Nike employees won’t wait for the other shoe to drop

December 12, 2019

The Hustle
Ladder Insurance Services, LLC

Happy Thursday, folks. Yesterday, Google released its “year in search” data, which showed that the most searched-for baby of 2019 was not the Royal baby, Cardi B’s baby, or even Kim and Kanye’s baby… it was Baby Yoda. Survive this decade after all, we might. Today:

  • Employees at Nike demand more
  • IHOP joins the fast food breakfast war
  • You submitted carry-on stories… involving a boar?

May the force be with you.

The Hustle Daily Email

Nike talks the talk… but finds it isn’t as easy to walk the walk

Nike is a hot mess of cognitive dissonance. Despite a number of campaigns touting equality for female athletes, Nike faces scrutiny for internal practices that hurt women. As 2019 — the year Nike declared the “year for women” — comes to a close, it’s worth looking back on notable hits and misses. 

Nike paints a pretty picture

Nike has a knack for values-based messaging.

After 2018’s “Dream Crazy” campaign with Colin Kaepernick — which won multiple awards and boosted sales — it launched a “Dream Crazier” campaign telling the tales of top female athletes like gymnast Simone Biles, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, and members of the US Women’s National Soccer Team — all narrated by tennis GOAT Serena Williams.

But all’s not well in Beaverton

In May, Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix penned an explosive op-ed in the NYT detailing how Nike’s sponsorship policies unfairly penalize female athletes who get pregnant. Felix later cut ties with Nike and inked a deal with Athleta.

Then in November, Mary Cain, a record-breaking track and field athlete, published an op-ed claiming emotional and physical abuse at the hands of track coach Alberto Salazar. Salazar, who helmed Nike’s elite Oregon Project, was banned from coaching after the US Anti-Doping Agency found he urged athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs. Cain said he body shamed her toward dangerous weight-loss goal… and other athletes corroborate her allegations.

Earlier this month, hundreds of Nike staff marched across the Nike campus in Beaverton, Oregon, to call for the company to make real changes in empowering female athletes and employees. The protest was tied to Nike’s reopening of a building named for Salazar. A flier for the event read: “Walk the Talk, Do the Right Thing.”

Don’t get your Dri-Fit in a wad

Nike seems committed to accommodating female athletes — and that goes for the recreational as well as the professional. This week, Nike announced the launch of its Victory swimsuit. Designed with Muslim modesty in mind, the Victory suit has required some truly technical considerations.

Although wearers won’t be as equipped to compete as swimmers wearing, say, Speedo’s Fastskin, the Victory suit points to a cultural shift that sees athletics as something more than competitive sports. Rather, physical activity is something crucial to a woman’s identity and self-esteem. 

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Your favorite childhood pancake behemoth wants to get ya before work

Yesterday IHOP announced it’s getting into the crowded to-go breakfast game with Flip’d — a quick spot to grab made-to-order breakfast and coffee.

They’re launching a pilot in Atlanta in April and have tentative plans to open in other big cities like NYC, DC, Denver, and SF.

IHOP is banking on urbanites’ appetite for a fast made-to-order b-fast

Flip’d’s menu will feature egg sandwiches, breakfast burritos, and a build-your-own pancake bar. They’ll also serve pancake bowls, which sounds like a feat of culinary engineering, but seems to be pancakes in a takeout container.

They’ll offer online ordering and are trying to court customers who grab a quick bite with their caffeine fix. 

In the words of IHOP president Jay Johns, “Today, millions of Americans are settling for sub-par breakfast foods that are either microwaved or have been sitting under a heat lamp because they’re forced to grab something while at their usual coffee spot.” (Ahem, Starbucks.)

But Starbucks’s culture runs deep. It has 40% of the coffee shop market in the US, and it’s unlikely people will make two stops for b-fast and coffee. So Flip’d’s espresso drinks better compete with Sbux’s Cinnamon Roll Frappuccino. 

Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and Panera are also vying for market share

Wendy’s will be serving breakfast in 2020, and Dunkin recently added new breakfast items, including a Beyond Meat b-fast sammie. McDonald’s took a swipe at Starbucks by releasing a cinnamon cookie latte for the holidays and added Donut Sticks to the menu. (Please don’t order those together.) Panera’s breakfast menu got a face-lift this year as well.

These heavy hitters may be investing more in meal #1 because industry reports say it’s a growing market

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Only one insurance biz made Fast Company’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies for Finance in 2018 

Who? Ladder

Why? Probably because the traditional life insurance process is outdated and Ladder is the first company to actually do something about it.

*Golf clap*

Here’s how they’re flipping the life insurance game on its head:

  • Jaw-Dropping Speed: Take 5 minutes to apply for Ladder online, and you’ll get an instant decision. If you qualify and accept, you’re immediately covered. 
  • Olympic-Gymnast Flexibility: Decrease or apply to increase your coverage level at any time with just a few clicks.  
  • Smart Spending: No commissioned agents means lower prices for you. And where do those savings go? Right back into your wallet. 

If you’re wondering why the other life insurance providers you’ve been considering didn’t make the cut, well… maybe that’s your cue to take a look at Ladder. 

Get smarter protection →

Trends Sneak Peek: The Best of Shopify

Earlier this month, the Trends team analyzed the top 1,000 Shopify businesses, unlocking the platform’s secrets for success.

  • Ever heard of Gfuel? Cymatics? How about Zinus? These online businesses are a few of the many minting millions every year.
  • We also highlighted the most popular tools among these ecommerce giants including a few flying under the radar:
    • Yotpo: Reviews and loyalty program tool (13%)
    • JustUno: AI-visitor conversion tool (12%)
    • Privy: Conversion optimization tool (9%). (If you’ve ever seen “Spin to Win” on a site like this, it’s Privy.)

PS: Fun(ny) fact from the research. Allbirds owns the domain, which redirects to Not sure why, but we like it.

Want to access the entire database of 1000 companies? Join our private community for just $1.

Start your $1 trial here.

Things you should…

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BE: A partial owner of a Banksy painting, No wait required

Don’t have $15m lying around to buy a Banksy or Warhol of your own? Not a problem. With Masterworks, you can pool your money with other fine art investors to score partial ownership of multimillion-dollar paintings. You may not be able to hang it on your wall, but you can still make a lot of money. Skip the 8,000-person waitlist at the link below.

We asked for your strangest carry-on stories. We didn’t think y’all were THIS weird

Before Thanksgiving, we wrote about some of the strange things that TSA agents see fliers try to bring on airplanes. 

We asked you fine readers about some of the strangest things you’ve encountered on planes — and it turns out y’all have seen some sh*t. 

Here are some carry-on highlights:

  • A giant game-show checkAriahna
  • A pizza box, stored in an overhead compartment — Aditi
  • 4-5 crates of dead fish on ice — Riley
  • A giant, disassembled chandelierSusan
  • An entire dead hog, on ice — Emily
  • A live falconSara (who also noticed that Qatar Airways has a whole section about falcons on the baggage page of their website)
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