the worker can see your choice. It’s also easier (and less shameful) to tap a percentage option versus doing math in your head.
But tip menus can backfire…
… if the options are too high. For instance, if options start at 25% and scale up to 30%-35%, customers may view it as exploitative and tip less in response.
Tipping fatigue is setting in, too: Now that inflation is sky-high and the restaurant scene is returning to normal, customers feel less compelled to tip everywhere, per NYT.
At quick-service restaurants, the average tip is declining. In April 2020, the average tip was 23.5%; this year, it’s down to ~20%.
AROUND THE WEB
🕰️ On this day: In 1859, London’s Big Ben rang for the first time. A stack of coins on the pendulum keeps the hands steady and the clock’s timekeeping accurate.
🏕️ Huh: There’s truly a market for everything. Entrepreneur and scientist Anna Birkás founded Chickfly, a line of pants that make it easier to pee when you’re in the wilderness.
🧶 That’s interesting: The story of Wendy Froud, a puppetry pioneer known as the “Mother of Yoda.”
🕹️ Cure boredom:Pico-8 is an online console where you can make, share, and play simple games.