June 23, 2020

Cities will pay you to pull up stakes

June 23, 2020
The Hustle
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The Ascent

This is one truly twisted collab. The mischief-makers at MSCHF have teamed up with the YouTube star MrBeast on a new game called “Finger on the App.” The rules are simple:

  • The last player to take their finger off their phone screen wins.
  • The other players decide the winner’s prize — up to $25k.
  • You can’t glue your phone to your hand — the game has built-in anti-cheating defenses.

Dare to play? The game kicks off next Tuesday at 3pm ET.

Open Your Purse

Everyone wants to pay you to leave the Bay Area

Thinking of moving to greener pastures? A who’s who of overlooked cities will Venmo you a little something something if you pick them.

Over the last year, Topeka, Tulsa, northwestern Alabama, and the entire state of Vermont have lured tech workers with stipends of $5k to $10k.

And now that Big Tech is embracing remote work forever, more communities are tossing their checks into the ring. Last month, Savannah, Georgia announced it will dish out up to $2k for moving expenses to a select class of remote tech workers.

Meet your municipal patrons 

These locations have a few things in common: Many have seen their populations fall, and they’re betting that ponying up a bit of cash will widen their appeal. 

The startup MainStreet offers $10k to Bay Area workers who will move into its brick-and-mortar offices in Sacramento or Salt Lake City. 

The offers are even going international:  The tiny country of Estonia is handing over ~1.8k digital nomad visas to freelancers and remote workers. 

But you’d have better luck getting into Stanford

In its first year, Tulsa Remote — a program offering a $10k stipend — accepted only 1% of its 10k applicants.

One reason: Despite the hype, these remote-work programs remain tiny.

  • Tulsa’s program — one of the biggest in the US — capped its inaugural class of acceptances at 100 people. (Only 70 actually enrolled.)  
  • When it launched last year, Alabama’s Remote Shoals program sought to attract just 10 tech workers.
  • Vermont’s is on hold after funding 69 people at ~$3.6k each. 

At their current size, these programs won’t solve the population woes of the localities offering them — or make big-city expats rich. But considering how much moving companies are making right now, a few extra Gs is nothing to sneeze at.

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Clothes Call?

Once limited to workouts and errands, athleisure becomes a workwear staple

Your butt’s been parked on the sofa since March. But now that offices are reopening, it’s time to get your ass in gear. Which leaves us with a vital question: WTF WILL I WEAR?

You can have my sweatpants…

… when you yank them off my cold, dead booty.

Athleisure — clothes that are fit for workouts but are way nicer than your ratty old gym shorts — has been on the rise for years now. The market is projected to leap by $80.7B between 2020 and 2024.

The pandemic has been a boon to many athleisure companies — and some apparel businesses had to pivot to catch up.

“Part of this has been curating some of our most comfortable, casual items into a loungewear page,” Sarah LaFleur, CEO and founder of M.M. LaFleur, a luxury brand that caters to professional women, told us.

An example of LaFleur’s pivot: The company changed how it talked about a pair of pants called the Colbys. LaFleur originally marketed them as travel-friendly, but sales increased 8x when they were renamed the “Colby Jogger.”

Athleisure is getting a glow up

In the Before Times, a solid work ensemble could take us from meetings to meetups at the hottest watering hole. These days, we might hit up a socially distanced vinyasa class before heading home. A few brands nailing the After Times aesthetic:

  • As Wired reported, Uniqlo expanded its AIRism undies line — made with moisture-wicking, quick-dry, stank-controlling and antibacterial fabric — to include tank tops, T-shirts, and hoodies.
  • Banana Republic makes men’s suits using “Smart-Weight Performance” fabric.
  • Epoque Evolution’s versatile pieces are made with Econyl, a 100% regenerated nylon textile made from old carpets and fishnets.
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In the Know

Sharing is caring: These startups are streamlining knowledge-sharing

Google is great. But there’s something daunting about getting a gazillion results in .6 seconds. 

Info-sharing startups like Notion, Coda, and Almanac are organizing that chaos with spaces where resources can be created, shared, and searched.

Originally, these apps were designed for professionals to share corporate knowledge, like how to structure HR protocols or marketing strategies. But lately, people have been using them in unexpected ways — uploading everything from trip itineraries to recipes.

They’ll rescue you from the 2nd page of Google 

The apps allow people to not only create documents, but to access an archive of crowdsourced information. 

Almanac’s directory has 3k entries, and Coda recently introduced a searchable doc gallery feature. While Notion is focused on team collaboration, it’s developing its own catalog of community content.  

Info-sharing is on the rise at a critical time: Adam Nathan, CEO and co-founder of Almanac, told Protocol he hopes to amplify the work of diversity and inclusion experts when corporations desperately need their expertise. 

Black Lives Matter activists used the apps to organize, creating donation databases and contact lists of Black HR leaders. 

VCs are starting to take note

All this buzz translates into some cold hard cash. Notion was recently valued at $2B+ and raised $50m in startup funds. Back in 2017, Coda raised $60m, and Almanac nabbed $9m in seed money in May. 

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Dirty John

This portable urinal company is flush with demand

If you’ve ever peed in a water jug in the back seat of a car and thought, “I’m OK with this, but I would love something a little more bourgeois,” boy do we have the product for you.

The Travel John is your perfect on-the-go bladder. For $17, you get a six-pack of bags, stuffed with crystals that absorb your urine and its smells.

If you want one, you might have to hurry: The company behind the Travel John says it’s seeing a “drastic increase” in demand right now. 

It brings the lavatory right to your door

Listen: We get it. In loo of flying, Americans are taking tons of road trips this summer. And road trips are long, and maybe you’re nervous about using rest stops, and… suddenly, that portable urinal sounds pretty damn convenient.

More good news: The ladies won’t be left in the cold. The Travel John’s feminine compatriot is the pink Travel Jane.

They’re both part of a much larger movement to rebrand the toilet amid the pandemic. When toilet paper was running low, bidets made a splash as the new ulterior for your posterior. 

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Snippets

1️⃣  A win for developers? After the outcry over its policies, Apple will let developers challenge App Store guidelines.

2️⃣  Andrew Yang’s new project wants tech companies to pay you for using your data.

3️⃣  Honk for an encore: Live Nation announced its first-ever drive-in concert series.

4️⃣  Uniqlo’s new breathable masks are so popular in Japan that its website crashed on the launch.

5️⃣  Space tourism company Virgin Galactic announced a new partnership with NASA — and it sent stocks into liftoff.

6️⃣  Sorry, Intel: Apple will cook up its own Mac chips now.

7️⃣  As businesses reopen, get ready for COVID-19 surcharges

8️⃣  Italy’s top banking association is ready for a digital euro

9️⃣  Fashion’s new target demo: C.A.R.L.Y.s, short for the meme-loving under-25 crowd that Can’t Afford Real Life Yet. 

🔟  How’s this for hustle? A 24-year-old designer became the first seller to earn $1m+ on Depop, the peer-to-peer fashion sales site.

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