Gen Z is disrupting the paparazzi business

August 27, 2020

Plus: The Dow index is getting a makeover. Here’s what that means for investors.
August 27, 2020
The Hustle
Graze Mowing

In an unprecedented move, the NBA postponed several playoff games yesterday to protest the police shooting of Jacob BIake, an unarmed Black man in Wisconsin. Athletes in other leagues followed suit.

As one ESPN analyst put it: “This is a pivot point for the NBA and professional sports in North America.”

The Big Idea

TikTok gossip accounts are shaking up the media biz

Hot tip: If you want to run into your favorite TikTok star in the wild, head over to BOA Steakhouse in Los Angeles. According to the New York Times, the eatery is a “hot spot for Gen Z influencers.”

It’s also where you’re likely to find Fletcher Greene — a 38-year-old paparazzo who has landed more exclusives with TikTok stars than Us Weekly could dream of. 

With 1.5m followers, his YouTube channel, The Hollywood Fix, is like TMZ for the TikTok generation.

And it’s part of a wave of new media companies that are out-gossipping the former titans of gossip. 

They’re rewriting the rules of media 

  • Famous Birthdays has become TikTok’s Wikipedia, with explainers and deets on all the platform’s up-and-comers.
  • The Shade Room (20m+ followers) and TikTok Shaderoom (1.5m) are several of dozens of so-called “tea rooms” — gossip-centric Instagram accounts filled with screenshots of deleted posts and leaked texts from celebs.
  • YouTube channels like DramaAlert (5.6m followers) report on juicy “news” like the FBI raid on Jake Paul’s house.
  • Comments By Celebs (1.5m+) is an Instagram media company that sleuths out provocative statements left in the comments section. It recently launched a TikTok-specific spinoff, @CommentsByTikTok. 

The gossip world hasn’t seen a shakeup like this since the 1910s

Back then, a flurry of new tabloids — like Broadway Brevities, Town Topics, and the Tattler — made an art form out of urban socialite gossip.

That skewering tabloid voice we know so well? You can trace it to the original scandal kingpin, Stephen G. Clow, who owned Brevities

What we’re seeing now is another revamp. These Insta publishers are using influencer drama to build out their own media empires — ones with the followers and personality to rival some big-name newspapers.

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  • New privacy features in Apple’s iOS 14 could take a huge chunk out of Facebook’s ad business. 
  • Airbnb employees will be working from home until August 2021 — longer than any other tech company so far.
  • The future of recreational marijuana in the US? State-run weed shops, maybe.
  • OK, yes, you’re probably working from home — but Spotify’s summer noise feature might convince you you’re lounging on the beach.
  • Lucky Charms is selling marshmallow-only cereal packs… because we could all use a little luck right now?

The Dow index got a makeover. What does it mean?

The Dow index — which is made up of 30 blue chip US stocks — is getting a makeover as of Monday:

  • In: Salesforce, Amgen, Honeywell
  • Out: Exxon, Pfizer, Raytheon 

As a price-weighted index, the Dow is affected by the size of its constituents’ stock price — and Apple’s recent 4-for-1 stock split reduced the index’s exposure to tech.

The addition of Salesforce boosts the Dow’s tech bonafides

While giving the index a timely opportunity to boot Exxon.

In a changing of the energy guard, the oil giant has shed >$100B in the past year while electricity superfan No. 1 Tesla has gained >$300B. 

The 124-year-old index is not an exact mirror for corporate America

While the Dow is the most cited market measure in the world, the S&P 500 — which includes, umm, 500 US companies — is the world’s most tracked index (as measured by assets under management).

According to the index’s parent firm (S&P Global), “changes to the Dow are intentionally infrequent, with the goal of providing continuity over time.”

There have only been ~60 changes over the index’s existence, or about 2 a year.

Additions and subtractions have signified turning points

Here are some notable changes over the years:

  • June 1979: Chrysler and Esmark replaced by IBM and Merck 
  • March 1987: Inco and Owens-Illinois replaced by Boeing and Coca-Cola 
  • September 2013: Alcoa, Bank of America, and HP replaced by Goldman Sachs, Nike, and Visa
  • March 2015: AT&T replaced by Apple (probably a good call)
  • June 2018: GE (which lost nearly $500B in market cap from its 2000 highs) replaced by Walgreens Boot Alliance

As with everyone on r/WallStreetBets, we’re patiently waiting for Tesla’s Dow inclusion.

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The $100B commercial landscaping market has two huge problems:

  1. High labor costs
  2. Incredibly slim margins

In a market this big, fixing just a single one of these issues would disrupt the entire industry.

So what do you call it when one startup manages to solve both? 

A massive frickin’ opportunity — and one that you have only one month left to invest in. 

Meet Graze, the fully autonomous electric lawn mower 

Graze is the brainchild of John Vlay, a CEO with 35+ years of experience — and a huge exit — in the landscaping industry. He realized a product like Graze could help commercial landscapers explode their businesses through drastic reduction in fuel and labor costs.

How? Because Graze is 100% electrically powered (with support from top-mounted solar panels).

Plus, thanks to machine learning paired with smart features like a localization GPS, an optical suite, and proximity detection, Graze can map and mow job sites with maximum efficiency. 

Want to get in on a company primed to disrupt a $53B market? Join Graze on SeedInvest.

Invest here →
No-Tell Motel

Motels are the new king of the road

Scratchy sheets. A lingering smell of cigarettes. The muffled moans of the couple next door.

If you think that’s what motels have to offer… well, sometimes you’re right. But the road-side stay is having a renaissance.

Marriott’s become a MarriNOT

Between 1964 and 2012, the number of US motels shrank from 61k to 12k.

But then the coronavirus checked in. By May 2020, occupancy rates at luxury hotels plunged >15%. Economy class properties, which includes motels, sat pretty at ~40%.

Some are reporting week after week of no vacancies.

What in the Magic Fingers happened?

The summer of the road trip happened. If you’re not camping or living that #vanlife, motels are the easiest way to catch 40 winks and a shower.

And motel layouts are well-suited to social distancing. Most are 1- or 2-story buildings — no crowded elevators — with outdoor access to rooms. Sure, there’s no restaurant, fitness center, or spa, but stays are cheap — ~$40 to $100/night.

Not sure you’d wanna crash somewhere without a Starbucks? 

These roadhouses are worth the trip just for the joy of saying their names.

Best Western Plus Intercourse Village: Intercourse, my friends, is a village in Pennsylvania. Get your mind out of the gutter.

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“Raise your hand if you’ve ever been personally victimized by a Slack channel.”

Welcome to the #MeanGirls Slack channel

Is Slack the new high school cafeteria?

OneZero published an interesting piece on how some companies are regretting the decision to use the instant messaging platform.

Slack was originally meant to get rid of email… but a few aggrieved execs claim that this new, lower-friction dynamic that allows more people to speak their minds is leading to dangerously negative discourse — AKA, “talkin’ sh*t”.

That brings us back to the good ol’ days of junior high lunch, where chicken patties were worth their weight in gold and the gossip mill was unstoppable. 

At The Hustle HQ, we know how volatile Slack-ing can be. 

So, as a public service, we created this handy translator for the most misleading language of all: emojis.

Did we forget an emoji translation worth adding? Hit us up.

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Content Marketing Manager, Animalz: If you like writing and have an interest in B2B, SaaS, and ecommerce industries, you’ll like this one.

Part-time Social Media Manager, Mysterium Network: Wanna get paid to make memes, crack jokes, and talk blockchain on Reddit? Today we make your dreams come true.

Lead Technical Writer, Rapid7: This app security company has a hot need for someone who can translate tech talk into normal-people speak.

Senior Product Manager, Intuit Inc: The Trust and Safety team needs a solid pro with experience in information security and data privacy.

Chief Growth Officer, Quartet Health: Are you an ace at building partnerships and driving commercial strategy? Check this out.

See more →
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