Breaking: Designer Jony Ive and OpenAI’s Sam Altman Discuss AI Hardware ProjectRead more

Tech Leaders Spend How Much(?!) on Their Bodies?

Hi, welcome to your Weekend.

It’s Annie here, stealing this week’s newsletter opener from Jon (don’t worry, he knows). I wanted to properly introduce The Information Weekend’s first ever Brain-Body Investment Survey, which we’ve been working on over the past month. 

In my nearly two years at The Information, I’ve taken special interest in Silicon Valley’s wellness trends, writing about cold-plunge junkies, founders who take a pharmacy’s worth of supplements every day and one angel investor who thinks Amazonian frog venom has mind-expanding properties (he also abstains from pure water). But, I really wanted to learn, empirically, how widespread tech’s bent towards health and wellness has become.

So we assembled a 14-question anonymous survey focused on three categories: exercise, wellness and beauty. Over 500 of you responded and The Information's chief visual journalist Shane Burke and I broke down the results. I then called up a number of particularly fit tech leaders, like Take-Two Interactive’s Strauss Zelnick, Founders Fund’s Keith Rabois, StyleSeat’s Melody McCloskey and Athletic Greens’ Kat Cole, to learn about their specific regimens. 

Some of the takeaways were predictable: we know you love your nutritional supplements and cold plunges—we listen to The Huberman Lab, too. But others were a bit more surprising. For instance, the average survey respondent spends more than double the time and 10 times the money on physical fitness than does the average American. 

I also was surprised by the gender distribution. Even in an industry that prides itself on its casual, no-makeup, activewear-friendly aesthetic, women are spending far more time and money on beauty treatments than men, with Botox being a particularly popular write-in answer. Of course, everyone should have the freedom to do whatever they want with their bodies, but the bar for “essential” spending in this category seems to be far higher for women.

I’ll let the rest of the survey speak for itself—and please let me know what conclusions you draw! Are there other burgeoning fitness, wellness or beauty trends I should explore? Email me at [email protected].

Now onto this weekend’s stories…

subscriber survey

The Brain-Body Investment Survey: What 500 Subscribers Are Spending to Boost Their Performance

Everyone knows Silicon Valley is obsessed with optimizing performance. But we wanted to put some hard numbers on our readers' collective investment in their health—and to suss out any emerging trends. So we surveyed 500 subscribers to find out exactly how much time and money they are deploying to feel better, get stronger and live longer.

mogul studies

Yacht Brinkmanship: Owners of Tech’s Biggest Pleasure Craft Compete to the Ends of the Earth

It’s the maritime version of keeping up with the Joneses. When it comes to modernizing their floating mansions, tech’s billionaire elite are sparing no expense. Reporter Andrew Zucker explores the competition for the coolest creature comforts and cutting-edge tech by moguls like Sergey Brin, Evan Spiegel, Jan Koum and Jeff Bezos.

market research

The AI Boom Expands to the Hair and Makeup Counter

The custom-designed, AI-enabled beauty category is rapidly growing. With innovations from big players like L’Oréal and Neutrogena and new products from startups like Parallel Health and Mutual, beauty consumers may soon swap out browsing Sephora for a bespoke at-home routine. Reporter Beth Shapouri talks to tech workers who’ve become smart beauty converts.

Following: MrBeast’s controversial world map 
What would the world look like if it were run by MrBeast? Well, for starters, the YouTuber would recognize the Taliban as the legitimate governing party of Afghanistan, grant Puerto Rico full nationhood and rule that Taiwan is not a sovereign state. This week, YouTube’s biggest creator inadvertently waded into the world’s thorniest geopolitical conflicts when he decided to host his own Olympics with contestants “from every country.” The video itself was a classic MrBeast extravaganza, with intricate obstacle courses and a $250,000 prize. But it also included a map that would give Anthony Blinken a heart attack. When determining which countries would compete, MrBeast allowed a competitor from Palestine—but only recognized the West Bank—and determined that places like Guam and Bermuda counted as independent nations, while throwing Crimea in with Russia. Maybe it’s a glimpse at MrBeast’s political future—we’ve already had a reality TV star president, why not a YouTube star? But, more likely, it was an oversight on MrBeast’s part, and proof that, although the video’s budget was over $4 million, not a single dime went to someone with a political science degree. —Margaux

Reading: Good (haptic) vibrations
We’re all familiar with haptic technology—that quick cha-ching vibration when making an Apple Pay purchase or shaking controller when playing a video game. Now, imagine those tactile sensations mimicking the sounds of a Mozart symphony or the score of “Interstellar,” while buzzing all over your body. Such is the goal of haptic suits, which allow wearers to feel real-time sound vibrations against their skin. For The New York Times, reporter Sarah Bahr tried out a new model—essentially a backpack paired with wrist and ankle straps—from the company Music: Not Impossible. The suit is particularly meaningful for the deaf community, offering wearers the chance to feel, rather than hear, every note of a song. But it’s not only for those that are hard of hearing. The devices were recently handed out during silent discos at Lincoln Center and a Greta Van Fleet concert in Las Vegas. While one user told Bahr “the level of precision they put into it was astounding,” there’s still room to grow. Said another wearer: “I would like to have it be so good that a beautiful note on violin would make me cry.” —Annie

Noticing: Ottawa is coming for San Franciscos spot
Look out, Silicon Valley: Canada is poaching your engineers. Earlier this summer, as part of its "Tech Talent Strategy," our neighbor to the north offered a three-year work permit to anyone holding a U.S. H-1B visa. The program, targeted specifically at workers laid off during tech’s 2022-23 downturn, drew 10,000 applicants in its first 48 hours. While the U.S. immigration system is a broken mess, Canada has turned on the growth spigot, countering its meager fertility rate (Canadians give birth to 1.4 children for every 2 adults), with a robust immigration and asylum program. Just check out this population growth chart, documenting the country’s highest annual rate of growth (+2.7%) in seven decades. While foreign tech workers in the U.S. face a panicked 60-day scramble whenever they lose a job, many are finding a safe harbor to the north. Our loss, it appears, is Canada’s gain. —Jon

Makes You Think

Best of luck to those heading to the playa this week (and to their employees). 

Until next Weekend, thanks for reading.


Reporter, The Information

Jon Steinberg is the Weekend Editor at The Information. He is a former editor-in-chief of San Francisco magazine and senior editor at New York magazine, where his work won many National Magazine Awards.
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