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In today’s email:

  • Masatoshi Ito: The entrepreneur behind Japan’s 7-Elevens.
  • Quick clip: Sky-high rent vs. debt and a mortgage.
  • PF Chang’s Platinum? Restaurants get in on subscriptions.
  • Around the Web: A better bedtime ritual, a treasure hunt, a Miley Cyrus-loving bird, and more.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear Jacob and Juliet discuss Masatoshi Ito’s 7-Eleven empire, a drone within a drone, a big chip, and more.

The big idea

7-Eleven in Japan dials convenience up to… well, eleven.

Japanese entrepreneur Masatoshi Ito died last week at 98. If you’ve ever been to Japan and marveled at its awe-inspiring 7-Elevens, you owe thanks, in part, to Ito.

In the US, 7-Eleven had sprung from the 1927 merger of several Texas icehouses, known as the Southland Ice Company. They ultimately became a chain of convenience stores, open from 7am to 11pm daily.

Masatoshi Ito…

… entered retail as the president of his family’s clothing store. In the ‘60s, he launched Ito-Yokado, a Japanese grocery chain inspired by US supermarkets.

In the 1970s, Ito-Yokado exec Toshifumi Suzuki was attempting to secure a Denny’s license, but was wowed by 7-Eleven. Japan didn’t have anything like it, and he persuaded Ito to also become a 7-Eleven licensee.

Ito-Yokado opened its first 7-Eleven in 1974 in Tokyo…

… leading to a massive boom in 24/7 convenience stores, AKA “konbini.” By the ‘80s, Ito-Yokado’s empire — which included 4k+ 7-Elevens across Japan — was generating $12B in annual sales, per The New York Times.

  • In 1991, Ito-Yokado purchased a 70% stake in the floundering Southland for $430m.
  • In 1992, Ito stepped down amid accusations that the company had paid off Japanese racketeers and was replaced by Suzuki. Ito returned as honorary chairman in the late ‘90s, a position he held until his death.

But why are Japanese 7-Elevens so good?

The konbini has become a place you want to go. They have:

  • Huge selections of delicious and fresh prepared foods, snacks, and beverages
  • Banking, mail, travel, and other handy services
  • Many have communal seating

Today, Ito-Yokado is known as Seven & I Holdings, and operates 80k+ 7-Eleven stores globally, including 21k+ in Japan.

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eyeball wearing a hat

OK, this looks incredible: Check out the trailer for BlackBerry, an upcoming movie about “the meteoric rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone.” God, those buttons were satisfying.


Minted: T-Mobile is buying Ka’ena Corp., the parent company of Ryan Reynolds-backed Mint Mobile, in a $1.35B deal.

Not ideal: In 2022, Americans potentially lost $10.2B+ to cyber incidents, up from $6.9B in 2021, across 800k+ internet crime complaints.

In digestion: Kellogg’s snacks division — home to Pringles and Cheez-It — will be spun off this year with a new name: Kellanova. The cereal side’s new name carries a little less snap, crackle, and pop: WK Kellogg Co.

Trending up-ish: The volume of US mortgage applications increased last week for a second straight week, up 6.3%, though still down ~40% YoY.

For those keeping track: Shunning antitrust efforts, the biggest railroad merger in decades is moving forward. Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern seek to combine for a “NAFTA super railway” connecting western Canada to Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Ouch: Argentina’s inflation rate hit 102.5% in February, meaning consumer goods have more than doubled in price since 2022.

Samsung will invest $230B to build a massive computer chip factory near Seoul, thrilling the South Korean economy but disappointing snackers who clicked on “world’s largest chip” headlines.

More EV chargers are on the way — local governments across the US can now apply for a slice of $2.5B in federal grants.

Taxing brackets: March Madness tips off in earnest today with 32 teams’ fates in the balance. Also in the air: the estimated $15.5B in bets on this year’s NCAA men’s tournament.

Some more: Zipline’s new delivery drone inside a delivery drone, and NASA and Axiom’s new spacesuit.


There are countless founder success stories out there, but very few about the more likely outcome: failure. One founder lets us in on how his project management app went south.

Why It's So Hard To Buy A House Right Now

From the pod: Catch this superquick video snippet from a conversation Zack and Rob had with Morgan Housel, author of The Psychology of Money, about why it’s so hard to buy a house right now.

Watch the clip. →

How to crush the executive summary

AKA the business plan intro, or About-page blurbs.

It should be an attention-grabbing grandmaster. An absolute no-brainer. But conveying that unmistakably is often tougher than it looks.

For tips on writing a brilliant beginning, watch this five-minute video where Rimi explains a great way to sum up your business.

How to summarize, executively:

  • Tell your special story
  • Do ya homework
  • Watch ya tone
  • Mind visual flow

And whaddayaknow — a free template’s tucked in the description.

Watch Now →
Appetite for Subscriptions
restaurant food

Restaurants are hopping on the subscription bandwagon

You know what pairs really nicely with the $219 you spend on subscription fees each month? Some takeout from your favorite restaurant.

Per the Associated Press, restaurants want a piece of that sweet subscription model pie, with the average American hoarding 6.7 subscriptions in 2022, up from 4.2 in 2019.

We’re talking serious dough here: A recent report shows that, on average, Americans spend $200+/mo. on subscription fees.

So restaurants are serving up plans:

  • PF Chang’s Platinum subscription is $6.99/mo. and includes free delivery, priority reservations, and other perks.
  • Panera’s Unlimited Sip Club is $11.99/mo. (or $119.99/yr.) for unlimited hot and cold drinks — plus, annual subscribers get free delivery.
  • Pret A Manger launched a coffee subscription in 2020 that is now used 1.2m times per week.

For some brands, it’s working. Panera’s loyalty program had nearly 40m members in 2020, and its chief brand and concept officer said that subscription plan members now make up 25% of the chain’s transactions.

Not just for chains

Some fine-dining establishments are getting in on the action as well. Gravitas, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Washington, DC, offers a Supper Club subscription for $130/mo. that includes a three-course takeout meal for two. The club serves ~60 diners monthly.

Wake us up when Netflix can shoot snacks straight out of the TV, thanks.

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📕 On this day: In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter was published. An American literary classic, the novel follows a woman scorned by her community for having a child out of wedlock.

🎺 Haha: Noam Oxman’s “Sympawnies” creates classical compositions out of sketches of animals. To get you started, here is a “brass equintet.”

😴 How to: Create a bedtime ritual, according to experts.

🔑 That’s interesting: Author Byron Preiss hid 12 treasures, leaving only puzzles to find them. This article follows treasure hunters in Milwaukee.

🐦 Aww: And now, just a man dancing with his bird.

wifi strength tweet

This. (Link.)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, Sara Friedman, .
Editing by: Ben “Eventual Cheesecake Factory+ subscriber” Berkley.

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