Even ‘lighthearted’ is controversial now


July 24, 2019

Today, the most profitable sports teams compete while the gig economy heads back to the hot seat, but first…
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Plate-gate: Macy’s ditches dishes out of the gate as Pourtion steps up to the plate

When a set of Macy’s plates comparing portion sizes to jean sizes hit the Twitter-sphere last week, critics swooped in like vultures to fresh roadkill.

“F*ck these plates. F*ck these plates to hell @Macys,” wrote one commenter. 

“Yo @macys this is beyond effed up,” wrote another.

In response to concerns the plates promoted body-shaming, Macy’s said it “missed the mark on this product” and removed the plates from all its stores…

But it was too late to stop the plate-hate

Macy’s responded to the first tweet, which was posted by podcast host Alie Ward, in just a few hours.

But, thanks to Twitter, the controversy already had momentum: The tweet racked up more than 5.7k retweets and 48k likes in the 3 days after it was posted — and started a vitriolic debate about what should and should not go on a plate.

Unlike Macy’s, Pourtions insists its plates don’t hate

The sensational supper-ware — a plate featuring a small circle with the words “skinny jeans” and a larger circle with the words “mom jeans” — is served up by a small company called Pourtions.

The founders of Pourtions, wife and husband duo Mary and Dan Cassidy, were surprised by the controversy… but stood by their product.

“Pourtions is intended to support healthy eating and drinking,” Mary Cassidy told HuffPost. “That was all we ever meant to encourage. We also believe a touch of humor can, for some, be just the right touch.”

But, the incident plated up an extra helping for Pourtions 

Pourtions — whose mission is to sell “a conceptual line of tableware that deftly mixes social awareness with a humorous nudge in the right direction” — received hate for the plate.

But, as it turned out, some people also thought the plate was great: Pourtions’ online order volume tripled after the great plate debate.

F*ck the pl8-ers
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Startups going in style: D2C ear piercing startup raises $4m

Rowan, a new ear piercing startup, just raised $4m in seed funding to make more holes in teenage girl ears. Even better, subscribers can cringe in pain from the comfort of their own home.

The 3-in-1 D2C, on-demand subscription service, which targets girls between the ages of 7 and 14 (and their parents, let’s be honest) allows customers to book a licensed nurse who will come to their home to do the piercing.

Licensed — as in medically? Or as in ex-Claire’s employees?

The company has a network of freelance registered nurses in its piercing stable who, according to Rowan’s founder, Louisa Schneider, also serve as “brand ambassadors.”

The nurses show up in white Rowan coats and provide all the equipment necessary — minus the piercing guns which, according to the Association of Professional Piercers, are known to increase the risk of infection.

Fun for the whole gang

“It’s a rite of passage that transcends cultures and religion,” Schneider told Fast Company. “It’s one that typically brings multiple generations of women from a family together. But we have somehow relegated it to a mall.”

There you have it, folks. A utilitarian product with a spiritual component. Rowan is going to fit quite nicely into the Silicon Valley mold.

» Ears only?

Hey DoorDash, here’s a tip — pay your workers

You know how it goes: You put in an order from a food delivery app and once the driver makes the drop, your phone immediately pings you to provide a tip offering.

DoorDash recently came under fire when a New York Times report illustrated how the #1 ranked food delivery app in the US pockets those tips from its workers and includes the earnings in their base pay.

The ol’ mover and shaker model

Gig economy pay systems are set up pretty much the same way as the age-old “tipped wage” model popular at restaurants that allows employers to legally pay workers less than minimum wage — as long as the tips make up the difference.

But, just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it isn’t deceptive (of course, some feel more strongly about it than others).

Painting the perfect gig-economy picture

Uber and Lyft drivers picketed back in May to protest low pay and poor working conditions. Even earlier this year, both Instacart and Amazon Flex were slammed for using employee tips to make up their base pay just like DoorDash (a method that Instacart has pivoted from amid outcry).

While DoorDash updated its payment terms to increase transparency in June, this still serves as a reputational dumpster fire for the food delivery unicorn as well as the gig-conomy at large.   

» What is ‘value’ for $400, Alex.
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Breaking news: Pro sports teams are worth a lot of money

No, seriously… like, a lot of money.

According to a Forbes report, the Dallas Cowboys are the world’s most valuable sports team for the 4th year running, at $5B. 

But they’re far from alone as a billion-dollar sports-ball operation… 

In fact, every single NFL, NBA, and MLB franchise is now worth $1B+

Pro sports teams have always been big business, but their growth has recently accelerated. 

Seven years ago, Manchester United soccer club was the only pro sports team worth more than $2B; today, there are 52 teams worth at least $2B.

So, why the big increase?

Sports franchise owners, powerful behind-the-scenes puppeteers, have simultaneously negotiated increased payouts from media partners like ESPN and NBC and decreased player salaries.

The NFL is a perfect example: More than half of the world’s 50 most valuable teams are in the NFL thanks to the league’s advantageous cost structure. 

Player salaries, one of the largest costs for any NFL team, are capped at $177.2m, while each team earns at least $260m from broadcasting networks.

» They ain’t playin’
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