2020 will be the year of the blues… by Pantone, that is


December 9, 2019

The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
FELIX GRAY

Happy Monday, y’all. Frustrated by these short winter days? Don’t worry, we’ve only got 12 days until days start getting longer again (not that we’re counting or anything). Today:

  • The color of the year is finally here.
  • Data made LSU this year’s college football team to fear.
  • The Silicon Prairie has reason to cheer.

Make it a great week.

The Hustle Daily Email

Pantone announces the color of the year and reminds us: It really is hue you know

Last week, the color authority Pantone announced its color of the year. People are waxing poetic about the meanings conveyed through Classic Blue… and speculating how much blue stuff they can sell.

(Yeah, that friend who gets a little hyper about the latest Crate & Barrel catalog already mentioned it.)

The Pantone color of the year announcement is a big deal… 

Especially for people in the fashion, design, and marketing industries.

To make its yearly forecast, the Pantone people travel the world to study where and how colors are used. They say the COY is not a reflection of aesthetic, but of zeitgeist. Classic Blue, they say, “highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation.”

It pays to know your eggshell from your ecru

Pantone makes money selling color swatches and formulas, as well as color consultancy. Pantone itself doesn’t report earnings, but its parent company, Danaher Corp., raked in almost $20B last year. 

Meanwhile, consumers do seem to make decisions based on Pantone’s pronouncements. The online luxury retailer Moda Operandi saw sales of purple-colored fashions increase by 28% after Ultra Violet was named COY in 2018, and last year’s Living Coral announcement was followed by a 62% spike in pink items.

Pantone hopes to snag a share of some of this consumer activity. This year, it released a music track, a berry tea, and fabric to complement its color predictions. If that doesn’t give you a stable foundation, we don’t know what will.

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Hey tech people, the Buckeye State wants ya!

So, you want to work in tech but could pass on the San Francisco rent? Well, consider the Buckeye State — the latest, greatest center of the boom in the Silicon Prairie (read The Hustle’s full story about the Silicon Prairie here). 

I know, I know — no mountains, no ocean, lots of Ohio State fans — but you can buy a whole house in Columbus with like half of what you need for a down payment in SF.

The startup scene in Ohio is booming, and companies are making everything from health care products to connected cars. Venture capital investment in the Buckeye State has also shot up — from $432m in 2013 to $1.16B in 2018.

Why all the investment in… Oh-hi-oh?

Partly because people are working together to foster growth in tech across the private and public sectors. The Ohio Third Frontier Commission, a state government initiative, approved around $77m to support tech startups and has invested more than $2B since 2003.

And instead of boxing each other out for talent, venture CEOs in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are collaborating by meeting up and sharing tips on what’s working in their respective cities. Aw, how Midwestern! (They even have a running group text.) 

Ohio’s big 3 cities are in growth mode 

Especially Columbus: It’s one of the fastest-growing Midwestern cities. 

But calling Ohio “the new Silicon Valley” would be an exaggeration. The whole Great Lakes region (including Ohio) got 3.6% of the $130.9B of venture capital invested in the US during 2018. Compare that to the West Coast, which won a whopping 61.7% — the most of any region by far. 

Still, being able to live in a house without roommates sounds tempting.

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SPONSORED

These eyeglasses have Forbes, Gizmodo, and BuzzFeed singing their praises

Why? Because they’re finally solving the tricky little issue Digital Eye Strain caused by blue light.

Blue light is the not-so-friendly artificial light that emanates from our laptops, phones, tablets, and TVs. Bury your face in them long enough, and you can end up with problems like…   

  • Dry and fatigued eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Headaches
  • Trouble sleeping at night. 

Felix Gray says “ah, ah, ah, not today” to blue light 

*Insert Dikembe Mutumbo finger wave*

By using the most advanced blue light-filtering lenses ever put in a pair of specs, Felix Gray is telling it to take a hike. And it’s working — their lenses filter out up to 90% of the highest energy blue light. 

The end result: Happy customers who sleep better at night and work more comfortably during the day… and look good as hell while doing it. 

You’ve only got one set of eyeballs — isn’t it time you started protecting them? Order your pair (or a gift card) by December 13 and you’ll get ‘em by the holidays.

Check out Felix Gray →

LSU and some MIT grads think data (might) win championships

The Louisiana State Tigers football program makes a strong case for the old “best offense is a good defense” adage. 

But LSU, which finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25, also seems to have proved that data plays a role as well. 

Geaux nerds

Last January, a startup called Perch — founded by 3 MIT jocks-cum-entrepreneurs — started sending unsolicited emails to a number of athletics programs asking them to pilot a device created to collect data through velocity-based training. LSU was the first to say “Heeeeey.”

Velocity-based training is a technique that measures bar speed with respect to total weight and reps. This regimen improves power and explosiveness, which is vital to taking down linemen and breaking tackles.

Perch’s device works by aiming a camera — similar to an Xbox Kinect — on top of a weight rack and tracking a player’s movements. Data uploaded to the cloud gives coaches and trainers — and players, who love to one-up one another — real-time feedback on performance. 

Also… go team

Three weeks after Perch installed units at LSU’s indoor football facility, Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron said he noticed differences. 

“I think our guys are stronger and quicker and faster,” he told the WSJ. He also noted fewer injuries compared with prior years. 

Since the LSU pilot, Perch has installed units at Duke University and will do so for NFL, NHL, and MLS teams as well as additional college football programs next year.

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Small business of the week: The meme-y, profane answer to Hallmark that’s making $1m a year

When they were 17, Marcus Ereira and Luke Shelley co-founded a private tutoring company called Tavistock Tutors. Sales rose when they painted a bike fluorescent orange and parked it around private schools in central London as part of a guerilla marketing campaign.

Now, novelty is their main business. With the financial backing of Tavistock Tutors, Ereira and Shelley launched Central 23 in 2016. It specializes in greeting cards (it’s like a younger, more profane “Hallmark Shoebox”), notepads, and home accessories. Recent examples shared on Central 23’s Instagram include cards with fresh takes on internet memes and one that says, “You’re how old? Fack off.”

Central 23 started focusing on paper cards after multiple unsuccessful novelty products, including a “Post Poo Spray” bathroom fragrance. After pivoting to cards, it took 2 years of pitching to retailers before sales came through. The company made essentially no revenue in its first 2 years. By year 3, it hauled in more than $900k.

Central 23 now supplies products in 4k stores globally, including many familiar names like Urban Outfitters, Topshop, and TJ Maxx. Its digital following on platforms like Instagram has been enhanced by celebs like Victoria Beckham sharing its products.

Next up? Central 23 is adding new products to its roster, including what it claims will be the “most fun drinking game on this planet.”

  • Founders: Marcus Ereira and Luke Shelley
  • Employees: 2
  • Years in business: 3
  • Cost to launch: $5k
  • Funding methods: Personal savings
  • 1st-year revenue: $0k
  • Current annual revenue: $1.43m

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