🚀 Bezos vs. NASA


August 19, 2021

The Hustle

The 20 most viewed posts on Facebook in Q2 of 2021 accounted for just 0.1% of all content views on the platform. Interestingly, the No. 1 most viewed link on Facebook last quarter was a website for the Green Bay Packers alumni association. Don’t ask us why because we couldn’t tell ya.

Today’s rundown:

  • Astro-not: Why Jeff Bezos is suing NASA
  • Generation A: How brands are targeting the parents of children born between 2010 and 2025
  • All Def: Meet the largest Black-owned digital platform on YouTube and Facebook

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Bezos NASA

Jeff Bezos vs. NASA, explained

Why is the richest man on Earth suing the agency tasked with exploring everywhere else?

In short, NASA chose a different billionaire’s space proposal.

Let’s break it down.

The big, red picture

NASA’s Artemis Program aims to put people back on the moon by 2024 — something it hasn’t done since 1972 — to practice and prepare for missions to Mars.

Though the 1st run will be uncrewed, NASA will use its rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), to send 4 astronauts to the Orion spacecraft, where they’ll use a Human Landing System (HLS) to send 2 of them to the moon’s surface.

Where the billionaires come in

NASA considered proposals from 3 companies for the HLS:

  • Bezos’ Blue Origin
  • Alabama-based Dynetics
  • Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

Though NASA said it might pick 2, the organization received less funding than it wanted and chose only SpaceX’s $2.9B Starship proposal — more highly rated and cheaper than Blue Origin’s $5.9B proposal.

No fair, I’m telling the government!

Blue Origin and Dynetics complained to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), saying NASA evaluated the 3 proposals unreasonably and should have canceled or changed the award when it realized it didn’t have enough money.

The GAO rejected their protest in July, saying NASA was not obligated to choose 2 companies just because it said it might. (The full report is here.)

Bezos (worth an estimated $186B) offered NASA a $2B discount to no avail…

… then Blue Origin filed a complaint in federal court

Though it’s hidden behind a protective order, a Blue Origin spokesperson says the suit is “an attempt to remedy the flaws in the acquisition process found in NASA’s Human Landing System,” per The Verge.

Regardless of the complaint’s outcome, it’ll likely hold up NASA’s lunar plans. The protest GAO rejected already held SpaceX up for 95 days.

Musk has responded by suggesting that if lobbying and lawyers could get you to space, “Bezos would be on Pluto rn.”

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SNIPPETS

Beyond Meat is ready to go Beyond Milk. It filed for the trademark to use on milkshakes, coffee, and tea beverages. #ecommerce-retail

Here’s an interesting solar power plan: China wants to use space stations to harvest rays from the sun, then beam the bounty back to Earth. #clean-energy

Self-driving truck company Waymo is building a 9-acre hub near Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, big enough for 100s of trucks and employees. #emerging-tech

Uh oh: A T-Mobile hack exposed the data of 40m+ people, including not just customers but prospective customers, too. #privacy

Fast money: PayPal and Fiserv are partnering on a plan that would let gig workers get paid via PayPal or Venmo. #fintech-cryptocurrency

Alexa was once a popular name for girls. Then Amazon ruined it, even inspiring some parents to change their kids’ names. #big-tech

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have banned the Taliban, but new accounts keep popping up. #big-tech

Now on MFM: Digitizing the gun range, a twist on universal basic income, and how celebrities make money off their names. #mfm

Shiny and Chrome: Adam Hayes breaks down the 9 must-have Google Chrome plug-ins for marketers. #hustle-picks

Emerging Markets
toy building blocks

Gen Z is old news — brands are moving on to Generation Alpha

Studies show that children as young as 3 can recognize brand names.

This finding is not lost on baby brands — which have turned their attention to Generation Alpha, the children born between 2010 and 2025.

Generation Alpha is too young to have a consumer identity…

… but that’s not stopping brands from targeting their millennial parents.

As a result, legacy brands are facing new competition from D2C brands with minimalist aesthetics, serif fonts, and pastel colorways.

Some examples include:

  • Highchairs: Lalo and Stokke offer minimalist looks compared to Fisher-Price
  • Toys: Lovevery and Maisonette offer pastels in contrast to Little Tikes’ classic colorways
  • Food: Little Spoon and Yumi offer organic alternatives to Gerber

It seems obvious, but targeting baby products to parents is a new phenomenon

In the past, brands used bright, rainbow-colored packaging to capture the attention of children. Now, brands want to utilize the economic power of millennials for the next generation.

Since children can recognize brands so young, Generation Alpha is likely to share tastes with their parents more than previous generations.

While it’s hard to argue with healthier baby food, pastels pale in comparison to a vintage Trapper Keeper with Lisa Frank folders.

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Free Resource

4 keys to Disneyland-level customer service

Disney’s theme parks, resorts, and cruises have been America’s golden vacation standard (and a mecca for tourists) since the 1950s.

The customer service is known to be world-class…

… or as Sleepy the Dwarf says so eloquently, to “create dreams and preserve the magical guest experience.” Exactly.

From Disney’s playbook: How to be a beloved brand

Keeping the magic alive is no accident.

Even if your business only serves digitally, the core of exceptional customer service remains the same.

Watch this 6-minute video to learn how Disney reduces friction through social media, discussion boards, and more.

Adopt the Golden Standard →
Media moves
Cedric Rogers

Meet All Def, the largest Black-owned digital platform on YouTube and Facebook

If you’re a fan of hip-hop or comedy, it’s highly probable you’ve seen content from All Def.

With 15m+ fans across its platforms and 500m+ monthly views, All Def is part of the Culture Genesis network and is the largest Black-owned digital platform on YouTube and Facebook.

Culture Genesis itself is a media-tech company…

… co-founded by tech veteran Cedric Rogers, who spent nearly a decade at Apple before founding a startup that was part of the Y Combinator incubator.

After a #MeToo scandal sent All Def into bankruptcy in 2019, Culture Genesis took over and set the company back on the right path.

Today, All Def is a tech-savvy media company

Its YouTube channel has 4.5m+ subscribers with leading comedy (e.g., Dad Jokes, Roast Me) and hip-hop (e.g., TriviaMob, Best Moments) franchises.

After nabbing YouTube ad sale rights, Culture Genesis could bring in $15m over the next year. The studio also owns Bar Exam, a hip-hop trivia app recently accepted into Apple’s inaugural Entrepreneur Camp for Black Founders and Developers.

The latest move…

… is a partnership with Instagram’s largest hip-hop account, RapTV (@Rap), owned by Trends member Daniel Snow.

To find out more, The Hustle spoke with Rogers about:

  • Culture Genesis’ mission: “Our core opportunity is to help Black and brown creators grow their businesses and get connected to large brands deals.”
  • Lessons from Apple: “Steve [Jobs] says you always have to look around corners and see where things are headed.”
  • Lessons from Y Combinator: “Either build or fundraise. Don’t do both at the same time.”

Read the full Q&A here.

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Trends Job Board

Over in the Trends Facebook group, 15k members of the Trends community connect every day and discuss new ideas, opportunities, and challenges.

They also let us know when they’re hiring, so here’s a few cool gigs you may be interested in:

  • SAKAS AND COMPANY is looking for a marketing-oriented Executive Assistant. The position is fully remote, so you can practice your badassery from the comfort of your tempurpedic mattress executive chair.
  • KegWorks is seeking a highly skilled and well-rounded Sr. Creative and Marketing Manager. Keg-stand experience is a plus.
  • WhatHouse.com is looking for a house-loving Business Development Manager.
  • Kitty’s Co is looking for a Creative Director who is also a part-time data nerd.
  • Territory Foods seeks a Senior Product Designer to make pretty things for hungry people.
AROUND THE WEB

🌽 That’s cool: Tocabe Indigenous Marketplace is an online shop for Native and Indigenous-owned foods from across the US, including cornmeal, rice, coffee, meats, olive oil, and more..

😎 How to: Nervous about an upcoming job interview? Here are some tips to appear more confident.

🍻 Wow: German chemists analyzed 467 beers and found 7.7k+ unique chemical formulas using a method that can analyze a sample in ~10 minutes.

🎶 On this day: In 2008, Lady Gaga dropped “The Fame,” which would go on to win Album of the Year at the Grammys.

🐶 Wholesome: Here is a giant Alaskan Malamute getting brushed. So large. So fluffy.

🐥 Haha: And now, here’s a Rube Goldberg machine timed to the “Jurassic Park” theme song… as played by rubber chickens.

Meme of the day
Jeff Bezos wearing a cowboy hat

Great song, though (Source: Twitter / RampCapitalLLC)

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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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