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The Hustle

Gezellig Brewing Company is releasing America’s first tulip beer, an aromatic brew made with the flower’s petals. Per the Iowa brewery’s Instagram, the R&D phase involved a lot of petal-munching, revealing that red tulips taste the best.

In today’s email:

  • Imgur purge: An effort to save internet history — before next week.
  • Shooting star: Meet the hoops entrepreneur coaching NBA stars, Drake, and Mark Cuban.
  • App showdown: Lemon8 is here… but so is Pinterest.
  • Around the Web: Phone a bot, get happy, the buying power of moms, and more.
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The big idea
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A rush to save the memes of Imgur

If you’ve spent time on internet forums, you know Imgur.

Ohio University student Alan Schaaf founded it in 2009 as “an image hosting service that doesn’t suck,” and it quickly became a mainstay among Reddit users, until Reddit added its own image hosting capabilities in 2016.

But it’s a different Imgur now. It was acquired by MediaLab — owner of Kik and Genius, among other sites — in 2021 and last month announced that, on May 15, it would purge:

  • Nudity and sexually explicit content
  • Old, unused, or inactive content not tied to a user account

Many worry…

… it’ll be the internet equivalent of the burning of the Library of Alexandria — if that library had been full of memes and cat pics.

​​Because any link to a purged image will be useless, comedy site Something Awful has started to save images through the “Imgur Download Caper.”

The site’s owner, who goes by Jeffrey of YOSPOS and bought SA in 2020, told The Verge that the community has downloaded three terabytes worth of images and videos after scraping SA forum threads to identify Imgur links.

SA’s own servers will host the images — at an estimated cost of $80-$100/mo. — and old posts will be overwritten to include new links. It’s a massive undertaking but…

… such is the way of the intangible internet

We only have access to content — movies, games, articles, etc. — so long as someone hosts it.

  • When Google shuttered its cloud gaming service Stadia, it at least refunded users for the games they’d bought.
  • HBO Max purged numerous shows from its streaming library — much to the chagrin of the people who made them.

In part, the impermanence of the internet has produced a resurgence of physical media, from vinyl to VHS.

Companies can purge their archives, but they can never take my Blu-ray of the 1989 haunted gym movie Death Spa!

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Israeli officials caught Americans attempting to smuggle in 375 pounds of Fruit Roll-Ups. A TikTok trend in which people fill the candy with ice cream has made it a scarce and expensive commodity, but never fear — Israel’s Ministry of Health suggests this cucumber recipe instead.


Bleak: The Small Business Optimism Index fell last month to 89, its lowest level in over a decade. Labor shortages and inflation were the top challenges cited by small business owners.

Holy sheet: Tempur Sealy International will buy Mattress Firm in a $4B deal — if the leading bedding supplier absorbing the leading bedding retailer doesn’t succumb to regulatory nightmares.

But where will China get its terrible hot takes about work-life balance? LinkedIn plans to shut down InCareer, its localized Chinese job platform, which was 263m users behind competitor Zhaopin.

Points of view: Meta is testing a new way for its creators to monetize Facebook and Instagram posts, basing earnings on viewers (rather than ads served around their videos). The move, they hope, will help Reels better compete with TikTok.

Wendy’s is working with Google to develop a drive-thru chatbot that understands unique phrases — “biggie bag,” for example — and can parse orders over background noise.

When will the madness end? On the heels of Molson Coors’ beer chocolate announcement, Kraft Heinz and Compartes Chocolatier have partnered on Velveeta-infused truffles. At $24.95 for five, a single chocolate is costlier than an entire box of Shells and Cheese.

Goldman Sachs will pay $215m to ~2.8k women employees to settle a class-action lawsuit accusing the institution of gender discrimination in pay and promotions.

That’s cool: Niantic of Pokemon Go fame is back with Peridot, an AR pet simulator for iOS and Android. Players raise tiny virtual creatures on their phones that interact with their real-world environments.

Victoria’s Secret will bring back its famous fashion show this fall — as a pre-produced, streaming feature-length film — for the first time since 2018.

This isn’t strictly tech or business, but… this’ll be the most important thing you’ll read today nonetheless: French researchers found that cats prefer both visual and vocal cues when non-familiar humans want their attention.

Practice empathy: Today’s companies are held to high standards by both customers and employees. Empathetic communication might be the answer to building a stellar reputation.

Net Profits
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The basketball journeyman who became a shooting coach to the stars

Proof that Chris Matthews had “made it” in the cutthroat basketball world arrived a few years ago, in the form of a late-night text.

Matthews was in Atlanta, helping NBA player Dwight Howard improve his shot, when he got a message from an unknown number.

“I was like, ‘Who the hell is this?’” he recalled in a recent interview with The Hustle. “And it was 21 Savage. I don’t know how he got my number, but he was like, ‘Yo, I want to get some shots up.’ I’m like, ‘Hey, say no more.’”

Even though it was around 1am, Matthews found an open gym and developed a quick workout tailored for the superstar rapper, who often plays in celebrity basketball games.

Those types of thrilling moments are now routine for Matthews, a former overseas professional player who has become a successful entrepreneur in an exclusive niche: helping people get better at shooting a basketball.

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No Pin Drop
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Lemon8 aims at Pinterest — and why that may not go so great for them

A new social media platform is in town and quickly gaining steam.

Since its buzzy American debut in February, ByteDance’s Lemon8 has seen 1m+ US downloads (17m+ downloads globally), and it has climbed up the lifestyle app chart, a list long topped by Pinterest.

Speaking of Pinterest…

… If Pinterest and Instagram had a baby, it’d be Lemon8 — its feed looks similar to Pinterest, and individual posts are reminiscent of Instagram carousels.

While Lemon8 could work as an alternative to Instagram — whose users have been vocal about frustrations with its unpredictable algorithm — Pinterest users seem happy with the original. (There haven’t been cries for a “new Pinterest.”)

  • Pinterest has ~450m active users and most like the platform — 80% say they feel positive when using it, and 90% call it an “online oasis” (whereas only 30% feel similarly about other platforms).
  • It also has the ecommerce heft ByteDance craves: Pinterest users spend 80% more per month than people on other platforms.

Lemon8 can certainly continue trying, but Pinterest will be tough to dethrone.

There are reasons to be skeptical

As with any new platform, there are valid concerns about Lemon8’s viability:

  • Also owned by ByteDance, Lemon8 could face the same scrutiny as TikTok over security concerns.
  • Many social platforms emerge with a splash before the excitement fades. (Clubhouse and BeReal showed promise but failed to capture audiences’ long-term attention.)

Pinterest, which launched in 2010, has the user base and fandom Lemon8 seeks — and a decade’s head start in translating that favorability into sales. Only time will tell if Lemon8 can turn social media lemons into lemonade.

Read full story →

🛤️ On this day: In 1869, the US transcontinental railroad was finished, connecting both coasts and decreasing travel time from months by wagon to a matter of days.

📱 That’s cool: An AI bot you can talk to on the phone.

🎧 Podcast: With Mother’s Day coming up, Another Bite explores the $2.4T buying power of moms.

🙂 How to: Be happy, according to two MIT business experts.

🐶 Aww: And now, move over, Cirque du Soleil.

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Time for the ol’ “log off mid-sentence and return 20 minutes later citing ‘internet trouble’” trick. (Link)


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