All the hottest retail drops happen here

August 3, 2020

Plus: Fyre Festival merch just hit the auction block.
August 3, 2020
The Hustle
Super Coffee

This weekend’s TikTok news hit “This Is Fine”-level crazy. The company’s rivals are circling. Today, we introduce you to Triller — a buzzy TikTokternative that scored investments from major music moguls. Read on for our exclusive interview with Triller co-owner Jaeson Ma.

Is TikTok… canceled? Maybe. Now, Triller wants to claim its throne. Read our exclusive interview with Triller co-owner Jaeson Ma below. 

The Big Idea

TikTok’s terrible weekend is music to Triller’s ears

Skipped the tech news this weekend? You missed a year’s supply of TikTok drama. The tl;dr:

  1. On Friday, President Trump promised to ban TikTok.
  2. Microsoft is in talks to take it over. 
  3. ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, may cut ties with it instead.

The smoke hasn’t cleared, but a big TikTok rival is sitting pretty at the top of the App Store charts: Triller.

Triller’s been waiting for this

The 15-second video app is a good bet for dancers who don’t like all that pesky editing.

Upload as many takes as you need, and Triller’s AI will stitch your clips together based on the beat. Is your lip sync a little off? The bot can fix that. 

Triller’s been around since 2015, but it’s having a sweet summer:

  • Last week, Triller lured big-name TikTokers like Josh Richards and Griffin Johnson into its fold.
  • In July, the app got its own Billboard chart — a step toward cementing its hitmaker status. 
  • This weekend, it became the top free iPhone app in the country. 

Triller is buddy-buddy with music mavens 

It snagged investments from the recording arms of Sony, Universal, and Warner Music Group, plus Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Lil Wayne.

So can it take on the reigning lip-sync kingpin? It’s got a long way to go. Triller has just 50m monthly users compared to TikTok’s 800m

And while Triller has powered some small artists — like Lil Tecca — to stardom, it hasn’t had its “Old Town Road” moment. 

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Jaeson Ma: ‘I woke up to Triller being the #1 app in the world’

Our Trung Phan caught up with Jaeson Ma, a co-owner of Triller who previously invested in (which became TikTok). He told us on Saturday he “woke up to Triller being the #1 app in the world.”

This Q&A was lightly edited for clarity.

How is Triller different from TikTok? 

Since the beginning, Triller has been a platform for music artists. [Triller CEO] Mike Lu launched the product with the goal of “finding the next Justin Bieber or Chris Brown.”

Some have said: “TikTok is America’s Got Talent. Triller is MTV.”

TikTok’s AI specializes in search and recommendations. Triller’s AI edge (after acquiring Mashtraxx) is its ability to seamlessly edit music with videos and photos.

Finally, Triller integrates music players like Apple Music into the platform. Every time an artist’s song is played, it counts as a stream (and the artist gets paid). 

When did you know Triller was going to be big? 

In early 2019, Cardi B, Chris Brown and Chance The Rapper started posting on Triller. Because of the deals we put in place with the music labels, the videos could be shared without being taken down. 

The content started ricocheting around the internet and the user activity reminded me of when scaled.

What’s next for Triller?

While Triller’s initial focus is music, we host TikTok-type content of all sorts: comedy, cooking, fitness. We’re always looking to offer new products.

With our recent acquisition of Halogen Networks, Triller is expanding into more live and premium content that is exclusive to the platform. 

And — when I saw Tyson’s Instagram post training and punching like he was 30 years old — I knew it would be a great opportunity to use Triller’s live streaming capabilities.

Triller will host the pay-per-view comeback bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr on September 12th.

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5 stories to catch you up quick

1️⃣  Federal agents charged a 17-year-old in Florida with masterminding the blockbuster Twitter hack. 

2️⃣  Google is phasing out 3rd-party cookies — it’s testing “trust tokens” that can distinguish you from a robot without tracking you across the web.

3️⃣  As the media industry struggles, Australia is forcing Facebook and Google to pay publishers to use stories on their news feeds. 

4️⃣  The SpaceX astronauts safely landed back on earth. 

5️⃣  The US ID’d a few of those mystery seeds from China: They’re cabbage, hibiscus, lavender, and mint. (Now I want some.)

And 5 more to delight you 

1️⃣  A mini, autonomous helicopter — no bigger than a soda bottle — is hitching a ride on NASA’s new Rover mission. 

2️⃣  A Tennessee supercomputer has come up with possible treatments for COVID-19. 

3️⃣  Comic-Con isn’t happening in person, but that didn’t stop these San Diego cosplayers from dressing up. 

4️⃣  Twitter has a lot in common with 18th-century British coffeehouses

5️⃣  The other kind of money laundering: A resident of South Korea ran thousands of dollars worth of bills through the washing machine to ward off COVID-19. 


The $200m startup that makes… coffee?

Fun fact: Bottled coffee is ubiquitous. 

Everybody buys it — there’s no gender, age, or other demographic that wholly avoids the stuff. You know what else is ubiquitous? 

Wanting healthy things to actually taste good. 

That’s why Super Coffee — a high-protein, zero-sugar bottled coffee — has been able to grow from $0 in a dorm room to a $200m valuation and 20k store shelves in less than 5 years. 

The best part? It’s f’in delicious

Super Coffee enhances plain ol’ joe with healthy fats, protein, and natural sweetener instead of carbs and sugar. Plus, the combo of MCT oil and protein with caffeine means you get all the energy without all the jitters and crashes. 

0g added sugar. 90 calories or less per bottle. Keto-friendly. 

You can feel good about feeling good after slammin’ a Super Coffee —  that’s why you’ll find it in every store from Whole Foods to Walmart.

Want to taste the sweet, sweet disruption of the $16B coffee industry? Get 25% off a Super Coffee variety pack with code HUSTLE

Get a pack →
Like It’s Hot

QVC’s Gen-Z-friendly cousin has mastered the product drop

How do you convince the world that Bronze Air Jordans are the must-have kicks of the moment?

Make only a few pairs available at once. Add time pressure. And drop ‘em on an episode of NTWRK, the live-streaming shopping app that sneakerheads love.

It’s must-see fashion TV

The average NTWRK episode pulls in 100k+ live viewers. Ten percent buy into a raffle, way more than the 1% average for other ecommerce sites.

NTWRK drops are full-scale events with celebrity guests. Midway through each event, one person announces that new kicks are up for grabs.

Within a second, they’re gone.

NTWRK is way ahead of competition

LeBron James, Drake, LiveNation, and Foot Locker are backers.

The show helped the streetwear brand Supreme parlay scarcity — and sweatshirts — into a billion-dollar valuation.

But some fashion companies are trying to outdrop the dropmaster:

  • Net-A-Porter is holding clothing drops in Animal Crossing.
  • Fred Perry sent customers on a Google Street View scavenger hunt — find and click the clothes, and they’re yours.
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If you wanna own a piece of a truly legendary festival fiasco, now’s your chance. 

The US Marshals Service is auctioning off 126 pieces of Fyre Festival merch, with the proceedings going toward the fraud’s victims. On the auction block: Fyre-branded hats, sweats, and tokens.

(Source: Rolling Stone)


This marketplace lets you snap up stock in high-end collectibles

Plenty of people don’t actually know what’s in their portfolios.

But on the trading platform Rally Rd., users buy fractional shares of exclusive collectibles like Hermès Birkin bags, which retail between $9k and $200k

That makes investing — if not lucrative — a little more interesting.

Each Birkin is serious business

As The New York Times reports, Rally acquires luxury items and turns each one into a “company.” 

It splits the items into shares and offers them to buyers. After 90 days, investors can sell their stakes… or buy bigger ones.

Hermès not your bag? Here are some of the assets we scoped out on Rally’s site:

  • An ‘82 Aston Martin V8 Vantage “Oscar India” ($148.75/share)
  • An ‘03 UD Exquisite Collection LeBron James Card ($17/share)
  • An ‘85 Rolex GMT-Master “Nipple Dial” watch ($28/share)

Since the pandemic, more investors want in

It’s not like they have much else to do during quarantine. 

Rally’s investors have doubled the number of assets they hold shares in, and initial offerings are selling out 5x faster than in the Before Times.

We’ll imagine raising a glass of ‘05 Chateau Latour Cabernet Sauvignon ($5.60/share) to that.

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Never miss twice

Back in March, Sam had an idea. What if we brought in some of the smartest people we know, to talk about what they know best? 

That, my friends, has become our Trends lectures. If you haven’t signed up for Trends yet, you’ll have missed our live sessions with the likes of Shane Parrish, Andrew Wilkinson, Nat Eliason, David Perell, Tyler Tringas, Harry Dry… the list goes on. 

While you may have missed them live, a Trends subscription today can right the wrongs of yesterday — giving you access to the entire archive. And, first dibs on sessions with our upcoming guests including Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Julian Shapiro, and Dawn Dickson

This week, we’ve got Warren Schaeffer on deck, founder of Knowable. He’ll be giving us all the insider tips on raising capital, something he knows a lot about… sporting a cap table with Andreesen Horowitz, Initialized Capital, and First Round Capital, among others.

Start your $1 Trial → The Hustle Says

Want your cashback in Bitcoin? Try Pei. Just link your card, build rewards, and cash out in either crypto or cash. 

Still on the hunt for that holy grail mascara? Thrive Causemetics’ Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara has 7,000+ 5-star reviews. Try it for 15% off here.*

If you’re over digging through emails, documents, and chats to find the info you need to get your job done, see how you can centralize all your processes with Kintone — and save $7k a month while doing it.*

*This is a sponsored post.

How You’re Getting By

“I started an IG for my cat. Now we have cat friends all over the world. I’ve been able to do some good by using social media to help place strays and kittens as well as fundraise for cats/owners who lost their jobs and needed help with expensive vet bills. 

Also, when the rest of the world eventually allows US travelers again, I have friends all over the world I can reach out to. Meow!”

Tina Jones (and Makita the Calico), North Miami, Florida

How are you coping with the pandemic? Send us your story, and we’ll share the best ones here.

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Today’s email was brought to you by Michael Waters, Caroline Dohack, Trung Phan, and Bobby Durben.
Editing by: Nick “Tok” DeSantis, Sonny Burns (Staff Dermatologist).

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