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United Airlines’ CEO said that nearly ⅓ of its Newark staff recently called in sick on the same day. Talk about a headache.

On that note, congrats to Dylan, Ian, Kaysie, and Scott on winning our Airbnb referral raffle! We’re happy to know we helped someone enjoy a beach getaway while we freeze our butts off in Boston.

Today’s rundown:

  • Brady Brand: Tommy’s got a new side hustle.
  • All-time rug pull: How a con artist sold investors a fake country.
  • Opposites attract: Why Take-Two Interactive bought Zynga for $12.7B.
  • Around the web: Airlifting turtles, tips to avoid distraction, and more wild internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Tom Brady

Is Brady Brand the next Jordan Brand?

Tom Brady may be the winning-est athlete since Michael Jordan, and today, he’s taking a big step toward matching MJ’s off-court legacy.

Brady Brand is the quarterback’s new apparel line, which officially launched today, and is available exclusively through its website and Nordstrom, per 2pm.

What is Brady Brand?

The launch collection includes 145 items across athleisure and office casual styles. The brand also plans to use a monthly drop schedule for new releases.

But there are some major differences from Jordan Brand:

  • Brady’s goods aren’t meant to be worn on the field — at least, not yet
  • Unlike Jordan Brand, which is an offshoot of Nike, Brady Brand isn’t tied to a major sports apparel maker

Under Armour, one of Brady’s biggest sponsors, struggled with its own entry into the athleisure world back in 2016, and passed on the Brady opportunity after bowing out of the fashion world.

As a result, Brady Brand was launched in collaboration with Jens Grede, who co-founded Kim Kardashian’s shapewear line, Skims.

This isn’t Brady’s first side hustle

In 2013, Brady and his trainer Alex Guerrero launched TB12 Sports Therapy Center, and TB12 has since expanded into a sprawling wellness brand that includes supplements, apparel, and physical therapy.

Brady already has one fan in his corner — his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who says he “likes clothes more than I do” and “has great taste.”

Want to be the judge of that yourself? Browse the collection here.

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Pop-up shop: The House of LR&C, a fashion startup from Russell Wilson and Ciara, will open a pop-up store in Seattle. #ecommerce-retail

Electric post: The price for the Postal Service to go fully electric is estimated at $3.3B+. #clean-energy

AI vs. fund managers: SoftBank announced it will invest $146m in Qraft, an AI-based fintech company, to gauge how well AI can manage its assets. #emerging-tech

Hacks on the rise: Check Point Research reported that cyberattacks on corporate networks increased 50% in 2021. #privacy

New deal: Y Combinator announced a new standard deal that gives its portfolio companies $125k for 7% of the company, with an additional $375k to be used in the future. #fintech-crypto

Turo, a peer-to-peer car-sharing app that has been called “Airbnb for cars,” filed its S-1. #big-tech

MFM: Sam shares his experience meeting Ross Ulbricht, the dark web kingpin who created Silk Road. #mfm

Gregor MacGregor gif

The con artist who sold rich investors a fake country

Nearly 200 years ago, Gregor MacGregor pulled off one of the most brazen real estate scams in history.

On March 20, 1823, after 2 grueling months sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, passengers gathered on the deck of the Kennersley Castle for the first glimpse of their new lives in the country of Poyais.

The view was immaculate: Sun glistening in the shallow waters of a blue lagoon. Mahogany trees drooping over sandy beaches.

It seemed impossible not to prosper. The myriad Poyais advertisements that circulated through Britain had promised fertile land, rivers stocked with fish, and forests teeming with deer.

But as Hastie and the others soon discovered, Poyais was not a country at all. It was one of the most elaborate — and deadliest — frauds in history.

Read the full story →
Opposites Attract
Take-Two Interactive and Zynga

Why did Take-Two Interactive buy Zynga for $12.7B?

You will be hard-pressed to find more opposite games than “FarmVille” and “Grand Theft Auto” (GTA).

The former involves managing farm crops with your friends. The latter is a sandbox action game blamed for inspiring real-world carjackings.

Both games will now be under one roof

According to The Wall Street Journal, Two-Take Interactive (the $17B game studio behind GTA) will buy Zynga (FarmVille maker) for $12.7B in a cash-stock deal.

Why? Because — like the aforementioned games — opposites attract.

Take-Two creates dominant PC and console franchises, including “Red Dead Redemption” and “NBA 2K.” Meanwhile, Zynga — which launched on Facebook in 2007 — is a huge mobile player, including the popular “Words With Friends.”

The merged company will have 1B+ users…

… and be well positioned to gain share in a gaming industry that notched ~$180B in sales last year, per WSJ.

There are 3 notable opportunities moving forward:

  • Mobile: Take-Two will have the team to port over its (extremely valuable) existing IP to smartphones
  • Ads: Unlike most game makers, Zynga has a growing advertising business (most game studios use 3rd parties)
  • Web3 (ugh): While Take-Two tried to avoid buzzwords, they acknowledged that both companies are exploring NFTs and the metaverse

Take-Two is paying…

… a ~64% premium on Zynga’s stock price. It may be an overpay, but the deal is on trend with recent gaming acquisitions:

  • Microsoft acquired “Doom” maker Bethesda Softworks ($7.5B)
  • EA shelled out for Glu Mobile ($2.4B), Playdemic ($1.4B), and Codemasters Group ($1.2B)

Zynga founder and chairman Mark Pincus reflected on the deal by noting that his studio’s 1st Facebook game was poker.

It’s fitting that Zynga’s story is now bookended by a huge bet from Take-Two.

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My First Million: The 5 greatest hits of 2021

We climbed from 100k to 2m monthly downloads last year.

Otherwise, this episode needs no introduction.

The top 5 MFM moments of 2021 (listen here):

  • Michael Jordan’s house: Sam and Shaan brainstorm how to transform MJ’s 56k-square-foot Chicago home into the next Graceland.
  • More gangster tours: A retired NYPD officer giving guided crime walks from East Village to Little Italy sparks parallel business ideas.
  • Andrew Wilkinson’s dopamine detox: He discusses the positive impact of taking a hard 30-day reset from all digital addictions.
  • Shaan’s goal-setting framework: A great one to take with you.
  • Betting on yourself: Lessons on relentless pursuit with legendary MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.
Listen to this episode →

❄️ On this day: In 1967, psychology professor Dr. James Bedford became the 1st person to be cryonically preserved in the hopes that technology would eventually revive him.

🗂 Useful: Enter a subreddit into this site to get a map of related subreddits.

🧠 How to: Distraction is driven by our desire to escape discomfort. Here are some tips to overcome the urge and keep your focus.

🐢 That’s interesting: Every year, Turtles Fly Too airlifts stranded sea turtles from chilly New England to warmer seas. Here’s how it’s done.

🌷 Chill out: Grow a garden. Destroy it. Start over.

🐶 And now: A little dog and his big stick.

Tweet of the day
Brady meme

The memes would like a word with Gisele about Tom’s fashion sense. (Source: Twitter)

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