👺 Welcome to goblin mode

What the heck is ‘goblin mode’ and more in today's issue of The Hustle.

In case you’ve been wondering what Mike Tyson has been up to, he’s been keeping busy in the cannabis space. His company, Tyson 2.0, just released Mike Bites, a cannabis gummy shaped like an ear with a bite taken out of it. Who knew Mike Tyson was a marketing genius?

In today’s email:

  • Goblin mode: What the f**k does that even mean?
  • Chart: The US hit a record number of $1m+ homes.
  • March Madness: Wild money behind the tourney.
  • Around the web: Trusting your gut, a relaxing driving simulator, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear about hackers getting hacked, an eyeball-scanning crypto startup, Netflix vs. password sharing, interest rate increases, and more.


What the heck is ‘goblin mode’?

The pandemic has changed our habits in a lot of ways.

Some people are wearing more sweats. Some are showering less. Some are watching a little more Netflix than they used to.

Then there are the ones scouring Reddit until 4am while eating fistfuls of raw pasta as a snack.

That, my friends, is an example of “goblin mode,” which, according to The Guardian, has become the new normal for many.

Goblin mode…

… can be described as a full-on rejection of self-betterment.

The phrase first appeared on Twitter in 2009, and spiked in popularity in February when a headline incorrectly attributed it to Uncut Gems actress Julia Fox, who was dating Kanye West at the time.

Some examples of goblin mode include:

  • Mindlessly binging reality TV shows while scrolling social media
  • Pouring the end of a bag of chips into your mouth
  • Wandering into your kitchen at 2am and making weird snacks (e.g., saltines with melted cheese)

In other words, goblin mode is all about embracing your inner slob, and relishing in socially unacceptable behavior.

Why is goblin mode blowing up?

One reason is its direct opposition to more conventional internet aesthetics — AKA presenting one’s best self online. For example:

  • Cottagecore: A stylized Instagram aesthetic that thrived early in the pandemic featuring pastel colors and elements of country life (e.g., baking and embroidery)
  • #thatgirl: A popular TikTok aesthetic embraced by influencers who obsess over self improvement (e.g., waking up at 5am to make a green smoothie)

A simpler reason? The pandemic has dragged on, and people are losing their sh*t cutting themselves some slack.

In a way, goblin mode is a form of self-love — which, ironically, is one of the most powerful paths to self-betterment.

The return to the office…

… poses a serious threat to the goblin lifestyle. Many workers are being forced to do things they haven’t done in years, like talk to people face-to-face and dress presentably.

If you find yourself needing to brush up on your social skills, NYT’s got you covered.

Just remember, there’s nothing wrong with letting out your inner goblin every once in a while.


As Walmart expands, it looks to hire 50k+ new employees, including personal shoppers, drivers, and data scientists, by the end of April. #ecommerce-retail

Cool: Environmental startup InterEarth has a plan to trap greenhouse gases, and it involves burying wood in the ground. #clean-energy

Bear Robotics, which makes robots for restaurants, scored $81m in Series B. Its Servi bot has delivered 28m meals to hungry diners so far. #emerging-tech

Hacker vs. hacker: A Ukrainian researcher leaked 60k emails from the Conti ransomware group after it backed Russia, revealing how the criminal group operates. #privacy

America Express wants to let people use its cards in the metaverse and set up a virtual marketplace, per recent filings with the US Patent and Trademark Office. #fintech-crypto

After 7+ years, Google’s domain registration service, Google Domains, is out of beta. Users can choose from 300+ domain endings. #big-tech


The US hit a record number of $1m+ homes

In February 2020, the number of US homes worth $1m+ was 4.8%. Last month, that number was 8.2%, per Redfin.

The jump was most notable in the Golden State, which never fails to live up to its name:

  • 7 of the top 10 metro areas with the highest share of $1m+ homes are in California.
  • Almost 9-in-10 homes in San Francisco and San Jose are listed for $1m+. (Even this fixer-upper sold for $2m.)
  • Anaheim saw a 28% jump in its share of $1m+ homes.

Why’s this happening?

According to Redfin, low mortgage rates and covid trends led to a 50% drop in the number of homes for sale despite high demand.

The good news — there’s always Elgin, Illinois, where the share of $1m+ homes has grown just 0.1%. That’s lower than anywhere else.


New companies, innovators, and challenges…

… every week. We’re in there.

Jacob Goldstein, former host of Planet Money, leads Pushkin Industries’ new podcast into the stories of how really smart people are finessing their problems and paving new paths.

He’s an author and journalist. We like his attitude, and the timbre of his voice.

Incoming topics from What’s Your Problem? by Pushkin Industries

  • How do you convince people to buy a house on the internet?
  • How do you take a drone delivery service you’ve built in Rwanda and make it fly in North Carolina?
  • How do you sell thousands of dog ramps to wiener dogs across America when a pandemic breaks the global supply chain?

Hear Goldstein illuminate and entertain on topics you didn’t know you’d love.

Listen now →
basketball image

The economics of March Madness

March Madness begins today. While the nation collectively cheers for an upset of the Duke men’s basketball team in the 1st round, here are 5 data points that explain the economics of the NCAA Tournament:

  1. $613m: Total NCAA payouts to the conferences of men’s tournament participants in 2021, out of ~$800m in NCAA revenue from hosting the tournament.
  2. $2m: The approximate payout for a men’s team that made the tournament in 2021, a payout made to each team’s conference in ~$337k increments over 6 years. For every win in the tournament until the Final Four, a team earns its conference another ~$2m. A Final Four team makes ~$10m, paid over 6 years.
  3. $35m: The gap in spending on the NCAA Tournament between the men’s and women’s tournaments in 2019. In a viral video, the University of Oregon’s Sedona Prince shamed the NCAA into providing more resources for women’s players, though the NCAA declined to specify how much they have closed the financial gap this year.
  4. $3B: The expected sum of legal bets on this year’s men’s tournament, per gambling news source PlayUSA.
  5. Priceless? What is it worth to have an Australian movie star on your side? The University of Iowa is about to find out because, for some random connection to the school’s coach, Hugh Jackman made a video telling the Iowa basketball team to “crush it.”

☘️ On this day: In 1601, the 1st St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in a Spanish colony in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The colony’s vicar was Irish.

📻 Cure boredom: Drive & Listen simulates cruising through cities across the globe, complete with local radio stations and street noise.

💸 That’s interesting: Behind Amazon, Facebook Marketplace is the 2nd-largest marketplace in the world. Here’s the inside story of how it came to be, from the woman who built it.

💰 How to: Why your gut feelings are important and how to lean into them.

🇺🇦 That’s cool: The 1K Project for Ukraine allows people to instantly donate $1k to a family in Ukraine, no middlemen. It was founded by Alex Iskold, a Ukrainian-American VC who previously raised $3m for families during the pandemic in the same way.

🐈 Aww: And now, a prairie dog and its cat.


Valid defense. (Source: Twitter)

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