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🟡 Why teens in suits are going bananas

The Hustle

A Chilean worker was mistakenly paid ~$180k for a month’s work — 330x his usual rate. After initially agreeing to return the funds, the man hasn’t been reachable since.

In today’s email:

  • Minions: How teens in suits are changing the movies.
  • Chart: CEOs are firing up the PJs.
  • Pivots: Covid trackers are finding a new purpose.
  • Around the web: A place to complain, exploring underground, understanding credit scores, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s podcast to hear about TikTok’s live shopping struggles, sports leagues hiring robo-referees, and a look at the wonderful world of forecasting and identifying trends.

The big idea
teens cheering in a movie theater

How teens are changing the movies forever

This past weekend, Minions: The Rise of Gru went absolutely bananas at the box office.

What’s really interesting though wasn’t so much the fact that it did well, but rather why it did so well.

Enter, the “Gentleminions”

These are teens that have formed an international cult around a comedic bit. The bit being they ironically dress in suits and ties, see Minions in droves, applaud in unison, and document it all on TikTok to a rap track.

TikTok is currently filled to the brim with 160k+ videos using the rap, and to fully grasp the trend, you’re gonna have to watch one or two.

Did this actually impact Minions financially?

It appears so. Minions blew past its $65m-$75m projection, posting $125m+ over the weekend, and breaking a July 4 record set by Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon in 2011.

Unfortunately, hoards of unaccompanied minors can also be disruptive. (Who knew!)

  • Some theaters in the UK have had to issue refunds to moviegoers, cancel future showings, or straight-up refuse entry to people wearing suits (though some have tried to sneak around it).

What does this mean for movies in the future?

According to PostTrak, 34% of The Rise of Gru’s audience consists of 13- to 17-year-olds. That’s up from 8% for the last Despicable Me movie back in 2017.

That means, with a meme, teens seemingly made Minions relevant for an entire demographic thought to have aged out of the film: themselves.

  • For everyone from studio marketers to concession workers, it’s gotta be fascinating to see. Teens coming back into theaters? For Minions? Impossible.

But clearly, it is possible. And despite the “Gentleminions” trend being started authentically, expect studios to try manufacturing more trends like it in the future.

Whether that’ll actually work without the Minions is another matter.

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Massive hack: A hacker claims to have stolen data from police on 1B Chinese citizens, which would make it one of the biggest data breaches of all time. The hacker offered to sell the data for 10 bitcoins.

Un-alived: TikTok is scaling back its live shopping features in the US and Europe after early tests failed to gain traction. Live shopping is an enormous business for TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, in China.

Crypto rules: The EU reached a new agreement that will force crypto companies to disclose their environmental impact in Europe, including energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Robot refs: FIFA says it will use AI to call offsides during the 2022 World Cup, using cameras as well as a sensor in the ball that tracks its location 500x per second.

Don’t sleep on this: When this entrepreneur couldn’t find any pajamas to her liking, she created her own brand, focusing on premium fabrics and functional designs. Read how the company, which has since added a men’s sleepwear line, scaled to $25m in seven years.

Fabletics will open its first Yitty by Lizzo shop-in-shop at a Utah mall. The brand plans to open more Yitty locations this year, featuring size-inclusive mannequins and shapewear. #ecommerce-retail

That’s cool: Scientists have discovered a novel material called single-crystalline scandium nitride (ScN) that can turn infrared light into renewable energy. #clean-energy

Indian fitness company Ultrahuman is launching a new smart ring that can track wearers’ temperature, heart rate, movement, sleep, stress, and more. #emerging-tech

Singapore may add new restrictions around cryptocurrency trading to protect the public, citing crypto’s “sharp speculative price swings.” #fintech-crypto

The EU required Amazon Prime to let its European customers cancel their subscription in two clicks. Amazon has declined to answer whether it will simplify its complicated cancellation flow for US customers. #big-tech

CEO private jet spending

Singdhi Sokpo

Companies are spending big on private jets

While most of his attention is on the metaverse, Mark Zuckerberg has been doing some serious globe-trotting in the real world.

Corporate spending on private jets for CEOs and board members in the US hit a 10-year high in 2021, per Financial Times. Meta led the pack, and was the only tech company in the top five.

The S&P 500…

… spent $33.8m as a group, up 35% YoY. The increase has been attributed to the pandemic, as companies have tried to limit the risk of executives getting covid on commercial flights.

This has resulted in a nice windfall for private jet operators, including:

Jettly CEO Justin Crabbe doesn’t seem concerned about demand slowing anytime soon, telling FT, “it’s quite difficult to go back to flying commercial” after experiencing private flights.

Private jet expenses…

… are just one piece of CEO compensation, which has reached record levels in recent years.

At Meta’s latest annual meeting, 86% of shareholders voiced support for executive pay — the lowest number in the company’s history.

Perhaps shareholders would prefer Zuck spend more time jet-setting through digital worlds.

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Free Resource

Do you have a five-year plan?

We’re asking… and sensing the answer’s no, or it’s a bit outdated.

It’s not about sticking to a stiff agenda, but setting goals for yourself and backfilling the details to get it done — or at least considering them. This simple five-year plan template helps you do that, with a short and long version included to suit your taste.

Fill-in-the-blank makes it a breeze. Take a few minutes to keep it real with yourself today, and end up with a li’l road map for whenever you need it.

Easy five-year planning →
Problematic Pivots
Covid-tracking app

Edwin Tan / Getty Images

Covid-tracking apps are reinventing themselves

During the pandemic, covid-tracking apps built up massive user bases.

But with the worst days seemingly behind us, some of those apps are pivoting, raising eyebrows from privacy and ethics experts, per Wired.

One example…

… is Zoe, originally founded as a diet-tracking app. In March 2020, with the app still in beta, the UK-based company shifted gears to launch the Covid Symptom Tracker app. The app:

  • Got ~4.7m downloads
  • Received $6.2m in funding from the UK government
  • Helped establish loss of smell and taste as covid symptoms

Last month, the app broadened into the “Zoe Health Study,” with users now being asked to record their daily mental and physical health beyond covid.

A more extreme example…

… comes from Germany’s Luca, a contact-tracing app that expanded into payments:

  • In 2021, Luca was used to check into restaurants and stores by scanning a QR code, racking up 40m users.
  • Now, Luca wants to compete with credit card companies by allowing restaurant-goers to pay bills via QR code.

But researchers have raised concerns about the app’s security, and health officials accessed personal data from the app despite Germany’s strict privacy laws.

The bigger question…

… is whether these pivots are ethical. While both apps provided societal value during the pandemic, their attempts to monetize users who signed up for a vastly different product rubs some people the wrong way.

To learn the right way to pivot your own business — and how some of tech’s most famous companies did it — check out this primer from the HubSpot blog.

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🎾 On this day: In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first Black tennis player to win Wimbledon. She later toured with the Harlem Globetrotters, playing tennis matches before their basketball games.

😡 That’s cool: Need to vent? VentScape lets you post an anonymous complaint that disappears after ~10 seconds.

💰 How to: Your credit utilization rate is the percentage of your credit that you use each month. It can make up ~30% of your credit score. Here’s how to calculate it.

🚇 That’s interesting: Subterranea Britannica explores underground places, including caves, railroad tunnels, and bunkers.

💪 Aww: And now, a cat getting yoked.

Minions meme

Because it’s incredible. That’s how. (Source:

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst, Mia Sullivan.
Editing by: Jennifer “First class? I’ll take the PJ” Wang.

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