e-Kondo-nomics


November 20, 2019

The Hustle
TOGETHER WITH
HYDRANT

Happy Wednesday, folks. Halfway through another week already. Today:

  • Marie Kondo’s e-commerce line sure feels like a dig 
  • Worker owned apps are redefining the gig
  • After all this time, AmEx finally decides to go big

Make it an awesome day.

The Hustle Daily Email

Marie Kondo messes with our heads by announcing new line of closet clutter — errr, lifestyle products

Marie Kondo, contemplative author of the bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” –– and star of the hit Netflix spinoff –– originally won over America’s hearts and junk drawers with her KonMari practice of tossing all items that don’t spark joy in their owners… quietly lowers self into trash can and pulls lid closed.

Kondo’s hardcore purification methods, overlaid with her soothing persona, sparked a nationwide cleansing movement this year. Befuddled donation center employees looked on as millions of Kondo-heads filed in and serenely whispered “Thank you” to their piles of old junk before returning home to sit on the bare floors of their now-naked apartments. 

Oh I’m sorry, did I clutter? I said you need MORE stuff

After making tough clean-out decisions at the purge-urging of our tidy cult leader, many fans are now peeved at news of Kondo’s contradictory boutique pushing a new line of lifestyle products, such as a beechwood computer brush with anti-static goat hair. 

… OK, I know I just threw out my grandmother’s wedding veil, but if I don’t order that bamboo tea whisk this second I will lose my s***.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Kondo maintains that the spinoff biz is in keeping with the KonMari philosophy, since each product has passed her personal “spark check.” 

The online boutique opens just months after consumerism king Rakuten announced a partnership with Kondo

Gotta respect the hustle of a badass biz success story, but it still feels a little… dirty. It’s kind of like gyms offering free pizza under the pretense of making fitness fun: Maybe intentions truly are pure, but ultimately the business is perpetuating demand for its own product.

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My First Million

What started out as a game turned into big money FAST. Too fast. Find out how poker player Faraz Jaka navigated early success in Las Vegas, crushing debt and depression only to come out of it with a cool $10M …

Listen to his rollercoaster ride on My First Million, and learn:

  • 👍 How to use the “+EV” method for all decision making
  • 🙅‍♂️ Why you shouldn’t be results oriented
  • 🧘 How meditation can help overcome stress
  • 🧞 How to tackle depression by confronting it head-on

Pick your favorite podcast player below to check it out.

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Workers take on the gig economy through digital co-ops

The gig-work giants trumpet the idea of “being your own boss.” But if bosses are supposed to make bank… well, something is amiss. As a remedy to the exploitative practices that have become standard, some workers are launching shared-ownership labor platforms.

Cleaning house and taking care of business

The NYC-based co-op Up & Go connects clients with professional home cleaners –– many of them women who immigrated from Latin America. The cleaners are also co-op members, meaning they own the business and call the shots regarding pricing and policies.

Currently, cleaners earn $25/hour. Unlike some gig workers who see companies take an automatic 20% or more of their haul, Up & Go cleaners pocket everything but 5%, which goes toward keeping the co-op’s platform running.

Other worker-centric labor platforms are taking off

By some estimates, there are about 400 projects worldwide that could be considered platform co-ops.

In Barcelona, Mensakas is a worker-owned food-delivery service giving Deliveroo a run for its money, and CoopCycle is a federation of bike courier co-ops with a presence in 16 European cities. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s an interest in collaboration among these co-ops. A recent conference in NYC brought together 150 speakers from 30 different countries who discussed such topics as worker power, ecological sustainability, startup funding allocation, and governance. 

Prior to Up & Go’s launch, 3 established co-ops aided its development during a year-long process that included many rounds of co-design and testing. Guidance from a UX expert and funding from the Robin Hood Foundation, a NYC-based anti-poverty organization, helped get Up & Go off the ground.

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SPONSORED

The new solution for Monday morning “mind fog”? Better hydration.

Most people try to shake off the morning cobwebs in two ways: 

1) Suck down a cup of coffee (or six), then buckle up for caffeine jitters and bathroom sh-… uh, titters.

2) “Hydrate” your system with a Gatorade and await the sugar crash.

These may work in the short term, but the end result usually involves falling asleep at a conference table around 2PM.

The founders of Hydrant figured there had to be a better way 

One that didn’t involve boatloads of sugar or enough caffeine to give an elephant a heart attack.  So, they worked with Oxford scientists to develop a way to fast-track hydration by upping water’s game. 

The end result? Hydrant’s rapid hydration mix.

  • Up to 3X the electrolytes of a traditional sports drink with up to 70% less sugar
  • 100mg of caffeine and 200mg of l-theanine for continual and sustained energy
  • 25 calories or less per serving

They also know how much we love a good productivity hack, so they’re hooking readers of The Hustle up with a solid 60% off deal

Subscribe to a 30-day supply of their top flavors for $1/day (Blood Orange, Grapefruit, & Lime) and get a free 30-day supply of Hydrant+ (Lemon flavored, but with 100mg of caffeine & 200mg of l-theanine) for free.

Talk about a sweet deal… 

Join hydration nation →

American Express pays businesses to accept its cards in a bid to catch Visa and others

American Express is paying businesses as much as $450k to accept its cards, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

The credit card collosus launched the initiative in an effort to catch up to Visa and Mastercard, which were both accepted in 1.3m more locations than American Express as of last year.

How did AmEx fall so far behind in the first place?

It’s a tale of 2 business models.

American Express’ cards are “closed-loop” systems, which means that  AmEx issues credit to –– and also processes payments for –– its cardholders.

Visa and Mastercard, on the other hand, are “open-loop” systems, which means they process payments only for their cardholders –– and rely on banks and other institutions to issue credit.

  • Closed-loop systems –– like AmEx’s –– earn money based on the number of dollars cardholders spend, which is why AmEx focuses on big spenders.
  • Open-loop systems –– like Visa’s or Mastercard’s –– earn money based on the number of transactions cardholders complete, which is why Visa and Mastercard have always prioritized being accepted at all stores to maximize transaction volume.

As a result of these different models, AmEx can bring in more revenue than Visa or Mastercard despite having fewer cards in circulation.

In 2014, for example, AmEx had 53m cards in circulation and made $36B in revenue. Visa and Mastercard, meanwhile, had 285m and 178m respective cards in circulation –– but only brought in $22B in revenue combined.

Now, AmEx wants to charge its cards and expand them, too 

In the past few years, Visa and Mastercard’s dominant scale has started to challenge AmEx’s high-rolling business model –– especially as premium cards like the Chase Sapphire card (a Visa partnership) have caused some of AmEx’s high rollers to jump ship.

So, by paying businesses and expanding the number of places where AmEx cards are accepted, the company hopes to kick its cards’ convenience up a notch –– and, in the process, win back some big spenders.

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What Else…

📚 “Textbooks as a service” are taking off. A startup called Perlego raised $9m to expand its textbook subscription service. It’s just one of several startups disrupting the textbook biz.

🐶 Direct-to-consumer startups are going to the dogs. No, literally… a startup called Jinx (run by alums of well-known mattress startup Casper) raised $5.65m to build out its dog food delivery business. The company plans to start shipping kibble to dog bowls near you in January.

👓 New startups are looking into the contact lens market. Warby Parker, the original trendy consumer eyewear brand, launched a new line of contact lenses called Scout, which puts the company in competition with other contact lens startups like Hubble (which has had its own fair share of controversy).

🔥 That’s one hot startup. A Bill Gates-backed startup called Heliogen has found a way to use AI to concentrate the sun’s rays enough to generate temps of 1k degrees Celsius. “It’s like a death ray,” founder Bill Gross told TechCrunch.

🐱 Facebook just became a meme-factory. If you thought you couldn’t waste any more time on Zuckbook, you were wrong: The social media giant quietly released a new meme-making app called Whale last week.

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