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But how high can third-party Amazon sellers fly before they get too close to Bezos’ flames? The Hustle Tues, Mar 27 Brought to you by Hawthorne… better than a pickup line. Pickleball paddler joins the Amazon elite, now makes $33m...
Brought to you by Hawthorne… better than a pickup line.
Pickleball paddler joins the Amazon elite, now makes $33m a year as a third-party seller
Amify started 7 years ago as one man’s quest to sell sports equipment to retirees. Now they’re in the top 1% of Amazon’s third-party sellers, expected to generate $33m in revenue for 2018.
Ethan McAfee, Amify’s founder and sole-proprietor, is just one of many eager entrepreneurs cashing in as a third-party reseller (a business that sells other brands’ products on Amazon).
But, as more and more small businesses and retailers flock to Amazon, the question is whether companies like Amify will keep reaping the rewards, or if an unforeseen “cardboard ceiling” looms in their future.
Niché is riché
McAfee started Amify as Pickleball Direct in 2011, selling pickleball paddles (a court game popular with baby boomers, best described as tennis with less running), and quickly expanded into other sports equipment like tennis shoes, hockey skates, and roller skates.
After doing $300k in revenue in 2013, McAfee began hiring people and turning his project into a real business.
Last year, Amify did $25m in revenue with 30 full-time employees, and according to McAfee, they’re not stopping there: “We are trying to grow this baby, hitting the accelerator and taking a long-term vision,” he told TheWashington Post.
You heard it here folks, they’re putting the pedal to the metal
Amify says their “secret sauce” is knowing which products to push (ones that have a higher margin) -- but, the margins are still slim.
That means more and more companies depend on staying in Amazon’s good graces to survive (90% of Amify’s revenue comes from third-party sales on the platform).
And, if Bezos decides to “Zuck over” sellers the way Facebook did with publishers, companies like Amify could be in a world of hurt.
It all falls down
For America’s oldest gunsmith, all its firepower couldn’t prevent bankruptcy
Remington Arms Company, the rifle company that supplied the guns used in WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Iraq and Sandy Hook, officially filed for bankruptcy following gun protests in 800 cities and struggling sales.
Remington has dodged bullets before
Over 202 years, Remington has leaned on a WWI government bailout, a Depression-era DuPont takeover, and a recent private equity takeover to stay in business.
But, after a Remington-made AR-15 was used to kill 20 students and 6 adults in Sandy Hook in 2012, Remington’s new handler, Cerberus Capital Management, starting seeking buyers to avoid bad press and appease investors.
Buyers proved impossible to find, and the private equity firm was left holding the smoking gun-maker.
And the ‘Trump slump’ hasn’t helped
Ironically, Republican administrations -- which consumers typically associate with laxer gun laws -- often correlate with a dip in gun sales (whereas buyers will scramble to pick up firearms during a Democratic presidency when they anticipate a crackdown on gun ownership).
Remington’s sales slumped 27% after President Trump’s victory, forcing the company to announce a “financial restructuring plan” to write off $700m of its $950m debt -- and give them another chance to find a savior.
Then, after a gunman killed 17 students and school officials in Parkland, FL, gun retailers from Walmart to Dick’s clamped down on gun sales and anti-gun sentiment rose yet again -- a deadly combo that may be the final bullet through Remington’s armor.
The social network’s stock dipped another 5% yesterday following the news that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans to launch an investigation into their most recent data scandal.
The investigation hinges around whether Facebook’s relationship with Cambridge Analytica (an app that used Facebook user data to influence voter behavior) violates a 2011 agreement over how they’re allowed to share their users’ data.
What happened back in 2011?
In 2011, the FTC accused Facebook of engaging in “unfair and deceptive practices” by making user data that users considered to be private, public.
The claim included the charge that Facebook had wrongfully given data to advertisers and outside application developers.
Facebook went on to sign a “consent decree” with the FTC, agreeing not to share its users’ data without consent and paid no fines.
Which will not be the case if found guilty
Sources say if the FTC finds Facebook guilty of violating the 2011 agreement, Facebook could be fined $40k… for each violation.
Meaning if 50m users actually had their data sold to Cambridge Analytica, the fines could amount to trillions of dollars -- adding insult to injury with the $90B in market value Facebook’s already lost since the scandal.
Let’s just say there’s been better days for the crew in blue.
Most companies either use over-the-top machines to promote luxury products -- like the Ferrari machine in Singapore -- or practical ones to sell convenience products -- like the crab machine in a Nanjing subway.
But the Big Ali-B wants both -- and recently announced partnerships with Volvo, Mercedes, Maserati, BMW and Audi.
Car vending for the (socially worthy) people
Alibaba uses social credit (determined by factors like bill payment, commitment to elder care, and time spent video gaming) to decide who test-drives cars for free and who pays a fee.
Qualified Alibaba customers (with a 700+ rating) scan their face in Alibaba’s Tmall app and drive off with a car for a 3-day test drive -- all without dropping a dime or seeing a human.
Note: These are not advertisements or affiliate links. The Toolbox section is where we write about products that we truly love and have used for starting/growing our business.
Fix your website code in 6 minutes flat (even if you have no idea how to code)
I’ve tested hundreds of products for this Toolbox section, but this site I recently discovered has officially cracked my top 5 favorite products.
Three weeks ago at 9pm I needed to make a few changes to the Hustle Con site. Unfortunately, our developers were sleeping… and I have no idea how to code.
After some Googling, I found Codementor, a site that immediately connected me with a real person who fixed my site in real time.
It was literally 6 minutes from Googling to signing up to talking with someone on video chat, then sharing my screen with a programmer who made the changes I needed on the site.
The difference between Codementor, and say, Upwork, is speed. Within minutes of posting my job I was talking with Ioan from Romania. He spoke great English and it took only one explanation for him to understand exactly what I needed.
But here’s the downside: Unlike Upwork, Codementor isn’t where you’ll find a $15-an-hour programmer. Prices range from $90 to $150 an hour and you’re charged every 15 minutes.
I paid for speed and quality and loved it.
Have you used Codementor before? Have a favorite resource that helps make technical projects super easy?
Forget tracking every shameful pizza slice you eat -- soon, science will do it for you. Researchers at Tufts can now track what foods you’re eating with a tiny tooth sticker.
The gold, multi-layered chip sticks to a single tooth via adhesive and can tell the difference between glucose, fats, and, yes, alcohol. Researchers hope to use the sensor in medical research and diet tracking. [Fast.co]
The deadline to enter WeWork’s Creators Awards is coming in hot. You can’t wait much longer for a shot at $360k in funding.
Artists, entrepreneurs, and creators who live and breathe WeWork’s mantra, “Create your life’s work,” are encouraged to enter by April 10th (open to anyone in the Western US and Canada). Pitch your passion project to industry titans and fellow peers. Winners in 4 categories can walk home with up to $360k in financing. [WeWork]