Watch: The economics of vending machines

Watch: The economics of vending machines

Brace yourselves for an eye-opening expose on how these sly snack-slingers master the art of extracting $2.99 from your pocket for a bag of air and some chips.

While you should be grateful we won’t be coining the term “snacktivate” in this Hustlenomics episode, we will be peeling back the wrapper, crunching the numbers, dispensing the insights — OK, you get it — on vending machine businesses and the people behind them.

Remember, when it comes to snack-based supply and demand, it’s all about turning your innocent cravings into cash cows faster than you can say, “Insert coins here,” leaving you questioning your life choices and contemplating the meaning of your existence.

Bon appetit.

Watch the quick clip >>>Watch: The economics of vending machines

Not to ruin your cruise vacation, but…

Not to ruin your cruise vacation, but…

When you booked your cruise, you imagined your arms stretched wide, the Leo to your Kate at your side, carefree in your “I’m king of the world” moment.

You can definitely still go for it, but maybe don’t plan on stretching your arms too wide?

Cruise lines are overcrowded. And that undersells how much they’re, well, overselling — many ships are reporting 100%+ occupancy levels this summer, per The Wall Street Journal.

Uh, 100%+… how?

Cruises base occupancy rates on the assumption of there being two people per cabin. As passengers take advantage of post-covid discounts and promotions and flock back to ships, cabins are filling up fast, sometimes with three or four people per room.

  • Royal Caribbean averaged 102.1% occupancy in Q1 this year.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line averaged 101.5% in Q1, and expects a full-year rate of 103.5%.

Off-boat excursions are selling out and getting into premium activities is an ordeal. One passenger told WSJ: “Every time you went out of your room, it felt like you were in a Disneyland line.”

Customers can rebook, but to when? Many 2023 cruises are sold out and demand into 2024 is already strong, according to booking sites.

In fairness, land isn’t any better

Pent-up demand has tourism hot spots everywhere scrambling to keep up.

  • South Tyrol, in the Italian Alps, has capped tourist numbers.
  • Roads in Japan’s hot spots, like Tokyo and Kyoto, are “rammed” with visitors.
  • An overabundance of African safaris has endangered the very animals tourists are there to see.

Sorry, penguins: Even Antarctica isn’t spared from overtourism.

This house is yours for $43k…but it’s tiny

This house is yours for $43k…but it’s tiny

A 30,000-square-foot mansion sounds cool and all, but have you ever tried living in a tiny home where you can know with 100% certainty that no one’s going to ask to stay with you while they’re in town for the weekend? A viral tweet featuring a Home Depot tiny home kit has Americans asking themselves…how much space do I really need?

The specs: The viral “Getaway Pad” manufactured by Plus 1 Home Kits is a $43,832 steel frame that, once assembled and finished, yields a 540-square-foot, 1-bed, 1-bath home. Not included: insulation, doors, windows, plumbing, electrical wiring, flooring, or throw pillows.

Here’s the catch: The fully realized cost is more than Home Depot advertises. Unless you’re one of the Property Brothers (and if you are, hi <3), you would probably need a contractor to finish the home. You would also have to secure a foundation ($3,000–$9,000), permits ($1,000), and a place to put it…which could be tricky due to zoning laws and minimum square-footage requirements for permanent residences.

Yet, with the average price of a home above $339,000, even a luxury tiny home would be cheaper than a regular house. Other prefabricated tiny home brands, like Modal and Samara, make an aesthetically compelling case for what can be done with a small space. Plus: It’s a great way to dramatically reduce your carbon footprint and a perfect excuse not to host this month’s book club.—CC

Why Apple is betting big on Vision Pro: Because it can

Why Apple is betting big on Vision Pro: Because it can

The promise has been the same for more than a decade: Once augmented reality devices truly arrive, the world will never be the same.

A parade of contenders, from Google Glass to Meta’s Oculus, has changed the world, technically — but only in that a few million shelves have one extra thing sitting on them collecting dust.

How will Apple fare differently?

Vision Pro, unveiled yesterday, is Apple’s entry into the “spatial computing” derby, and it surely has some things going for it:

  • The tech is impressive — the display alone has “more pixels than a 4K TV for each eye.”
  • In a world full of lonely people, it adds dynamism to an empty room. Vision Pro will host hyper-immersive entertainment, capture vivid 3D memories, and facilitate “life-size” conversations via FaceTime.

It’s got plenty going against it, too:

  • Vision Pro makes strides in blending digital worlds with physical spaces, but that has its limits; the EyeSight feature that reveals (an approximation of) wearers’ eyes when someone approaches feels… unsettling.
  • At the end of the day, they’re asking people to wear oddball ski goggles all day — and often while being quite tethered (batteries have about two hours of juice before needing a plug-in).

And then there’s that price tag…

… Vision Pro will debut “early next year” with a $3.5k+ premium — and that’s pre-AppleCare.

Apple knows that’s steep and seemingly plans to be patient with its new category. Sales expectations for Vision Pro are relatively modest; it projects ~900k units sold in its first year, per Bloomberg.

This means Apple’s most important words…

… were actually “Feels like magic.”

The phrase, appearing multiple times in its keynote, drives Apple’s immediate takeaway message: that, others’ AI advances be damned, it’s still the tech king. That it sets the pace of innovation and can capture imagination unlike any other company.

Apple’s path to victory with Vision Pro may be, appropriately, that strong optics matter most.