The Hustle’s best Sunday stories of 2020

At The Hustle, we generally like to stay out of our stories and let the characters do the talking.  But this week, I’m going to...
Zachary Crockett • January 2, 2021

How NYC reimagined its New Year’s Eve celebration for the pandemic

Jamie Medeiros spent the last day of 2019 working behind the scenes at one of the world’s most iconic street parties. She and dozens of...
Simmi Aujla • December 26, 2020

The economics of the human hair trade

Human hair is one of the most versatile resources in the world. It’s used to make calligraphy brushes, suit linings, and furniture. It’s enlisted to...
Caitlin Macleod • December 18, 2020

How a real-life monopoly made Monopoly the world’s biggest board game

On New Year’s Eve, Monopoly celebrates the 85th anniversary of its patent.  Its publisher, Hasbro, can toast the occasion knowing that its prized board game...
Mark Dent • December 12, 2020

The economics of Christmas trees

On a frosty day in November, Beth Ann Bossio walks through the brilliant green rows of Douglas firs at Quarter Pine Farm in Smithfield,...
Zachary Crockett • December 5, 2020
The economics of Christmas Trees

The economics of Christmas trees

On a frosty day in November, Beth Ann Bossio walks through the brilliant green rows of Douglas firs at Quarter Pine Farm in Smithfield,...
Zachary Crockett • December 5, 2020

The man who invented the Zamboni

As the great sage Charlie Brown once said: “There are 3 things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a...
Zachary Crockett • November 28, 2020

‘All Gas No Brakes’: The inside story of the internet’s favorite interview series

You may not know the name Andrew Callaghan, but you’ve probably seen one of his videos. Perennially adorned in an ill-fitting suit, the gangly, curly-haired...
Trung T. Phan • November 21, 2020

‘Black Edison’: The 20th century’s prolific, oft-forgotten inventor

He called himself the “Black Thomas Edison,” but we should all know his true name: Garrett Augustus Morgan. Throughout the first half of the 20th...
Zachary Crockett • November 14, 2020

The hidden economy of schoolyard trades

In ‘90s-era schoolyards, there was a hidden economy at play. Before we had the hard cash to buy our own stuff, most of us acquired...
Zachary Crockett • November 7, 2020

The forgotten father of pumpkin beer

We’re living in an unprecedented age of pumpkins. Over the past few decades, American consumers have been bombarded with pumpkin spice kombucha, pumpkin spice dental...
Mark Dent • October 31, 2020

How to avoid burnout by working less and doing more

Meet Bob. Like you, Bob thinks his job is to juggle things. He takes pride in being one of the best jugglers in the business: When...
Ethan Brooks • October 24, 2020

How a tiny peanut butter company grew to $500k per month in sales

In August 2020, Craig Mount and Erika Peterson found themselves in an enviable position. Nerdy Nuts — the D2C peanut butter company they’d founded just...
Zachary Crockett • October 17, 2020

The company that has a monopoly on ice cream truck music

In 1973, an electrical engineer named Bob Nichols was watching the film The Sting when a song on the soundtrack — Scott Joplin’s 1902...
Michael Waters • October 9, 2020

The economics of vending machines

Three months ago, Jalea Pippens — a phlebotomist at St. John Hospital in Detroit — had her hours cut. In the midst of the pandemic,...
Zachary Crockett • October 3, 2020

The business of selling illegal cocktails on the streets of NYC

Beneath the high-rises and skyscrapers of America’s wealthiest city, some 20k street vendors vie to make a living. The merchants who make up this bustling...
Zachary Crockett • September 25, 2020

How marketers convinced America to eat fish sticks

There is perhaps nothing more quintessentially American than the fish stick. Where else but in this nation could one freeze processed whitefish into a brick,...
Michael Waters • September 18, 2020

The company that wants to preserve our data for 500+ years

Deep in the Norweigan arctic, on the ice-encrusted island of Spitsbergen, life stands still. The surrounding lands of the Svalbard archipelago are sparse and desolate....
Michael Waters • September 12, 2020

The economics of the Tour de France

Right about now, more than 150 of the world’s most elite cyclists are charging up Col de la Hourcère in the French Pyrenees. Over a...
Zachary Crockett • September 6, 2020

Meet the “menu engineers” helping restaurants retool during the pandemic

Consider the restaurant menu.  By design, menus aren’t meant to spark conversation. But as restaurants take drastic steps to weather COVID-19, they are revamping their...
Michael Waters • August 29, 2020

Silicon Valley’s eccentric real estate king

Drive through the labyrinthine roads of Hillsborough, California and you’ll see why it’s America’s 3rd wealthiest town. Multimillion-dollar estates dot the lush hills — …
Zachary Crockett • August 22, 2020

The man who has created 100+ pointless inventions

At first glance, Matty Benedetto’s workshop in Burlington, Vermont is the typical inventor’s lair. Buckets of screws, springs, nuts, and bolts line the …
Zachary Crockett • August 16, 2020

The 19th-century entrepreneur who pioneered modern ice cream

You might think we’re living in a golden age of ice cream innovation. In plenty of US cities, you don’t have to look hard to...
Michael Waters • August 9, 2020

The collectors who spend thousands on rare Hot Wheels

By day, Bruce Pascal is a successful commercial real estate executive who brokers multimillion-dollar deals in the nation’s capital. By night, he buys $5k Hot...
Zachary Crockett • August 1, 2020

What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought with cash?

A few years ago, Roy Chong, a solar salesman living in San Diego, spotted the Rolex of his dreams on a watch forum. The...
Zachary Crockett • July 26, 2020

The “invention” of the flat iron steak

In 1998, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association — the industry’ largest trade group — gave a pair of meat scientists $1.5m in grant money...
Michael Waters • July 17, 2020

Meet the company that sells your lost airplane luggage

Imagine this: An airline loses your checked bag. After an extensive search, customer support comes up empty-handed. They compensate you and life goes on. But...
Zachary Crockett • July 11, 2020

How my dad got scammed for $3,000 worth of gift cards

At 2:30 pm on a recent Monday, my dad received a jarring phone call. A man claiming to be a federal agent (David White, ID...
Zachary Crockett • July 5, 2020

The house servant who pioneered the franchising business model

Ray Kroc is often credited as the “father” of the franchising business model. But 60 years before McDonald’s, a woman named Martha Matilda Harper built...
Zachary Crockett • June 28, 2020

Why sports stadiums are suddenly full of cardboard fans

2020 might be the year of the fake sports fan.  Once bustling with beer-soaked fans, stadiums across the world are now full of cardboard cutouts....
Michael Waters • June 21, 2020

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