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Starting from scratch
The Hustle, aka. your new best friend
to me
No one likes flying during the holidays. Exactly zero people. So what would happen if we rethought the whole thing? We’re listening…
The Hustle Mon, Nov 28

“What if we started an airline from scratch?”

That was the question that Teague, the air travel design studio responsible for the interior of Boeing planes since 1946, wanted to answer.

And so, at a recent Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) conference, the company presented Poppi, a modern, idealized, very hypothetical airline.

Here are 2 of their most radical ideas (that actually make a ton of sense and we’re all for them):

Ban carry-on luggage

One of the worst parts about boarding a plane is dealing with overhead bins and the idiot humans trying to use them.

You’ve got the guy walking the complete wrong direction up the aisle, the “10 seconds away from snapping” dad jamming his massive bag into a tiny space, and then you get to your seat only to discover there’s no room left. Great.

Poppi’s answer? No bags allowed in the cabin. You can have personal items like your jacket and computer bag, but that’s it (an ode to the Boeing 707, which had “fedora bins” for your hat and briefcase).

According to simulations, this would expedite boarding by 71%, which is great for passengers and even better for airlines since it would reduce delays and save millions on fuel costs (less weight in the cabin).

Make the middle seat less sh*tty

Poppi’s solution to the dreaded middle seat: Make it feel exclusive by inviting big brands to sponsor it and offer special in-flight experiences or gifts.

For instance, if you’re in the “Spotify middle seat,” you might get free music and exclusive releases to enjoy during the flight. Maybe the “American Apparel middle seat” offers a 20% discount on any purchases made in-flight.

It’s also not hard to imagine, say, Nike selling a custom pair of sneakers, but only if you booked a middle seat on United.

 

Phone, keys, Stripe

Stripe wants to be the payments platform in every company’s back pocket, and from the looks of its recent fundraising round, it’s well on its way.

The fintech company recently closed a $150m round of funding led by Capital G, Alphabet’s incredibly on-brand, late-stage investment arm.

This latest investment nearly doubles Stripe’s valuation to $9B and makes them a likely candidate to IPO in the near future.

Surprised you haven’t heard of them? Much like Square, Stripe has been flying under the radar against giants like PayPal by lowering the barrier to entry for small businesses. The difference is Stripe has nearly 3 times the valuation of Square at the time of its IPO in 2015.

Not your buddy, PayPal

Stripe’s claim to fame is its simple API (Application Protocol Interface), which allows companies to integrate with its platform in just a few lines of code. But one of Stripe’s biggest differentiators is its “data portability.”

This allows any Stripe user to migrate their customers’ credit card and transaction data from Stripe to another e-commerce platform, something PayPal doesn’t accommodate.

Giving companies this freedom is a huge gamble in terms of Stripe’s product “stickiness” (the qualities that keep users coming back), but lowering the risk to new users is incredibly smart when it comes to breaking into a market where a single player has dominated.

It also means that Stripe has to make sure its product stays a step ahead of its competitors if it doesn’t want customers to leave and take their data with them.

By betting on its own product…

Stripe holds itself accountable for being the best online payments platform on the market, and in turn, forces competitors to step up their game.

Clearly, that philosophy is paying off, as they have acquired some big name companies like Target and Facebook. They’re also beginning to dominate the on-demand economy space.

Have you ever taken a Lyft? Or ordered from Postmates? Or hired someone from TaskRabbit? Or gotten groceries from Instacart? Stripe handles payments for all of them.

 

CNN launching media brand with YouTube Star Casey Neistat

Just this morning, CNN bought Beme, YouTube star Casey Neistat’s social-sharing app. Why? To do what they did over 36 years ago; completely change the news game.

Well, the “news” game.

What happens to Beme?

In an attempt to merge their two audiences organically, the 11-person team will move all operations under the CNN umbrella immediately.

Neistat claims young people don’t trust media outlets like generations before them. “It won’t be what most people think of as ‘news,’ but it will be relevant to the daily conversations that dominate our lives.”

Any news company putting quotes around the word “news” makes us a little skeptical. But hey, we’re young, right?

Gotta stay relevant

The news angle will be a departure from Neistat’s typical beat; viral videos in which he documents relevant things like his $21,000 first class upgrade.

But, with full creative control of this new venture, CNN is banking on Neistat’s ability to pull in 6m new viewers, most of whom are teenage girls. A bunch of teenagers watching CNN… what a world.

 

Hello darkness, my old friend…

We've come to shop online again.

While thousands of Americans were doing the mannequin challenge on Friday — aka. sitting on their couches and not moving for 12 hours straight — Shopify clocked over $260k per minute in online sales through its platform.

The e-commerce platform that IPO’d in 2015 (and coincidentally also runs payments through Stripe) is now live streaming their online sales in a sweet real-time graphic that brings us back to the old Apple visualizer days. Call us crazy, but we can't stop watching it.

Which brings us to the challenge that companies like Shopify are tackling in their own creative ways:

How do you build a retail brand without stores?

Turns out you don't need shirtless store greeters to create a strong brand identity, you need to create a sense of community amongst customers. Shopify has done just that, in part by highlighting cool companies that use their platform and encouraging them to talk to one another.

Blog posts are a prime example: Shopify tells the success story of customer Beardbrand, but also provides a ton of actionable tips and resources for their target audience (small, to mid-size businesses) to grow their sales.

Then there’s Card Against Humanity, which just dug a giant hole for no reason.

An active user base, plus cool gimmicks like a sales visualizer (or a straight up hole), equal loyal customers of a recognizable brand. All without poor-lighting and overwhelming perfumes. Crazy.

 

Overstuffed and under baked

Time for a vacation to somewhere warm. This week we’re giving away a trip to Costa Rica for a 4-night stay for 2 at the exotic El Mangroove hotel.

Flights and all sorts of discounts are included which means less time looking up Expedia reviews and more time generously applying sunscreen under a coconut tree. Or something tropical like that.

Think warm thoughts, hammocks, fruity drinks, and tiny umbrellas on the beach. Enter here for your chance to win.

THE FINE PRINT: US residents only (except Rhode Island for some reason), gotta be over 21

 
 
monday morning review

The Hustle Gift Guide?

People keep asking us about whether or not we’re doing a gift guide this year. Seems like a good idea… I mean, that’s what people do, right?

In fact, studies have shown trying to find the perfect gift is the leading cause of holiday stress and can lead to eggnog addiction.

Clearly that’s not true. But considering how much we’re struggling to find gifts ourselves, we figured other people are in the same boat, and this is a good time help our brothers and sisters.

So here’s what we’re going to do

Reply back to this email with your one or two blue-ribbon, guaranteed winner gifts for this season. Everyone has at least one that they’re confident about, don’t be a Grinch.

We’ll make a list, check it twice, and publish it next week so you’ll still have plenty of Amazon Prime time to get it shipped and wrapped.

There are a few rules:

  • Try to keep it under or around $100. Everyone wants a new car but Santa’s sleigh ain’t big enough.

  • Add some color. Include a sentence or two about why you think the gift is a winner and we’ll give you credit.

  • Top gifts only. No filler gifts or stocking stuffers. We want the one thing under that tree that’s a G-U-A-R-A-N-T-E-E-D chestnut roasting on an open fire.

Thanks for your help and you’re welcome for saving Christmas.

Hit ‘Reply’ to include your gift in the guide

 
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Kendall "Home Alone marathon ASAP" Baker
WRITER
Lindsey Quinn
PLAGIARIST OF LIFE
John Havel
EDITOR
Bud Uronner
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