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🏀 King James rules Instagram

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A $150m superyacht named Much Wow was abandoned at a dock in Italy. Its owners founded 3AC, a now-bankrupt crypto fund, and are reportedly on the lam. Much wow, indeed.

In today’s email:

  • Apple: The newest ad behemoth?
  • LeBron: The King rules Instagram.
  • Medical Debt: A nonprofit is erasing it.
  • Around the Web: How to type faster, bad visualizations, solving an old mystery, and more interesting internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear us discuss Apple playing 3D chess with the ad industry, the second coming of Adam Neumann, Peloton’s mistake, and LeBron’s lucrative Instagram.

The big idea
Apple logo

Is Apple about to become an advertising giant?

Last year, Apple introduced App Tracking Transparency (ATT) — you know, that little pop-up asking if you’d like an app to track you.

That rhetorical question was a win for privacy, but it’s been a migraine-and-a-half for the mobile advertising industry.

Now, somewhat ironically, Apple is actually moving deeper into ads.

For context…

Along with the privacy triumph, ATT was a kick in the competition’s balls. Mostly Mark Zuckerberg’s, who’s said it could lose him $10B this year — money he needs to escape Apple’s grasp and build the metaverse.

  • Currently, Apple’s ad unit generates ~1% of the company’s revenue (~$4B annually). Compare that with Meta, where ads make up ~98% of revenue, or Google’s ~90%.

Reporting from Bloomberg found Apple plans to crank that income up to double digits.

Why move into ads?

Consider Apple’s capabilities as an ad platform.

  • You’ve got the iPhone’s sensors and Apple’s own apps (Maps, Music, News, Stocks, Weather that’s frequently incorrect… etc.), along with Apple TV, AirPods, AirTags, the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, and more.

Apple doesn’t just have a walled garden — it has advertising’s Garden of Eden.

The company already displays ads in the App Store, Stocks, and News apps. Soon, expect to see more in Maps, as well as the Podcasts and Books apps.

BTW: Apple actually tried launching an in-app ads business in 2010 called iAd. Here’s Steve Jobs’ keynote introducing it.

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TV news: Nexstar Media Group will acquire a 75% stake in the CW Network. Co-owners Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery will each retain a 12.5% stake and continue to produce CW content.

Deja vu: Andreessen Horowitz invested ~$350m in WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann’s Flow, a forthcoming rental real estate startup.

Snap’s $3.99 subscription service, Snapchat Plus, racked up 1m+ users in six weeks. Users can see who rewatched their stories, among other perks.

IKEA mode: Peloton plans to revamp its exercise bike to allow for self-assembly to trim costs. The company also aims to release a rower in time for the holidays.

Uber Eats partnered with Office Depot to provide on-demand school supply deliveries, the latest in a series of moves to expand beyond meals and groceries.

The UK became the first country to approve a covid booster from Moderna that protects against both the original virus and omicron variant.

Decision: After discussions with multiple streamers, Walmart has decided to add Paramount+ to its Walmart+ subscription service.

Stress relief: The ups and downs of entrepreneurship can be draining. As a founder, it’s essential to maintain a healthy mindset and learn to deal with the stresses of work.

LeBron's pay per post versus per game

Selina Lee

LeBron James, the influencer?

The minimum salary for an NBA player is $1.8m per season, so it’s no surprise LeBron James makes a lot more than that.

What might be surprising is how much he could earn if he took his talents strictly to the ’gram.

As of last week…

… James had 129m Instagram followers, allowing him to earn up to ~$428k per sponsored post, per estimates from betting website JeffBet.

  • He’s since gained 2m+ followers, meaning that number is likely even bigger.

When it comes to Instagram…

… @kingjames lives up to his handle. His closest NBA peer is Stephen Curry, with ~45m followers.

However, even James can’t compete with Cristiano Ronaldo. With 476m followers and counting, he’s the most-followed account on Instagram, and can make up to $2m per sponsored post.

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Debt Be Gone
medical debt

The nonprofit that buries medical debt

Forty-one percent of Americans carry medical debt they cannot pay. But some may receive a letter announcing their debt is gone.

Nonprofit RIP Medical Debt buys bundles of debt owed by patients making 4x the poverty level or less, then erases it, per NPR.

Co-founders Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton are ex-debt collectors who  were inspired after talking with Occupy Wall Street activists in 2011.

Since launching RIP in 2014, they have:

  • Bought $6.7B in debt
  • Unburdened 3.6m people

How it works

Hospitals sell patients’ debt to debt buyers for a fraction of the amount owed. Buyers profit by collecting on the original amount.

RIP raises money to buy debt — either directly from hospitals or on the secondary market — and forgives it.

Donors include:

  • MacKenzie Scott, who gave $50m in 2020.
  • “Last Week Tonight,” which partnered with RIP in this episode to buy ~$15m, freeing ~9k people
  • Hospitals themselves. Heywood Healthcare in Massachusetts donated $800k of debt in January

The bummer? Americans owed ~$195B in medical debt in 2019, and RIP estimates it could be up to $1T now.

The bright side? Some legislative progress is being made, including a recent change that eliminates some medical debt from credit scores.

More: Check out nonprofit Rolling Jubilee, which absolves all kinds of debt.

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On this day: In 1954, Sports Illustrated magazine’s debut issue featured Milwaukee Braves third baseman Eddie Mathews on the cover.

🕵️‍♂️ That’s interesting: Researchers think they’ve solved the mystery of the “Somerton Man,” whose body was found on an Australian beach in 1948.

⌨️ Useful: Are you a slow typist? This website teaches you touch typing (as opposed to hunt-and-peck).

📊 Haha: Some visualizations help us better understand data. And some are just bad.

🐦 Aww: And now, a traffic-cam surprise.

Apple and Meta meme

It’s coming. (Source: imgflip.com)

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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Jennifer “Much Wow” Wang.

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