The WC is a selection of five useful, interesting & notable insights handpicked by CIO Wyatt Cavalier and dropped into your inbox every Wednesday.
OK, let’s go!
Table of Contents
Where are all the babies?
Birth rates in the first world are plummeting below the population replacement rate even though men and women still want — on average — two babies each.
To sustain a population, every woman needs to have 2.1 babies each.
In the US today, that number is 1.6. Europe and China come in at 1.5 and 1.3, respectively.
There are lots of guesses why this might be the case in the rich world:
- Lack of housing
- Lack of income
- Lack of affordable childcare
- Career penalties for women
But none of those arguments really stands up, especially compared to life as a parent in the 1950s. So what is it?
While a woman’s first choice may have always been (again, on average) to have two kids with a fantastic partner, her second choice has changed since the 1950s.
- Preferred plan B in the 1950s: Have children with Mr. Wrong
- Preferred plan B Today: Stay single
Because 70 years ago, life as a single woman (a spinster) was more horrible than life with Mr. Wrong.
The solution for this? Make it easier to be a single parent.
Well here’s a radical solution: target single parents. Policy makers could make it a lot easier to have a child alone. Single mother numbers are already bucking the birthrate trends. If we really want to tackle the birthrate problem: that’s where they should start pic.twitter.com/r2LqIMtKKl— Martha Gill (@Martha_Gill) February 12, 2023
Dig deeper into the looming underpopulation crisis:
- Original thread by Martha Gill
- What does the global decline of the fertility rate look like?
- Low Fertility Not Politically Sustainable
Thanks for the feedback
Close followers of the WC (hi, mom!) will remember our scathing report on the low quality of startups reporting three weeks ago.
We got a tonne of feedback from that issue, and there’s strong demand for concise, actionable, intelligent work here.
With that in mind:
We’re launching something incredible in the next few weeks. It’s called Venture Letter, and we want it to be a must-read for anyone looking for an edge in startup investing.
If this sounds like your thing, we’d be grateful to hear your thoughts about our first issue.
Sign up for our beta below, and you’ll get early access to Venture Letter and a month of Venture Letter Pro for free.
Dig deeper into venture journalism:
- Where’s all the good reporting on startups?
- Who’s doing the closest thing to Stratechery for startups?
- I think I’ve finally had enough of TechCrunch. What is your go to news site for new companies?
Sticking with startups for a minute, I want to highlight one of my favorites. They’re called Kingscrowd, and they’re raising money.
Since venture capital dried up last year, many startups have opted to crowdfund instead. But as we’ve discussed, the reporting and analysis you need to make decisions can be severely lacking.
Kingscrowd takes data from big crowdfunding sites (Republic, WeFunder, etc.) and ranks each company using a proprietary score. It’s a game-changer, and I wish I’d thought of it first.
They have little competition, there’s a huge demand for this type of analysis, and they’re off to a greatstart.
These guys are onto something big. Invest in Kingscrowd.
Sell your sawdust
We also talked about desalination, and how it might just save the world.
Today we close the loop on this little series with a company that’s bringing it all together: Olokun Materials.
Olukun takes the disgusting briny sludge leftover from desalination and mines it for precious minerals.
The technology they use extracts ions like lithium from brine waste streams, including waste waters from oil and gas fracking operations, salt flats and e-waste recycling.
The process is a great example of selling your sawdust: Taking your work’s byproduct and selling it to someone else.
You see this a lot in the food industry.
This level of innovation gives me confidence that scientists and entrepreneurs will eventually solve whatever problems get thrown at the planet.
Dig deeper into selling your sawdust:
- Twenty companies using food waste to make new products
- Olokun Minerals Raises $1.1M in Pre-Seed Funding
- Turning desalination waste into a useful resource
- South Korean toilet turns excrement into power and digital currency
Covid killed the cinema star
Covid nearly killed the cinema industry in 2020 and 2021, but everyone (mostly) thought film-going would bounce right back in 2022 and 2023.
Year-to-Date Domestic Box Office $AMC $APE $CNK— Rich Greenfield, LightShed 🔦 (@RichLightShed) February 14, 2023
2023: $752 million
2020: $1.11 billion
2019: $1.07 billion
2018: $1.27 billion
note: one film, Avatar, represents 1/3 of 2023 box office pic.twitter.com/Scyum3Xwzx
Only 14% of Americans go to the cinema at least once a month, and it’s mostly young people. Boomers are avoiding the movie theatre like, well, the plague.
Covid was the catalyst that broke the cinema industry, and it’s not come back.
But Covid isn’t the only reason the cinema industry is in the toilet. From a recent Morning Consult survey:
Over half of the respondents, 55%, said they are more interested in watching movies at home, 50% said it’s too expensive to see movies in theaters, and 32% said they aren’t interested in the movies playing in theaters are major reasons why they don’t go to theaters.
One possible glimmer of hope: 2022 saw 45% fewer film releases than 2019 because films take a long time to make, and there’s a big backlog left to produce. The numbers could recover if that glut comes through in 2023 and 2024.
Cocaine Bear comes out next week, which will surely help.
Dig deeper into filmageddon:
- Covid Isn’t Why Americans Aren’t Going To The Movies, Study Suggests
- Domestic Movie Theatrical Market Summary 1995 to 2023
- Cocaine Bear – Rotten Tomatoes
Why is the Super Bowl on Sunday?
And they’ve done a decent job of ginning up interest. Five of the top 10 countries searching for “Super Bowl” are in Europe:
So why is the Super Bowl played at a time that ensures none of Europe’s 750 million potential viewers will watch?
A 6:30 pm EST Sunday kickoff means anyone living in western Europe will be up watching the game from 12:30 am to 5 am Monday.
Not great if you’re looking to expand into that market.
Moving the game to, say, 4 pm on Saturday would let the NFL capture all of Europe with a 10 pm start time while China (7 am Sunday) and Australia (8 am Sunday) could tune in.
I’m obviously biased as an American ex-pat living in Spain, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.
Dig deeper into the NFL’s quest for world domination:
- International search volume for “Super Bowl”
- The NFL, America’s Biggest League, Crosses Borders to Find New Fans
- NFL announces 5 teams to play home games abroad in 2023
That’s all for this week.