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The Hustle

Sauce company Truff is dropping a line of exclusive Super Mario Bros. Movie hot sauces. Truff’s key ingredient is the black winter truffle, but while tasty, we doubt these sauces will make you taller.

In today’s email:

  • More than Netflix?: What successful Fanfix creators charge.
  • Chai-ching: Bubble tea brews up serious profits.
  • Short on staplers? Your office is more like Google than you thought.
  • Around the Web: A silly Sonic game, shuffle history, a volleyball champ, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear us discuss a bubble tea craze that’s not popping anytime soon, the UFC and WWE’s flex of a deal, Google saying bye to staplers, and more.

The big idea
taking a selfie

Gen Z creators are making money on Fanfix

As a potential TikTok ban looms, Fanfix is successfully courting Gen Z creators looking to monetize their fan bases.

Fanfix was founded by Harry Gestetner, Simon Pompan, and influencer Cameron Dallas in 2021, and acquired by SuperOrdinary — which connects brands, creators, and buyers — in 2022 for $65m.

Creators who already have 10k+ followers can apply and, if accepted, charge fans $5-$50/mo. for paywalled content, or up to $500 for private DMs. Creators keep 80%, per TechCrunch.

Fanfix is akin to Patreon or OnlyFans, except it targets fans 13-24, so there’s absolutely no nudity allowed and moderators review DMs.

Do people really pay up?

It’s hard for me — a cranky millennial — to see why anyone would pay to watch strangers — even hot strangers — go to Starbucks. But Gestetner told Forbes that Gen Z has grown up with a deluge of free content and now craves exclusivity. 

Creator Savannah Demers (who tells good dad jokes, btw) told TechCrunch her ~2.1k fans have earned her ~$13.5k per month at $8/mo. — not including tips or messages. Netflix starts at $6.99/mo.

Fanflix also claims:

  • It has 10m+ users, including 3k creators
  • Creators average ~200 fans and an annual income of $70k
  • It’s paid out $11m to creators this year so far and expects to pay $50m by year end

The SuperOrdinary acquisition didn’t hurt either

SuperOrdinary partners with 140+ brands and has an influencer-curated ecommerce platform, GalaGala.

Basically, they’re going all-in on the Gen Z creator economy — and it appears to be working.

View on site
eyeball wearing a hat

Chompi, a super-cool instrument/tool that makes sound design accessible, is the newest member of an elite Kickstarter club. With 42 days to go on its original $30k goal, the device has eclipsed $1.1m in funding.


Stunner: The UFC and WWE are merging into a $21.4B company. For a sense of the new entertainment giant’s scale, UFC’s YouTube following is more than the NFL and MLB combined — and WWE has 6x as many subscribers as UFC.

Critical hit: Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves’ global box-office haul totaled $71m, but the fantasy adventure couldn’t quite topple Level 20 Rogue John Wick’s box-office reign.

Speaking of movies, Regal parent Cineworld announced a restructuring plan with lenders to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. CEO Mooky Greidinger expressed confidence in the deal, plus the post-pandemic movie resurgence.

Locked and loaded: There will soon be a new US storage kingpin — Extra Space Storage, which will combine with rival Life Storage in a $12.7B deal. Adding to the drama: Life Storage recently rejected a bid from current top dog Public Storage.

Face lifted: Walmart rolled out a redesigned website experience to counter Amazon’s ecommerce dominance — with an interface that looks eerily similar to Amazon. We honestly can’t wait till Walmart CEO Doug McMillon shaves his head to look more like Jeff Bezos.

Google Search’s new features include a flight price guarantee badge on what Google thinks is the lowest price. If you book with Google and the price drops, you’ll be refunded the difference.

Savvy moves? As Saudi Arabia’s government seeks economic engines outside of oil, gaming is a leading target. The Saudi national fund’s Savvy Gaming Group is expected to invest $38B by 2030 to develop, publish, and acquire games.

Shoot the moon: NASA named the four astronauts who will travel around the moon and back as soon as next fall. We’ll assume we are understudies for Artemis II, the first lunar mission in 50+ years, unless told otherwise.

Rue the day: Paris will ban e-scooters following a vote that saw 90% of Parisians in favor. Complaints include clutter and safety, with 459 related accidents in 2022 alone.

Keep on trucking: Phenomenal news for people who love the word “torque” — leading ad forecaster Magna expects to see a 10%-15% increase in ad spending from car dealers and brands this year.

50 interview questions:  A pack of proper asks to prep you for success, upgrade your competence, and, hopefully, help you hop on payroll.


You probably spend a lot of time negotiating, whether it’s with clients, partners, or investors. And there’s more than one way to do it. Here’s how to make sure your negotiations are successful.

bubble tea chart
Zachary Crockett

Chai-ching: Bubble tea is brewing up serious profits in the US

The Dot-Com Bubble. The Housing Bubble. The… Bubble Bubble?

Bubble tea, or boba, has been the hottest tea trend in America over the last decade, and though the tapioca treats have been expanding across the nation at a rapid rate, this is one craze that doesn’t appear to be at risk of popping anytime soon.

Steeped in success

Americans’ interest in bubble tea, originally concocted in Taiwan in the 1980s, has gotten steamy hot in recent years, according to Bloomberg. In 2023, the US market for the drink — uh, food, uh, drink, uh… — is estimated to be worth $640m. A decade from now, estimates rise to $2.2B.

In 2022, with some 30.5m kilograms in the trunk, tapioca-based foods beat out frozen tilapia and sugar confectioneries as the most-valued US food import from Taiwan, rising to ~$50m from less than ~$15m in 2020.

Globally, Taiwan’s tapioca export value passed the $100m mark in 2021, up 23%.

Really milking it

Bubble tea franchises are growing quickly:

  • This year, Queens-based Kung Fu Tea and its 350 locations are hoping to steep in $240m of sales.
  • In recent years, Taipei-based CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice has expanded its North American footprint 77%.
  • In 2019, Taiwan’s Gong Cha was acquired by Boston-based TA Associates for $270m.

Think they threw a tea party to celebrate?

View on site
Free Resource

Will AI replace marketers? Search engines?

Here’s a doozy: Thanks to the ground breaking going on in generative AI, Goldman Sachs estimates that two-thirds of jobs in the US and Europe are exposed to automation (as per Financial Times).

That prompts some intense questions — like, am I such an expendable being? And, is my Googling experience on the cusp of improving buckets?

We spoke to Jasper’s Head of Enterprise Marketing Samyutha Reddy, who remains admirably optimistic.

Thoughts from the HubSpot blog:

  • AI cannot replace the human experience…
  • … but it will force digital specialists to adjust
  • Demand for generative AI marketers will grow
  • Expect search engines to drastically shift (soon)

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again — time to put ’em to work.

Is generative AI a threat? →
Supplies In Demand
throwing away a stapler

Tale of the tape: Google dispenses with office supplies

Time to add another workplace acronym to your glossary: BYOS — Bring Your Own Stapler.

Cost-cutting efforts are continuing at Alphabet after Google’s parent company eliminated 12k jobs in January, and per CNBC, austerity measures include saving on staplers and tape dispensers.

Internal memos warn basic supplies will no longer be provided at print stations, with San Francisco employees directed to borrow them from the receptionist desk as needed.

Saving on office supplies is a familiar tune in budget-conscious offices worldwide. So if this weren’t Google, it wouldn’t feel surprising…

… but it is Google.

They have long been a standard bearer for benefits and office perks. (Though, in fairness to Alphabet, operating efficiently with ~175k employees is a tall task.)

Other ongoing efforts to rein in costs:

  • Pausing laptop refreshes — MacBooks will be harder to come by; non-engineers will default to Chromebooks.
  • Food, fitness, massage, and transportation programs are all being reevaluated. Cafe consolidation is expected; the company already let 20+ massage therapists go earlier this year.

Prompting internal outcry, Google also did not pay out remaining time for employees laid off while on maternity and medical leave.

Perks and raises were already in trouble

Employees at one of the world’s most valuable companies struggling to find staplers is… well, it’s sobering.

A recent executive survey shows 47% of companies are planning to trim benefits this year, per Fortune. Commuter benefits and adoption and fertility assistance are common targets.

  • Even cash-rich Apple has curtailed travel spending, cut bonuses, and stopped backfilling positions.

But if we’re looking for a positive here, at least this viral PSA about tape dispensers can claim another moment in the sun?

View on site

🕷️ On this day: In 2013, scientists discovered the Poecilotheria rajaei — a tarantula with a leg span of up to eight inches — in Sri Lanka. Wired reported it was “about the size of your face.” No, thanks!

🎵 That’s interesting: The history of the shuffle button — and what Adele and Spotify have to do with it.

🎧 Haha: Even Nissan has a lofi beats player now (h/t Land of Random).

🦔 Cure boredom: For April Fools’, Sega released a Sonic the Hedgehog murder mystery game. But it’s not quite a joke because you can play it for free on Steam.

🏐 Aww: And now, a very good volleyball player.

ChatGPT meme

AI can take all our money, but they can never take all our sadness. Yay? (Link.)


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Editing by: Ben “Mr. Tea” Berkley.

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