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🏅 Olympic viewership = very bad

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There are many roadblocks to starting your own business — and even more so for entrepreneurs of color. For Black History Month, we’re celebrating entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

If you’re a minority business owner and want to share your journey with The Hustle, we’d love to hear from you. Please take our quick survey here.

In today’s email:

  • Winter Olympics: Viewership is plummeting.
  • Cloud wars: Google’s got a long way to go to catch AWS.
  • Digits: Osama bin Laden’s bro’s house, ugly shoes, and liquor sales.
  • Around the web: Ice golf, how pasta is made, and more cool internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Olympic rings

Olympic viewership is way down. What’s going on?

When you think about Olympic records, you probably think about amazing athletes like Simone Biles, Usain Bolt, and Michael Phelps.

However, this year’s Winter Olympics already set a new record — and not in a good way.

Friday’s Opening Ceremony drew 16m viewers for NBC across TV and streaming — a record low, and 43% lower than viewership for 2018’s Winter Games in South Korea, according to Yahoo Sports.

Why aren’t people watching?

It’s due to a combination of reasons.

Sara Fischer at Axios places part of the blame on empty stadiums due to covid protocols, since having fans and loved ones in the stands makes the Games more fun to watch live. She argues the same reason led to low ratings for last summer’s Games in Tokyo.

But there are some unique reasons this time around, including:

  • Olympic fatigue: Most of the time there’s a 2-year gap between Olympic Games, but the Summer Games in Tokyo just aired last summer
  • Limited footage: NBC’s crews can’t leave the “closed loop” of Beijing’s Olympic Village, taking away the ability to get shots that would immerse viewers in Chinese culture
  • China’s problem: The US and other nations staged a diplomatic boycott in protest of China’s genocide against the Uyghurs, which could be affecting viewership as well

NBC has a lot tied up in the Games

The network paid the International Olympic Committee $7.75B to broadcast the Olympics through 2032, and the success of Peacock, its streaming platform, is riding on a successful event.

But there’s a reason for NBC to be optimistic. Historically, viewership increases over the 1st week as more viewers start tuning in…

… which means we might soon be talking about NBC’s record ratings comeback.

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Glam news: Target is adding 40 new beauty brands to its stores, including 20 Black-owned or founded companies. #ecommerce-retail

Wow: Airstream’s new eStream is a solar-powered, 2-wheeled electric vehicle. While it can’t drive on its own, it requires less power to tow it and can park itself. #clean-energy

Breathe in (VR): Tripp, maker of VR/AR meditation and focus experiences, acquired VR meditation community EvolVR. #emerging-tech

Yikes: From Wired, a deeply personal dive into phone scams and the frustrating, exhausting journey that follows. #privacy

Digital dollar: The US is considering a digital currency that people would store in digital wallets and apps. #fintech-crypto

New year, new Google: Chrome is updating its logo after 8 years, though you probably won’t notice unless you look very closely. #big-tech

Cloud Wars
Google Cloud

Can Google Cloud compete with Amazon?

Google’s cloud business is growing apace.

In the latest earnings report for Alphabet — Google’s parent firm — the company’s cloud business hit $5.5B, up 45% YoY.

But the growth is not cheap. Alphabet lost $890m over the quarter while running the business.

While the losses are big…

… Alphabet can certainly afford them. Per CNBC, its core search ad business raked in sales of $61.2B in the same quarter.

And competing in the market is worth it. The cloud industry will be worth $400B by 2025, per Bloomberg. With a 6% market share, Google is still far behind Amazon Web Services (41%) and Microsoft Azure (20%).

Google is making progress, though: Its revenue for 2022 is projected to hit $26B, ~4.5x its 2018 total.

One major problem

Unlike Amazon, much of Google’s cloud data centers are connected. When one region goes down, it affects another and can lead to global outages.

Google Cloud — and its 40k employees — is under the leadership of Thomas Kurian (a former Oracle exec) and he’s been re-jiggering the entire unit’s infrastructure. To better serve key clients like Goldman Sachs and Twitter, Google is building more distributed cloud services to improve its reliability.

It’s not clear how quickly the company can make the shift. If it takes too long — and clients move to other providers — results could be cloudy (pun def intended).

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Free Resource

15 hard-hitting value prop templates

Value props = clear, concise pitches for consumers and stakeholders.

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To get a head start on minimizing mumbo-jumbo, take these planning and creation frameworks for structure and inspiration.

Download all 15 copy and design templates:

  • Value Proposition Writing (10)
  • Value Proposition Canvas
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By the numbers
ugly socks

Digits: Osama bin Laden’s bro’s house, ugly shoes, and liquor sales

1) Connecticut may not be known for its island living, but Great Island — a ~60-acre estate on the Long Island Sound, owned by heirs of the Ziegler baking powder dynasty — is back on the market for $100m after failing to sell in 2016 when it listed for $175m.

2) It’s no coincidence that alcohol is flammable because liquor sales are on the comeback. Sales of bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, and rye whiskey were up $288m from last year to $4.6B, and alcohol overall saw $35.8B in sales, up 12% (however, these are still below pre-pandemic levels).

3) In style: ugly footwear. Last year, Birkenstock was acquired by LVMH for ~$4.9B, and this year Crocs could see $5B in sales. Deckers Outdoor Corp, maker of Uggs, Teva sandals, and Hoka sneakers — none of which are particularly sexy — is also projecting $3B in sales this year.

4) The internet, while seemingly made up of thin air, relies heavily on thousands of miles of undersea cables. When a volcano erupted near Tonga recently, the nation’s only source of internet — a 514-mile, $15m cable connecting it to Fiji — broke. It could take more than a month to fix.

5) Wanna live in Osama bin Laden’s brother’s house? Here’s your chance: Ibrahim bin Laden’s Bel-Air estate cut its list price from $28m to $26m — a steal. Ibrahim abandoned the 7.1k-square-foot home following 9/11.

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🧑‍🚀 On this day: In 1984, astronaut Bruce McCandless performed the 1st untethered spacewalk while wearing a 300-lb Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).

🧺 How to: Most people sort laundry by lights and darks. But apparently, there’s a better way.

🏌️ Wait, what: A blog about an unusual sport: ice golf.

⌨️ Do you work in marketing? Do you like Wordle? If that’s your Venn diagram, see if you can crack Marketdle (Wordle for marketing words).

🖼️ Useful: If you can never remember what size your photos or videos need to be for various social platforms, use this site.

🍪 That’s cool: Troop 6000 is a Girl Scout program for girls in the NYC Shelter System. You can help them out by buying cookies.

🍝 Chill out: This oddly relaxing video shows how various pastas are made.

Meme of the day
Usain Bolt meme

The real competition is about who can deliver the best meme. (Source: 9gag)

Tech Giveaway

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*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States or D.C. 21 years and older. Ends 2/9/22, 11:59 pm ET. To enter and for Official Rules, including odds, and prize descriptions, visit Void where prohibited.

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

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