The lights go out, a big market comes in


October 3, 2019

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Today, Taiwanese whiskey is no slouch, and the maker of Smarties Candy Co. didn’t last 70 years by sitting on the couch, but first…

The Hustle Daily Email

Football is getting its bell rung with products that push concussion-safety pseudoscience

Over the past decade, heightened awareness of football’s concussion problem has led to a booming market of anti-concussion dietary supplements and in-game technology guaranteed to keep your dome safe.

Problem is, these potential fixes often overlook a rather important benchmark: science. And it has many experts racking their brains.

Some claims have been bogus enough to raise flags with the FTC. Yet, research suggests concussion-safety products are more readily available than ever — and they’re still covered in snake oil.

Marketing beats science any day of the week

In 2012, the FTC warned against the products of 18 sport-tech companies, including the Tom Brady-endorsed dietary supplement, NeuroSafe, that claimed to put a “seat belt” around the brain to keep it in place upon impact.

Simply put: When your head sloshes around, so goes your brain. And, according to, well, science, there’s no way around it.

NeuroSafe was eventually discontinued. But the supplement method is only one unproven solution in the middle of a vast market.

Ah, yes. The ol’ concussion-evangelist

Some products are created based off of a founder’s scientific study. David Smith helped publish research that suggests concussions are less common at higher altitudes due to higher blood volume in the brain. 

Later, Smith created a device called the Q-Collar, which forms a “bubble wrap” around the brain. Like the brain seat belt, this analogy has also been criticized.

Questionable chiropractic methods like dynamic compression therapy, which is said to help concussed players get back on the field sooner, have also been used.

‘Whatever helps you sleep at night:’ Debunked

It’s too cynical to say these companies and researchers are just looking to profit (right??), but many experts agree that gaining the proper vantage point inside of the brain to see if a concussion product undoubtedly works is still too difficult. That is, until it’s too late.

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Taiwan emerges as burgeoning leader in the wild world of whiskey

Keep your Kentucky bourbon. Taiwan is the whiskey maker everyone’s talking about. Since its first distillery opened in 2006, Taiwan’s whiskey makers have earned dozens of prestigious awards and produced millions of bottles annually — capitalizing on a growing “cocktail culture.”

A lot of time and money go into making whiskey

It takes at least 3 years — and often much longer — for whiskey to mature, so distillers usually have tons of cash tied up in inventory. Brown-Forman, which owns Jack Daniel’s, noted in an annual report that it has $950m sitting in barrels. 

So how did Taiwan become such a breakout?

Taiwan’s first whiskey distillery, Kavalan, is part of the food and logistics giant King Car Group. With a power player funding its operations, Kavalan was able to build high levels of capacity and sales in a short time.  

Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corporation, or TTL, is a state-owned entity that previously held a monopoly on Taiwanese tobacco and liquor… so it already had some distilleries as well as an established distribution and marketing network.

Existing infrastructure was important, but geography also played a role in Taiwan’s emergence as a whiskey power. The island’s subtropical climate helps whiskey mature 2-3x faster than it would in more established whiskey regions. And given Taiwan’s proximity to the large Asian markets — which have an increasing appreciation for whiskey — there are plenty of people to buy it. 

» How do you say Fireball in Mandarin?
Things you should…

ZEN: Out with this ambient sound mixer, Free

“A Soft Murmur” lets you achieve minimum stress and maximum focus with a mix of oh-so-chill sounds like waves, rain, crickets, and even Tibetan singing bowls. It’s also what our copywriter plays in the conference room during his daily nap, so there’s that.

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What if we told you there was a professional network specifically for sales? What if we also told you that Salesforce, LinkedIn, Slack, and Google use that same network to build confidence in their sales teams? Bravado lets you turn happy customers into big-time credibility, so future prospects know they can trust you.

The Secrets to Smarties’ 70 Years of Success

I’m sure you remember the feeling of devouring a roll of Smarties — the crinkle of the packaging… the sugar high you get from those sweet tabs that dissolve on your tongue… and the stomachache that comes from scarfing down too many. 

Smarties Candy Co. celebrates its 70th birthday this week, and the family-run biz is still on a sugar high, despite family-owned mass-production candy companies not really being a thing in the US.

How has Smarties stayed so sweet?

The company markets its product as an American classic that’s “gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, and worry-free,” making them safe from just about anything but parents who forget to make their kids brush their teeth.

The founder’s three granddaughters now run the company and, while giant candy companies come knocking at their door almost every day, they’re choosing to keep Smarties in the family.

They’re also good at marketing their story…

Founder Edward Dee handmade the first batch of Smarties in a NJ garage in 1949 using a repurposed pellet-making machine from WWII.

Now they use robotic arms, conveyors, and forklifts to produce over 2B rolls each year. Their two factories — in NJ and Canada — run 24/7 and are currently hard at work, churning out happiness for Halloween.

» Sugar high-five

A Harvard geneticist may have discovered the fountain of youth… for real

Harvard genetics professor David Sinclair believes that in the coming decades the average life expectancy will increase to 113 years, from 83. 

And instead of declining in the last years of your life, you’ll be feeling fresh almost until the end.      

Searching for our body’s backup hard drive

Sinclair, the author of Lifespan: Why We Age and Why We Don’t Have To, says all of our cells read a certain combination of genes. As we age, these cells read a different combination, and it contributes to the deterioration of our bodies and our health. 

But those cells can be reprogrammed by introducing new genes. Sinclair’s team has used this technique to restore eyesight in old mice. “If you can reprogram the eye,” he says, “I believe it will be possible to reprogram other parts of the body.”  

Dozens of pharmacology startups, which saw $800m in investment last year, are working to combat everything from baldness to Alzheimer’s. 

Here’s how to stay young for now

There are no silver bullets. But Sinclair recommends exercise and a healthy diet that limits caloric intake: “Skip breakfast,” he says. “Have a late lunch. Exercise to the best of your abilities.”

And move north: Exposure to cold temperatures helps activate longevity genes.

Why we’re all going to live until we’re 113 →  

Want to know more about a future without aging?

The previous story was adapted from a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.

What Else…

🦃 Pass the Tofurky. New data shows that an eco-friendly theme will top holiday-shopper wish lists this year, with plant-based foods and in-store pick-ups (which do less harm to the environment) gaining acceptance. 

🐩 Still no word on whether these new dog-translating smart vests will cut down on carbon emissions…

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What do you get when you combine the best parts of Patagonia and Tom Ford?

Fuller Foundry, the upcoming Kickstarter that’s about to give adventure seekers the kind of bags that can handle both the Alps and the office. 

Here are the deets: 

  • They’re launching with a briefcase, a duffel bag, and a quick bag (AKA fanny pack — very hip right now)
  • They’re rugged enough to handle the elements, but sophisticated enough for the office 
  • They’re giving back a portion of all profits to national parks and renewable energy, because #outdoors

The Kickstarter is going live this Thursday, so buckle up — we get the feeling these bags will go fast.

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