Care for a plant-based sausage?


May 20, 2019

Today, we learn how some video game streamers make $50k per hour, and why unscrupulous spot traders are looking so dour, but first…
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The battle for the future of meat is about to get bloody

Over the weekend, plant-based food startup Impossible Foods added a new item to its menu: sausage.

As Impossible continues competing against newly public Beyond Meat, it’s branding itself as a “protein platform” — and, in spite of the haters, it seems to be working.

The plant-based protein market is sizzzzzzling

Just last month, Beyond Meat stock soared more than 250% in the hottest IPO of the year. 

But Impossible is also a plant-based powerhouse: Last week, it raised $300m, and it plans to bring plant-based patties to 7.2k Burger King locations by the end of the year.

Impossible’s plant-based ‘platform’ is pleased to meat you

Impossible doesn’t think of itself as a burger business but as a protein platform — meaning it will eventually offer a variety of Impossible proteins.

Now that they’ve both made plant-based patties palatable to meat eaters, both Impossible and Beyond are focused on scaling their businesses — often, by partnering with gigantic fast food chains.

Beyond Meat has partnered with Carl’s Jr., TGI Fridays, and A&W, and Impossible has partnered with White Castle, Red Robin, and Burger King. 

But plant-food proselytizers are peeeeved

Partnerships have vaulted Impossible and Beyond to juicy valuations (of $2B and $4B, respectively) — but they’ve also angered plant-patty purists.

Critics argue that partnering with historically unhealthy fast food franchises undermines Impossible’s mission of eliminating the health and environmental problems of livestock in the food system.

But Impossible argues that it’s important to partner with fast food chains to make cheap plant-based alternatives accessible around the country.

If you can’t meat ’em, join ’em
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The aftermath of #MeToo is making new barriers for women in the workplace

A recent survey found that 60% of male managers are uncomfortable mentoring and socializing one-on-one with women at work.

This 32% spike from last year highlights the paradoxical path of progress from the #MeToo movement, as strides made against sexual harassment are coming largely at the price of mentorship, networking, and development opportunities for women. 

Exec-level men are the ‘shyest’ of them all 

Men in senior positions are 12x more reluctant to engage with junior-level women — a serious stumbling block for women working to advance their careers. 

As Sheryl Sandberg put it, “No one has ever gotten a promotion without getting a one-on-one meeting.”

Behavior change, not eliminating male-female interaction 

Sexism and harassment are complex issues rooted in entrenched attitudes, institutional structures, and countless other factors.

Some companies have poured money into harassment training, which has showed some promise. But one thing is clear: Isolating women is NOT the answer. 

Men need to play an active role in supporting female colleagues and giving them space to succeed — without expecting women to fix the broken system that puts them at a disadvantage in the first place.

» What is this, middle school?
book review

Here at Hustle HQ, we read like it’s going out of style — doesn’t matter if it’s tips for work, hacks for life, or just someone spinning a good ol’ fashioned yarn. So, what’s on our nightstand this week?

Book: “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”

Author: Ramit Sethi 

Reviewer: Sam, Founder

Short answer: It’s awesome. 

Long answer: It will teach you to be rich. Or at least, less poor. 

That’s because Ramit understands how (and why) we handle money. And when you get to the root of that, everything else becomes pretty simple. 

If you don’t know the finance skills, you’ll learn them. If you do, you’ll simply get much, much better at them. For example:

One of my favorite past times is negotiating. Whenever I’m about to pay for something, I drop the line: “Is that the best you can do?

Doesn’t even matter what I’m buying. And guess what? It works. 

So when I saw Ramit’s book included his own word-for-word scripts on how to get fees waived, up your salary (apparently, most people manage to negotiate an extra $10,000 thanks to the book alone), and more, I was sold. 

He took the ideas that worked best for me and made them even better. That alone is worth the cost.

» Grab the e-book

Why do video game streamers make $50k per hour?

Video game publishers pay celebrity live streamers as much as $50k per hour to play their newly released games, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Sure, we know people love video games — but how is it possible that pro gamers earn more in 1 hour than families in 7 US states earn in a year?

The perverse logic of an economy of attention

Last year, consumers spent 8.9B hours watching (not playing) video games on Twitch, the Amazon-owned streaming platform.

Since popular streamers can command audiences of as many as 680k simultaneous viewers, they are enormously influential, and game companies treat them accordingly.

Living the stream 

In the $130B video gaming industry, celebrity streamers like Ninja have become crucial to marketing new games. 

When video game company Electronic Arts (EA) launched the game “Apex Legends,” they paid 12 popular streamers — including Ninja — to play on opening day.

The strategy worked: Apex got 1m downloads in its first day and 50m in its first month — even though EA did no advance promotion for the game.

Ninja’s take? Last year, he reported hauled in $10m.

» It pays 2 B Ninja

Why did Europe slap 5 of the world’s largest banks with a $1.2B fine?

Imagine your company’s Slack account. 

Now, imagine that instead of using that chat app to share memes and happy hour plans with your team, you used it to share your customers’ info with your direct competitors to collude and make a massive profit.

Well, that’s exactly what traders at Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, MUFG Bank, and the Royal Bank of Scotland did between 2007 and 2013, teaming up to swap large amounts of currencies for major companies and manipulate foreign currency markets for their own benefit.

The European Commission made them pay

Every day, foreign exchange traders exchange billions of dollars by pitting currencies against each other, making the “forex” market one of the largest in the world. 

Normally, banks are supposed to bet on currencies in isolation, to protect consumers. But in these “insider” chat rooms, traders had insider info about whether to bet for or against their own portfolios. 

So, when the little cartel came to light, the European Commission fined its members a combined $1.2B for anti-competitive practices.

‘Cartel’ sounds so ominous … 

We prefer how the Pablo Escobars behind these chat rooms referred to the operations — Cartel #1 went by “Three way banana split,” and cartel #2 was called “Essex Express.” 

The names of the chat rooms were equally witty: One was called “Essex Express ‘n the Jimmy” because apparently everyone in the chat room lived in Essex except for, well, Jimmy — wait, what are we even talking about anymore?

The cherry on top

Traders from UBS were also involved… but the investment bank avoided a fine because it ratted out the dirty banana boys.

» The whistle always blows
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