🎧 Wanna dive deeper? Listen to today’s podcast. We’re talkin’ ugly shoes, Peloton drama, and the business of deep sea internet cables.
|The big idea|
The house doesn’t always win
Sometimes, the house has to find you because you left your $229.3k jackpot behind.
In early January, Arizonian Robert Taylor played the slots at the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He hit the jackpot, but nobody knew it.
The problem was a communication error
He was playing a progressive slot machine. With these games, every time someone puts in money, a small percentage is added to the jackpot’s total.
There are 3 types of progressive machines:
Taylor was playing the latter, linked to machines as far away as New Jersey, James Taylor (no relation), chief of the Nevada Gaming Control Board’s Enforcement Division, told The Hustle.
Specifically, it was one themed after the 1994 Jim Carrey film, The Mask. (Smokin’!)
So, what happened?
The machines communicate with one another as the jackpot rises, but when the player struck gold, the machine malfunctioned and displayed an error message.
By the time Treasure Island figured out what happened, Robert Taylor was long gone.
So, the board — which typically conducts criminal and regulatory investigations — set out to track him down using what James Taylor called “good ol’ police work.”
Except not quite
The board’s Enforcement Division uses tactics like subpoenas when they’re looking for alleged wrongdoers, but this wasn’t that.
So instead, it used its regulatory authority to pore over surveillance footage, tracking the man around Vegas and hoping he’d use a player’s card or check into a hotel. No dice.
Finally, they spotted him getting into a rideshare vehicle. With help from the Nevada Transportation Authority, the board was able to contact the rideshare company, which agreed to inform the man.
How common is this?
It’s not. In fact, James Taylor said this is the 1st time it’s happened in his 28-year career.
It is, however, a very common scam Taylor deals with regularly (scammers call, tell you you’ve won big, but you need to pay taxes first).
If that happens to you, Taylor advises calling the board directly yourself.
JCPenney has a new private-label men’s brand called Mutual Weave. It consists of workwear-inspired apparel. #ecommerce-retail
Space rocks: Defense contractor Lockheed Martin will build the rocket NASA will use to collect samples from Mars. #emerging-tech
2FA FTW: Last year, Google said it would turn on 2FA by default for 150m Google users and 2m YouTube creators. Among them, hacks have since decreased by 50%. #privacy
American Express launched its 1st digital checking account, catering to US consumers who love racking up rewards points. #fintech-crypto
Apple is reportedly boosting benefits for retail workers, including more paid sick and vacation days and parental leave for part-time employees. #big-tech
Now on MFM: Ryan Holiday on the economics of book publishing. #mfm
The economics of Spotify
Spotify now accounts for 20% of all recorded music revenue.
Yet, artists — from major stars to indie musicians — feel they aren’t getting their fair share of the pie.
As Sadie Dupuis, who’s accumulated 15m+ Spotify streams, told The Hustle, “I don’t know any artists who feel their career has been made better by Spotify.”
So how does Spotify function as a business? Why are artists so poorly compensated on the platform? And will Spotify survive if it continues to alienate them?
|Read the full story →|
A clean introduction to cryptocurrency
If you kind-of-but-don’t-really understand crypto, today’s the big day.
The next time you nod along, there will also be bona fide comprehension. This HubSpot video explains the growth of digital currencies along with the power of blockchain technology.
How cryptocurrency actually works (7-min video)
Catch the crypto fast facts on YouTube, courtesy of HubSpot.
(Related guide: Curated recommendations of emerging tech podcasts, newsletters, blogs, and more.)
|Crypto clarity →|
Bodegas vs. instant delivery apps, explained
If you’ve ever lived in a big city, then you likely have an affinity for bodegas — and their legendary sandwiches.
According to a recent report by CNBC, the rise of instant delivery startups – which can deliver groceries and goods in 15 minutes or less – could lead to a murky future for bodegas in New York City and beyond.
… Gopuff, Gorillas, and Jokr have expanded rapidly in NYC, and the influx has bodega owners worried for good reason:
Without the same ability to take losses, bodega owners worry the instant delivery winners could price them out of existence.
Zoning laws could be the answer
Many instant delivery startups run out of micro-fulfillment centers, AKA mini warehouses. (Gopuff is an exception and offers retail at its NYC locations.)
New York City officials haven’t made an official ruling on how to categorize these locations from a zoning perspective, and bodega owners are eagerly awaiting the verdict, because:
If micro-fulfillment centers are categorized as manufacturing, they won’t be allowed to operate in the same neighborhoods as bodega owners.
The bottom line: NYC’s decision could have massive implications for bodegas and their loyal patrons across the country.
|AROUND THE WEB|
🎸 On this day: In 1964, ~73m Americans watched the Beatles’ US TV debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” They played “All My Lovin’,” “Til There Was You,” and “She Loves You.”
✉️ Useful: 10 Minute Mail gives you a temporary email address for when you’re trying to do something online that requires an email, but you don’t want to supply yours.
🧐 Cure boredom: Here’s a cute game. “Hidden Folks” is kind of like an interactive “Where’s Waldo?” Explore hand-drawn scenes to find characters.
🤔 That’s interesting: Journalist Oscar Schwartz contemplates the TED talk. What exactly is it? “And what happened to the future it envisioned?”
💡 How to: You’ve got a great idea. That’s awesome. But how do you get the right people to notice? And what’s a RACI matrix?
🤐 Haha: Not Another Channel is dedicated to resisting unnecessary Slack channels.
|Quote of the day|
Just a reminder that Vegas success stories are few and far between (The Joker Is Wild, 1957)
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