The business model from the black lagoon

February 14, 2020

Poor Bobby. We asked our staff to regale us with their most memorable Valentine’s Day tales, and Bobby’s is a heartbreaker. He once forgot all about the holiday, so he stopped at a gas station on the way to school and bought his first girlfriend a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and a bag of peach rings. Then he signed the coffee cup. Then she broke up with him. Hope y’all have better luck out there.

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Lagoon-front property is the new beachfront property

Beach homes are sooo last decade. 

Today, the hottest commodities in the world of warm-weather real estate are… lagoon homes.

Like summer homes built on the coast, lagoon homes feature sandy beaches and sparkling blue water.

But unlike coastal beach houses, lagoon homes aren’t threatened by the risks of flooding and storm damage that come with an increasingly volatile climate.

And real estate developers are pouring lots of money into lagoons

One of the pioneering lagoon developers is a company called Crystal Lagoons, which built its first lagoon developments in South America and the Middle East. But in the last few years, Crystal Lagoons built 5 lagoon communities in Florida and Texas.

The lagoonification process goes like this: First, the company builds a huge artificial lagoon — as big as 8 acres — in an inland location. 

Then, the company builds hundreds — sometimes more than a thousand — vacation homes along the banks of their newly created waterfront.  

And these lagoons are coming to… Pittsburgh?

That’s right: These lagoons aren’t all in warm-weather locales. Crystal Lagoons plans to open a development in Pennsylvania.

These developments are cheaper to build than golf courses, and since they often allow developers to charge a roughly 10% premium over comparable homes, they’ve become incredibly popular for builders.

They’re popular among buyers, too.

“The thing with real beaches is, you got to pay flood insurance,” one lagoon homeowner explained to CNBC. “I don’t have to pay flood insurance in the middle of Florida here, so it’s a lot cheaper.”

And lagoons are (relatively) climate-proof

Lagoon homes are also attractive because they’re a safer investment — for builders and buyers — than coastal homes, which are susceptible to storm damage. 

In the event of a storm, lagoon water levels can be lowered to prevent flooding. A not-so-insignificant bonus? Lagoons also use 30x less water than golf courses.

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🛋 The online furniture retailer Wayfair is cutting ~3% of its workforce — about 500 jobs.

👗 Thrifty teenagers are turning Instagram into eBay.

⭐️ She’s Amazon’s top-rated reviewer of all time. Here’s why she does it.

🍉 Self-checkout machines can be annoying. Retailers are annoyed, too.

☎️ Uber is testing out a new way to hail a ride: a 1-800 number.

Want snippets like these in your browser? Download our Chrome extension here.

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This week’s weirdest ways to spend money

Ok, so you didn’t knock it out of the park with your Valentine’s Day gift. It happens. But it could always be worse… or, at least, weirder.

Take a moment to enjoy some of the strangest Valentine’s gifts we stumbled across this week:

  • Selfie toaster, $85. If your partner is the kind of person who likes to look at their own face on a piece of toast, then this product is a must-buy.
  • Underwear featuring your face, $19.95 – $29.95. Available for him or for her, these customized undies keep you close to your partner all day long. 
  • 50 Shades of Chicken, $12.79. Some people love romance novels. Other people love chicken. This cookbook is for the latter.
  • A customized bobblehead, $59.95. If your partner has been begging to see a tiny version of you bobbing at them all day… then look no further than this tiny clay figurine.
  • Jerky Heart, $34.99. What’s more romantic than slabs of seasoned beef arranged in the shape of a heart? Nothing, that’s what.
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Today’s math lesson? The economics of mattresses

If you’ve ever gone bed shopping, you know that checking the price tag is a total crapshoot. That queen you just lounged on might be $300, $3K, or even $30K (hey, maybe it’s stuffed with gold). 

So, are pricier beds really worth the dent they’ll leave in your pocketbook? 

Helix did the heavy lifting to find out. 

Why are mattresses so damn expensive? 

Helix started by visiting dozens of stores, trying hundreds of mattresses, and speaking to everyone they could get their hands on — from salespeople to manufacturers to suppliers themselves (hell, they even cut up beds to understand what was inside them). 

What they found wasn’t quite the stuff of nightmares… but it was close

Quality scales equally with price… to a point

And that point just so happens to be the $1,000-$1,800 mark for a queen mattress. Beyond that, mattress quality and sleeper satisfaction don’t keep up with increasing cost.

Translation? That extra money doesn’t make a difference, honey.

That’s why Helix created a diverse lineup of 12+ mattresses for every body type, all at the right price. 

Learn more →
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Nextdoor lets the cops in on more neighborhood drama

One of our favorite Twitter accounts likes to say that Nextdoor is Twitter for old people. Now Nextdoor is apparently trying to be Twitter for public safety.

Not familiar with @bestofnextdoor? The account chronicles some of the zaniest interactions in America’s nabes:

  • “Seahawks Cannon” is practically canon. (A Nextdoor dispute over loud booms during pro football games devolved into fisticuffs at a local library.)
  • The Missing Roomba is another classic. (I LEFT THE FRONT DOOR OPEN AND MY BELOVED ROOMBA ESCAPED, someone scrawled on a flier.)
  • Nextdoor is also famous for brutal honesty: “My husband found a dead Parakeet on our Driveway this morning. If your Parakeet is missing then stop looking for it for it is not coming home.”

The chatter adds up to a pretty weird version of a neighborhood watch. But Nextdoor’s latest move is all about getting public agencies in on the crazy.

A new app gives them more insights IRL

CityLab reports that Nextdoor for Public Agencies aims to create stronger connections for the police, fire departments, and other local do-gooders.

Nextdoor says agencies have been clamoring for these features for years. They’ll allow the police to send alerts about emergencies, or receive direct messages from users.

But there could be a few drawbacks

Some critics say Nextdoor already encourages amateur Keystone Kops to elevate mere nuisances to red alerts, and they’re worried the new app could only make things worse.

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We want to read more this year, so bring on the books

Meg’s goal is to finish 50 books this year, so we need all the suggestions we can get.

First up? My Sister’s Grave,” the 1st installment in the bestselling Tracy Crosswhite series. 

Penned by award-winning author Robert Dugoni, this detective series is the definition of a character-driven thriller. The latest edition, A Cold Trail, just hit bookshelves and features fiesty Detective Tracy Crosswhite and a murder dredged up from the past. Read the series with Kindle Unlimited today (also available in print and audio).  

Get to readin’ →
Shower Thoughts

Two words: Long. Weekend. Here are some weekend-themed shower thoughts to get you through today and into that sweet, sweet 3-day break. 

1. When you get a Friday off, it feels like a short week, as opposed to getting a Monday off which feels like a long weekend.

2. Everyone hates Mondays because it’s the day you have to go back to work. But Mondays are sometimes long weekends. Tuesdays are the real bastards. You never get Tuesdays off.

3. Enjoy your weekend is a nice thing to say. Enjoy the rest of your life sounds more like a threat.

4. As a kid, a weekend with no plans feels like torture. As an adult, a weekend with no plans feels like winning the lottery.

5. 2 days off: Typical weekend. 3 days off: Well rested. 4+ days off: Forget every single element of what it takes to be a functional member of society.

Got your own shower thoughts to share? Drop us a line.


Want to win an Apple Watch?

During the month of February, whoever shares The Hustle with the most folks will win an Apple Watch (series 4, silver aluminum case with a white sports band to be exact).

How it works

Step One: Send your referral link to friends/family (even your enemies). 

Step Two: Every sign-up for The Hustle gets you closer to that sweet, sweet Apple Watch.

Step Three: Celebrate — you won a Apple Watch and societies approval!

To get started, click the button below and enter your email address, then scroll down to grab your referral link.

The contest starts in 3…2…1 Go! 

Get my link →
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