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🌶 Hot sauce vs. ketchup

The Hustle

In today’s email:

  • Spicy times: Inside the battle for hot sauce supremacy.
  • Free land? Why Kansas towns are giving away free land.
  • Streaming churn: Many come for the buzzy release, then leave.
  • Around the web: A website for researchers, a dress made of pennies, and more cool internet finds.

Let’s do it.

Today’s the big day! We’re excited to launch The Hustle Daily Show. Our new podcast will give you the same type of irreverent, informative news takes as this email, but you’ll get the added bonus of hearing our angelic voices.

As the name states, it’s a daily show — except for Saturdays, screw ‘em.

To celebrate, we’re giving away $5k+ in prizes to 8 people.* Here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: Enter here for a chance to win.
  • Step 2: Follow The Hustle Daily Show on Apple or Spotify
  • Step 3: Send the referral link to your friends. (1 referral = 35 entries).
  • Step 4: Check the leaderboard to see if you’re in the top 8 after Feb. 9!
The big idea
McCormick hot sauce

McCormick is building a hot sauce empire

You may know McCormick for the red capped bottles that line your spice rack.

But according to Bloomberg, America’s favorite spice maker has been busy expanding its empire into a spicy new sector: hot sauce.

McCormick was founded in 1889…

… by Willoughby McCormick, who started out making root beer and fruit syrups. From there, a series of acquisitions made the company a major player in the global spice trade following the Great Depression.

McCormick has continued to fuel expansion through acquisitions — scooping up Old Bay for $12.5m in 1990 and Lawry’s for $604m in 2008.

In 2015, leadership decided to push into new markets, kicking off a saucy acquisition spree that includes:

  • Stubb’s barbeque sauce for $100m in 2015
  • Frank’s RedHot and French’s mustard for a whopping $4.2B in 2017
  • Cholula for $800m in 2020

So why hot sauce?

McCormick believes it’s the “ketchup” of the next generation, and the key to wresting the condiment crown from The Kraft Heinz Company.

While Euromonitor International reports the ketchup market is still ~$2B larger than the market for chili sauces, McCormick points to 2 factors that bode well for the future of hot sauce:

  • Increased popularity of Mexican cuisine and other international flavors
  • Cultural relevance through shows like “Hot Ones,” an interview series on YouTube where guests answer questions over wings

The other reason? Through its massive wholesaler network, McCormick is perfectly positioned to sell tons of hot sauce to a long list of restaurants and retailers.

Case in point, the company has already put Frank’s and Cholula on the menu at Subway and Chopt, a fast-casual salad chain.

But Kraft Heinz isn’t going down without a fight

The condiment behemoth has been busy experimenting with a line of flavors called “mashups” that mix classic flavors.

Blends include Buffaranch (buffalo & ranch dressing), Honeyracha (honey & Sriracha), and Sweet Ketchili (ketchup & sweet chili sauce).

While the verdict is still out on the names, it’s clear the battle for condiment supremacy will leave consumers with a new frontier of flavors.

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Home reno season: The Home Depot announced plans to hire 100k+ workers ahead of the spring season. #ecommerce-retail

Flying cars: Joby Aviation, an air taxi developer, is looking to flight-test its newest prototype, the S4, in San Francisco Bay. #emerging-tech

Solana unicorn: Phantom, a crypto wallet for Solana that’s been compared to Ethereum’s MetaMask, raised $109m at a $1.2B valuation. #fintech-crypto

More gaming consolidation: Sony announced it would acquire video game developer Bungie for $3.6B. #big-tech

MFM: Shaan and Sam discuss buying Michael Jordan’s old house and turning it into a Michael Jordan museum. #mfm

Launch day: We’re launching a podcast and throwing a party on Twitter Spaces to celebrate. Come hang at 12pm ET for an AMA with the Hustle crew and a chance to win prizes. #hustle-picks

For free?
population growth

Would you take free land in rural America?

Bradley Roberts was like many people in the Bay Area: savvy, successful, and drowning in housing expenses. Rent at his last place in San Francisco was nearly $4k a month.

“It was awful,” Roberts, 50, told The Hustle.

But last year, Roberts bought a converted barn home in the middle of Lincoln, Kansas, for $22k. His annual housing costs in Lincoln are now about the same as his monthly housing costs were in San Francisco.

“When I moved to Kansas,” Roberts said, “I was like, ‘holy shit, they’re giving stuff away.’” He’s exaggerating, but only slightly.

In the midst of a national housing shortage, towns on the Kansas plains are giving away free land. Is the offer worth it?

Read the full story →
Did You Hear That?

Business secrets from HubSpot podders

After 15m downloads last year, Jenna Kutcher decided to bring her business podcast Goal Digger to the HubSpot Podcast Network. Go ma.

To break the ice, she asked other hosts in our pod squad:

What worked best for growth in 2021? What’s your next move in 2022?

Some guests featured on this episode of Goal Digger:

  • Entrepreneurs On Fire: John Lee Dumas is committing to get featured on 20 podcasts. A month.
  • The Salesman Podcast: Will Barron is optimizing his website according to data on his customers’ greatest cravings.
  • Success Story: Scott D. Clary discusses why video marketing best moves the needle, regardless of niche.
  • Female Startup Club: Doone Roisin explains how posting podcast transcripts online worked magic for SEO.

We lined ‘em up. All yours.

Listen now →
Streaming Skippers
Streaming on a tablet

Streaming services lose ~50% of subscribers after big releases

If you’ve ever ditched a streaming service right after binging that hot new show all your friends were talking about, you’re not alone.

The Wall Street Journal looked at data from subscriber measurement company Antenna. It showed big spikes in streaming sign-ups that coincided with buzzy releases, such as:

  • Musical Hamilton, Disney+ (July 2020)
  • DC flick Wonder Woman 1984, HBO Max (Christmas Day, 2020)
  • WWII drama Greyhound, Apple TV+ (July 2020)
  • The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Peacock

But 6 months later, ~50% of those new subscribers were gone from Disney+, HBO Max, and Apple TV+. For Peacock, it only took 4 months.

So what’s a streamer to do?

There are a couple of things that help retain customers:

  • Regularly churning out new and popular shows and films
  • Owning a big collection of older content
  • Dropping episodic series that can’t be binged in a single weekend

But these tactics don’t come cheap.

Netflix said it dropped $17B on content in 2021. HBO Max intends to spend $18B in 2022. NBCUniversal paid $500m to put all 201 episodes of “The Office” on Peacock for 5 years.

And then there’s Amazon, which Antenna didn’t include in its data because Prime Video comes with Amazon Prime.

Amazon is counting on a sizable audience to justify the $465m budget for the 1st season of its forthcoming Lord of the Rings adaptation — the most expensive season of TV ever.

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🕳️ On this day: In 1887, the 1st Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The holiday has its roots in Candlemas, a Christian tradition in which blessed candles symbolized winter’s duration.

👗 Wow: Artist Shay Rose made a chain mail dress out of 2.6k+ pennies!

🛒 How to: Here’s a guide to ethically getting rid of the stuff you don’t want anymore, either by selling or donating it.

💭 Haha: A directory of imaginary friends, as reported by the adults who once had them.

🔍 Useful: Connected Papers is a website for researchers. Choose one paper, then let the site build a graph of other relevant papers to check out.

🐴 Aww: And now, a tiny horse just bouncing around.

Meme of the day
hot sauce meme

As per usual, Drake has exquisite taste. (Source: Something to Laugh At)

Tech Giveaway

New Podcast: $5k Tech Giveaway

Want a shot at one of the prizes above?*

Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Enter here for a chance to win.

Step 2: Follow The Hustle Daily Show on Apple / Spotify + send the magic referral link to your friends. Every friend that signs up through your link gives you 35 extra entries in the raffle (1 referral = 35 entries).

Step 3: Do your embarrassing little ritual and check if you’re one of the 8 winners after February 9th!

Follow the Podcast →

Prizes: Airpods Pro, Apple Watch Series 7, Fully Standing Desk, iPad Pro, Trends Lifetime Membership, iPhone 13, Macbook Air, Macbook Pro.

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States or D.C. 21 years and older. Ends 2/9/22, 11:59 pm ET. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit Void where prohibited.

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

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