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Here’s some neat small-talk material to start your day: During peak season, the IRS customer service line can get up to 1.5k calls per second.

🚨Reminder: This week we’re giving away $4k in Airbnb gift cards. Enter the raffle by sharing The Hustle using your unique link below. The raffle ends Jan. 7, 2022, at 11:59pm ET.*

Today’s rundown:

  • Winnie-the-Pooh unleashed: Public domain works, explained.
  • I quit: Record numbers of Americans are switching jobs.
  • Non-denominational Data: Why pastors are turning to big data.
  • Around the web: Perfect headlines, the physics of Bugs Bunny, and more wild internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea

New public domain just dropped

If you’ve ever wanted to make a gritty heist flick starring Winnie-the-Pooh characters, now’s your chance.

Every year, a variety of previously copyrighted works enter the public domain.

This year’s drops include works from 1926, per the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, including:

  • A.A. Milne’s 1st Winnie-the-Pooh book
  • Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises
  • Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • Langston Hughes’ The Weary Blues

We’re also getting ~400k sound recordings from before 1923, thanks to the Music Modernization Act of 2018.

Public domain works can be used and shared freely

You could screen a classic film, upload a book online, or perform a piece of music without permission.

They can also be built upon, like The Tragedy of MacBeth, disco Beethoven, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and this Korean Dracula musical.

They can also be business opportunities

In 2019, Trends covered Alabaster, a company that sells Bibles with a millennial aesthetic. Because the Bible is public domain, you don’t have to ask permission or pay fees to print and sell it.

Public domain also applies to expired patents, which is how Hims is able to sell low-cost drugs for men.

But for decades, the public domain was frozen

Copyrights protect original works, like songs and screenplays. Over time, a copyright expires, at which point it can be renewed or allowed to lapse.

The 1st US copyright laws, passed in 1790, set a term of 14 years. But over time, it’s been extended.

Most recently, in 1998, terms changed from 50 to 70 years after an author’s death, or 95 years after publication of a corporate work – like, say, a Disney blockbuster. Disney was a major advocate for the new laws.

The changes were applied retroactively, freezing the public domain until 2019.

Fun fact: Public Domain Day is celebrated every Jan. 1 as new works open.

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Perfect match: The Container Store acquired Closet Works for $21.5m in an effort to offer more options for closet customization. #ecommerce-retail

Woah, that’s cool: Ford’s F-150 Lightning can charge other EVs, not just Ford models. #clean-energy

Tech celebs: WME signed Sriram Krishnan and Aarthi Ramamurthy, the tech power couple who host “The Good Time Show” on Clubhouse. #emerging-tech

OpenSea, the NFT marketplace that exploded during the pandemic, announced it is in talks to raise at a $13B valuation. #fintech-crypto

Facebook announced a ban on advertisements targeting patients based on specific health conditions, which could be a big blow to clinical trials. #big-tech

MFM: Sam and Shaan discuss The Adventure Challenge and how it has grown to a $85m/year business. #mfm

Twitter thread: Trung Phan breaks down the decline of BlackBerry. #hustle-picks

number of Americans quitting their jobs

People are still quitting in droves

The number of Americans quitting their jobs hit an all-time high of 4.5m in November.

Folks in hospitality quit their job the most, with a quits rate of 6.1%.

Heidi Shierholz, president of the Economic Policy Institute, points out that at the same time, 6.7m people were hired. “People who quit are taking other jobs, not leaving the workforce,” she wrote in a tweet.

In other words, “The Great Resignation” is less of a mass movement of people aimlessly screaming out “I QUIT!” and more of a national job swap.

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Non-Denominational Data
church graphic

Why pastors are turning to big data

Once upon a time, church was a staple of American life.

Today, that’s no longer the case. A recent Pew poll reported ~30% of US adults do not affiliate themselves with a specific religion.

Churches are feeling the absence and, per The Wall Street Journal, using Big Data to drive people back to the pews.

One of the companies helping…

… is Gloo, a 200-person tech company in Colorado that uses personal data to help churches identify individuals that could be ripe for recruitment.

The company has signed on 30k customers, which makes up ~10% of churches in the US.

Gloo’s platform builds web ads optimized for specific search terms on Google and social media, and directs searchers to a web page connecting them to a local church.

What kind of search terms, you ask?

Namely, topics that could signal an individual going through a personal crisis, including:

  • Marriage difficulties
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Drug addiction

While the practice may sound questionable at best – to be fair – Gloo isn’t the only one. Churches have been using Facebook to target people in distress for years.

If it still makes you feel icky…

… you’re not alone. Wunderman Thompson – one of Gloo’s data providers – recently terminated its contract after the partnership was made public.

For its part, Gloo claims it no longer uses mental health data to target individuals, and contends all 3rd-party data is anonymized.

The lesson? When working in a moral gray area, you better be ready to prove you’re doing so in good faith.

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Real talk with comedian Hasan Minhaj

Shaan and Hasan connect on a wavelength we all crave.

They hit the next level discussing pre-game prep, the craft of performance, growing up to find your calling, and a ton of touchy topics. It’s shoptalk as it should be.

Listen to this episode of My First Million:

  1. Shaan and Hasan’s daily routines
  2. How Hasan “closes the gap” with the audience
  3. How to prep and flip the switch for showtime
  4. The psychology of dealing with internet trolls
  5. How creators should leverage corporate interests

Listen to an inspiring one-on-one with 2 dudes that will improve you.

Comedy, Netflix, Haters, Money →

🧰 On this day: In 1933, construction began on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This 2010 article from Smithsonian Magazine features artist Ray Strong’s painting of the famous landmark in progress.

🍷 How to: For stubborn stains, check out NPR’s complete guide to removing all types of stains.

🎧 Useful: Moonbeam is a podcast discovery app that lets you find new shows, create channels, share clips, and more.

🔍 That’s interesting: An analysis of 100m headlines found the ideal length is 11 words and 65 characters.

🧲 Haha: Wile E. Coyote once got a 10B-volt electromagnet to draw Bugs Bunny to him, assuming he could trick the rabbit into eating an iron carrot. Wired explores the physics of this plan.

🎨 Chill out: Refresh this site to enjoy a nice, random color.

Meme of the Day
Winnie-the-Pooh meme

Winnie-the-Pooh remixes are already thriving… (Source: Fansided)

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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