Zachary Crockett
Editor, Senior Writer, The Hustle

Can you get sued for using a meme?

You’ve likely seen Success Kid. The image depicts a toddler smugly clenching his fist on a beach. In meme form, it’s typically overlaid with a...
Zachary Crockett • November 19, 2022

The economics of Costco rotisserie chicken

Chicken holds a special place in the carnivore’s heart. This year, the average American will scarf down 99 lbs. of chicken, handily outranking our consumption...
Zachary Crockett • October 8, 2022

How one of America’s last piano manufacturers stays alive

Inside an old brick building in the leafy town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, you’ll find one of the last vestiges of a once-formidable industry. Entering the...
Zachary Crockett • September 24, 2022

The architect who became the king of bank robberies

The period between 1850 and 1920 was full of colorful ne’er-do-wells. Career criminals like Jesse James, John Dillinger, and Butch Cassidy gained infamy for their...
Zachary Crockett • August 19, 2022

Why is rent skyrocketing?

Back in May, Jennifer Davis received a written notice from her landlord: In 30 days, her rent would go from $1.4k to $1.8k —...
Zachary Crockett • August 6, 2022

America’s favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach

Earlier this summer, Steven Martinez made a promise to his two young kids: He’d finally take them to Disneyland, the “happiest place on Earth.” But...
Zachary Crockett • July 16, 2022

The $500m smiley face business

The Smiley Company office in London, England, is a wonder to behold. Smiley paintings line the walls. Smiley push pillows adorn the couches. There are...
Zachary Crockett • July 8, 2022

Can a corporation "own" a color?

  On a summer day in 2019, Daniel Schreiber opened his mailbox to find a threatening letter from one of the world’s largest telecom companies. In...
Zachary Crockett • June 25, 2022

A chat with Ray Dalio

NOTE: This is an edited transcript of our full podcast interview with Ray Dalio. If you prefer audio, you can listen to it in...
Zachary Crockett • June 10, 2022

The lucrative economics of expert witnesses

In the waning days of the defamation trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, Dr. Shannon Curry was called to the stand. Curry, a California-based...
Zachary Crockett • June 4, 2022

Why a small candy company is Warren Buffett’s ‘dream’ investment

If investing were a video game, you might suspect Warren Buffett of using some kind of cheat code. His holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, boasts $969B...
Zachary Crockett • May 13, 2022

The strange business of hole-in-one insurance

On a warm day in September 2009, Jason Hargett, a 35-year-old restaurant manager and father of 4, stepped up to the tee at Red...
Zachary Crockett • April 29, 2022

The surprising afterlife of used hotel soap

One of the first things many of us do when we settle into a hotel room is reach for the packaged bar of soap...
Zachary Crockett • April 22, 2022

Why most gas stations don’t make money from selling gas

Last month, gas prices hit a new national average record of $4.33/gallon, up nearly $1.50 from just a year ago. The price of gas is...
Zachary Crockett • April 15, 2022

The guy who quit medical school to become an NBA referee

One day in 2013, Suyash Mehta was approached by a mysterious man. Mehta, then a 22-year-old pre-med student, had just finished refereeing a high school...
Zachary Crockett • April 2, 2022

Are advertisers going to infiltrate our dreams?

Last year, Molson Coors, the esteemed purveyor of watered-down frat-party beer, ran a jarring ‘experiment.’ In a discreet building in downtown Los Angeles, 18 subjects...
Zachary Crockett • March 18, 2022

Meet the woman who builds the world’s most unique Airbnbs

You may not know the name Kristie Wolfe. But if you’ve used Airbnb, you’ve likely seen her properties. Over the past decade, Wolfe has built...
Zachary Crockett • March 5, 2022

How Ikea tricks you into buying more stuff

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Alex Santos journeyed to his local Ikea with a singular mission: the procurement of a new Poäng chair. It was...
Zachary Crockett • February 26, 2022

The customers who repeatedly buy doomed products

There’s an age-old piece of wisdom in product marketing: Positive feedback = a sign of success In most cases, this is true. Companies love so-called high-value customers,...
Zachary Crockett • January 22, 2022

What it’s like to make $100k+ walking dogs

On the streets of New York City, Ryan Stewart is a curious sight. When he walks down the street, kids stop and stare. Drivers honk....
Zachary Crockett • January 16, 2022

How the poinsettia took over Christmas

The poinsettia plant is a ubiquitous Christmas staple. Every year, just after Thanksgiving, it emerges en masse at nurseries, big-box retailers, fundraisers, and holiday …
Zachary Crockett • December 18, 2021

The insane resurgence of vinyl records

Long before the days of Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube, vinyl records were all the rage.   In the 1970s, vinyl sales peaked at 530m units/year...
Zachary Crockett • December 4, 2021

Why thieves love to steal catalytic converters

In the mass of pipes and steel under your car, there’s something called a catalytic converter. Situated between the engine and exhaust, these little contraptions...
Zachary Crockett • November 13, 2021

The burgeoning business of OnlyFans consulting

Amberly Rothfield is not an easy person to get a hold of. If you want to book a consultation with her, you’ll likely have to...
Zachary Crockett • October 23, 2021

Why America has a school bus driver shortage

Last week, Jim Mayers, a high school composition teacher in Boston, wanted to take his 11th graders on a field trip.  Per the usual protocol,...
Zachary Crockett • September 25, 2021

Inside the world’s most booked Airbnb

The world’s most popular Airbnb listing isn’t easy to find. From San Francisco, the journey begins with an hourlong drive down Interstate 280 and a...
Zachary Crockett • August 21, 2021

The time Pepsi got sued for a $33m fighter jet

In the spring of 1996, Pepsi debuted a hot new TV commercial. It opens with a cocky teenager donning a Pepsi shirt. The text, “T-SHIRT...
Zachary Crockett • August 14, 2021

The economics of dollar stores

A visual explainer of the numbers behind America’s ubiquitous bargain-basement …
Zachary Crockett • June 26, 2021

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