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🧀 Cheez-It is big business

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Someone just dropped $218,750 to buy Steve Jobs’ old Birkenstocks — a record for sandals sold at an auction. Worth it?

In today’s email:

  • Apple: The Genius Bar ain’t what it used to be.
  • Chart: America’s top real estate agents.
  • Cheez-It: Over a century old and people still love ‘em.
  • Around the web: An edible drone, bargain books, how to ace remote managing, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Rob discuss Apple’s unionization problem, Steve Jobs’ Birkenstocks, the return of Clippy, and more.

The big idea
Apple logo

Why Apple store workers are unionizing

The Genius Bar just ain’t what it used to be.

Employees claim a cultural shift under Tim Cook has Apple store jobs losing their luster, driving some to consider unionization, per Bloomberg.

In the Steve Jobs era…

… store employees were encouraged to engage with customers until their problem was resolved, sometimes resulting in hourslong discussions.

This focus on customer satisfaction made working at the Genius Bar a source of pride, and gave Apple a reputation as one of the best jobs in retail. But associates claim the Tim Cook era has introduced some unwelcome changes, including:

  • New quotas that grade employees on how many customers they handle per hour
  • A broader shift in priorities from fixing devices to upselling customers on new products

Making matters worse, customers aren’t  always keen on being sold to when they’re stressed about a broken device.

Now employees are turning to unionization

While only two stores have formally unionized, employees at dozens of the company’s 272 US locations are reportedly discussing the option, with three main requests:

  • Higher hourly rates, more co-workers, and less sales pressure.

Ironically, one employee says unionization does what she was taught at Apple: “To push the status quo, to not expect just the bare minimum.”

Notably, investors don’t seem to mind — last month Apple reported a record $90B in Q4 revenue.

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TRENDING
eyeball wearing a hat

Sheesh: Ticketmaster struggled as new Taylor Swift tickets went on sale. Swift’s song “The Great War,” one fan tweeted, “was actually preparing us for the Battle of Ticketmaster.”

SNIPPETS

The world population reached 8B yesterday, according to UN projections. ​​It’s more than tripled since 1950 and is expected to peak at ~10.4B circa 2080.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a $4.1B+ stake in Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC, marking a rare tech investment for the company.

Amazon is launching Amazon Clinic, a telehealth platform for common conditions, just months after shuttering Amazon Care.

Netflix released new account management features that — to put it bluntly — help you kick your ex off of your account.

Clippy’s back: The Office assistant is the centerpiece of this year’s $74.99 ugly sweater from Microsoft. Proceeds go to the College Success Foundation.

The UK Treasury is now communicating on chat app Discord. Despite blocking comments, users are finding creative ways to prank them.

Why go to Paris when you can just build Lego’s new 10,001-piece Eiffel Tower that is five feet tall and costs $630.

The story of Woot: What did Matt Rutledge do after selling his daily deals website to Amazon for $110m? Waited an arguably respectable length of time, then launched three competitors. The full story’s inside Trends.

Chart
top-selling real estate agents in US
Zachary Crockett Tweet this Image

How America’s top real estate agent sells 16 homes every day

Whoever you envision when trying to picture the world’s top-selling real estate agent, it’s probably not someone like Ben Caballero.

The slight 83-year-old works out of a nondescript building in suburban Dallas. His office is outfitted with gray carpeting and drop ceiling tiles. He shares the building with a waste management company.

But his numbers don’t lie:

  • In 2020, Caballero set a world record of 6.4k home sales, presiding as the listing agent over ~$2.46B of sales volume.
  • This year, he’s on pace to sell ~6k homes in Texas — a rate of ~16 sales every day.

In an industry teeming with whales, Caballero has become a near-mythical force. And he’s done it without relying on mega-mansion sales and high-rolling clientele. All he did was come up with an idea that made homebuilders’ lives slightly easier.

Read the full story →
Free Resource

New film series about four riveting startups

Founders of unicorn startups are rare.

Those willing to let the cameras roll through months of high-stakes affairs — much rarer.

This brand-new short-film series by LinkedIn and HubSpot for Startups follows four intimate journeys, revealing the inside angles of wrangling a world-shaking business.

Featured in Spiraling Up: The Journey to Become a Unicorn

  • Suneera Madhani, Stax
  • Stephen Cluskey, Mobility Mojo
  • Mandy Price, Kanarys
  • Dileep Thazhmon, Jeeves

Four founders, with stories that will inspire you to face daunting challenges and make a dent on the world.

Watch Spiraling Up: Season 1 →
Cheez-It Power
Cheez-Its

Everyone loves Cheez-It

The humble Cheez-It: salty, flaky, flavored with real cheddar cheese, perfect in its simplicity.

The crackers generate $1B in annual sales, and have become a top bet for owner Kellogg, per Food Dive.

Wait, doesn’t Kellogg do cereal?

Sure, but cereal sales have waned as consumers shift to on-the-go breakfasts.

Kellogg’s snacks division — which includes Pringles, acquired for $2.7B in 2012 — comprised 80% of its $14.2B sales in 2021.

In June, Kellogg announced it had split into three companies: cereals, snacks, and plant-based foods.

Now, Kellogg’s Global Snack Co. focuses and innovates on its portfolio, and Cheez-It is ripe for remixes.

There’ve been 40+ iterations over time, with 13 current varieties including Snap’d, Puff’d, and White Cheddar.

Cheez-It is time-tested

In the 19th century, Dr. William W. Wolf’s Wolf Bakery Company in Ohio made crackers believed to have health benefits, per Smithsonian magazine.

After his death in 1897, J.W. Green and his son Weston purchased the company, renaming it Green & Green.

The Greens trademarked the Cheez-It in 1921, marketed as “baked rarebit.” (Rarebit is melted cheese on toast.)

Green & Green changed hands and names several times throughout the 20th century before being acquired by Keebler in 1996, which Kellogg acquired in 2001.

Fun fact: For Cheez-It’s 100th birthday, Goldbelly made a limited-edition Cheez-Itennial Cake.

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AROUND THE WEB

👽 On this day: In 1974, the Arecibo message — an image depicting DNA and a human — was broadcast from Puerto Rico into space to celebrate an upgrade to the Arecibo radio telescope. Thus far, no aliens have replied.

🖥️ How to: Be a good remote manager.

🍴 Haha: A drone you can eat.

📚 Useful: Find books for a bargain.

🦦 Aww: And now, just hanging out with an otter.

TWEET
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Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Extra toasty Cheez-Its” Dent.

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