The Hustle is 3 Years Old Today

Here's how we grew from a hot dog stand to a conference, and now to a media company with +1 million daily readers. Thanks for following along!

April 19, 2019

Here’s the background on how we started…

There are now more than 1 million of you reading our daily email, and many of you have something in common: You want to put your mark on the world through your workWhether that’s starting a company, building something, whatever — you’re ambitious and want to have an impact.

I grew up knowing I wanted to start a company one day, and I’m grateful you’ve helped me do it. This might sound crazy, but the email you’re reading right now has its roots in a chain of hotdog stands I started called Southern Sam’s: Weiners as Big as a Baby’s Arm

Fortunately for my bank account, I had bigger dreams. So after college I moved to SF because someone told me that’s where the coolest companies started. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Hustle actually started as a series of conferences — like TED Talks, but for entrepreneurs. I wanted to learn from successful founders, so I invited them to speak at my conference, Hustle Con. We used a newsletter — whose first email went out to 200 of my buds and Linkedin contacts — to market the conference. Almost 400 people showed up.

Soon after, I read a biography of Ted Turner, CNN’s founder. He was a media outsider who created a culture-changing content company. I knew that our content was why people came to the conferences, so I figured: Why not do that?

We launched The Hustle website in 2015, a mix of The Daily Show and the WSJ. We had a few viral hits, including posts about gaming the Kindle system and living on Soylent, but the business model was flawed.

So, knowing that email was a powerful way to reach people based on our conference experience, in 2016 we focused on making a business newsletter.

Now, our company vision is clear: Give builders the information they need to make better business decisions. We’re mostly doing that through this daily email. But next month, you’ll see our next iteration…

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

-Sam, CEO of The Hustle

PS: Here are some of our favorite moments from the past year:

  1. Lance Armstrong cold emailing us: “Hey gang, I’m a big fan. Keep up the good shit,” after driving by our Hustle sign in ATX.
  2. Nearly 10k people coming to our events. Like the 21-year-old British reader who, on his first trip to America, showed up unannounced at our SF office and asked to crash there (we let him… for 3 days).
  3. JJ from West Coast Canning, in Vancouver, on his favorite pun: If that tuna-related pun-run from this past year isn’t included imma be mad. The finest piece of writing in the history of The Hustle, that was.
  4. Seeing what our Head of Sales looks like as a woman.
  5. And finally, hitting 1 million subscribers!


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