The Hustle

A bold new company wants to sell you a 30% raise

Happy Friday, folks. If your head already hurts from holiday shopping, you’re not alone -- we’ve had an Amazon-induced migraine for a week. But, thankfully, we’ve found 2 solutions. #1: Ibuprofen. And #2: our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide -- check your inboxes for a special Saturday email tomorrow. Today:Have a great weekend.

November 22, 2019


Happy Friday, folks. If your head already hurts from holiday shopping, you’re not alone — we’ve had an Amazon-induced migraine for a week. 

But, thankfully, we’ve found 2 solutions. #1: Ibuprofen. And #2: our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide — check your inboxes for a special Saturday email tomorrow. Today:

Have a great weekend.

Rollin’ toward new homies: Upstart talent agency promises to pair you with better jobs in new cities

SF-based startup Placement launched on a fascinating premise. It guarantees undervalued biz employees a 30% raise on their (ASTERISK ALERT) *cost-of-living-adjusted* income, provided they’re willing to relocate.

I(‘m reluctant to) move it, move it

CEO Sean Linehan saw a huge opp in the sizeable chunk of Americans (10m strong, he says) marooned in cities poorly matched to their skills. 

Aside from the ~2 major geographic decisions people generally make following high school/college graduations, there are few kick-in-the-butt moments forcing professionals to reconsider their (literal) place in the world.

And for most, the daunting — and often pricey — prospects of job hunting and uprooting are shudder-inducing. Plus the inertia (and free laundry services) of moving back home can be pretty darn strong.

Placement aims to inspire a new ‘moment’ to make life moves

That sound you hear is of soon-to-finally-be empty nesters across the nation high-fiving at the news of their 34-year-old son moving off their couch.

Placement matches clients with relevant job opps in hip-yet-affordable cities (e.g., Denver, Raleigh) before providing recruitment guidance and negotiation coaching. If they succeed in procuring a higher cost-adjusted income (even with a lower salary), the client pays in the form of 10% of paychecks for the first 18 months.

Sounds great. What’s the catch?

It’s hard not to be skeptical of a newcomer with a website splashed with lofty promises like “Payment pays for itself!” But so far, no evident catches detected. The startup is financially incentivized to win high salaries for clients in solid cities, and they’ve established payout caps as well as a 5-year contract limit. Seems pretty legit — and investors in the recent $3m seed round seem to agree.


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Loon is flying the internet to rural areas… via balloon 

This week Alphabet subsidiary Loon inked a deal with Internet para Todos (IpT) to bring solar-powered, balloon-based connectivity to remote parts of the Amazon rainforest. 

The deal will make the internet available to about 200k people in the Loreto Region of Peru, around 75% of whom currently don’t have access to connectivity of 3G quality or greater. Facebook and Telefónica-backed IpT aim to connect 6m people in rural Peru by 2021, and Loon’s working on expanding to regions of central Kenya.

From disaster relief to permanent fixture

In the past few years, Loon has used natural disasters to test its balloons’ ability. Loon connected tens of thousands of Peruvians impacted by flooding in 2017 and, that same year, parked balloons over Puerto Rico for months after Hurricane Maria.

Most recently, Loon swooped in after an 8.0 earthquake damaged infrastructure in Peru.

Loon’s aspirations square with Alphabet’s business model

Loon’s mission is “to connect people everywhere,” but it’s hard to overlook that more people browsing the internet likely means more ad revenue for Loon’s sister company, Google. And that Loon will likely have a monopoly in the areas it provides access.

Connecting people everywhere sounds like a big business opportunity, as about 3.4B people still don’t have access to the internet.

So, you think you can pitch?

Put your pitchin’ pants on — we’re having a good ol’ fashioned pitch competition. Get a chance to share your two-minute elevator pitch and get real time feedback from serial entrepreneurs and angel investors at Hustle Con!

Apply here, and, if you haven’t already, register for Hustle Con* now

*The Fine Print: The pitch competition will be held on day 2 of Hustle Con, so ya gotta be registered with a two-day ticket to qualify.

Ready to run your first marathon? Get set to open your wallet 

These days, everyone and your boss is training for a marathon. Especially your boss. Turns out, long-distance running is a pursuit for the wealthy and white.

But… baby, we were born to run?

There’s a theory that humans evolved from apes due to a need to run long distances to hunt on the African savannah. But now it’s hardly about survival. It’s a status activity.

50k+ people ran the New York City Marathon earlier this month — up from 55 finishers in 1970. 

In the early years, the sport appealed to immigrants and blue-collar workers — all of them men and in it to win it.

Since then, marathon running has been embraced by the recreational runner chasing personal validation and a commemorative T-shirt. Although more women are running and many races have divisions for wheelchair athletes, American runners are overwhelmingly white — 88% — and wealthy. 73% have a household income of at least $75k.

How did we get from chasing antelope to chasing bragging rights?

Running has become a gearhead’s game. Even amateurs drop hella dollars on carbon-plated running shoes, performance-fabric clothing, high-tech watches, gym memberships, and physical therapy sessions.

Then there’s the cost of racing. The price to register for the New York City Marathon rose from $70 in 1998 to $255 in 2019 — 2.5x inflation price. 

But change could be… err… afoot. The upcoming Philadelphia Marathon has put real effort into partnering with groups like Black Men Run, Black Girls Run, Philly Achilles (an organization for athletes with disabilities), and Back On My Feet (a group that introduces running to people experiencing homelessness as a means of regaining control of their lives). The goal is to make the race as diverse as the neighborhoods it passes through.

What Else…

💰 The bribery business is alive and well on Amazon. Customers are gaming Amazon for thousands of dollars worth of free stuff. How? People trade positive reviews for reimbursement (a workaround for Amazon’s ban on swapping free products for reviews). One woman profiled by BuzzFeed “purchased” $15k worth of products — and was reimbursed for nearly all of them in addition to holding on to her loot.

🍯 Sweet, sweet Honey… In case you missed it, PayPal bought the money-saving plug-in Honey for $4B. That’s surprising in several ways: Honey had raised only $55m, and it was apparently last valued at around $700m, which makes the $4B price tag borderline unbelievable. The deal was PayPal’s largest acquisition ever.

📥 Your shelves are about to be smarter than your intern. Amazon (who else) launched the Dash Smart Shelf, which uses a Wi-Fi-enabled scale to sense when supplies are low and reorder them automatically.

🚫 We(’reOutOf)Work. Roughly 2 months after canceling its highly hyped IPO, WeWork laid off 2.4k employees — or 19% of its total workforce — in an effort to cut costs.

Shower Thoughts
  1. Pavlov probably thought about feeding his dogs every time someone rang a bell.
  2. Bubblegum and birthday cake are flavors but bubblegum and birthday cake can be any flavor.
  3. In a competition for tallest height, you wouldn’t need a podium.
  4. If a year had 364 days, birthdays would fall on the same day of the week. Imagine you having your birthday on a Monday for your whole life.
  5. It’s too bad milk doesn’t stain your teeth white.
  6. via Reddit

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