A Himalayan delicacy


May 17, 2019

Today, Daimler takes its foot off the gas, while Amazon’s next day-delivery heads through the pass, but first…
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The desperate, high-stakes business behind zombie mushrooms

High in the Himalayan pastures of the Tibetan Plateau, hundreds of harvesters collect mushrooms that are used to make the smoothies Gwyneth Paltrow drinks “every morning, whether or not she’s detoxing” and the teas Tim Ferriss calls “a game changer in [his] night time routine.”

At $50k per pound, these marvelously marketed mushrooms are worth well more than their weight in gold. 

But, as Atlas Obscura reports, a shroom shortage has kicked off a race to make more mushrooms — before it’s too late.

From traditional medicine to New Age wellness

Over the centuries, these magical mushrooms have gone by many monikers: cordyceps, yarsagumba, caterpillar fungus, Himalayan Viagra…

The mushrooms, which grow when zombie-like fungi colonize caterpillar corpses at elevations over 10k feet, have been used to treat impotence, cancer, and asthma in traditional folk medicine for thousands of years. 

But when Chinese distance runners attributed their world record-breaking success to a diet of zombie shrooms in 1993, the mushrooms went mainstream. 

A crisis of cordyceps

Thanks in part to their popularity among pseudo-shamans of Western wellness like Paltrow and Ferriss, the zombie-shrooms biz has ballooned to an annual industry of around $11B

In many villages, zombie-shroom collection accounts for 80% of local income, and millions of merchants in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Tibet, and China rely on mushroom money to survive.

But there’s a problem: Due to changes in climate and overharvesting, the supply of undead shrooms is shrinking.

To collect or to cultivate?

Fifteen years ago, harvesters collected 50-250 shrooms per day; today most collect no more than 5

With yields expected to drop further, many critics are calling for more sustainable harvesting techniques. So far, 3 Chinese labs have succeeded in cultivating the famous fungus — but they are keeping their success secret.

Now, the livelihoods of cordyceps collectors are in jeopardy. But many aren’t worried about lab-grown shrooms because they believe only wild shrooms offer the potent health benefits. 

The only question is — will Paltrow and the Goop gang agree?

Mushroom secrets are no fun(gi)
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Amazon is offering its employees $10k to quit and join its delivery service program

In June, Amazon announced a new business opportunity for “entrepreneurs” to run a fleet of delivery trucks for the e-commerce giant through its Delivery Service Partner program.

A few days ago, the company said it would expand its delivery program, offering existing Amazon employees $10k — along with 3 months of gross pay — and all they had to do was quit their existing job.

The e-commerce giant is really patting themselves on the back with this one.

“Now we have a path for those associates with an appetite to own their own businesses.” — Amazon senior VP, Dave Clark

TRANSLATION: Amazon’s struggling to execute on its next-day delivery plans, because the criteria to start a fleet is damn near unattainable.

Amazon claims delivery partners can make up to $300k a year — but to become a Delivery Service Partner, a regular person must invest $10k and have liquid assets of at least $30k. 

In other words, Amazon is asking its employees with benefits and a consistent (albeit generally unfair) wage to quit their jobs and become outside contractors in exchange for the multibillion-dollar powerhouse covering the investment cost.

It could be either/or for some Amazon employees

Per Reuters, the incentive comes at a time when Amazon is increasing automation in its warehouses that will put some warehouse workers out of jobs.

$10k is cool, but how many of those employees on the chopping block (or anyone really) has even close to $30k in liquidity?

» Amazon Go-find another job

Daimler AG takes its foot off the gas with big plans to go carbon neutral

The owner of Mercedes-Benz has announced plans for “a fully carbon-neutral fleet of passenger cars by 2039,” Wired reports

The objective, aptly if uncreatively called “Ambition2039,” marks the most aggressive emission-slashing target by any automaker to date. 

The dirty (or…clean?) deets

Daimler plans for over half its total car sales to be electric by 2030. It also hopes to release zero-emission lines of other vehicles like trucks and buses.

While Daimler cites the “conviction” of the Paris Agreement as its main driver, it’s likely that the automaker is also looking to make a comeback from recent bumps in the road by becoming the greenest automaker.

The end goal sounds nice… 

But experts are skeptical Daimler can pull it off. Some point out that even these lofty aims are still a far cry from the reduction targets put forth by the Paris Agreement

Still others caution that a promise of carbon-neutrality is far different from outright emissions-cutting.

» Remix to Ambition

The Hustle reviews The Hustle… the MOVIE!

There’s been a lot of gab over this new Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake starring Anne Hathaway, Rebel Wilson, and the name of our company — equipped with an almost indistinguishable font (you could’ve at least tried, Hollywood!).

So yesterday, we decided to see for ourselves how the movie — that defenestrated us from our top Google search spot — stacks up. 

If you ask me, Wes Schlag, I gotta say — I kind of liked it… ish (Rebel Wilson did her thing, which was hilarious). But I was in the minority.

The results are in  

“I think a better title for the creators to rip off would’ve been, ‘Bad Accents: The Movie.’” — Alex, senior account executive

“The movie was one continuous belly flop.” — Kaylee, email operations specialist

“It’s a good movie if you want to escape your life for an hour; it’s a bad movie if you want to laugh more than 5 times.” — Katy, senior account executive

“It exceeded my expectations… though, my expectations were really low.” — Adam, general manager

Overall: Stock is down and to the right.

» Was the audience hustled, perhaps?
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In fact, Quick Base found that IT often doesn’t need to help build solutions at all — over 73% of workers who use no-code software are in departments outside of IT.

That means that everyone on your team can become a problem-solver.

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Get Started → shower thoughts
  1. Those “choose your own flavor” Coke machines are probably just there to gather marketing data; They see what the most popular flavors are so they can release bottled/canned versions.
  2. Amazon’s most shipped item is a cardboard box.
  3. A human with spider abilities sounds awesome. A spider with human abilities sounds terrifying.
  4. Banjos sound like a guitar with a southern accent.
  5. The average zebra is grey.
  6. via Reddit
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We asked our most loyal readers in the Ambassador Facebook Group to share their hustle-inspired stories for the opportunity to be featured in the daily email.

The responses were (unsurprisingly) pretty amazing, so we’re going to share one every day this week. Here’s one of our favorites:

#207: Christina R. from Texas

“I’m a first-generation high school graduate, college graduate, and business owner. I get to work with people like me and even celebrities. My mom was a heroin addict and my dad an alcoholic. It took me some time to get my shit together. I dedicate my time to serving my community and trying to get the message out that little ghetto girls like me can actually break generational cycles and systemic hindrances with mentorship and hustle. I was a charity case and now I’m on the board of directors for a charity.”

Want your story to be featured? 

Click the red “Share The Hustle” button below and refer 3 people to The Hustle — you’ll get access to our exclusive Ambassadors Facebook group, Hustle merch, rewards and more.

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