Board games are starting to look a lot like video games

September 10, 2020

PLUS: Why investors are buying up song catalogs
September 10, 2020
The Hustle
Stock Advisor

We received some great responses on our Midwest startup Q&A with David Hall. If you’re from the region, help us settle a debate: What is the best casserole? And does it include Tater Tots?

The Big Idea

Remote work is destroying America’s white-collar office economy

If remote work has you missing your daily Starbucks cold brew (with 8 shots of espresso), you aren’t alone.  

According to the coffee colossus, COVID-19 — and the related fall in foot traffic — led to a revenue decline of $2.3B last quarter. 

As highlighted by Medium’s Steve LeVine, Starbucks is only one data point in a much bigger story: the destruction of the multitrillion-dollar office support economy

Every related industry affected

Levine rattles off some sobering stats:

  • Tens of thousands of office support workers have lost their jobs
  • Around $2T in corporate travel will not happen this year 
  • As of July, ~$21B of hotel-related mortgage loans were delinquent (versus ~$1.15B pre-pandemic)

The next victim: city finances  

Whether or not these jobs and businesses return, US cities will be feeling the aftereffects.

With white-collar workers spending less, sales and income taxes will fall. A survey conducted by the National League of Cities showed an average expected decline of 13% in revenue next year, a decline comparable to the 2008-09 financial crisis.

It’s not just money, either. MIT economist David Autor believes the very “cultural vitality of cities” is at risk because of the slowing economy. 

What are the longer-term trends?

Levine drops a note of optimism, citing a research paper on postwar Tokyo: “long-lived cities undergoing great temporary shock tend to bounce back.”

Superstar cities like New York and San Francisco have long been criticized for their high cost of living and congestion.

As the remote work shakeout leads more people to flee such cities, there may be an opportunity to bring in a diverse mix of city dwellers to turbocharge the next period of economic dynamism.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
  • New Order?: The Long-Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) — which bans quarterly reports and mandates listed firms to consider all stakeholders — went live yesterday. 
  • Facebook is paying some people to deactivate their account in the runup to Election Day. (It’s for research.)
  • Tons of companies want you to buy a “companion robot” for your isolated older family members. 
  • In a moment of unending alerts, here’s the case for bringing back AOL-era away messages. 
  • The latest social media startup, NewNew, is like TikTok meets Facebook Groups. 
  • BONUS: LVMH is pulling its $16.2B bid for Tiffany’s, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of US tariffs on French products. 

Board games are starting to look a lot like video games

Once upon a time, you had to nag a nearby nerd to play a board game like Dungeons & Dragons with you in person.

Now it’s as easy as asking someone from the game’s 2m+-member subreddit or its 1k+ Discord servers to stream the game with you online. 

Last year, that ease of connectivity meant that D&D had its biggest sales year since its launch in 1974.

You thought Fortnite streams were popular? 

Then look at board games. Even chess has become a livestreaming hit

On Twitch, chess streaming has close to doubled every month this year — and everyone from The Mountain from Game of Thrones (164k+ followers) to pros like Hikaru Nakamura (528k+) have amassed huge audiences. 

Welcome to the digital board-game boom 

Many of these games are played in person, then streamed out to a wider audience. But a bunch of startups are trying to make remote gameplay seamless: 

It’s about time that being a nerd paid off.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website

The last stock that got an “All-In” buy alert was Salesforce… which is up 2,707% since

Now, this tiny internet company is up next. 

Here’s why The Motley Fool just issued their rare “All-In” on this stock:

  • It’s 1/100th the size of Google (early adopters, hollerrrr)
  • Its tech could be what finally kills cable for good
  • Did we mention it sits smack dab in the middle of a market that’s 10x bigger than the entire f%^&$ online streaming industry???

Got your attention? Good — now do something about it, ya bozo. 

Get the full rundown on this stock here:

“All-In” alert →
Carbon Copy

This German internet company copied itself to success. Now, its biz model is in question.

I have 2 salient memories of living in Ho Chi Minh City in 2012. 

First, my expat friends inexplicably called me the “Saigon Don.” Second, I remember the arrival of Zalora, a startup that aggressively entered Vietnam’s market with an offering of fashionable footwear.

Billed as the “Zappos of Southeast Asia,” Zalora was the brainchild of Rocket Internet… which itself was the brainchild of 3 German brothers (Oliver, Marc, and Alexander Samwer).

Silicon Valley has long blasted Rocket’s model

No wonder: It cloned Western internet companies for non-US markets. Many have also questioned the firm’s business ethics and its suspect valuation techniques, which inflated startup prices.

Despite its bad rap, a recent Fortune article notes that Rocket has ripped out some wins: 

  • Zalando, another Zappos clone, is a leading European e-tailer valued at $19B
  • Delivery Hero, a food delivery clone, is valued at $18B
  • CityDeal, a Groupon clone, was acquired by… Groupon
  • Lazada, “Southeast Asia’s Amazon,” has received $1B+ in funding from Alibaba 

But the incubator and cloning model is losing steam 

Once the toast of the European tech scene — which underwhelms relative to its economic heft — Rocket was valued at $8B+, but now trades below $3B as many of its cloned ventures have failed.

Per Fortune, the firm plans to delist from the Frankfurt and Luxembourg stock exchanges.

Zalora was shuttered in 2016 but, thankfully, the “Saigon Don” moniker is alive and well (def @ me).

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
Put a Ring on It

Forget the stock market: Investors are pouring their money into old songs

People are betting millions of dollars on your future nostalgia listening

Last month, Concord Music Publishing — a group that holds the rights to 400k+ copyrighted songs — paid the pop rock band Imagine Dragons $100m for its back catalog, entitling them to all future revenue from the band’s previously recorded tracks.

A SoftBank for old songs?

The deal is like an investment bond in music form: Concord hopes that these songs will stay popular for decades, earning back way more than that $100m. 

A similar firm, Hipgnosis Songs Fund, has raised $500m+ to buy up rights to “Single Ladies” by Beyoncé, “Umbrella” by Rihanna, and “Baby” by Justin Bieber. 

But this kind of investment can be a gamble

Back in 1997, David Bowie promised investors that if they bought his “Bowie Bonds,” they’d get a piece of his earnings for the next 10 years in exchange for upfront cash. 

Investors plunked down $55m (~$88.8m in 2020 dollars). Then CD sales crumbled, and Bowie made off with a huge profit. (When he died in 2016, Bowie left his back catalog to his family.) 

Why is this blowing up right now? 

These days, largely thanks to streaming, musicians don’t make all that much money from their actual royalties.

Today’s biggest performers earn 75+% of their income from constantly touring and putting on live shows.

But right now, with all that revenue on hold, bands like Imagine Dragons are willing to do “Whatever It Takes” to make ends meet.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send as email to a friend View on our website
The Hustle Says

The #1 remote work benefit you need? Fully. Their turn-key home office stipend program works for — and motivates — every size team, from startups to enterprises.*

Get a $15 gift card when you’re one of the first 60 people to sign up for Seagate’s virtual event right here. You’ll learn how to put more of your business data to work — it all goes down September 24th (oh, and it’s free).

PayPal has 300m members, but only a few use this tool. It’s found $1B+ in savings — and it’s free to use.*

*This is a sponsored post.


Project Director, Collective Insight: Wanna drive stakeholder engagement and guide teams in working for a greater good? Here’s a cool opportunity.

Writer, DraftKings: Hey there, sport. This is your chance to dazzle the fantasy league crowd with your armchair QB analytics.

Technical Project Manager, Grip: The robots have come to event networking, and it’s up to you to make sure everybody plays nice.

Marketing Program Coordinator, ChowNow: Are you a marketing pro with a foodie bent? Check this one out.

Senior Manager of Customer Experience Operations, Slack: We’re all WFH for the long haul, so Slack needs an experienced pro to guide long-term vision for infrastructure.

See more →
Ambassador Rewards

Refer coworkers, get exclusive Hustle gear

Step 1: Peek our sweet, sweet rewards

Step 2: Copy your referral link below

Step 3: Share your link across social media and beyond

Step 4: Collect rewards, rinse & repeat

Share The Hustle →
How did you like today’s email?

hate it


love it
Today’s email was brought to you by Michael Waters, Caroline Dohack, Trung Phan, and Bobby Durben.
Editing by: Zachary “Dungeons > Dragons” Crockett, John Shall-I-Pop-a-Wheelie (Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff).

Facebook Youtube Instagram Trends
251 KEARNY ST. STE 300, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94108, UNITED STATES • 415.506.7210 Never want to hear from us again? Break our hearts and unsubscribe.
The Hustle

Read the full terms and conditions for the giveaway here.

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less

100% free. We don’t spam. Unsubscribe whenever.


How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

We’re shooting our shot…

Start your mornings with The Daily.

Get the freshly baked 5-minute newsletter every day except Saturdays.

It’s filled with the most interesting stories on business, tech, and the internet.

And written for innovators of every industry. Sign up for the news that slaps.

If you don’t like it, unsubscribe any time. Privacy policy.

[email-submission-form redirect-to-home="true" button-text="Join Free" include-trends-opt-in="true" id="main-signup-form" fail-url="" success-url="" default-source="thehustleco" default-campaign="home"]
<script type="text/javascript"> var onloadCallback = function() { grecaptcha.render('verify-your-humanity', { 'sitekey' : '6LdddrcZAAAAALyttpvOqiwQGwq5BNhgDz4tMQGE' }); }; function getCookieValue(a) { var b = document.cookie.match('(^|[^;]+)\\s*' + a + '\\s*=\\s*([^;]+)'); return b ? atob(decodeURIComponent(b.pop())) : ''; } function setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, cookieName, defaultValue) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; var existingVal = el.getAttribute('value'); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName) || getCookieValue(cookieName); if ((existingVal == null || existingVal == '' || existingVal == defaultValue) && (newVal != null && newVal != '')) { el.setAttribute('value', newVal); } } function setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm( wrappingDiv, searchParams, className, utmName, defaultValue ) { var el = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName(className)[0]; if (el != null) { var existingVal = el.getAttribute("value"); var newVal = searchParams.get(utmName); if (newVal != null && newVal != "") { el.setAttribute("value", newVal); } } } function initForm() { var wrappingDivs = document.getElementsByClassName('email-submission'); wrappingDivs.forEach(wrappingDiv => { var sp = new URLSearchParams(; setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-source', 'utm_source', 'funnel_source', 'thehustleco'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-campaign', 'utm_campaign', 'funnel_campaign', 'home'); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-medium', 'utm_medium', 'funnel_medium', ''); setHiddenFieldValue(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-referral', 'ref', 'funnel_referral', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-a', 'a', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-c', 'c', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-o', 'o', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-oc', 'oc', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-e', 'e', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-f', 'f', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-r', 'r', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-t', 't', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s1', 's1', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s2', 's2', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s3', 's3', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s4', 's4', ''); setHiddenFieldValueFromUtm(wrappingDiv, sp, 'funnel-s5', 's5', ''); var error_message = getCookieValue('funnel_error_message'); if (error_message && error_message.trim() != '') { var error = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('funnel-error')[0]; var prev_email = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); error_message = prev_email + " is not valid. Please try again"; error.innerHTML = error_message; = ''; } }); if (false) { initCaptchaFormV2(); } } function initCaptchaFormV2() { var v3RecaptchaResponseEl = document.getElementById('recaptcha-response-v3'); v3RecaptchaResponseEl.parentNode.removeChild(v3RecaptchaResponseEl); var wrappingDiv = document.getElementById('main-signup-form'); var subForm = wrappingDiv.getElementsByClassName('email-submission')[0]; var captchaVersion = document.createElement('input'); captchaVersion.class = 'g-recaptcha hidden-input'; captchaVersion.type = 'hidden'; = 'g-recaptcha-response-v2'; captchaVersion.value = 'true'; subForm.appendChild(captchaVersion); var captchaEl = document.createElement('div'); = 'verify-your-humanity'; subForm.appendChild(captchaEl); var captchaApiScriptEl = document.createElement('script'); captchaApiScriptEl.src = ''; captchaApiScriptEl.async = true; captchaApiScriptEl.defer = true; document.head.appendChild(captchaApiScriptEl); } function appendCheckboxes() { var optInDivs = document.querySelectorAll('.trends-opt-in'); optInDivs.forEach(el => { if (el.getElementsByClassName('trends-opt-in-checkbox').length < 1) { var checkbox = document.createElement('input'); checkbox.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('type', 'checkbox'); checkbox.setAttribute('name', 'trends_opt_in'); var label = document.createElement('label'); label.setAttribute('class', 'trends-opt-in-text'); label.textContent = "Yes, I'd like to receive updates on market opportunities before they explode from Trends by The Hustle"; el.appendChild(checkbox); el.appendChild(label);; } }) } window.addEventListener('DOMContentLoaded', (event) => { var funnel_email_cookie = getCookieValue('funnel_email'); if ( (true) && (funnel_email_cookie != null && funnel_email_cookie != '') ) { window.location.replace('/home'); } initForm(); if (true) { appendCheckboxes(); } }); </script> <div class="email-signup" id=main-signup-form> <div class="funnel-error" style="display:none;"></div> <form class="email-submission" action="" method="post"> <div class="email-form-wrap"> <input class="funnel-source hidden-input" type="hidden" name="source" value="thehustleco"> <input class="funnel-campaign hidden-input" type="hidden" name="campaign" value="home"> <input class="funnel-medium hidden-input" type="hidden" name="medium"> <input class="funnel-referral hidden-input" type="hidden" name="referral_code"> <input class="funnel-fail-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="fail_url" value=""> <input class="funnel-a hidden-input" type="hidden" name="a" value=""> <input class="funnel-c hidden-input" type="hidden" name="c" value=""> <input class="funnel-o hidden-input" type="hidden" name="o" value=""> <input class="funnel-oc hidden-input" type="hidden" name="oc" value=""> <input class="funnel-e hidden-input" type="hidden" name="e" value=""> <input class="funnel-f hidden-input" type="hidden" name="f" value=""> <input class="funnel-r hidden-input" type="hidden" name="r" value=""> <input class="funnel-t hidden-input" type="hidden" name="t" value=""> <input class="funnel-s1 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s1" value=""> <input class="funnel-s2 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s2" value=""> <input class="funnel-s3 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s3" value=""> <input class="funnel-s4 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s4" value=""> <input class="funnel-s5 hidden-input" type="hidden" name="s5" value=""> <input class="funnel-success-url hidden-input" type="hidden" name="success_url" value=""> <input id="recaptcha-response-v3" class="g-recaptcha hidden-input" type="hidden" name="g-recaptcha-response" value=""> <input class="signup-email" type="email" name="email" placeholder="Your email address" required> <input class="email-submit" type="submit" value="Join Free"> </div> <div class="trends-opt-in"></div> <div submit-success> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--success">Thank you for subscribing.</p> </template> </div> <div submit-error> <template type="amp-mustache"> <p class="c-message c-message--failed">Your submission failed. Please try again!</p> </template> </div> </form> </div>