🖥️ Zmail is the new Gmail

Jack Daniel’s lawsuit against a dog toy that parodies its whiskey bottle — it reads “Bad Spaniels” and “100% smelly” — will be heard by the Supreme Court.

P.S. Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll catch you back here Monday.

In today’s email:

  • Plant meat: Not so hot anymore.
  • Chart: Famous meme sales.
  • Zmail: Why you can now email from Zoom.
  • Around the web: An app for meeting people (with a catch), alpaca muscle, a curious game, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s special podcast to hear Zack and Mark discuss the dark side of Black Friday. The shoppers holiday has seen 17 deaths and 125 injuries since 2006. WTF is going on, and why do people turn into assholes when a good deal is at stake?


What happened to Beyond Meat?

Beyond Meat was soaring when it went public in 2019.

Its faux-meats popped up in myriad restaurant and grocery chains, and at one point it reached a $10B+ valuation — though The Motley Fool cautioned it was overvalued.

But now? The hype is cooling

Beyond Meat shares have dropped ~83% this year while sales have stagnated, per The New York Times.

  • In October, it laid off 200 workers, or ~19% of its workforce.
  • The company lost four execs, including the COO, who was accused of biting a man’s nose during a fight.

Employees also told The Wall Street Journal that CEO Ethan Brown, who founded Beyond Meat in 2009, rushed timelines, resulting in wasted resources and unenthused customers.

But it’s not just Beyond Meat

Brazilian meatpacker JBS announced it would shutter its plant-based arm in October, while Kellogg’s Morningstar Farms has seen sales drop, reportedly over supply chain issues.


  • Amid inflation woes, plant-based meat is rarely cheaper than real meat.
  • It may be better for the environment, but it isn’t necessarily healthier — something meat lobbyists use in ads.

In the US, where ~5% of consumers identify as vegetarian, meat-eating has also become weirdly political.

Cracker Barrel was accused of being too “woke” for introducing plant-based sausage.

The hope for alt meats….

… may lie in cheaper, frozen products vs. refrigerated and fake chicken over beef or pork.

Impossible Foods claims sales are up 60% YoY, buoyed by those two categories.

Meanwhile, the FDA just approved the first cultivated meat in the US — Upside Foods’ cell-based chicken — meaning an entirely new option may be on the way.


That’s rough: An Australian company lost $100k worth of drones after 50 of them malfunctioned and fell from the sky during a fireworks-esque drone light show.


A federal judge ruled that Amazon must stop firing or interfering with workers who participate in protected activities, like unionizing.

Nestlé is rolling out compostable Nespresso capsules, starting with pilot programs in France and Switzerland next spring.

Venmo added the option to donate to charities within the app.

US egg prices are 43% higher YoY and 10%+ higher than September, the largest jumps of any USDA food category. The culprit? Bird flu and high holiday demand.

Several retailers will avoid Black Friday creep and stay closed on Thanksgiving this year, including Best Buy, Costco, and Target.

Zuck is not resigning from Meta, per communications director Andy Stone, despite rumors from The Leak — though shares did briefly rise on the false news.

Yikes: The Markup found that tax services including H&R Block and TaxSlayer have sent online filers’ financial data to Facebook.

The TikTokification of… PowerPoint? Microsoft is letting users create vertical, portrait-mode slides in its mobile app.

Niche opp: Trendster Sam Eitzen cleared seven figures after one year of selling artisan gifts to big brands. Check out how on Trends.

NFT sales of famous memes
Zachary Crockett Tweet this Image

Can you get sued for using a meme?

According to one survey, the average millennial looks at 20-30 memes every day.

Some memes are so ubiquitous that we often think of them as a public utility.

But many of the internet’s favorite memes are lucrative commercial entities. And their owners occasionally take action to protect them.

For instance, you’ve likely seen Success Kid. The image depicts a toddler smugly clenching his fist.

  • In meme form, it’s typically overlaid with a caption describing an unexpected triumph, like not getting spaghetti sauce on a white shirt.

It’s been shared tens of millions of times, and in endless variations, bringing collective joy to the internet.

But this past week, Success Kid was at the epicenter of a thoroughly humorless legal battle in an Iowa courtroom.


Social shopping via Instagram DMs

In July, Instagram launched DM-based tools that let shoppers live chat with brand reps and buy on the spot.

The move helped small businesses too, streamlining customer support and payment solutions, and helping them meet consumers where they’re at.

Our blog post unpacks Instagram’s DM shopping tools, citing key facts and stats for anybody pushing products.

According to a HubSpot survey, in recent months:

  • 28% of social media users ages 18-34 have bought directly on a social app
  • 25% of people ages 18-24 have used social media DMs for customer service
  • 13% of marketers said Instagram’s shopping suite provides the highest ROI

Read more ecommerce insights inside the article.

DMs driving sales →
Gmail vs Zmail

Can Zmail become the new Gmail?

Maybe Zoom fatigue wouldn’t be so bad if you could get more done in Zoom.

At least that seems to be the hypothesis behind Zoom One, the videoconferencing giant’s all-in-one suite that recently added in-app email and calendar functionality.

So the solution to Zoom fatigue is more Zoom?

Right. Zoom says it wants to solve the “toggle tax” — the time it takes workers to regain focus after switching between apps — which can add up to four hours per week, per Harvard Business Review.

You may still be asking: Why Zoom?

  • Some estimates peg the average weekly time in online meetings at 21 hours, making videoconferencing tools some of the most-used apps for many workers.
  • By allowing employees to keep up with their work between (and during) video calls, Zoom hopes to make knowledge work more efficient.

Of course, there are also business reasons

With its stock down ~70% in the past year, and as alternatives like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Google Meet grow their own features and market share, Zoom is trying to retain customers by offering an all-in-one solution.

  • Up next, Zoom is rolling out digital whiteboard and appointment booking tools, taking aim at Miro and Calendly.

Want to keep tabs on how Zoom’s strategy is going? Just count the number of “@zmail.com” addresses in your inbox.


📷 On this day: In 1868, French inventor Louis Ducos du Hauron received a patent for a process to create color photographs.

 That’s cool: It’s on Meet is an app where people can connect with others they find interesting. The catch? To initiate a conversation with someone, you’ve got to buy them a drink.

🦙 That’s interesting: Alpacas make great bodyguards for turkeys.

🧠 Cure boredom: A mind-bending game where you must decide who to save. Each decision unlocks more of the story.

🐕 Aww: And now, meet the stick transportation unit.

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