Here’s an extra mid-week newsletter from me, as there’s been a lot of finance and AI news so far this week! 👋🏼

—Nick Wolny

Buy Now, Pay Later continues to explode 💸

A new survey found many people are overwhelmed by their BNPL spending habits.

Buy Now, Pay Later payment plans have grown in popularity since the pandemic. A new survey has found that people are financing purchases more than ever before, and is calling this debt “phantom debt” because lenders don’t have a way to track it.

Survey highlights:

  • 43% of BNPL users are behind on payments.
  • 28% said they were delinquent on the debt. (Reminder: It’s only 4 payments over a 6-week period.)
  • A third of respondents currently have over $1,000 in BNPL debt.
  • 42% of households with an income of $100,000+ say they’re behind on BNPL payments. (Um, what?)

To me, this is a very telling data set that reflects the current economy and what the middle class is experiencing.

I think about financial news often from an online entrepreneur perspective. Common online business advice is to offer long payment plans because they increase sales, and I feel somewhat conflicted about that. Why does the Institute of Integrative Nutrition have a 36-month payment plan for its certification? It’s giving predatory.

I thought this Bloomberg piece was a really good and digestible writeup, so here’s a friend link.

🔗 Read at Bloomberg.com (friend link)

Rocks, pebbles, sand 🪨

This newsletter is truly on the verge of becoming a Jason Cohen stan account. The WP Engine founder has an incredibly good blog that demonstrates the power and endurance of good longform writing.

In this post, he goes deeper on a classic time management analogy: rocks, pebbles, sand. By prioritizing big rocks in our schedule, we ensure we actually get things done.

I like Jason’s distinction that big rocks often take 3-12 months. They’re really powerful, but require patience and strategy. “A thousand “quick wins” do not create durable advantages or fulfill a long-term vision,” he writes.

Challenge yourself to read a longer blog today. This piece from Jason is a great start.

🔗 Read at A Smart Bear

Reading is fundamental 📚

Pexels

Content marketing and online business

Website-design firm Squarespace will be going private in a $6.9 billion deal with Permira. (Reuters)

How Venture Capitalists Are Using Podcasts to Lure in Founders. (Vanity Fair)

TikTok creators sue to block law that could lead to a ban. (The Washington Post)

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MAMAA (Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet)

Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference, had a ton of updates. (CNET)

As Google AI search rolls out to more people, websites brace for carnage. (The Washington Post)

Google's generative AI can now analyze hours of video. (TechCrunch)

US opens probe into Alphabet's Waymo over 'unexpected behavior' of self-driving vehicles. (Reuters)

Apple Is Bringing Eye Tracking, Vocal Shortcuts, Music Haptics to the iPhone. (CNET)

Microsoft’s AI Goals have led to a 30% jump in carbon emissions since 2020. (Bloomberg)

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More AI

OpenAI releases ChatGPT-4o, a new chatbot to compete with Apple's Siri and Google's Alexa. (Axios)

Anthropic’s new CPO is Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger. (The Verge)

U.S. Senators Want $32 Billion Annually for AI Funding. Can someone point me to the money tree? Thanks. (

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LGBTQ+

The U.S. Census eyes an August start for LGBTQ questions. This is huge news for visibility and policy reform. (Bay Area Reporter)

FBI, Homeland Security warn of possible threats to LGBTQ events, including Pride Month activities. (AP News)

LGBTQ people in the E.U. face less discrimination, but more violence, a new survey found. (NBC News)

A gay couple files first-of-its-kind class action against NYC for IVF benefits. The argument is that the IVF benefit on COBRA should extend to egg fertilization, regardless of the gender of the couple and whether they’re using a surrogate. (NBC News)

A profile of Larry Scirotto, Pittsburgh’s gay police chief. (The Advocate)

Odds and Ends

Parents Sue Video Game Makers for Purposely Addicting Their Kids. (Bloomberg)

Internet use statistically associated with higher wellbeing, a new global Oxford study found. 84.9% of associations between internet connectivity and wellbeing were positive and statistically significant. (University of Oxford)

This wall art is cute. Grid Studio makes shadow boxes of deconstructed electronics and video game controllers. (Grid Studio)

Digestif

Schedule your quarterly planning time now.

Quarterly planning is amazing. It helps you identify the big rocks, which is really important for time and attention management.

If you haven’t blocked out time in June to do some quarterly planning, take some time today to make that happen.

Take a half day at work. Do what you need to do to make it happen. It’s good to block the time off now because hopefully June isn’t too booked up yet.

Quality reflection time is one of your most powerful tools. It’s also free, and has zero calories.

It’s nearly the weekend — keep powering through. 🚀

—Nick