July 22, 2022

Today's Topics

Happy Friday! Old political foes Trump and Biden have been trending overnight for different reasons, but today we're exploring:

  • The big tech big freeze. Big tech has been on a hiring spree for more than a decade, but things are changing.
  • Modern families. Plotting the seismic shift in living arrangements.
  • Minecraft. The block game says no to NFTs.
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The big tech big freeze

Yesterday Google announced a hiring freeze, with the search engine giant putting a pause on all hiring for 2 weeks as the company reviews their "headcount needs".

That announcement adds Google's name to the growing list of tech companies that have announced hiring freezes or slowdowns. Earlier this week Apple announced its intentions to slow hiring into 2023, while Meta announced a halt of hiring on some of its key engineering roles a few weeks ago and Microsoft is pulling a number of open jobs in the company's cloud and security divisions.

Not-quite-so-big-tech companies Twitter and SNAP are also feeling the squeeze, with both reporting slowing sales and ad revenue this morning.

Even if only short-lived, the announcements end a decade of almost non-stop hiring for much of big tech. A decade ago Google employed just 32,000 people. Today its parent company has more than 156,000. In the same time frame Facebook went from 3,200 employees to more than 71,000Metamates, while Apple and Microsoft both added more than 90,000. How long it takes to thaw out the freeze is likely to depend on if — or perhaps when —  the US economy falls into a recession.

Can’t live with 'em, can’t live without 'em

Millennials in the US are far more-likely than previous generations to live in a multigenerational household, according to a new report from Pew Research Center. The research looked at the living arrangements of 25-34 year olds and found that one-quarter of the demographic were now shacking up with their parents, or relatives from another generation.

That fits with other census data (charted above), which shows how the living arrangements of younger adults have changed more generally in the last 50+ years. That dataset shows 29% of 25-34 year-olds are now living either with parents or other relatives, more than double the 13% that used to live that way back in 1970. Perhaps unsurprisingly more than 80% of the age group used to be married and living with their spouse — today just 38% are, as cohabiting has become more popular.

Why younger people are more likely to live with family later in life is a multifaceted issue, but arguably the most relevant factor has simply been the rise in the cost of housing, which has accelerated even since the pandemic. The latest data shows rent prices at an all-time high and house prices that are up 13% on this time last year. Add in the fact that the cost of borrowing is rising, as policymakers try to fight inflation, and it seems that the trend of more multigenerational living looks very likely to continue.

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Not a miner issue

Minecraft won't be getting on the NFT train, as developers Mojang issued a statement this week criticizing the tech for ‘creating models of scarcity and exclusion' and contradicting the core values of one of the world's most popular games — a major blow for the future of NFTs in the gaming industry.

The building blocks of success

Minecraft grew quickly after a full release in 2011 with gamers of all ages flocking to explore the platform's expansive world-building; a potentially idyllic arena for NFTs and digital collectibles. Game sales and user numbers rose rapidly as players wielded wooden pickaxes and diamond swords across PC, console, smart-phone, and tablet versions of the game — success that didn't go unnoticed by Microsoft, which successfully bid $2.5bn to acquire Mojang in late 2014.

Minecraft's watchability plays a huge part in its enduring success, with its resurgence in 2019 largely attributed to popular Youtubers picking up the game again and an enormous audience on streaming platform Twitch, which even post-pandemic sees an average of 50,000+ people watching others play Minecraft at any one time.

As one of the best-selling games of all-time, perhaps only behind iconic game Tetris depending on who you ask, Minecraft's rejection of the NFT model could be an important one for the future of gaming.

More Data

1) The US average rent price rose 14% from June last year to hit a new record-high of $1,876 a month, but — with borrowing rates continuing to climb — it still beats buying.

2) The amount of ice that melted in Greenland over just 2 days could fill 7.2 million Olympic-sized pools.

3) Twitter reported a 5% quarterly drop in sales this morning, alongside a disclosure that the company has already spent $33m on Elon Musk's pending acquisition.

4) Mulling over the mass exodus: around 40% of US workers are thinking of quitting their jobs.

5) Piestro is bringing automated robotic pizza kiosks to the $155B global pizza market. World renowned brands have already purchased $580m in Piestro robots to scale their operations at a fraction of the cost. Invest in Piestro today.**

6) Tesla took a hit and traded in 75% of its Bitcoin to add $936m to its balance sheet, taking a loss of around 9% on the purchase of the cryptocurrency.

7) What’s that sound? TikTok is changing the way we listen to music and the artists we’re discovering.

**This is sponsored content.

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