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We’re sharing this on the condition that you don’t start a sea lion fighting ring: A 46-year study found male sea lions are getting bigger and better at fighting. With mating competition intensified, muscle strength, bite force, and neck flexibility are all trending up — and hey, get that sea lion bloodlust out of your head.

In today’s email:

  • Wellness in your wallet: Startup incentivizes “healthy” purchases
  • Rodeos: An economic engine with — forgive us — lots of horsepower
  • Weekend Reads: Your weekend plans just expanded by five links
  • Around the Web: AI for dreams, a fun guessing game, a cat tour, and more internet finds
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The big idea

Is wellness the new airline miles?

If you’ve got 96k unused SkyMiles (that’s me, actually), but visit your local yoga studio or smoothie bar regularly, Ness might be for you.

It’s a new credit card company that rewards members for everyday healthy purchases, not just occasional travel splurges.

How it works

Ness’ first product is a Mastercard-backed charge card — meaning there’s no interest, but you pay your balance every month.

  • Members earn 5x points for “healthy” purchases and 2x points elsewhere.
  • They can be redeemed at marketplace vendors, including Sweetgreen, Warby Parker, and Canyon Ranch wellness retreats.

CEO and founder Derek Flanzraich…

… who previously founded media platform Greatist in 2011, told The Hustle that today’s health and wellness landscape has branched beyond just “eating well, working out, and looking sexy.”

“That’s why we reward people not just for gyms and healthy food, but for salons and spas, therapy, health care and health insurance, groceries, pharmacies — anything that contributes to a more holistic, modern understanding of what health really means,” he said.

Why now?

The $450B+ US wellness market continues to grow, with Gen Z and millennials at its forefront.

Yet wellness can also be expensive, even when you’re not trying everything Goop recommends or buying a Peloton. Flanzraich’s hope is that rewarding healthy purchases with healthy things will ultimately make it more affordable.

  • That said, Ness’ first card comes with a $349 annual fee, but a $99/year card is in the works. Future plans include revolving cards and integration with HSAs and FSAs.

Fun fact: Ness recently named Jonathan Van Ness of “Queer Eye” fame as its “chief self-care officer,” but the shared name is coincidental. “Ness” comes from “wellness” — and Flanzraich’s love of Scotland and its Loch Ness monster.

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eyeball wearing a hat

A New Zealand McDonald’s franchisee caught fury online for ageism after advertising for workers ages “16 to 60.” It was walked back and explained as an attempt to write something catchy. Calling for job seekers “9 to 90” or “10 to 110” would have also been catchy and far more inclusive, but we can see why they didn’t go there.


TodAI in AI: Google’s new Labs page lets users sign up to experiment with the company’s beta AI features, like Tailwind (a smart note-taking tool) and MusicLM (a text prompt-to-music generator).

Magic-cull: Disney’s streaming business posted a $659m operating loss last quarter and lost 4m paid subscribers, with stocks dropping yesterday on the news — still arguably a better position than the quarter prior, when it bled $1B+.

… Leading the turnaround? Eva Longoria’s Flamin’ Hot, a dramatization of the oft-contested origin story of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Jesse Garcia stars as janitor-turned-inventor Richard Montañez; the film debuts June 9 on Disney+.

Someone’s getting canned: B&G Foods had a rough Q1 with net sales of its core products Green Giant, Crisco, and Cream of Wheat — doomsday preppers’ three essential food items — down 7.3%, 8.4%, and 1.7%, respectively.

Peace out? Sorry to have to warn you: YouTube is coming for ad blockers, now testing a pop-up that gives users two options — disable ad blockers or drop $12/mo on ad-free YouTube Premium.

Awarebnb: “I can’t make products just for 41-year-old tech founders,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said while promoting Rooms, the platform’s new, more affordable feature. However Rooms pans out, let’s be grateful it brought us a rare, beautiful sighting: a self-aware tech CEO.

Good try: Scantron Technology Solutions rebranded as Secur-Serv, but they aren’t fooling anyone whose youth was spent endlessly filling in bubbles on the company’s scannable standardized-test answer sheets. Forgiveness ain’t that easy, pals.

Microsoft told its salaried employees they won’t get raises this year, though bonuses and stock awards will continue to be offered. The company sliced 10k jobs earlier this year.

Adding injury to insult: Peloton recalled 2.2m exercise bikes for a seat defect, the latest in the company’s woes. Shares have dropped 95% since December 2020.

No grown-ups allowed: A Japanese store banned adults from buying Pokemon cards so that kids — not resellers — can enjoy the game.

Oof: New York state fined three companies $615k for sending the FCC millions of fake comments in support of repealing net neutrality. The broadband industry hired them to solicit such comments from real people, not make them up.

assorted rodeos' local economic impacts
Olivia Heller

It’s looking like a bull market for… the bull market

Who says Wall Street’s the only place where people handle the big, uh, bucks?

Perhaps more than ever, cities are looking to bring the rodeo to town, per The Wall Street Journal — and with the numbers they’re putting up, can you blame ‘em for wanting to horse around?

Large-scale rodeos have long kicked local economies into high gear:

  • The Calgary Stampede, for instance, says it brings CA$540m+ (~$400m USD) into Alberta, and the 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo saw $227m in economic impact.

As for riders, last year they made $75k on average, with dozens roping in $1m+. According to the WSJ, riders could 2x that by joining a Professional Bull Riders (PBR) team, like the Missouri Thunder, whose owner, Bass Pro Shops CEO Johnny Morris, is worth a cool $8.3B.

  • PBR launched in 1992 with $1k investments from 20 riders, and was eventually acquired by media conglomerate Endeavor in 2015 for $100m.

Supporting PBR’s work, quite literally, are folks like independent “soil savant” Randy Spraggins, whose responsibilities, at times, include getting 35 dump-truck loads of perfectly blended dirt into NYC’s Madison Square Garden.

Spurring growth in the West

In recent years, arguably no one thing has helped stirrup interest in Western culture more than the show “Yellowstone.”

A University of Montana study found that, because of the show, the state lassoed 2.1m visitors and $730m in 2021.

The show may have, however, also exacerbated a housing crisis, inspiring many wealthy “transplants” to move to Montana.

Ironic, because that’s exactly what half the show is about.

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Free Resource

Meet Dawn Dickson, CEO of PopCom

She’s founded six thriving businesses, and sold one.

She’s a powerful pioneer in Web3 and equity crowdfunding.

And despite running shit in tech for 22+ years… she’s still hungry. 🍴

Grab a quick snack, because this is us slingin’ an exclusive preview clip from season two of “Spiraling Up: The Journey to Becoming a Unicorn,” a HubSpot for Startups and LinkedIn production.

This docuseries closely follows founders manifesting success across the business-scaling spectrum — pre-seed to pegacorn.

Take an inspired first look at Dawn and PopCom.

Spiraling Up” season two preview 🎬 →
Weekend Reads

Welcome to Weekend Reads

In case you missed ‘em, here’s this week’s best…

  • Tweet: Ah yes, the classic “when you hear your boss say your name in a Zoom meeting but you haven’t prepped anything and were off camera housing cereal in bed” look.
  • Story: When ballers like Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis, Drake, or Mark Cuban wanna improve their shot, they hire Chris Matthews. Check out our feature on the basketball journeyman and entrepreneur who became a shooting coach to the stars.
  • Video: Everyone loves it when a golfer hits a hole-in-one — except for the insurance company footing the bill. Folks, welcome to the strange, little-known world of hole-in-one insurance.
  • Blog: Remember your job’s onboarding process? It can really set the tone for the rest of your time at a company. Here’s how businesses can do it right.
  • Chart: Planning a summer trip? Maybe skip Hawaii, says Hawaii. The state has been so good at marketing itself that it’s come back to bite ’em in the form of… too many tourists.

🖥️ On this day: In 1941, German scientist Konrad Zuse debuted the first programmable computer, the Z3. It was destroyed in a bombing in 1943, but a replica Zuse built is on display at Munich’s Deutsches Museum.

🛌 That’s cool: An AI-powered website to help you recall and illustrate your dreams.

🤖 Blog: Five of the most unique ways businesses are using AI.

🗺️ Cure boredom: Guess the city based on art and literary clues.

🐈 Aww: And now, just meeting the neighbors.

  1. Handwritten assignments and in-person tests may become the norm again because of AI. SOURCE

  2. Bugs really have all the space in the world but want yours. SOURCE

  3. Pinocchio’s nose can grow infinitely as long as he keeps lying, making him an infinite source of wood and a valuable construction resource. SOURCE

  4. Flossing wouldn’t be necessary if our teeth were fused together in a continuous horseshoe shape. SOURCE

  5. Crying during a flood makes the situation very slightly worse. SOURCE

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Editing by: Ben “Rodeo clown” Berkley.

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