I’m an accidental entrepreneur. Coerced, maybe.
I worked in politics briefly after college, hoping to bolster my party-school undergrad resume enough to get into a respectable law school. I didn’t know what I’d do next, but at least I’d have one of those two-syllable jobs “Lawyer” – like doctor or banker – something easy for my mom to tell her friends.
Then I stumbled into an idea. One I couldn’t shake. Problem was, I knew zero about business. I had no discernible skills, actually.
So, I went to a successful entrepreneur I’d met in my political travels – one of my first mentors and, today, something of a second father, or at least a much older brother. We were drinking Grey Goose in the bar at the ballet in Philadelphia late one night when I floated a proposal:
“Why don’t I come work for you and build this new business under your roof?”
What he said has been lodged in my brain ever since. One of those lucid moments that alters your path forever:
“John, why the fuck do you want to work for anyone else?”
“Go start your business, I’ll help you, and if it doesn’t work out, I’ll hire you anytime you want.”
That was it. Verbatim. I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can recall every millisecond of that vodka-laden, techno-music-muffled conversation 19 years ago.
And that was all I needed. A nudge. The solace of knowing it would be okay if I failed. A trusted and experienced friend – an advocate – to guide me along the way.
I hope you’re lucky enough to have people like that in your life. I’ve had a couple. And it humbles me every day to know how much I owe them. Debts I can never repay in a million lifetimes, not that they expect it.
Maybe you are one of those people, encouraging and supporting others, whether you stand to gain anything or not. Rest assured, St. Peter is saving a spot for you at the front of the line, if you believe in that sort of thing.
It’s so easy to get self-involved in this phase of life. I just have to keep reminding myself that I have a lot of love to pay forward before the curtain drops.
Wish me luck.
Here’s what we’re seeing this week:
Disney’s new streaming bundle absolutely moved the needle. In a not-subtle shot across Netflix’s bow, Disney announced a coming-soon offering that combines Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for $12.99/month, not-coincidentally the same price as Netflix’s most popular deal. Sure enough, the somewhat meager numbers we saw when asking about Disney+ several weeks ago have changed dramatically. While consumer intent registered at just 16% for Disney+ in February, the number climbed to 31% when the new bundle was announced. But, before you go starting a Kickstarter campaign to save Netflix, the majority of people interested in the Disney+ bundle intend to keep their NFLX subscription too. The streaming pie is still plenty big.
In other competitive news, CVS seems to be nipping at Amazon’s heels with its new CarePass offering. The clever people at CVS Health announced a new subscription delivery service, including not only prescriptions but in-store items. Intent sits at a healthy 25% of U.S. adults, with interest levels even higher among Amazon Prime members. Maybe CarePass will cannibalize a bit of Prime business, but I doubt it. The prescription hook and the low $5/month fee will likely enable consumers to use both services. Again, plenty of uneaten pie to go around.
Absolutely nobody, almost literally, likes the idea of Facebook rebranding Instagram and WhatsApp. Few things in our data ever, ever hit a 98% consensus threshold but Facebook wins the prize. In a classic case of ‘if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-
On the other hand, young people love Barstool Sports. Look, as a Patriots*-hating Steelers fan, it’s not easy to like the Massholes at Barstool. But you can’t deny the momentum it’s created as a media platform, particularly with the coveted Gen Z crowd. More than 33% of its audience consumes Barstool content every single day and that number is even higher among teens and college kids. Irreverence sells with Gen Z (remember, they’re mini-Gen Xers, after all). So, when Barstool President Dave Portnoy takes on unions, even when their audience over-indexes among union households, they eat it up. Also, Tom Brady is a filthy cheater.
I honestly had no idea how big of a problem counterfeit retail was online. Were you aware of this? Ten percent of Americans admit to knowingly buying fake or counterfeit products – and it’s much higher among the Instagram crowd. Another 12% of people say they’ve purchased something they thought was legit, only to find out later it was a knockoff. And all of that is way, way more likely to happen to people when they shop online. Be careful who you trust (especially on Instagram), my friends.
Apparently, ‘sober curious’ is a thing and if you ever hear me use that phrase unironically, please punch me in the face. One in five drinking-age U.S. adults say they’re at least somewhat thinking about quitting drinking at any given time. This stat jumps to 97% on New Year’s Day morning. OK, I just made that up. But seriously, more and more (particularly younger) people are thinking about hanging up their drinking shoes. Naturally, a lot of it has to do with being healthier. But it also has a lot to do with weed — just in case you’re wondering why alcohol companies are watching marijuana mainstreaming so closely.
Here are the most popular questions across our platform this week:
Hoping you’re well.