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The Hustle

A Tennessee man encountered a rare turkey with seven beards. Less than 10% of turkeys have even two beards, let alone one for each deadly sin. It’s no record, though — a whirl through the National Wild Turkey Federation’s records database (a very real, very detailed thing spanning 27k+ birds) found a gullet graced with 13 beards.

In today’s email:

  • Precision Water: It’s here, it’s clear, it’s… what exactly?
  • Phony express: Young shoppers flock to knockoff fashion.
  • YouTube & Chill: Learn more about nuns and dating, but not about dating nuns. That’d be too much.
  • Around the Web: Life hacks, movie recs, an adorable sea creature, and more internet finds.
The big idea
water dripping

After billions of years of the same ol’, same ol’, has water finally been disrupted?

Drinking water, doctors unanimously agree, is fundamental to life. But there’s less consensus when it comes to this: Has one truly lived without drinking supercharged water out of a ~$400 electrolyzing bottle?

We’re oh-so-close to getting that answer.

Florida-based startup Weo, which self-identifies as “revolutionizing the way the world drinks water,” recently secured a $15m investment round, suggesting we’ll soon get a chance to see what all that even means.

What we’ve picked up so far

A solid 4.6B years after ice melted from the interstellar dust cloud from which our sun and planets formed, thereby giving us H2O, we have arrived here: at “Precision Water,” Weo’s core offering.

Precision Water is:

  • Enhanced water designed as a “perfect therapeutic complement” to a healthier life.
  • … Enhanced how? Weo “uses diamond coated silicon to activate all the biomolecules present in water.”
  • With its natural properties “boosted,” the water “better support[s] immunity, vitality, gut and skin health.”
  • In summary: Weo can “amplify water at the molecular level, making it more biologically adaptable.”

Naturally, the lone vessel befitting Precision Water is Weo, The Bottle — â€śthe first-ever water bottle backed by the power of diamond” — priced at $390 before taxes and shipping.

If we sound skeptical…

… that’s a fair takeaway. We’re never rooting against anyone; this is all just a little jarring.

Reading about a company’s “deep-tech” effort to transform water can give one the wettest of willies.

Plus, we’re admittedly jaded by the cyclical nature of businesses trying to upsell the world on augmented water, typically done without broad scientific backing.

  • To that end, Weo’s site doesn’t readily offer its team’s scientific credentials.
  • The most solid background info we turned up on the company was a paper from Weo’s “chief health officer” showing how its tech can help mice with eczema, and a patent application for the word “hydraceutical.”

Despite our dubiousness, we’re clearly still intrigued. Just maybe not enough to shell out ~$400 for a water bottle yet.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Crocs put its foot — and its footprint — in its mouth this week, walking back a previous public commitment to reach net-zero status by 2030. The footwear company pushed it out a full decade, now promising to reach its environmental goal by 2040.

SNIPPETS

TodAI in AI: Elon Musk met with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this week to discuss federal AI regulations. Musk has been a noted AI critic — except when he’s the one leading it.

… What else did Elon get into? Making more Twitter changes, per usual. The latest tweak removes access to the platform’s search bar unless a visitor is logged in.

Growing? Slowing? The US economy grew 1.1% in the first quarter, but inflation grew more. The slower growth rate has analysts forecasting a word we don’t like seeing around here: r*cession.

Breathe in: You can now pay $949 for Dyson’s new headphones. They come with a detachable air purifier that makes you look a little like a cyberpunk character, but supposedly filters 99% of pollutants.

The FAA has grounded SpaceX’s Starship pending a mishap investigation. The rocket’s April 20 launch destroyed its launch pad, kicking up a potentially hazardous amount of dust in Boca Chica, Texas, and reportedly breaking windows in nearby Port Isabel.

Air fair: WalletHub’s analysis of 11 US airlines ranked Delta highest for the second year in a row. Budget airline Spirit came in second and, shocking no one after last year’s holiday meltdown, Southwest ranked last.

Dropbox will lay off 500 people, ~16% of its workforce. CEO Drew Houston blamed the economy and a pivot to AI that “requires a different mix of skill sets.”

Meanwhile, Lyft will lay of 1k+ people, ~26% of its corporate workforce, following a 13% reduction in November.

Some good news, some really, really bad news for NBCUniversal: The really, really bad news first — Peacock lost $700m+ in Q1. The good news? The streaming service only lost ~$233m when you look at things monthly.

Draft capital: This weekend, the NFL Draft will usher 259 football players into the league — and into millionaire status. This year’s final pick is projected to sign a contract worth ~$3.9m.

Domain event: Nature website Earth.com filed for bankruptcy this week, with the filing showing how much a snazzy domain can set a company back — the publisher still owes $5m as part of a rent-to-own domain agreement.

Balling on a budget: Budgeting might not be the most fun thing about your job, but it’s essential to a healthy business. Here’s how to run a budget analysis.

CHART
counterfeit goods
Olivia Heller

Gen Z is learning to save money… by spending it on counterfeits

What’s that phrase? Imitation is the sincerest form of… frugality?

TikTok data suggests that sentiment is now shared across Gen Z — and in a world where you can either buy a genuine Chanel flap bag for $10.2k (up from $4.4k in 2012), or a $55 “dupe” on Chinese site DHgate, can you blame them?

Counterfeits: The real deal

Last year, an EU survey found that 37% of 15- to 24-year-olds purchased at least one fake product in the prior year — mostly accessories, footwear, electronics, and cosmetics — up from 14% in 2019.

  • There was also a 6% jump in young shoppers who said they were influenced to make such a purchase.

Among the bogus-buying group, 48% said they did so because of price, 27% just didn’t give a damn about a product being fake, and 24% didn’t believe there was even a material difference from a genuine item.

Are you faux real?

Despite efforts to discourage counterfeit sales, TikTok appears to be the prime breeding ground for this behavior — and it happens to coincide with the platform’s expansion of its shopping functionality.

  • This month, The Guardian reported that nine out of the first 12 results for “perfume” in TikTok Shop appeared to be fake.

The younger generation’s buy-in to thrifting, bargain-hunting, and, uh, “frugal flexing,” is readily on display on TikTok, with hashtags #reps (often meaning “replicas”) and #bougieonabudget up to 1.9B and 473m views, respectively.

One faux pas: Not everyone is on board with this trend, based on the drama that ensued when a popular TikToker and Hermès enthusiast was accused of trying to resell fake Birkin handbags (which start at $9k and sometimes go for six figures). The accuser was The Fake Birkin Slayer, a burgeoning whistleblowing Instagram account.

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Free Resource

How to craft the perfect brand name

We’d say Bunch Bike, FunkkOff, and Eat Your Flowers are all pretty good.

In the past, these unique brands were “Shark Tank” contestants, pitching for the riches — but the joy of the joust is always cut short.

That’s why our people made the spinoff podcast Another Bite. Hear Ariel, Jorie, and Jon relive gnarly and nauseating products from the hit TV show.

Three catchy companies:

  • Bunch Bike’s unclear selling strategy and high price point
  • FunkkOff’s poor product-market fit and confusing use cases
  • Eat Your Flowers’ hella high margins and breaking into retail

Follow the pod for brand new features each week.

Shark bait hoo ha ha →
Recs
YouTube and Chill

Grab some corn (pop is fine, we prefer cob), find that perfect position on the couch, and enjoy the latest from our channel:

  • If you wanna be the only person at dinner tonight who knows how nuns got squeezed out of the communion wafer business, watch this.
  • For a business breakdown of that green audio app many of you are probably using at this very moment, here ya go.
  • For cinematography no other newsletter can compete with — oh, and an inside look at one of America’s last piano factories — watch our video aptly titled, “Inside one of America’s last piano factories.”
  • And from the podcast, listen to us dive into our original findings on the economics of dating, plus a discussion about Taco Bell’s innovation kitchen.
AROUND THE WEB

🎧 On this day: In 2003, Apple launched its iTunes Music Store with a novel business model: selling single songs for 99 cents each.

🧠 How to: Improve your life through a few simple tasks, at least according to these experts.

✏️ Blog: From banking to payments to Web3, these are the fintech startups to watch in 2023.

🎞️ That’s cool: This Y2K-style website offers movie suggestions. Just search for or click on a title you like to get several similar films.

👀 Aww: And now, have you ever seen a piglet squid?!

SHOWER THOUGHTS
  1. Lobsters are mermaids to scorpions. SOURCE

  2. People are impressed by the uniqueness of snowflakes, but potatoes are equally unique and no one cares. SOURCE

  3. Robbing people for the cash in their wallets must not be what it used to be. SOURCE

  4. Since spaceships aren’t available to everyone yet, the golden age of piracy hasn’t happened. SOURCE

  5. Having a really cool unique password sucks because you can never tell anyone how good it is. SOURCE

 
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Editing by: Ben “Meanie in a bottle” Berkley.

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How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

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

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?