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What did the smartwatch say to the fitness tracker?
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The Hustle Thurs, Dec 1

“Hey Pebble, we’re buying you,” said Fitbit.

“Praise be to Jesus!!!” replied Pebble.

Okay fine, that conversation didn’t actually go down… and the deal has yet to be officially confirmed, though multiple sources are saying it’s happening soon.

IF it happens, this is fantastic news for Kickstarter-legend Pebble, which has been trying to sell itself for months after laying off a quarter of its workforce in March.

Pop the champagne, remaining Pebblers! We’re not going down in flames after all! – Chief Pebbler, Eric Migicovsky, last night (if we had to guess).

As for Fitbit, what’s the logic here?

First off, Fitbit’s offer is reportedly a “small amount,” which means they’re likely low-balling the desperate Pebble. That makes it tough to be super critical here. Buy low, baby!

In terms of the merger itself, The Information (paywall) reports that Fitbit will get Pebble’s intellectual property (aka. its operating system).

That suggests that they might start focusing more on their smartwatch products — like the Fitbit Blaze, which received a lukewarm reception at best — as opposed to the more basic fitness bands.

Or maybe they just wanted to mix things up…

And do something — anything — to get the attention of investors and pump some life back into their stock price. Yeah that’s right, Fitbit’s struggling, too.

Proof: Last August, the company’s stock price was $49, today’s it’s $9. Oh, and net income is down 61% so far this year. Woof.

Well anyway, good luck out there, FitPebble! Just take it one step at a time, alright?

Considering how crowded the wearables space is, it could be a long road to 10,000… or whatever their endgame is here.


Oh yes he did: How Doyle saved Domino’s

When Patrick Doyle came on board as CEO of Domino’s Pizza in 2010 he vowed to transform the struggling pizza company into a “Technology-Enabled, Nimble, Category Disrupting Machine.”

We’re not sure what that means either, but the company Doyle has re-built in the past 6 years is probably pretty close to that vision.

It all started with a little marketing…

The company’s turnaround began with the re-branding campaign, “Oh Yes We Did,” in which executives read brutal customer comments on camera like an episode of “Mean Tweets” on Jimmy Kimmel.

Turn out this was exactly the closure that Domino’s and their customers needed to move on from their “cardboard crust” past.

As a result of this transparency, Domino’s stock price began to rise, and under Doyle’s leadership, has shot from nearly $8 per share to $160.

Focusing on the delivery, not just the pizza

Doyle’s philosophy that Domino’s is a technology company disguised as a food chain means that 50% of the employees at their Ann Arbor headquarters work in software analytics.

It also means that they’re constantly churning out new ways to put piping hot pizza in your mouth. Some recent innovations out of the Domino’s braintrust:

  • Ordering by tweeting or texting a pizza emoji

  • Drone delivery

  • Opening a store in Italy (the motherland)

Bold moves for a once-disgraced delivery franchise, and Doyle’s ability to rally employees around a cause likely has a lot to do with it.

“Failure is an option”

Contrary to the mantra of your typical CEO, Doyle believes that giving employees room to fail allows Domino’s to be more creative than the competition.

In other words, when you’re playing it safe, you’re playing to lose. Amen, Patrick.


Two thumbs up, one thumb down

Three huge companies unveiled updates recently. Two of them are awesome, the other one isn’t. No, we don’t have three thumbs. Just trying to be clever, alright?

UP: Your in-flight movie selection just got a whole lot better

Yesterday, Netflix announced its new “Available for Download” category that will allow users to download shows and movies offline. Took you long enough, fellas.

Though Netflix hasn’t said how many shows and movies will be watchable sans internet (please just make it all of them), popular originals like Orange is the New Black and Narcos are already available… just in time for your bus ride to prison or flight to Medellin.

This is also a huge day for anyone suffering from buffering-induced rage thanks to crap internet connections. Hit up the local Starbucks, download the whole season, and you’re golden.

UP: Play it again, Spotify

In an attempt to make its app feel more exclusive via original content (and let’s be honest, compete with Apple), Spotify is launching 2 new features: Singles and Live.

With Singles, artists will ironically record not one, but two songs exclusively for Spotify. One will be an original new release and the other will be a cover of a popular song from any time in history.

Can we get Bieber on some Sinatra jams ASAP? Thanks.

The live program is pretty straightforward: Artists will stop by Spotify HQ to record live renditions that won’t be available anywhere else. Advice for T-Pain’s agents: Say no. (Just kidding, he’s actually pretty good without auto-tune!)

DOWN: Real original, Uber…

Uber is up to its old tricks again: tracking our every move. Sorry to kill the vibe.

Their recent app update allows the company to track rider location for an additional 5 minutes after their trip ends. Or, more likely, as long as they feel like it.

This sounds a lot like what Uber tried to pull back in 2014 with their internal “God View” feature. Ya know, the one that courts forced them to destroy after they were caught tracking people off-duty. Talk about a company with a complex!

Where’s Lucius Fox when you need him? Morgan Freeman would NOT stand for this.


Crazy fact of the day

When the Obama administration expanded the student loan repayment program, their intent was to help decrease the United States’ $1.26 trillion pile of outstanding college debt.

And that’s still the goal. They just didn’t know it’d be this expensive.


That’s how much debt the US will forgive for the borrowers who have fulfilled the obligations required, according to a report released yesterday.

That number is way higher than the government expected.

Why the discrepancy?

Apparently, our country’s education department forgot to account for inflation when making initial estimates of borrowers’ earnings (which helps determines if you qualify for debt relief).

Hahahahaha classic.

things you should…

MAKE: IKEA bag backpack, $30

You know those huge, blue plastic bags from IKEA? Well, this dude made a sweet backpack out of them and published detailed instructions on how to do it yourself. Pull out that sewing machine.

HEAR: You Are Listening to Los Angeles

Not sure how to describe this one but someone created a website that overlays real-time police radio chatter over random ambient music. It’s strangely pleasant listening and you can even choose different cities.

WATCH: Wes Anderson’s H&M commercial

Commercial’s the wrong word. Let’s call it a holiday-inspired short film featuring clothing from H&M. If you like Wes Anderson or Adrien Brody staring at the camera on a whimsical train, this is for you.

QUESTION: The Phone Bed, $100

Sold by Ariana Huffington’s Thrive Global website, this is a literal bed for your phones or tablets (headboard, sheets, and all). It actually looks well made but… it’s a bed for your phone.

REMEMBER: Tim Ferriss Q+A

We announced it yesterday but wanted to make sure it was on your radar. Refer 4 friends to The Hustle using your link (found at ambassadors.thehustle.co) and get the invite.


Stop taping your phone to your head

Do you snowboard? Or ski? Or go on epic vacations? Or attend dance parties at undisclosed locations every Saturday night because you live in Brooklyn/are trendy?

Hopefully you do, because all of those things are awesome. But you know what’s even awesome-er? Recording said activities with a GoPro Hero freakin’ 5 strapped to your noggin… or for the less extreme folks, in your hand.

Yeah I’ve always wanted one of those, but they’re $400 and I just don’t — Shhhh, child. We’re giving it to you for free! Zero dollars. No payment required. Just sign up right here.

THE FINE PRINT: Open to legal US residents 18 yrs and older

Kendall "GoPro equals extreme Christmas" Baker
Lindsey Quinn
John Havel
Pat Pending
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