Eye care. Do you?


July 23, 2019

Today, Disney runs away with it and does Equifax really give a sh*t? But first…
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Red-eyed consumers criticize Hubble’s less-than-transparent business practices

For contact lens customers accustomed to overpaying for optical equipment, Hubble’s splashy social ads were a sight for sore eyes: “Get Hubble – 30 contacts for ONLY $1.”

But The New York Times reports that customers of the contact lens startup have developed eye issues ranging from ulcers to inflammation.

And more than one optometrist is saying ‘eye told you so’ 

Hubble has been criticized by eye doctors for cutting corners in the prescription process since it launched in 2016. 

The business was launched by co-founders Ben Cogan (who worked at Harry’s razors) and Jesse Horwitz, entrepreneurial opportunists looking to sell “anything” they could “raise a seed round for and sort of have investors be stupid alongside.” 

The business was built on a lucrative legal loophole

Normally, sellers need optometrist prescriptions to sell contacts. But the FTC permits “passive verification,” which lets sellers send prescriptions to eye doctors for verification, and, if they don’t hear back within 8 hours, they can sell them anyway.

So, despite warnings about the dangers of a one-size-fits-all approach to selling prescription products, the duo proceeded to raise $73.7m in VC funding to aggressively advertise their lenses across social media.

But was Hubble innovative or careless?

It depends on who you ask: Thanks to its rapid growth — Hubble sold $20m of lenses in its first 13 months — Cogan and Horwitz were praised as farsighted visionaries in Harvard Business School case studies and Forbes’ 30 under 30.

But consumers, optometrists, and the American Optometric Association have criticized the company’s blurry business practices, which include using outdated lens materials and manipulative marketing and sales tactics.

As Hubble’s business model comes into focus, the FTC — which has received 279 complaints about Hubble — is publicly exploring the possibility of changing its lens laws.

Hubble trouble
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An $11m view: Loft owners spend hard cash to maintain their view over Manhattan

People these days will do anything to maintain their sense of luxury. But when you have endless amounts of money, how far is too far?

The New York Times reports that when the residents of a historic 12-story loft building in Chelsea got wind of an incoming tower next door — threatening to block their pristine view of the Empire State Building — they offered the developer $11m not to build. 

Because in the concrete rainforest of New York, where having a view is even a scarcity for the 1%, the moody blue sunset is everything.

Fighting for air

Instead of dragging in ordinance officials, the owners of the loft decided to buy out the developer’s air rights of the looming property (yes in New York you can buy air). 

If they wanted to, they could turn around and build on the air themselves. But they have no intention to. That space is for sky and sky only.

And this isn’t the first time ‘view money’ has talked

Over the years, billionaires have battled over the city’s limited skyline — waterside apartments blotting out Brooklyn Bridge vistas, and highrises that cast shadows over Central Park — even one other instance of buying up the air.

The NYT found one case in which the residents of a condominium coughed up over $3m to purchase the air rights of an adjacent property owner.

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Disney dominates 2019’s domestic BO as franchises get out of hand

Walt Disney’s movie studio is richer than your movie studio — and they’re having a monstrous 2019 to prove it. Why? Because they own damn near every single Hollywood franchise in existence.

The “live action,” but clearly very animated, remake of “Lion King” roared into theaters and snatched up an estimated $185m in domestic ticket sales, while “Avengers: Endgame” just surpassed Avatar as the highest grossing movie ever (before inflation).

And that was just last weekend…

The “Aladdin” remake will soon pass $1B worldwide, the latest “Toy Story” is on track as well, Marvel’s “Phase Four” plan was just announced and “Frozen 2” hasn’t even come out yet.

Bottom line: Disney currently holds a staggering 40% of the domestic box office this year, and for any studio that still believes they aren’t merely small potatoes comparatively, Elsa has some advice for you…

‘Let it go’

Unfortunately over the last 3 decades, that exact kind of thinking has led to stagnant industry growth.

For years, mid level studios have dropped like flies as Disney, and a few other distant rivals, take up all the red-carpet real estate with existing IP.

Analysts don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon and, as original stories continue to decrease, many worry the industry will only continue to shrink. 

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle
@wesschlagenhauf

Is there any creativity left in the movie biz? Unless it’s through the eyes of a toy cowboy or a human-wolverine, we may never know.
Show this thread
» Movies, man.

Judge orders Equifax to pay out at least $650m in largest data breach settlement ever

After 2 years and countless headaches, the Equifax saga is (nearly) over: The credit bureau was ordered to pay out at least $650m in a settlement related to its 2017 mega-breach.

It’s the biggest data breach settlement EVER

In fact, it’s 5x larger than any other data settlement in history (the 2nd largest was Anthem’s $115m settlement in 2015). 

At least $300m of the settlement will go to consumers affected by the breach, with much of the remainder going toward the resolution of investigations by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, and 48 states (plus DC and Puerto Rico).

But the ultimate price of Equifax’s penalty is still uncertain: If all 147m victims cashed in on the free credit monitoring program Equifax will be required to offer, Equifax would pay more than $2B.

But Equifax is probably gonna be OK

For Equifax, the preliminary $650m fine is less than the sales the company would typically do in a single quarter.

Plus, Equifax expects only about 7m of the potential 147m claimants to come forward to take advantage of the free credit monitoring services, which could reduce its overall costs.

» The EquiFIX
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