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🐴 The “Yellowstone” housing crisis

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In today’s email:

  • Has “Yellowstone” created a housing crisis?
  • Chart: Expert witnesses make bank.
  • Taco Bell’s drive-thru of the future.
  • Around the web: Ancient cave art, grilling for vegetarians, a cute kingdom-building game, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s special podcast: An hourlong chat with billionaire investor Ray Dalio. We cover the decline of the US empire, wealth inequality, the impending recession, cryptocurrency, and… chicken nuggets.

The big idea
Yellowstone actors

The ‘Yellowstone’ housing crisis, explained

“Leverage is knowing that if someone had all the money in the world, this is what they’d buy,” professes John Dutton, the Montana mega-rancher played by Kevin Costner in “Yellowstone.”

Ain’t that the truth. As Paramount’s hit show has soared, so have Montana’s housing prices.

And while not a direct cause and effect, Montana’s TV allure may well have heightened a dire crisis in America’s third fastest-growing state.

First, some context

The season four finale of “Yellowstone” in January was the most-watched show on cable since “The Walking Dead” season three premiere in October 2017. It grabbed ~9.3m viewers, a 81% jump over season three.

  • The success is reflected in Costner’s payout: $500k per episode in season one, $1.2m by season four.

The show’s been such a draw to Peacock, which owns the streaming rights, that “Yellowstone churn” now describes people who signed up for Peacock, watched it, then left.

It’s kinda good for Montana

One study found season four’s production created 527 permanent local jobs and brought businesses $85.8m in new spending, excluding the Montana ad that is “Yellowstone” itself.

  • Likely boosted by pandemic trends, Montana’s economy grew 6.7% in 2021, ranking seventh for largest growth rate in the US.

But it’s also bad for Montana

Locals are getting priced out as wealthy city folk move in:

  • The median price for a condo in Bozeman was up 61% YoY in April.
  • Habitat for Humanity called the situation a “housing crisis.”
  • CNBC reported that locals are moving into vans and tents. It also detailed a cultural divide festering between locals and wealthy newcomers.

This all reminds us of a “Yellowstone” scene where Kayce Dutton’s son asks him to explain what a “transplant” is, referring to the wealthy people moving into town.

“It’s a person who moves to a place, and then they try to make that place just like the place they left,” he says.

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4DWW: Over 3.3k workers across 70 UK companies started piloting a four-day workweek program. The workers will receive 100% of their pay while working 80% of their typical week, but most promise to maintain 100% of their usual productivity.

CNN is reportedly reviewing its partisan talent in an effort to shift toward a more nonpartisan tone. The move comes days after new chief Chris Licht removed the “Breaking News” banner from CNN’s website to ensure the label is only used for truly urgent matters.

Blockchain fun: Epic Games announced its PC store will begin selling the company’s first blockchain game later this year. The game is called “Grit” and was made in partnership with Gala Games, a Web3 game publisher.

Apple launched its own “buy now, pay later” competitor, Apple Pay Later — a feature within Apple Pay that lets users split payments into four equal installments over six weeks.

Kohl’s goals: The department store chain is in advanced talks to be acquired by Franchise Group, Inc., a holding company that owns The Vitamin Shoppe and Pet Supplies Plus. The deal is expected to value Kohls at ~$9B.

Royalty investing 101: Royalties are an attractive alternative revenue stream for steady, passive returns. Read our Trends report to learn about obtaining royalties in entertainment, energy, and startups.

H&M is trying out smart mirrors at select COS stores that can identify products, make recommendations, and offer virtual try-ons and styling. #ecommerce-retail

Greener in Texas: Shell will sell electricity generated from renewable sources in Texas. Also, drivers of EVs will be able to charge for free at night. #clean-energy

Frenemies: Once rivals, Waymo and Uber are now partners, integrating Waymo’s autonomous truck tech with Uber Freight, which pairs drivers and shippers. #emerging-tech

Apple announced passwordless logins across Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Apple TVs, coming this fall. #privacy

Due to high customer demand, PayPal will now let users move their crypto to other wallets and exchanges. #fintech-crypto

Google must pay a former Australian politician $515k over its refusal to remove defamatory YouTube videos about him. #big-tech

expert witness pay chart

Zachary Crockett

The lucrative world of expert witnesses

In the waning days of the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Dr. Shannon Curry was called to the stand.

Curry, a California-based psychologist, had been hired by Depp’s legal team to offer her opinion on Heard’s alleged personality disorders.

But during cross-examination, Heard’s attorney, Elaine Bredehoft, had a different line of questioning for the doctor:

“You are being paid by Mr. Depp’s legal team to be here, correct?”


“How much have you charged so far?

“I actually don’t know.”

“Over $100k?

“I don’t do my own books.”

“Over $200k?”

“I don’t know.”

“Over $300k?”

The exchange provided a rare glimpse into the economic underbelly of the expert witness industry, about which little is known to the general public.

To learn more about this gainful microeconomy, The Hustle spoke to expert witnesses, legal consulting firms, and attorneys.

Read the full story →
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Bell of the Future
Taco Bell

Welcome to the Taco Bell of the future

Taco Bell just opened its first “Defy,” the fast-food chain’s latest concept, in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.

It’s two stories high with four drive-thru lanes: two are for customers picking up mobile orders, and one is for delivery drivers, per Business Insider. The last is for those traditionalists who don’t want to order ahead.

Here’s how it works:

  • Drivers check in at kiosks with QR codes
  • Or order from staff via video if they didn’t place a mobile order
  • When the food is ready, it’s dropped down to customers via dumbwaiter-style elevators. Hence, the name “Defy” — it’s “gravity-defying.” Okay, Taco Bell.

The food elevators are proprietary, and were developed by consultancy Vertical Works to reduce service time.

Taco Bell is already the fastest — though not the most accurate — US drive-thru with an average time of 286 seconds. Defy promises to deliver orders in two minutes or less.

Taco Bell likes to experiment

In the past, the brand has done a lot for its loyal fans, and we don’t just mean bringing back the Mexican Pizza.

  • In 2019, it opened a temporary resort in Palm Springs, California, called The Bell, replete with Taco Bell-themed manicures.
  • Taco Bell weddings are available at its Cantina in Las Vegas. A 30-minute ceremony includes the use of a sauce packet bouquet.

As for Defy, Taco Bell is already looking to retrofit other locations, per Food & Wine.

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🏈 On this day: In 1966, the NFL announced a merger with the American Football League (AFL). The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game was held seven months later — AKA Super Bowl I.

🖌️ That’s interesting: Centuries of artists have used this Spanish cave as a canvas, dating as far back as 58k years ago.

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👑 Cure boredom: Sort the Court is a cute game about building your kingdom, one yes-or-no question at a time.

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Yellowstone meme

Accurate. (Source:


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