🎤 Where is Joe Rogan?


August 27, 2021

The Hustle

The naked baby swimming after a dollar bill on Nirvana’s 1991 “Nevermind” album cover is one of rock’s iconic images. But the baby never asked for that attention, and — now a 30-year-old — he’s suing Nirvana for $150k in damages for child exploitation and pornography.

Today’s rundown:

  • $100m worth it? What’s happened since Joe Rogan’s Spotify deal.
  • Ndamukong Suh interview: The Super Bowl champ tells us about his investing approach, startup ideas, and more.
  • Tulu-Tigalari: The challenge of digitizing an ancient Indian script.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Joe Rogan wincing

Was Joe Rogan’s Spotify deal worth it? It depends on what you value.

In May 2020, Joe Rogan signed a $100m+ licensing deal with Spotify giving the streaming platform exclusive access to his podcast.

Spotify’s market cap jumped by ~$4B within a day of the announcement. On paper, the deal looked like a win-win.

A new report from The Verge suggests Spotify got the better end of the deal.

Since going exclusive, Rogan has lost influence

Spotify hasn’t revealed Rogan’s listenership numbers, so the report looked at a variety of secondary metrics before and after the signing, including:

  • Twitter followers: Pre-Spotify, Rogan’s guests averaged 4k new followers after an appearance on the show; since going exclusive, that number has dropped to 2k.
  • Google Trends: In 2020, Rogan maintained steady interest and regular spikes; since going exclusive, his baseline interest has dropped and he’s only spiked 2x.
  • YouTube subscribers: Pre-Spotify, Rogan averaged 265k new YouTube subscribers per month; post-deal, he’s averaging 100k.

Rogan isn’t the 1st big name to lose influence after going exclusive

When the deal was announced, Andrew Wilkinson of Tiny compared the move to Howard Stern’s deal with Sirius, arguing that Rogan got ripped off.

Citing Stern’s waning cultural influence, he questioned whether Rogan’s payout was worth the trade-offs of going exclusive. Specifically:

  1. Losing a direct relationship with subscribers
  2. Building Spotify’s recurring revenue instead of his own
  3. Serving a smaller audience and having less impact

Who needs influence when you can get the bag?

Seeing the downsides of exclusivity firsthand will likely influence up-and-coming podcasters facing similar decisions.

Alex Cooper of Call Her Daddy and Dax Shepard of Armchair Expert both signed exclusive deals with Spotify recently — will others be so fast to follow suit?

In Rogan’s case, it’s hard to argue with a $100m+ payday, but there’s still a good chance he sold himself short.

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SNIPPETS

Sigh: Model rocket company Estes Rockets is selling a working mini replica of Jeff Bezos’ phallic rocket for, obviously, $69.99. We are now obligated to say, “nice.” #ecommerce-retail

Check out this rad offshore wind farm. It features 117 floating turbines, is about as tall as the Eiffel Tower, and could power 80k homes. #clean-energy

Bedside VR: A report shows that virtual reality can help reduce pain and anxiety in children undergoing medical procedures. #emerging-tech

Insult to injury: The 21-year-old hacker who stole data from 50m T-Mobile customers says the carrier’s security is “awful.” #privacy

Crypto influencers say TikTok is removing their posts for supposedly violating community guidelines, which may prompt a move to Discord, YouTube, or other platforms. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Gamescom 2021 dropped video game trailers and news from big names, including “Far Cry 6,” Marvel’s “Midnight Suns,” and Amazon’s forthcoming MMO “New World.” #big-tech

Airbnb is opening up its platform to allow anyone with available housing to list it for Afghan refugees in need. #big-tech

Q&A
Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh and Warren Buffett (Source: CNBC)

Ndamukong Suh looks for investments that can make a ‘10x difference’ in people’s lives

Ndamukong Suh — the star NFL defensive end — has had a very notable 2021.

On the field, he won his 1st Super Bowl ring when his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs.

Off the field, he’s an active investor, real estate developer, philanthropist, and educator who shares his learnings as an athlete-investor to 582k+ Twitter followers.

This dual passion started…

… at the University of Nebraska (2005-2009). Suh — an engineering major and football star — had the opportunity to shadow a certain investor based in Omaha, Nebraska: Warren Buffett.

Since then, he’s terrified opposing QBs carved out a decorated professional career while building a large real estate portfolio and investing in 30+ companies (including tech startups Ember, Genies, Mercury).

Through the Suh Family Foundation, he recently partnered with Stash 101 and the Portland Public School system to improve access to financial literacy education for middle school students.

The Hustle caught up with Suh to talk about:

  • His investing approach: “I’m looking for cool or interesting products that I think are going to make a 10x difference in the lives of people who use them.”
  • A request for a startup: “I would love a company that can solve all of my parenting needs, from a product and services perspective. End-to-end support for families with newborns (like me). Let me know if this is happening, I want in.”

We also chat about his business mentors and how much money he could have made with the NCAA’s recent rule changes around athlete monetization (check the full Q&A here).

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Who knew?
emojis illustration

What does an ancient script have in common with emojis? Code.

Computers make a lot of things easier. But digitizing Tulu-Tigalari, a 2k-year-old Indian language and script used by just 1.8m people, is proving difficult.

Vaishnavi Murthy — a 37-year-old typeface designer who first saw the ancient script in her grandpa’s old notebooks — is trying to make it happen.

But it involves bringing the script into the Unicode standard…

… which is run by the nonprofit, Unicode Consortium. The group assigns every character of a script with a code — and likewise with emojis — so any computer can recognize them anywhere.

(Today, it costs $21k a year to be a Unicode voting member alongside folks like Google, UC Berkeley, Oman, and Emojipedia.)

Here’s where things get difficult

Trying to decide on the right format for every character of a diverse language ain’t easy. Especially with Tulu-Tigalari, where 2 characters can combine in 4 ways.

Take into account different dialects and modern changes, and as you can imagine, things get even trickier.

Do you have an ancient script you want digitized or an emoji you want made? Head over to the Unicode site to make it happen.

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AROUND THE WEB

🔥 Wait, what: Flamin’ Hot Mountain Dew — a soda imbued with the flavors of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos — is for sale via the soda’s online store. And if you really love it, there’s also an apparel line.

👩‍💻 How to: Hiring? The Society for Human Resource Management shares how to best attract and keep emerging professionals.

🏆 On this day: In 1955, The Guinness Book of Records was published for the 1st time. The US edition came out the following year.

🧪 That’s cool: Check out these simple magic tricks — perhaps better described as science tricks — you can perform with stuff you probably have at home.

That’s interesting: Did caffeine build society as we know it? Author Michael Pollan explains the history of coffee drinking.

🍽️ Wow: Artist Stephanie H. Shih asked her Asian American followers to name Western products that “feel” Asian. Then, she recreated them as ceramics.

Trends Job Board

Over in the Trends Facebook group, 15k+ Trends members connect every day to discuss new ideas, opportunities, and challenges.

They also let us know when they’re hiring, so here are a few cool gigs you may be interested in:

  • ITALIC is building the next “everything store” and needs a senior product designer to make it all look good.
  • PHD Ventures is looking for a superstar content manager to manage the social accounts (i.e., Twitter, YouTube) of Peter Diamandis, founder of XPRIZE and Singularity University.
  • Ironclad is scaling quickly and looking for a business development representative to flex some superhero support as they go very far, very fast.
  • Imre Health is seeking an account manager with a high degree of confidence, independence, and sound judgment. Basically, they’re looking to hire Olivia Pope.
  • ThisApp is seeking a remote senior backend systems architect/engineer. We initially thought this said “Senior Backbend,” which is equally impressive.

If you want your company’s jobs shared with 1.5m+ bad*ss people (like yourself), we prioritize Trends members. Join us!

In Case You Missed It

(A roundup of our best reads from the last couple weeks…)

🍄 A look inside the world’s most booked Airbnb… that looks like a mushroom.

🤫 We asked readers if they secretly work 2nd jobs. Their answers were incredible.

😂 Dr. Parik Patel’s best tweets of the year, as told by Dr. Parik Patel.

✈️ The time one guy sued Pepsi for a $33m fighter jet.

📉 Ugly chart: The 2k+ stores Kmart closed since 2005, visualized.

Shower Thoughts
  1. “In an Oreo, the good part is the cream. In Cookies n Cream, the Oreo is the good part. Scarcity is key.”
  2. “Having sand in your shoes feels awful, but walking barefoot on sand feels glorious.”
  3. “It’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of capitalism.”
  4. “Whatever direction you’re facing, you’re always facing a McDonald’s.”
  5. “Any Bookmark worth more than a dollar is a waste of money because you could just use the dollar.”
  6. “Brushing your teeth is really scrubbing parts of your skull.”
via Reddit
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