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✏️ The SAT is going down

The Hustle

Big week ahead for your ears, folks. We’re launching a daily podcast this Wednesday. To celebrate, we’re running a giveaway with $5k+ in prizes for 8 listeners. More to come later this week.

In today’s email:

  • The SAT: The College Board is making big changes to the famous exam.
  • Netflix slowdown: How can the streaming industry restart growth?
  • Digits: An odd lawsuit, $3.2B shapewear, and cargo cruises.
  • Around the web: Chalk art, monkey hierarchies, egg coffee, and more cool internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
SAT on a laptop

The SAT is going digital — but does it matter?

If you still have nightmares about breaking your No. 2 pencil or filling in the wrong bubble on the SAT test form, you may sleep better after hearing recent news.

The standardized test, which once played a massive role in college admissions, is undergoing a digital transformation, per WSJ.

What’s changing?

Along with the digital format, the new version of the test — which will go live internationally in March 2023 and in the US in March 2024 — has several changes to make it more tolerable:

  • The updated version will take ~2 hours, down from 3
  • Reading passages will be shorter, and math problems will be less wordy
  • Test scores will be available within days rather than weeks

While this is undoubtedly good news for future students, it raises the question: Why the change?

Long story short, business isn’t exactly booming

College Board, the parent company behind the SAT, has faced a slew of challenges in recent years, including:

  • Losing market share to its rival, the ACT
  • Criticism of SAT scores being closely tied to a student’s race and wealth
  • Schools moving away from requiring standardized tests in general

These developments led to a ~27% drop in the fees collected for College Board’s services and programs in 2020. And it’s likely to get worse — 76%+ of 4-year colleges won’t require entrance exams this year.

Not everyone is out on the SAT

Students from wealthy households are still flaunting their scores, with 53% submitting the test this year compared to 39% from lower-income households.

So if the SAT still haunts your dreams, rest assured future generations won’t have to feel your pain — unless they want to.

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Hiring spree: Adidas announced plans to hire 2.8k+ workers in 2022 in a wide range of roles, including retail, IT, and sustainability. #ecommerce-retail

EV billions: Tesla’s earnings in Q4 2021 beat expectations, netting the EV pioneer $2B+ in profit. #clean-energy

Date night: Thursday, a new dating app that’s gaining popularity, is only accessible one day a week and puts the focus on meeting in real life. #emerging-tech

Crypto city: Following the footsteps of Francis Suarez and Eric Adams, more mayors are using crypto projects to raise money for their cities. #fintech-crypto

Square’s new rival: Apple is working on a new service that would allow iPhones to become payment terminals without external hardware. #big-tech

MFM: Sam and Shaan discuss the surprising companies that are making big money by employing stay-at-home moms. #mfm

Stream Team
Netflix logo on a laptop

Anyone up for “Netflix and DoorDash?”

Netflix stats show a slowdown in streaming. How can the industry restart growth?

Since the start of the pandemic, a consistent source for jokes has been the explosion of streaming services.

Media players are chasing Netflix (and many have an affinity for the “+” sign): HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, Peacock, Hulu, CNN+.

Is the streaming market finally saturated?

Netflix has 222m global subscribers but its growth is slowing. According to CNBC, the company projects 2.5m new net subscribers in Q1 2022 (vs. 8.3m in the previous quarter).

Investors have punished Netflix on these fears; its stock is down 37% in 2022.

If Netflix is a bellwether for the industry, streamers need to think about…

… how to reboot growth

Here are some options, per CNBC:

  • Bundling: Streaming services can combine their offerings so consumers don’t get subscription fatigue.
  • Add non-media perks: If people are weary of too much content, streaming services can bundle subscriptions with real-world experiences. Disney could add theme park admissions to its subscription, or Netflix could partner with DoorDash for food delivery (AKA “Netflix and eat burritos”).
  • Gaming: To keep users hooked to its digital subscription service, Netflix is launching video games (gaming is a $180B industry but also very competitive).

In a huge vote of confidence, hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman invested $1B+ into Netflix following the sell-off. That’s one big plus sign.

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Free Resource

25 smooth sales email templates

If you still craft every email with love (from scratch), we appreciate you.

For those of y’all who ain’t got time for that, you can appreciate us instead.

Here are 25 hot-and-ready templates to save your salespeople time, while maintaining that endearing touch. Created by experts at Sandler Training, Breakthrough Email, and HubSpot.

Send these to your beloved salespeople ASAP:

  • Fill-in-the-blank email templates (first-touch, follow up, break up)
  • Clear examples and objectives outlined for each message
  • Strong insights to help you respond with confidence

Just trying to help you raise sails. I mean sales. Use these to cruise with new prospects and re-hook the heartbreakers.

(Bait: the last email sequence closed $100k in 30 days.)

Smooth sale-ing →
By the numbers
YouTube trailer

Fans are suing over this “Yesterday” trailer. (Source: Universal via YouTube)

Digits: An odd lawsuit, $3.2B shapewear, and cargo cruises

1) A $5m class-action lawsuit was filed against Universal Pictures, arguing the studio fooled audiences into thinking Ana de Armas was in the movie by showing her in the trailer but cutting her scenes from the final cut.

2) Speaking of, NBCUniversal’s Peacock lost $1.7B in 2021. That loss was up from $663m in 2020 and will likely continue growing, as they’re spending $3B on content this year. The good news? Peacock revenue was $778m, up from $118m in 2020, and it has 9m paid subscribers.

3) Things seem to be shaping up for Kim Kardashian’s line of shapewear, robes, and more — called Skims — which is now valued at $3.2B. Sales in 2021 hit $275m, and the American Winter Olympics team will be donning the brand’s designs.

4) 2021 was the 1st year that the rate of streaming new songs — defined as songs less than 18 months old — declined. The 200 most popular songs now account for <5% of total streams, a rate that was near 10% in 2018.

5) Ever want to travel on a cargo ship? You can — on ~1% of the world’s freighters. It’s not exactly a luxury cruise, but people do it. In 2019, ~4k people paid $100-$150 per day to travel on one.

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🚀 On this day: In 1961, Ham the chimpanzee launched into space aboard Mercury-Redstone 2, a mission to test flight safety for humans. Ham’s capsule landed safely in the Atlantic Ocean.

How to: Amid a milk shortage during WWII, Nguyen Gian whipped an egg into his coffee, creating the popular treat, Vietnamese egg coffee. Here’s how to make it.

Art: David Zinn is a street artist who improvises whimsical artworks wherever he goes using chalk.

👕 Useful: Smartmockups lets you quickly create product mock-ups online.

🐒 That’s interesting: From The New York Times comes the story of Yakei, a Japanese macaque monkey that became the rare alpha female of her tribe after defeating the males.

🦝 Aww: And now, a raccoon tucks itself in.

Meme of the day
SAT meme

Literally every single one of us. (Source: SAT Memes)


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Look at you, smarty pants. You’ve already shared The Hustle with {referral_count} friends and enemies.

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Hustle Hoodie

Damn, you’re on a roll. You’ve got the pint glass. You’ve got the hat. It’s time to complete your collection, don’t you think?

Get {35 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll send you our favorite piece of Hustle swag: The Startup Sweatshirt. Slipping into this piece of fleece might just transport you to Silicon Valley (or maybe somewhere better, your pick).

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Hey, we see you. You’re out there spreading the gospel of The Hustle like it’s nobody’s business. Seems like you might be ready for a little more…

Get {75 – referral_count} more referrals and we’ll slide you a free subscription to Trends.

And no, this ain’t an ad. We just think you’re the kinda person who would thrive in our top-tier community (it’s usually $299) full of founders, investors, and builders (AKA ambitious, no B.S. business folks like you — and enjoy our premium research and content.

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dinner with Sam Parr

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Get {1000 – referral_count} more referrals and you’ve got yourself a meeting with Sam Parr, founder of The Hustle. You might recognize him from the My First Million podcast. He loves that you love his good ol’ newsletter, and wants to treat you.

Lunch, brunch, linner, dinner, drinks. Feel free to get creative.

You’re just {1000 – referral_count} referrals away. The final boss awaits.

Here’s that special link one more time:


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