🗓️ Our best of 2021 list

The Hustle

To wrap up the year, today’s email is full of The Hustle’s most popular content in 2021. We look forward to bringing you much more in 2022.

Until then (AKA Monday), enjoy:

  • The best GIFs
  • The most-read Sunday stories
  • The most-clicked email subject lines
  • The most popular My First Million podcast guests

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Zack making gifs

A GIF of Zack making GIFs (lol)

The Hustle employs the world’s best GIF-maker…

… and his name is Zachary Crockett, who also happens to be our indefatigable Sunday story editor.

When he’s not crafting 2k-word viral deep dives (e.g., “The rise and demise of Subway’s $5 Footlong”), Zack is making the iconic GIFs that lead off our daily newsletters.

The most impressive part

Zack will often make one of these GIFs simply based on an article’s title, with no further context. And, almost without fail, the moving image captures the article’s main thrust while delivering a laugh.

Here are some popular ones from 2021:

From: “The metaverse has the same harassment problem as the rest of the internet”

From: “Branson’s Virgin Orbit launches to public with $3.7B SPAC deal” 

From: “President Biden is laying down the law for EVs”

From: “How MLB created the Disney+ streaming service”

From: “Microsoft’s Windows 11 update is good for competition. But it’s still trying to kill Slack.”

Our most popular Sunday stories

While Zack was at the helm of our popular Sunday stories, The Hustle had many contributors this year.

Here were are our most read long-form stories:

  1. “Inside the world’s most booked Airbnb” (Link)
  2. “How Bob Ross paintings became a coveted investment” (Link)
  3. “The economics of dollar stores” (Link)
  4. “Why America has a school bus driver shortage” (Link)
  5. “The thriving business of Ikea hacking” (Link)
  6. “The secretary who turned Liquid Paper into a multimillion-dollar business” (Link)
  7. “The economics of gas stations” (Link)
  8. “He was facing life in prison. Now, he’s the CEO of the ‘Instagram for the Incarcerated.’” (Link)
  9. “The family business that owns a share of the $7B James Bond franchise” (Link)
  10. “The crazy market for the world’s most expensive pet fish” (Link)
My First Million

The My First Million podcast: A year of great guests

My First Million has been around for almost 3 years — and it’s become one of the world’s most popular business podcasts. In 2021, our hosts Sam Parr and Shaan Puri scored guests that shared amazing lessons.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Dr. Andrew Huberman: The Stanford professor and neuroscientist dishes on fame, money, and total human optimization. (Link)
  • Hasan Minhaj: The comedian sat down with Shaan to talk Netflix, money, and his process. (Link)
  • Rob Dyrdek: The entrepreneur explains how “tracking every second of his life” helped him grow from $0 to $450m in exits. (Link)
  • Stanley Druckenmiller: Trung did a special episode with the legendary billionaire investor. He discusses Bitcoin, bubbles, and his investment process. (Link)
  • Gary Vaynerchuk: The internet entrepreneur and massive media personality talks all things NFTs. (Link)
  • Balaji Srinivasan: The investor and former Coinbase CTO talks about how to fix the media, cloud cities, and crypto. (Link)
  • Steph Smith: Our OG Trends analyst digs into 7-figure companies with 1 employee. (Link)

Finally, the MFM guys also hosted the co-founders of HubSpot:

  • Brian Halligan: The former Hubspot CEO — and current executive chairperson — discusses his near-death experience and lessons from reaching $1B in ARR. (Link)
  • Dharmesh Shah: HubSpot’s CTO shares his thought process behind buying The Hustle, how he thinks about time and money, and how HubSpot came to be. (Link)

Thanks for listening, and look for more amazing guests in 2022!

The most-clicked email subject lines

As an email newsletter about the tech industry, it’s probably no surprise that The Hustle is obsessed with email subject lines.

We go out to 1.6m+ readers every day and constantly A/B (and, really, C/D) test our subject lines to see which resonate with you readers.

Here were the most-clicked subject lines of 2021. (**Note: The email subject lines may not match the web page version. Why? We run 4 subject lines every day but only upload one version onto the website.)

Y’all love some Big Tech news

  • ✋ Facebook caught lying (Link)
  • 🔵  Zucky McLucky (Link)
  • 🖥️  Did Microsoft just kill Slack? (Link)
  • ☁️ Amazon vs. Cisco (Link)
  • 🍏 Apple’s AR glasses (Link)

Also, sex sells…

  • 💜  Meet the new Tinder (Link)
  • 🛑  A sex-free OnlyFans (Link)

… and so do huge numbers

  • 📚  The $1.6T student debt problem (Link)
  • 🏥  The $10B doctor social network (Link)
  • 🐵  Is Mailchimp worth $12B? (Link)
TRENDS

Nerdy Nuts’ $6m brand loyalty playbook

When Craig’s D2C peanut butter brand went viral on TikTok, he was ready.

He leveraged TikTok’s momentum like a machine, reaching 20x growth and $500k in sales per month.

For peanut butter. Small-batch, lip-smacking peanut butter.

He’s busy managing 30+ employees, but his real talent lies in marketing. Here are 3 brand loyalty tips from the TikTok legend:

  1. CEOs should hear directly from consumers. Craig stays on the pulse via a private text group with top community members.
  2. Ambassadors > influencers/referral programs. Sometimes, you gotta think smaller. As in, the ever-loyal micro-micro-influencers.
  3. Make use of community feedback and visibility. Here’s how.

To finish reading this article and access our 17k+ strong network…

Try Trends for $1 →
Shower Thoughts
  1. “If you lose one leg your BMI goes down. If you lose 2 legs your BMI goes up.”
  2. “In 1998 we made 2 animated movies about ants and then just decided that was enough.”
  3. “The fact that someone had to come up with a superstition to keep people from walking under ladders is probably a pretty good sign that we’ve always been dumb.”
  4. “History makes a lot more sense when you realize we are the most sober generation there has ever been.”
  5. “The blanket needs you to be warm. Without you, it’s just a cold piece of fabric on the floor.”
via Reddit

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Psst

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?

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