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The fourth flying object in a week was shot down by the US Military yesterday — this time, over Lake Huron in Michigan. Our theory: The balloons were just trying to circumvent Fox News’ broadcast rights for the Super Bowl.

In today’s email:

  • 7-Eleven: A $91m settlement reveals a strange safety hazard.
  • Chart: Lyft needs a lift.
  • Digits: VR, beef stew, and more numbers.
  • Around the Web: Decrypted letters, hotel tips, a guilty cat, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about the state of the Uber-Lyft rivalry in 2023, a major dog food acquisition, less-than-ideal news at Adidas, a VR shake-up, and more.

The big idea
car crash at 7-Eleven

Drivers crash into 7-Elevens daily

In 2017, a man was waiting for a ride outside a 7-Eleven in Bensenville, Illinois, when a driver attempting to park hit the gas instead of the brakes, pinning him against the storefront. The man’s injuries were so severe, he lost both legs.

Now, 7-Eleven will pay him a $91m settlement.

That may sound strange, considering it was the driver who injured him. But the case revealed just how often such crashes occur, per NBC Chicago.

Basically, every day

Power Rogers LLC, the law firm that represented the man, found that over a ~15-year period, 6,253 drivers crashed into 7-Eleven storefronts in the US. That’s ~1 per day.

This isn’t strictly a 7-Eleven problem. The Storefront Safety Council, a group of volunteers who raise awareness about vehicle-in-building crashes, maintains a database of them. It found:

  • Each day, 100+ drivers crash into storefronts nationwide
  • Every year, 16k people are injured and 2.6k are killed
  • 9% were “ram raids” — when someone crashes into a store on purpose to rob it

Some stores, including the Bensenville 7-Eleven, have been hit multiple times. A Portland, Oregon, 7-Eleven has been hit 13 times.

Businesses can’t control drivers…

… but they can install bollards — heavy-duty vertical posts — to stop cars from crashing into their storefronts.

A 7-Eleven spokesperson said that the store followed local building codes and ordinances, but the judge decided it should have also installed bollards, per CBS.

Storefront Safety Council co-founder Rob Reiter told The Hustle that the average cost of installation is $700-$900 per bollard.

But as Storefront Safety points out, they have to be quality bollards or they won’t stop the car — which is what happened when a truck crashed into a Dollar Tree in Maine.

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eyeball wearing a hat

It sounds like after this May’s Fast X, the final boss in the Fast and Furious franchise will be Tesla, Waymo, and Cruise. Well, not exactly, but Vin Diesel said the villain will be “promoting AI and driverless cars… and that’s at direct odds with the Toretto mentality.”


Dog cereal: Post Holdings will acquire several pet food brands, including 9Lives and Kibbles ’n Bits, from J.M. Smucker Co. for $1.2B.

Adidas shares dropped 11% after the company said it could lose ~$1.3B if it can’t sell its Yeezy-branded merch. Adidas ended its partnership with Ye after his antisemitic comments.

Carnival Cruise Line announced a new 31-day cruise from Australia to Seattle for ~$3.4k, one of its longest offerings yet.

Oof: A Meta contractor reportedly agreed to share renderings of unannounced VR headsets with a YouTuber in exchange for a cut of his channel’s ad revenue.

Bad ads: The New York Times is asking readers to share info about online ads they encounter that are repetitive, irrelevant, or that share misinformation.

Food as medicine: The Biden admin moves to allow Medicaid to pay for groceries and nutritional counseling, if states request it. Advocates say it would save health care costs in the long run.

A report found that 50%+ of Twitter’s top 1k advertisers had stopped spending in January, including Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, and Jeep.

OSHA fined Mars Wrigley $14.5k+ over a 2022 incident in which two Pennsylvania workers fell into a vat of chocolate. Rescuers cut a hole in the bottom to get them out.

Press play: If you create content, you know that short-form video is where it’s at for 2023. Here’s some expert advice for making top-tier video clips that get noticed.

Lyft stock performance
Singdhi Sokpo

Uber pulls ahead in the rideshare wars

It wasn’t that long ago when we were baffled by the idea of hailing a ride in a stranger’s car. Back then, for many, the Uber-Lyft rivalry revolved around matters of personal preference: pink or black.

But Uber has since expanded into verticals that now individually dwarf Lyft’s entire business — and in what some view as a winner-take-all market, Lyft’s future looks increasingly like an uphill battle.

Last week…

… Lyft reported earnings that fell below analyst expectations, including a quarterly loss and a lower-than-expected ~$975m revenue outlook for Q1.

  • On Friday, Lyft’s stock had its worst day since going public four years ago, with shares falling 36%+.

By comparison, Uber called Q4 its “strongest quarter ever.” It made $4.1B in ride-hailing revenue (+82% YoY), $2.9B from Uber Eats and Postmates (+21% YoY), and $1.5B from Uber Freight (+43% YoY).

Some think Lyft may need to merge with the likes of DoorDash to keep up.

Alternatively, they could establish “an insidious sleeper cell… to sabotage Uber from the inside,” as comedian Nathan Fielder once attempted.

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Free Resource

Two polished business plan templates

Before that big idea sits and dies on some notepad… let’s see if it flies.

Every dream company needs that showstopping one-sheeter that tells the full story. Here are two tight business plan templates to outline every key aspect of your venture.

Use this free resource to:

  • Sell your company story
  • Lay out grand scheme goals
  • Describe product and competition
  • Detail legal and financial blockers
  • Determine true product-market fit

Work out the logistics on this foundational doc.

Swift business plan →

Digits: Beef stew, VR, and more numbers

1) In 2022, sales of the Ivy Park brand, Beyoncé’s streetwear partnership with Adidas, dropped 50%+ to ~$40m — well below internal projections of $250m. This year, Adidas initially targeted $335m in sales for the brand. It’s on track to hit $65m.

2) This week, Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey is hitting 1.5k screens in the US. In Mexico, the film has made $1m+ at the box office since its Jan. 29 debut, off a “very, very tight” sub-$100k budget that included a $650 Pooh mask.

3) The New York Times published 700 recipes last year, but its most popular is still Molly O’Neill’s 12-ingredient “Old-Fashioned Beef Stew” from 1994. It has been viewed 24m+ times since 2019, including 6.7m times in 2022, and boasts 19k+ reviews.

4) The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers recorded a record yield last year, and expect to sell 179.2m pounds this year. The North American maple syrup industry is valued at $1.5B.

5) China-based TikTok parent ByteDance is carving out market share in the VR headset space. Early last year, Meta held 90% of the market. By Q3 of 2022, that was down to ~75%, and ByteDance’s Pico held 15%.

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🎵 On this day: In 1914, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded to ensure that music creators were compensated for performances of their work.

✉️ That’s interesting: Mary Stuart, the former queen of Scotland, was imprisoned for 19 years before being beheaded in 1587. She left behind a collection of letters written in code that have finally been decrypted.

🎧 Podcast: Relive the moment when Coffee Meets Bagel turned down Mark Cuban’s $30m offer and learn where they are now on Another Bite.

👟 How to: A flight attendant shared several hotel tips, including putting a shoe in your safe so you don’t forget to empty it when checking out.

🐈‍⬛ Aww: And now, who could have done this?

busy schedule

Me-time is hard work, OK? (Link.)

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