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A grand piano that once belonged to John Lennon will be auctioned next month. Lennon gifted the piano to a friend, who lent it to a school, which — thinking it was a donation, not on loan — sold it off with its other basement trash pianos for $3k. Now it’s projected to sell for $3m. Oops.

In today’s email:

  • Midlife crisis: Having one of those? You’ve got options.
  • Catalytic converters: And why thieves can’t stop swiping ‘em.
  • Skims: Kim Kardashian’s outfitter is worth $4B and still growing.
  • Around the Web: Middle management burnout, a TV homes map, a curious visitor, and more.

👇 Listen: It’s time to give businesswoman Kim Kardashian due credit.

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The big idea
person standing next to a 'crisis ahead' sign

Your midlife crisis might cost you

In today’s episode of ‘capitalism’s gonna capitalize’: Businesses are making money off your midlife crisis.

You read that right. Startups, consultants, and coaches are calling shotgun for a joy ride in your shiny new convertible, per The Wall Street Journal:

  • Modern Elder Academy offers online and in-person workshops on situations like divorce, death of loved ones, layoffs, and other stressful life transitions.
  • Reboot Partners provides workshops, coaching, and retreats around the country.
  • Elite colleges are launching programs (starting at ~$50k) designed for older adults looking for new careers.

With people living longer than ever before, the meaning of “midlife” is changing, opening up a second act that many want to fill with new activities, skill sets, and pursuits.

Plus, with happiness bottoming out around age 40 and ageism still pervasive in society, older adults need all the support they can get.

Bold age

While the stereotype of buying a new Harley (and matching leather jacket) for a midlife crisis endures — today’s older adults want to feel productive and self-fulfilled.

That means paying for services that promise community, learning opportunities, and even spirituality:

  • The Halftime Institute is a program based on Christian principles that focuses on personal relationships, faith, and finding one’s calling (the yearlong course is $25k).
  • The Union Theological Seminary has an Encore Transition program catering to retirees planning their next moves.

Now, we humbly request someone get started on a solution for lost 30-year-olds. Please and thank you.

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eyeball wearing a hat

Time couldn’t stop Beetlejuice 2 from happening — it’s been 35 years since the original — and neither will prop thefts, though someone seems hell-bent on trying. Vermont police have responded to three (!) different crimes against the movie’s set. Taken items include windows, a pumpkin-topped lamppost, and a 150-pound abstract art statue.


China’s internet regulator announced plans to curb teen phone use with a two-hour daily internet limit for 16-18 year olds and by blocking teens’ mobile internet access between 10pm and 6am.

Turbocharged earnings: Ferrari zoomed past its financial goals in Q2, with profits up 33% YoY as the automaker’s customers opted for more personalized features. The company is forecasting $6.4B of revenue in 2023.

Just what we need: Thanks to Microsoft Teams’ new spatial audio features for video calls, you can finally experience your colleagues’ voices physically spread out in your room based on their screen position.

Hopin’ for the best: Virtual events startup Hopin, a pandemic star that raised $1B but has since struggled through multiple layoff rounds, is selling some of its core business units and tech to RingCentral.

Keeping it fresh: In a bid to eat up more of the $1.5T US grocery market, Amazon is revamping its grocery plans, opening up fresh food delivery to non-Primers, and refreshing its arsenal of brick-and-mortar Fresh grocery stores.

Bull in a China shop: In May, Binance reportedly facilitated $90B of crypto trading in China, where the act was, uh, made illegal in 2021. Meanwhile, US regulators are weighing fraud charges against the exchange, but worry about the effect on consumers.

Beef: YouTube’s biggest creator, MrBeast, is suing ghost kitchen company Virtual Dining Concepts, alleging it served gross food at his MrBeast Burgers restaurants. VDC claims MrBeast is bullying them because he wanted more money out of the partnership.

In Hollywood: The Writers Guild of America (WGA) said the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached out about potential negotiations. The WGA has been on strike since May 2; the actors guild joined on July 14.


Cross-team collaboration could be the secret sauce your business is missing. Here’s how to maximize the skills of every team, combine perspectives, and achieve a common goal.

It’s exhausting!
YouTube video

Watch: Why thieves love to steal catalytic converters

In the dark and mysterious labyrinth of pipes and steel lurking beneath your car, there’s something called a catalytic converter.

Inside most converters, to help break up noxious gasses into less harmful compounds, there’s a ceramic “honeycomb” containing trace amounts of bling.

When we say bling, we’re not referring to some regular ol’ shiny trinkets.

We’re talking about Gollum, Lord of the Rings “precious” metals-type bling — also known as platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

In recent years, these metals have rocketed in value, making your car’s underbelly thieves’ favorite place to target. What happens to the catalytic converters from there? Well…

Watch the quick video to find out →
Free Resource

101 ways to network like the pros

When it’s time to socialize for success… ya may as well give ‘em your best. 💃

Take 101 tips and templates for getting in your zone and crushing every function. For smoother maneuvers at the job fair, shindig, or symposium.

Networking pointers for:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Salespeople
  • Marketers
  • Students
  • Event attendees

Be yourself. Schmooze responsibly.

101 networking tips →
Shaped up and shipped out
Kim Kardashian

You may not want to hear this about Kim Kardashian, but she’s a business whiz

In 2011, Kim Kardashian caught an all-time burn: labeled talentless in a nationally-televised interview.

That wouldn’t happen today.

Not after her apparel brand, Skims, closed a $270m fundraising round, valuing the company at $4B — and cementing Kim K.’s standing as a talented businesswoman.

Skims’ valuation isn’t shabby for any company, but especially not for a four-year-old direct-to-consumer business.

Speaking of DTC…

…in the 2010s, DTC brands were everywhere. You couldn’t scroll social media without being served an ad for Warby Parker glasses, Casper mattresses, or Glossier cosmetics.

Many DTC brands raised large amounts of capital, but struggled with something pretty important — profitability.

Earlier this year, Fast Company proclaimed “the era of DTC brands is over,” citing reasons like:

  • Less VC investment: With high inflation and volatile markets, VC firms scaled back on the deals keeping many DTC brands afloat.
  • The push for data privacy: Apple’s iOS updates made it harder for brands to use consumer data for hyper-targeted ads.

Once-popular DTC brands have been in freefall, which begs the question…

How’d Skims buck the trend?

They followed a different playbook — unlike other DTC brands that relied on paid ads, Skims took a more balanced marketing approach, utilizing organic social, email marketing, and collaborations to reach its customers, 70% of whom are millennials and Gen Zers.

It worked: Skims is on track for $750m in sales this year, up 50% from 2022. And it keeps expanding its offerings — launching with just shapewear and intimates in 2019, Skims has since added clothing, loungewear, swimwear, and children’s items.

This growth has kept investments rolling in, leading Kim K. and co. to 4x unicorn status.

Want more like this? Subscribe to our new sibling newsletter, The Lead, delivering marketing trends, tips, and tactics to inboxes every Wednesday.

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💃 On this day: In 1996, “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” began its 60-week reign at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

😩 How to: Help a middle manager come back from burnout.

🏘️ That’s cool: A map of 52 TV homes (complete with cute illustrations), including “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “Smallville,” and “The Munsters.”

📎 Haha: A website dedicated to Clippy, Merlin, and the whole Microsoft Office Assistants crew.

🚪 Aww: And now, a visitor.

graduate school meme

It’s all fun and games — until those student loans come due. (Link)


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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen and Juliet Bennett RylahLestraundra AlfredSara Friedman, .
Editing by: Ben “Too young for a midlife crisis, but wouldn’t mind a convertible anyway” Berkley.

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