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🏡 Need a garage door? Good luck

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We don’t care if you’d rather vacation in Hawaii or Kansas — we just wanna help you get there. So, we’re giving away four $3.5k vacation packages (each includes a $1.5k American Airlines gift card and a $2k Airbnb gift card).

Enter the giveaway by sharing your referral link (down below) with as many folks as you can before this Friday, March 4 at 11:59pm ET. One confirmed referral = one entry.*

In today’s email:

  • Garage doors: Why are they so hard to find?
  • Chart: How Ikea tricks you into buying more stuff.
  • Texas two-step: How J&J just used this controversial maneuver.
  • Around the web: Feedback tips, how jelly beans are made, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about what happens when you crash into your garage door during a garage door shortage, the future of Zoom, and more.

The big idea
garage door opening

It’s getting hard to find garage doors

Garage doors don’t get much attention, unless you crash into one (which this writer may or may not have done recently).

But these days, garage doors are top of mind for builders and aspiring homeowners across the country.

Garage doors are becoming harder and harder to find, with prices up 2x-3x in the last year, and lead times up from weeks to months, according to The New York Times.

So what’s going on?

A couple of well-documented macro factors are at the core of the problem:

  • The housing market: Record prices are pushing folks away from cities, where the need for a car and garage increases.
  • The supply chain crisis: Garage doors often contain components that have been in short supply, including spray-foam insulation, polyurethane, and steel.

Short supply is a big problem since, in 2020, 90% of new US homes had a garage.

Now builders are in a bind

The shortage is causing massive delays in homebuilding. One builder says it used to take 20 weeks to build a house; now it takes 20 weeks just to get a pair of garage doors.

But the situation has sparked some creative solutions:

  • Using cheap replacement doors as placeholders until the permanent doors arrive
  • Passing provisions allowing for plywood sealing in place of garage doors, like they did in Sacramento

BTW: If you’re feeling inspired after all this garage talk, check out this list of 50 ideas to make your garage door way cooler than a piece of plywood.

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Target is bumping wages up to $24/hour. Also, employees who work 25+ hours/week will also qualify for health benefits, down from 30. #ecommerce-retail

Chevron announced it will acquire Renewable Energy Group in a deal valued at $3.15B. Chevron wants to expand its renewable fuels production capacity to 100k barrels per day by 2030. #clean-energy

The 1st Whole Foods with Amazon’s Just Walk Out tech has opened in DC. Next up: Los Angeles, later this year. #emerging-tech

Yikes: A Windows 10 and 11 bug leaves data unencrypted and accessible following a system reset, even if it’s been encrypted before. #privacy

Heather Morgan, the internet rapper accused of laundering bitcoin, may accept a plea deal and avoid trial, per a federal prosecutor who met with Morgan’s lawyers. #fintech-crypto

To attract more drivers, Uber has changed its algorithm in 24 cities. Now, drivers can see a passenger’s destination and the ride’s price before accepting. #big-tech

Ikea infographic

Zachary Crockett / The Hustle

How Ikea tricks you into buying more stuff

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Alex Santos journeyed to his local Ikea with a singular mission: the procurement of a new Poäng chair.

It was a simple in-and-out task. But 3 hours later, Santos found himself with a shopping cart full of hand towels, throw pillows, and martini glasses.

“It’s like Ikea makes it impossible to leave with only the stuff you came here for,” Santos told The Hustle.

He isn’t wrong. Ikea’s own creative director has said that only 20% of purchases are based on actual logic and needs.

To learn more about how Ikea enlists a maze-like layout, cheap food, and crafty psychology to get you to fill up your cart…

Read the full story →
Free Resource

How to launch a successful podcast

Forty-one percent of Americans listen to podcasts monthly.

Twenty-eight percent of Americans bump ~7 episodes per week. This is happening.

Everyone and their mother is making a podcast, sure. But plenty of them are winging it, recording in kitchens with “ers” and “ums.”

Here’s a tactful blueprint to help you hit the streaming platforms running.

Included in the 4 Ps for successful podcasting (video):

  • Guide for planning, production, performance, and promotion
  • Software and microphone suggestions to improve sound quality
  • New machine learning apps for transcriptions and easy edits
  • The P.A.S.S. method for performance excellence
  • Examples from Slack, Trader Joe’s, and more

Jamal makes a face at 10:12. We’d like you to see it.

Learn how to power a brand through podding.

Podcast production 101 →
Dubious Dances
state of Texas

The Texas two-step, explained

The Texas two-step is a dance. But it’s also a bankruptcy maneuver, legal in Texas, that some US legislators want to outlaw.

The backstory

Johnson & Johnson is facing 38k+ lawsuits alleging that its talc baby powder led to medical issues including ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. (You’ve probably seen the commercials…)

Documents examined by Reuters, some dating back decades, showed that J&J’s talc occasionally tested positive for asbestos and that the company didn’t tell the public or regulators.

J&J disagrees, claiming its talc baby powder is safe, and plans to appeal cases in which jurors have already awarded money to plaintiffs.

Meanwhile in Texas…

Texas defines mergers as either 2 companies coming together or one company splitting up — that’s called a divisive merger.

The so-called two-step has, well, 2 steps:

Step 1: A company goes to Texas and splits into 2 or more new companies. One gets the assets, the other the liabilities. In this case, J&J — headquartered in New Jersey — spun off a new subsidiary in Texas called LTL Management last fall, shielding J&J’s assets.

Step 2: The company with the liabilities files for bankruptcy, which LTL did.

Now what?

Attorneys representing the LTL plaintiffs filed a motion to dismiss LTL’s bankruptcy, calling it an abuse of bankruptcy laws that could encourage other companies to do the same.

But last week, a US bankruptcy judge threw out that motion, saying that a court-supervised trust settlement agreement would be better and faster for plaintiffs than jury trials. LTL has already established a $2B trust to resolve claims.

For now, however, most lawsuits will go nowhere while a settlement is negotiated.

As for the fate of the two-step…

… some lawmakers want to end it, including Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin who called it a “get-out-of-jail-free card for some of the wealthiest corporations on earth” — J&J’s market cap is ~$430B — and says a draft bill is forthcoming.

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😱 On this day: In 1978, 2 men stole the body of actor Charlie Chaplin, hoping to receive a hefty ransom from his widow. Ultimately, they got caught and Chaplin’s body was reburied.

🇺🇦 That’s interesting: Our World in Data compiled several resources to provide context for what’s happening in Ukraine — including data on military spending, food supplies, migrations, and more — here.

🍬 That’s cool: Take a look inside the Jelly Belly factory where making each bean takes at least a week of flavorful manipulations.

🗺️ Useful: Geo Memorizer is a simple website that helps you memorize where countries are on a map and what their flag looks like.

🧐 How to: Feedback can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for filtering both the good and the bad.

🌆 That’s cool: The Sony World Photography Awards 2022 shortlist and finalists are now available to see online. Categories include architecture, sport, environment, and more.

Meme of the day
garage door meme

Yup, that about sums it up. (Source: imgflip)

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