Zagat’s time at Google hasn’t exactly been a raging success, and as other review companies like Yelp lap them in both traffic and relevance, time will tell whether The Infatuation’s social media savvy is enough to resuscitate the aging brand.
The 4-decade saga of Zagat
Created in 1979 by husband and wife Tim and Nina Zagat from a 1-page restaurant survey of 200 of their friends, the company was once held as one of the most reliable sources of restaurant reviews.
This was about 25 years before Yelp existed, putting Zagat well ahead of its time in the world of crowdsourced, amateur restauraunt reviews. By ‘05, the Zagats were rolling out annual books of reviews for 70 cities from a pool of 250k respondents.
Unfortunately, their offline success didn’t translate to the web
Zagat put their online content behind a paywall, crippling their SEO performance and allowing Yelp to step in as the de facto source of free online reviews (in 2010, Zagat had about 570k monthly visitors, compared to Yelp’s 9.4m).
For the past several years, Zagat has remained an afterthought for the tech giant. But The Infatuation pledges to revamp the company’s tech presence, so this relic of a bygone era may not go the way of your family’s “takeout menu drawer” after all.
You guys had that too, right?
How a millennial-focused erectile dysfunction startup came to be worth $200m
Fun fact: ED and hair loss aren’t just “old person” things: 25% of men with male pattern baldness begin losing their flow before they reach 21, and 1 in 4 men who go to the doctor for ED are under the age of 40.
But rest easy, millennials, because men’s wellness startup, Hims, has raised $40m in funding to make sure you can keep your hair (and your boner) without the skin-crawling awkwardness that comes with in-office visits. The new round reportedly values the company at $200m.
That escalated quickly
Hims has only been around since late 2017 and has already sold around $10m worth of products for baldness and ED -- which showcases how quickly a direct-to-consumer e-commerce business can go from zero to millions in sales.
According to TechCrunch, there are two key factors to their success:
Reason #1: Last year, close to 80% of US states changed their telehealth laws, making it easier for insurance companies to justify paying for remote doctor and pharmacy visits.
Reason #2: Certain big-name drug patents like Propecia and Viagra are expiring, loosening the big pharma stronghold and opening the door for generic versions to be made and sold at a more affordable price.
“Goop for men”
Hims sells wellness kits starting at $40 with medications tailored and “elegantly” packaged to the specific millennial patient’s needs.
With Hims’ quick success, affordable pricing, and telehealth making its way into the mainstream, this market could give VCs around the country the rise in the pants they’re looking for.
Movin’ on up: Coinbase hires former LinkedIn exec to spearhead new acquisitions
Coinbase has grown to a $1.6B valuation without any major acquisitions during their 6-year run, but their newest hire is a sign that may be changing.
Yesterday, the crypto trading platform announced they’ll be bringing on former head of mergers and acquisitions at LinkedIn, Emilie Choi, as their VP of corporate and business development.
The coins they are a boomin’
Choi did more than 40 deals while heading up LinkedIn’s M&A unit, and says her first focus will be on “acquihires” -- acquiring companies with the main focus of bringing on the people who run them.
According to Recode, the company will eventually make the push into buying wholesale businesses, but for now, Choi says their main focus is “getting in as much talent as possible” to help them manage the 10x increase in transaction volume Coinbase has seen in the past year.
Is there an IPO on the horizon?
On top of Choi, Coinbase reportedly wants to double their headcount to around 500. They also announced their hunt for a CFO back in February, leading to speculation about the company’s plans to IPO in the near future.
In lieu of bonuses, United Air created (and canceled) a $100k lottery for its employees
In an internal memo leaked last week, United Airlines announced they were replacing performance-based bonuses with a new, “exciting” lottery system, in which the company’s 80k employees would have the chance to win a handful of prizes.
Now, after a widespread petition and a barrage of bad press on the internet, United is calling off the whole thing.
What’s wrong with a little lottery action?
United’s current performance incentive program rewards 30k+ of its employees with up to $1.5k in bonuses per year for meeting companywide goals, like on-time departures and on-time arrivals. Last year, the company paid out $87m in such rewards.
The proposed lottery system -- which offered prizes ranging from a Mercedes sedan to a one-person $100k payout -- would’ve only affected 1,361 employees, and cost the company around $18m.
Only employees with “perfect attendance records” would’ve been eligible for the lottery, excluding those who took sick leave or had emergencies.
When employees call bullsh*t
Hundreds of United employees signed a Change.org petition calling for the reinstatement of bonuses -- and the airline was skewered for trying to peddle the lottery as a step up in worker compensation when, in reality, it was a cost-saving measure.
Yesterday, United President Scott Kirby told workers that the company was “pressing the pause button” on the lottery, and taking time to “review feedback.”
In recent years, companies have largely replaced raises with ephemeral reward systems, often at the expense of worker satisfaction. But the internet has given workers a platform to speak out -- and employers are forced to listen.
Note: Today’s Toolbox tip comes from friend of The Hustle and finance guru Chris Hutchins. These are not advertisements or affiliate links.
3 ways to level-up your savings account (even if you don’t work on Wall Street)
Most of us don’t learn about money in school, and as an adult, getting advice about it can be expensive. But, there are some great opportunities out there to make the most of your money that you don’t have to be a hedge fund manager to take advantage of.
Here are a few of my recommendations to our financial planning clients that you can actually do today:
Maximize your interest. Your cash savings should be earning you money. The top high-yield savings accounts pay 25x the national average interest rate with the same FDIC protections. PurePoint, Marcus and Ally offer competitive rates and great online experiences.
Take advantage of retirement accounts. The Motley Fool recently calculated that someone saving $5k/yr for 30 years could have an additional $200k by using a tax-advantaged account like a 401(k) or IRA. If you’re eligible to contribute to any of these tax-advantaged accounts, the long term benefits can be huge.
Reduce your recurring payments. With so so many services like Spotify or Netflix charging monthly fees, you should check your monthly statements to make sure you are getting value out of everything you’re paying for. Apps like TrueBill can help do that automatically. Those extra dollars each month add up!
This material is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. It is not a recommendation of any particular strategy or investment product. All investment involves risk, including the loss of principal.
In our brand new section Early/Mid/Late, we take a look at some of the trends and products floating around and place them on the much-loved adoption curve. Think of it as your bite-sized, weekly-trend gauge. This week: “bleisure,” data, and chickens.
If you didn’t enjoy your last business trip, you must be old. Bleisure, the artful combination of business and leisure, is the latest trend to sweep business travel since reward points. Today, more employers are giving employees greater flexibility in their travel arrangements and millennials are gobbling it up. [Quartzy]
Integrations, integrations, and more integrations -- it’s the future of your data. Grow helps make sense of every company's data by letting owners see hyper-specific stats like customer acquisition numbers in real-time pulled from over 150 integrations. It’s like some futuristic crystal ball of business health that’s available today. [Grow.com]
SV elites have set their sights on disrupting a centuries old practice: raising chickens. They might be late to the poultry game, but hobbyist chicken farmers are using smartphone apps, personal chefs, and terms like “optimization,” to perfect the art of chicken rearing -- shelling out up to $350 to get the best breeds in the process. [Washington Post]
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An American pastime: 6 billion hours spent doing taxes
There’s nothing more American than baseball, apple pie, and... taxes.
Americans spend approximately 6 BILLION hours filing their taxes each year -- and business owners, contractors, and freelancers are making that number soar further.
It’s a mind-numbing amount, especially when you think of all things you’d rather be doing than taxes -- so don’t.