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🚲 Tough times for Peloton

The Hustle

If anyone here is looking for a house, a 30k-square-foot 16th-century villa in Rome filled with priceless Western artifacts was put up for auction last Tuesday at $534m, following an inheritance fight between a Texas-born princess and her stepsons. Phew, that was a mouthful.

Today’s rundown:

  • Peloton’s problems: The latest in a rough year for the connected fitness leader.
  • Roblox: How the sandbox gaming platform curbed a troll.
  • Digits: EV ads, a close call, and a Staten Island ferry.
  • Around the web: Emojis at scale, melody makers, and more cool internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Peloton ad meme

Peloton’s problems have gone from bad to worse

One reason Peloton’s equipment is so popular is its ability to make subscribers sweat. Now it seems the connected fitness pioneer is the one sweating.

After a series of fumbles led to subpar earnings in Q4 2021, Peloton’s outlook has grown increasingly dire as the company has seen its valuation shed $40B in the past year, per CNBC.

So what’s wrong now?

As consumers have become more comfortable with going back to old fitness habits (e.g., the gym and boutique fitness classes), Peloton has struggled to adjust.

Just in the last week, the firm was the subject of 3 troubling headlines:

  • Peloton cited inflation and supply chain issues as reasons for raising prices beginning Jan. 31 (adding $250 per bike and $350 per treadmill)
  • The firm hired management consulting firm McKinsey to help with “cost structure,” a move many expect will result in layoffs
  • The company admitted falling demand and announced it would halt production on its treadmills and bikes

The pause in production is especially surprising given Peloton spent much of the pandemic fighting to catch up to demand.

But it won’t last forever

Peloton’s plan is to halt production of its Bike for 2 months, and its Tread for 6 weeks starting in February.

Decreasing demand doesn’t exactly bode well for the company’s newest product — Peloton Guide, a $495 strength training product that connects to a user’s TV and was originally supposed to debut last Oct.

In the midst of it all, Peloton CEO John Foley remains optimistic, tweeting his appreciation for the Peloton team as its subscriber base approaches 3m users.

If the recent struggles are making him sweat, Foley’s not showing it.

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Luxe launch: Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, a luxury online retailer owned by Richemont, launched a marketplace to compete with rival Farfetch. #ecommerce-retail

Bad breach: 93 WordPress themes were targeted in a supply chain attack, giving hackers access to all websites built on the themes through a backdoor. #privacy

Plaid, a fintech company that uses APIs to connect bank accounts to financial apps, acquired Cognito, which offers ID verification services, for $250m. #fintech-crypto

Going rogue: Shopify confirmed it cancelled agreements with its fulfillment partners, leading to a 14% drop in its stock price Friday. #big-tech

MFM: Shaan recounts how Tony Robbins rewarded a waiter instead of giving him a big tip. #mfm

Roblox app

Roblox went to court to ban a troll

Apparently, Roblox doesn’t want you to upload photos of yourself wearing only a lampshade.

Roblox is a popular social gaming platform full of user-created games. It’s worth $40B in market cap and has ~43.2m daily users, 67% of whom are under 16.

And like any platform, it has its trolls

In November, Roblox sued Benjamin Simon, AKA YouTuber Ruben Sim, claiming he was the ringleader of a “cybermob.”

The complaint accused Sim of:

  • Glamorizing the deadly 2018 YouTube shooting and threatening a copycat attack on Roblox’s San Mateo headquarters
  • Posting fake terrorist threats that temporarily shut down the Roblox Developers Conference in 2021 (and cost Roblox $50k)
  • Cyberbullying the company’s employees and users
  • Racial and homophobic slurs
  • Sexual harassment
  • Trying to upload photos of Hitler and “a nude image of himself with only a lampshade covering his genitals”

While this alleged behavior got his IP banned from the platform, Roblox also accused Sim of hacking other users’ accounts to get back in.

Despite initially seeking $1.65m+…

… Roblox has instead agreed to $150k and has banned Sim from the platform — and going near its IRL office — for several years, per Polygon.

Sim, whose channel has 850k+ subscribers, is refuting Roblox’s allegations via YouTube, starting by claiming that Roblox does nothing to stop child predators who groom victims on Discord.

And he’s not alone there. YouTube channel People Make Games’s exploration into Roblox’s moderation issues has racked up 4.1m+ views.

Related: Harassment in the metaverse? Yeah, it’s a problem.

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Free Resource

The 2022 marketing trends: Survey results

If you thought business got funky last year…

… Well, more paradigm shifts are coming. But you can start prepping your campaigns for success as soon as right now.

HubSpot tapped over 1k global B2B and B2C marketers to collect the survey data featured in this article.

28 marketing trends of tomorrow (deep (like deep) blog post)

  • Top 12 to watch in 2022
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • SEO marketing
  • Privacy marketing
  • AI and automation

If you didn’t know: 34% of marketers say they’ll hit up influencers, and 89% of short-form video marketers plan to invest the same or more.

Read the whole thing here. Stay ahead of the curve.

1k-in-1 blog post →
By the numbers
Staten Island Ferry

You’ll never guess who bought this bad boy (Souce: Barry Winiker / Getty Images)

Digits: EV ads, a close call, and a Staten Island ferry

1) It may seem like car ads haven’t changed in decades, but they are — and fast. In 2019, automakers spent $83m to air 8k commercials for electric vehicles. In 2021, they spent $248m (out of $3.3B total) on 33k electric vehicle ad spots.

2) Yikes alert. Cracker Barrel was ordered by a Tennessee jury to pay a man $9.4m after accidentally giving him a glass of Eco-San — a commercial sanitizer — instead of water. Seems reasonable.

3) New York City put a broken-down Staten Island ferry up for auction last week. The winners — SNL stars Pete Davidson and Colin Jost, along with real estate broker Paul Italia — bought it for $280k and plan to turn it into an entertainment space.

4) Back in 1899, Butch Cassidy famously robbed the Union Pacific Overland Flyer No. 1 in Wyoming. Today, train theft is running rampant in Los Angeles, with rates up 160% since 2020, per Union Pacific. Photos show LA train tracks littered with thousands of Amazon boxes.

5) Descendants of Walt Disney are releasing a documentary critically highlighting the company’s pay inequality. The film contrasts 4 Disney custodians who made $15 an hour with former CEO Bob Iger, who made $65.6m in 2018.

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🐟 On this day: In 2006, Disney bought Pixar, creator of animated hits Toy Story and Finding Nemo, for $7.4B.

🎵 Cure boredom: Create a little melody. Speed it up. Slow it down. Change notes. Repeat.

🤝 How to: Want to volunteer, but not sure where to start? Princeton’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement has a guide to volunteering “with purpose and intention.”

Useful: Use this site to instantly make a glitchy version of a photo.

🥳 That’s interesting: An Italian couple defeated potential fines and jail time to continue their popular balcony concerts.

🌍 Haha: Scroll here to view popular emojis at their real-world scale.

Tweet of the day
Peloton subscriber growth

Despite hard times, it’s hard to argue with Peloton’s impact. (Source: Twitter)


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