Morning Brew’s Kinsey Grant sits down with the biggest names in business and asks them the questions you’d want to ask yourself. From VCs and DTC to streaming and social media, Kinsey explores the stories behind the headlines you’re reading. Swap your coffee for a beer, swap your eyes for your ears, and join us—you know the dress code.
Here's the Latest Episode from Business Casual:
By now, you know the higher education system in the United States is broken. You didn’t need COVID-19 to prove it.
Because even before the postsecondary education industry was forced to pivot to remote learning en masse, a caste system was rapidly bubbling up within its ranks:
- The best of the best go to Harvard and become the ruling class…
- While everyone else perishes in a middle-ground limboland that’s left entire swaths of the population—often low income and often minorities—robbed of the opportunity for upward mobility.
It sucks that students can’t go back to campus to do things like learn and network and party in person. But that’s not the real tragedy. This caste system is, according to today’s guest and NYU Stern professor Scott Galloway.
As Scott sees it, the system has enabled us to completely lose sight of the importance of unremarkable students—those who might not be MIT material, but deserve a shot at college (aka the ticket to improving your socioeconomic standing).
In this episode, Scott tears apart that system (and almost every other system, for that matter) in a wide-ranging conversation about the future of higher education. Some buzzy sneak peeks:
- Scott: “Harvard is a streaming video platform that costs $58,000 a year.”
- He also says we’re headed toward a hybrid model of online and offline education that’ll bring with it a culling of the middle class of higher ed.
- Is there a chance big tech saves higher ed...?
You don’t want to miss this episode. Listen now.
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Most years, this time in August is a boom for Target’s dorm décor section and purveyors of shower caddies and anyone selling that John Belushi Animal House poster. But 2020 isn’t like most years.
This year, higher education across the country will take place online, as COVID-19 has laughed in the face of the traditional residential college model. For anyone hoping to win back the beer pong championship belt, that’s devastating. For everyone else...it isn’t.
Moving to online, tech-forward education for the masses could be a net good for students—it makes degrees more flexible, more specialized, and more accessible, according to today’s guest: Dan Rosensweig, the president and CEO of Chegg.
But Dan thinks making higher education truly work for all means doing more than just sticking with online learning post-coronavirus. College degrees remain a fast-track ticket to upward mobility—in order to meet the needs of all who want them, we need a total reset of the industry.
But how do you reset an industry worth $700 billion a year in the U.S. alone? It won’t be easy. And not all institutions will survive.
Listen now to hear how we move forward.
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Olympic athletes are people, too. So how come the current business model of the Olympic Games, a commercial feat that would be entirely impossible without said athletes, fails to take them into account?
In this episode of Business Casual, we’re talking about the intersection of finance and elite athletics with Lauryn Williams, a four-time Olympian, three-time Olympic medalist, and the first American woman to earn a medal in both the Winter and Summer Olympics. Oh, and also she’s a certified financial planner.
As Lauryn told me, “The business model has needed overhaul for quite some time. I think that it's one of those things that it just started and began to snowball and nobody really knows how to undo something and start from the ground up.”
That might be where COVID can play superhero. Given an extra year between now and the postponed Tokyo Summer Games, the International Olympic Committee has the chance to rethink the support it offers athletes—many of whom are now forced to put off lucrative brand deals and pay for an extra year’s worth of intense training.
And even in normal, non-coronavirus circumstances, the cards can be stacked against them. There are countless variables that go into the viability of professional sports as a career—where you’re from, what your event is, and whose attention you get can be financial make it or break it moments.
- If you make it, you’re Michael Phelps.
- If you break it, you’re stuck crowdfunding your way to competitions, working multiple jobs on top of training to be the best in the world in your sport, and even going into serious debt.
Lauryn explains it all in this episode. Don’t miss it.
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The Olympics as we know them have been around for 124 years. A lot has evolved since 1896, but it seems the business model of the Games is one thing not even time can’t change.
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics being postponed to next year (for now), it’s time to take the interim 12 months to reevaluate the economics of the Games. Because they don’t always make complete sense…
- Hosting the Olympics is more often than not a money-losing endeavor. Did you know that it took Montreal until 2006 to pay off the last of its debt from the 1976 Games?
- Tourism for host cities actually takes a hit when they welcome the Games.
I learned that (and a whole lot more) from Andrew Zimbalist, today’s guest on Business Casual. Andrew is the best of the best in the field attempting to understand the economics of sport. He’s taught econ at Smith College for decades, specializing in the Olympics and the impacts the Games have on host cities and their economies.
In this episode, Andrew helps me tear apart the Olympics business model, taking into account the perspectives of host cities, athletes, the International Olympic Committee, and more. In addition to understanding what’s broken, we’ll talk about how we fix it. (Hint: Anyone at the IOC listening? We’ve got some thoughts.)
And most importantly: We’ll also parse out the causes, effects, and impacts of postponing Tokyo 2020 due to the coronavirus.
You don’t want to miss this one. Listen now.
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Use the internet like you’re part of Gen Z. That means both learning TikTok dances and valuing customization and personalization over a false sense of privacy.
This week on Business Casual, we’re talking about data—how our data is gathered online, where it gets bought and sold, and why we might be entitled to some of the money it makes Big Tech. The conversation started with a teardown of former 2020 hopeful Andrew Yang’s proposed data dividend project.
On today’s episode, we’re asking some important follow-up questions: Does the next generation of tech users even care about their data, where it’s used, and whether they get paid for it?
The short answer is no—because 1) the activist generation has larger concerns than getting a dividend from Big Tech and 2) “People tend to not care about data privacy until they are personally affected.” That’s according to our guest today, Tiffany Zhong, the cofounder and CEO of Zebra IQ and the young entrepreneur once dubbed the Mary Meeker of Gen Z.
- Zhong says the ways Gen Z grew up—in a mobile-first world—shapes their approach to content consumption, communication, and privacy.
- Plus, they’re more concerned with things like dismantling systems of racial oppression than they are taking Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos to task.
Many in Gen Z think this way: The value of the content they get from Big Tech and social platforms is greater than the value of their data—some in Gen Z feel that they’re getting the good end of the bargain. But does that give Big Tech free reign over their data?
This is a nuanced conversation about young people and their relationships with data privacy. Check it out now.
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Big Tech has made billions of dollars using personal data. Your personal data. When was the last time you got paid for playing your part in the tech ecosystem?
Probably never. Andrew Yang, ex-2020 presidential candidate and today’s Business Casual guest, wants to change that.
And that’s why he’s pioneering the Data Dividend Project. In his words: “The Data Dividend Project is an organization that is trying to get us paid for our data. And our data now is worth tens of billions, even hundreds of billions of dollars a year in value that we are not seeing a dime of.”
The merits of the DDP, as Yang and his fervent followers call it, appear to be many. The project would realign incentives for tech entrepreneurs, advertisers, and platform users such that everyone could walk away satisfied. And sustained, direct payments to American people sound great...but there’s always a but.
- Yang’s concept would mean that, for Facebook, Google, and its ilk, “some of the money that they're making will be made more responsibly,” per Yang. That’s politician for “top line revenue could shrink.”
- And the likelihood of all the right parties buying into something like the DDP is slim.
But Yang remains steadfast in his efforts to keep American tech users from “getting cheated.”
Listen to this episode for an inside look at how a data dividend would work, how it wouldn’t, and what happens when you put $1,000 in Jeff Bezos’s bank account every month.
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If not, he’s definitely the future of marketing on the internet. With 18 million YouTube subscribers, 20 million TikTok followers, and the world’s most interesting laugh, Dobrik has become the case study for innovative influencer marketing.
And the man who helped him get there is Ian Borthwick, aka Ian from SeatGeek. His real title is senior director of influencer marketing at SeatGeek—he made influencer marketing a hugely lucrative channel for the company by taking a risk on the sometimes very not-brand-safe Dobrik...and he’s the guest on this episode of Business Casual.
You know what influencer marketing looks like. But what does it really do that more traditional marketing channels don’t or can’t? That’s what Ian from SeatGeek expertly explains in this episode. And now’s the time to talk about it—if video-centric social commerce is the future of consumer tech, influencer marketing will be the quickest way to get to that future.
There’s a lot going on in this episode (in a fun way). Ian FaceTimes David Dobrik, we get to the bottom of the recent trend of giving away luxury cars as marketing, and we unpack the impacts COVID-19 has had on influencers and their $8+ billion/year industry.
Oh, and we talk a lot about TikTok.
Don’t miss it—listen now.
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For as long as there’s been consumer tech to talk about, we’ve framed it as a winner-takes-all battle between the U.S. and China. But is that really fair?
Many argue it’s not. One of those many is Connie Chan, general partner at famed VC firm Andreessen Horowitz and this week’s guest on Business Casual. Chan is an expert in the relationship between China and Silicon Valley, and she’s spilling Sand Hill secrets.
Her biggest bet is on the video-centric future of consumer tech and e-commerce. Because nothing sells goods and services or breeds engagement like watching good video. But who’s positioned to win in a social commerce economy?
In the episode, Chan answers that question and so many more, including what TikTok’s uncertain future might look like, plus…
- Why super apps that can do it all (like WeChat in China) are becoming the rage
- What both social commerce and super apps mean for regulation, innovation, competition, and integration
- And when and how we choose convenience over perceived morals
As Chan sees it, whatever happens in consumer tech in China will make its way to the U.S. in about 3–5 years. The best way to be 3–5 years ahead of the curve? Listen to this episode.
+ Keep in mind: In our next episode, we’re talking about the possible TikTok ban and what it means for creators. Subscribe wherever you’re reading this so you don’t miss it.
Traditional banking has 100% failed small businesses.
At least, that’s what our guest for this episode of Business Casual thinks.
That guest, Fintech Today founder Ian Kar, names names and doles out hot takes re: the fintech space in our interview—which is itself an in-depth look at how fintech startups are stepping in where big banks have missed the mark in distributing Paycheck Protection Program funding.
- If you listened to our last episode with the Aspen Institute’s Joyce Klein, you know that “missed the mark” is a generous way of putting what happened.
- This time around, we’re exploring the disruptors that took the reins for traditional banking, especially in the small business economy.
Kar explains that big banks have systematically failed to market to or serve small businesses and their owners. So what makes fintech different...and more capable?
- A focus on relationships and a willingness to lend small
- Deeply rooted and mutually beneficial partnerships with community banks
- An appreciation for the “tech” half of fintech
But it’s not all roses and loan forgiveness in the fintech space. There are plenty of risks, both regulatory and otherwise. You bet we’ll cover them all.
Many economists have suggested that the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, failed Americans on at least one major front: prioritizing lending to business owners in underserved markets. The Small Business Administration’s inspector general admitted as much back in May.
The question now is why. Why did just 12% of Black and Latinx business owners who applied for PPP loans report getting what they asked for? Why does the Center for Responsible Lending estimate upwards of 90% of businesses owned by people of color have been or will be shut out of the PPP?
The answer is complicated, systemic, and deeply rooted in a norm of occupational segregation that’s plagued American capitalism for centuries. But if there’s anyone who can speak to the PPP’s intersection with economic and racial justice, it’s Joyce Klein, director of the Business Ownership Initiative at the Aspen Institute.
Today on Business Casual, Klein explains the hurdles to accessing capital and achieving economic mobility for minority groups, from racial to gender. If you want to understand…
- How traditional banks are failing small businesses in the U.S.
- Why future stimulus spending from Congress needs different design
- When we might face a systemic failure of small businesses…
Listen to this episode now.
On the last episode of Business Casual, media exec and general baller-at-large Joanna Coles explained the implications of ad dollars moving from local newsrooms to social media and Big Tech platforms. The general consensus? We’ve got a serious scale problem. And an even bigger misinformation problem.
So what does all of that mean for the future of media? In this episode, we’re figuring it out with Delia Cai, growth and trends editor at Buzzfeed and author of the Deez Links newsletter (which is described as “a dailyish link to cool shit happening in & around the media industry”).
As someone who both 1) grew up extremely online and 2) has a front row seat to the constant evolution of media, Delia offers honest insight about…
- What we lose when we lose local newsrooms
- How much money it would take for smaller media outlets to compete with Big Tech
- Why social media has tangled our collective psychologies beyond recognition
Listen to the episode now.
This summer, a group of nearly 100 brands from Patagonia to Coca-Cola are boycotting highly targeted ad machines on social media platforms like Facebook.
It’s an effort to put their money where their PR statements are—by withholding ad spend on Facebook, these brands are attempting to force Mark Zuckerberg’s hand to do something about his platform’s highly contentious fact-checking and hate speech standards.
- The question remains...will it work? If you ask CNN, “It would likely take tens of thousands of them, acting over a significant period of time, to put a big dent in Facebook's bottom line.”
But what if, instead of focusing on dollar value efficacy, we consider that the medium might be the message here? Sure, those 100+ brands might not dent Zuck’s retirement account. But they’ve brought important attention to the fact that we’re slaves to the big tech ad targeting machine.
That’s why this week on Business Casual, we’re navigating the intricate movement of ad dollars from local news outlets to social media and big tech platforms...plus taking stock of how, exactly, the everyday media consumer is suffering.
And we’re doing it with someone who’s seen it all in the media world—Joanna Coles. She’s been an executive, a producer, an editor...basically everything from heading up Cosmo to sitting on Snap’s board.
In this episode, Joanna explains the importance of local journalism, why it evaporates when big tech wins ad dollars, and how conglomerization widens the access gap to good, fact-checked journalism.
- And arguably most importantly? Joanna helps us understand what there is to be done to fix today’s misinformation problem—a problem of incredible scale.
Anything is possible if you just believe...and create multi-channel diversified revenue streams while avoiding the many trappings of venture capital. Right? Right. Just ask Alex Lieberman and Austin Rief, Morning Brew’s cofounders.
That’s what we’re doing on this episode of Business Casual—taking an introspective look at the last quarter in business through the eyes of a small but growing startup.
In the episode, Alex and Austin walk us through the ins and outs of surviving (maybe even thriving…?) as a bootstrapped company in the midst of a recession. You’ll get the inside scoop on how Morning Brew’s strategizes on the daily, plus…
- You’ll hear Alex and Austin’s biggest predictions for the startup community next quarter and beyond. Take a sip every time you hear the words “subscription” or “community.”
- You’ll understand the pillars of innovation that a recession like this one builds.
- And you’ll get two founders’ perspectives on whether we’re closer to the end or the beginning of this recession.
- And since no conversation about Morning Brew is complete without a mug... we're giving away five of them. Follow @bizcasualpod on Twitter, email a screenshot with proof you follow to email@example.com and you'll be entered in the giveaway. Ends 7/1.
Listen now if you’re curious about what comes next.
Have you also aged three decades since April 1, 2020?
The last three months have brought us some of the craziest business news imaginable. The second quarter was a cornucopia of unpredictability—from COVID-19 doing its worst to the economy to widespread protests serving a reckoning for America’s conversations about race.
So how do you make it all make sense? You make a podcast about it. Today on Business Casual, we’re taking a look back at the biggest themes of the second quarter, from innovation and accountability and leadership to...failure.
- And we’re doing it by bringing some of the best guests this show has ever seen back up to bat, from Arianna Huffington and Mark Cuban to Ian Bremmer and Ray Dalio.
Because as we head into the third quarter of this year, you have to ask yourself: Would you ever, ever have seen these headlines coming just six months ago? I sure wouldn’t have.
Let us help make sense of today’s headlines. Listen now.
On the last episode of Business Casual, I spoke with HR legend and former head of Goldman Sachs human capital management, Edith Cooper.
Edith explained in no uncertain terms just how important diversity and inclusion are in corporate America—from both moral and financial perspectives. But to my team and me, that’s just scratching the surface of the conversation about equity of opportunity, racial gaps, and workplace culture.
So today, we’re digging even deeper. Edith gave you the 10,000-foot view. How about experiencing first-hand how policies that make the workplace work for all are actually created?
On this episode of Business Casual, say hello to Morning Brew’s own head of people operations, Kate Noel.
- Kate’s giving us an honest account of what it’s like to build a culture at a startup—and it’s about way, way more than serving snacks and offering unlimited PTO.
In the episode, Kate explains the urgency of fostering diverse and inclusive workplaces, plus gives a master class on things like tokenism and code switching. If you don’t know what those are, you need to listen to this episode.
At the end of the day, people are more motivated to do good work for a company that allows them to be their full selves. And we all know that hasn’t always been the case. From hiring to promoting to continuing education, Kate walks us through exactly what makes work work for all.
Don’t miss this episode—you’re going to love Kate as much as we at Morning Brew do within the first minute.
If you’re a business decision maker...diversity matters.
If you’re an entry level employee...diversity matters.
If you haven’t even entered the workforce yet...diversity matters.
Because companies that prioritize diversity do better. According to McKinsey, in 2019, companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity financially outperformed those in the bottom quartile for diversity by 36%.
But how do we put that 36% in context? And how do we, as individuals, make sure we’re holding corporations accountable for diversity and inclusion efforts?
This week on Business Casual, I speak with Edith Cooper to figure it out. Edith, who our producer Marilyn aptly called a “corporate badass,” is the former head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs, a board director at both Etsy and Slack, and cofounder of personal and professional development startup Medley.
- Also? Edith was named to Black Enterprise’s 2017 “300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America” list, among many other awards and honors.
Edith’s candor and insight will push you to think differently and ask more questions about diversity in the workplace, like...
- If you want to stay relevant as a corporation today, you need to open doors for everyone—not just for prospective employees who look like you. Young consumers notice when businesses aren’t woke, and they’re voting in a new guard with their ballooning purchasing power.
- If you had the opportunity to become excellent right now, immediately—why would you turn it down? When corporations don’t hire from diverse backgrounds and promote Black workers, they’re doing just that...leaving excellence on the table, as Edith puts it.
- What other aspect of a business’s success would be okay to sidestep for this long? Not even the most promising of startups could put off something like a path to profitability forever. So how come we’ve allowed corporate leaders to put off diversity—something we know contributes to long-term financial success—for centuries?
Edith begins to offer answers, but the truth of the matter is that this has to be an ongoing conversation. How are you going to make sure that this time, it’s different?
Listen now to get started.
They might not fall for anything, but they definitely won’t win over consumers who are presently armed with more information than ever before.
The big picture: Today, it’s not enough for brands—from fledgling startups to multinational corporations—to just sell goods and services for a profit. They have to take a stand, from supporting Black Lives Matter to championing frontline health workers to saving the world from climate change.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. How many times have you heard a brand tell you it’s “there for you” in the last three months? For me, it’s 7 billion, give or take.
- While we might perceive an overload of marketing emails touting donations made and support lent, it makes sense from the brands’ perspectives to speak out (sometimes).
- Because today more than ever, we’re being faced with a serious proposition: voting with our dollars, even before we can vote with our ballots. And no one should vote uninformed.
So today on Business Casual, I’m speaking with the undisputed branding wizards of the startup scene, Red Antler co-founders Emily Heyward and JB Osborne. Their firm is behind the design and go-to-market strategies for the kinds of companies synonymous with “strong brand,” from Allbirds to Casper.
Emily and JB bring a unique perspective to the branding conversation, one typically dominated by pie-in-the-sky musings on consumer psychology and nonsensical acronyms. Their POV? It’s not about playing by rules—it’s about playing by values.
And when a brand takes on values and purpose beyond being in the black next quarter, the dollars we feed it take on far more meaning than just lining the pockets of startup founders.
So...if you’ve ever thought picking a font and a color scheme was the extent of building a brand, you need to listen to this episode. Check it out now.
Imagine it: Your doctor tells you, “Take a magic mushroom and call me in the morning.”
It’s...probably not all that realistic. But the promise of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy? Definitely realistic. And definitely an intriguing business prospect.
That’s why this week on Business Casual, we’re talking to the preeminent expert in the controlled use of psychedelic drugs: Dr. Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (aka MAPS).
Rick has spent nearly four decades at MAPS championing the uses of psychedelics and marijuana in clinical settings. The treatment possibilities, as he sees them, range from post-traumatic stress disorder to depression to addiction.
Sounds promising—but there’s always a but. The larger pharmaceuticals, biotech, and insurance industries aren’t quite ready to wholly buy into psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Or psychotherapy of any kind, for that matter.
Along with earning a spot in the regulatory good graces of U.S. officials, educating business decision makers presents a challenge for Rick and his peers in the psychedelics space. But if the trend of microdosing (ahem, Silicon Valley) is any indication, interest is growing from both venture capital and consumer POVs.
- Money, though, is harder to come by—in the episode, Rick shares the experience of fundraising as a nonprofit.
- The tl;dr? It’s really, really hard.
Listen now to expand your mind.
Rick generously offered to answer other business-related questions. Get in touch with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every first Friday morning of every month at 8:30am ET, we partake in a long honored tradition—poring over one very specific set of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That data is the monthly jobs report, and it’s become an essential part of our assessment of the U.S. economy.
Because having a job means supporting yourself and your family, a basic human need just like clothing and shelter and food. But right now, millions of Americans are without that basic human need.
40 million to be exact. That’s how many people have filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. But how are we to put a number that enormous in context? And how are we to understand who bears its impacts the most? And how are we to determine when 40 million shrinks to zero?
This week on Business Casual, we’re doing our best to answer those questions with Karin Kimbrough, chief economist at LinkedIn and labor market expert. Hearing her masterfully simple explanation of the U.S. labor market is like seeing Bigfoot...you’ve always wanted to experience it, but you weren’t sure it ever existed.
Karin also illustrates the stark disparity at play in the labor market at any given moment...and why this particular moment is exacerbating those disparities.
- One race issue: Unemployment has been widespread during the pandemic and economic crisis, but minorities including black and Latino Americans have carried the burden of the downturn more than any other group...and that’s not helping today’s unrest. Per Karin, “I think here you're seeing people feel like they went overnight from feeling like they had a lot of promise and opportunity to having nothing.”
- One gender issue: With most schools and summer programs closed, unemployment is affecting women at a considerably higher rate than men.
The big picture: As Karin sees it, unemployment and hiring rates are the best metrics for understanding when the economy can get back on its feet. And that’s a question we’d all like an answer to.
Listen to our episode with Karin now and let us know what you think.
+ The Bureau of Labor Statistics’s May jobs report comes out the day after this episode hits the wires. We’re pregaming already. Start your own pregame with these stats:
- April jobs report—unemployment rate surged to a record 14.7% and payrolls dropped by a historic 20.5 million workers
- May jobs report expectations, per Refinitiv—unemployment rate of 19.8% with about 8.5 million jobs lost
Place your bets now.
Today, instead of listening to our usual 45-minute episode, we’re asking you to take that time to listen, read, or watch content that elevates black voices, black stories, and black-owned businesses.
- The 1619 Project from the New York Times Magazine is a multimedia initiative that began last August to mark the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It reframes American history by exploring the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans. Check out the entire project on the Times’s site, and listen to the podcast portion, simply called 1619.
- We’re also huge fans of NPR’s Code Switch. The podcast covers what they call “overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in our lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.”
- The Ringer’s show Higher Learning has an episode titled “The Importance of the Nationwide Protests Over George Floyd’s Death.” If you want insight on where we go from here, this has it.
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo has been recommended online endlessly over the last several days, and there’s a reason for that. The book explores why white people feel so uncomfortable talking about race.
- For a better understanding of the historical challenges of being black and doing business, read Hannibal Johnson’s Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District.
- Read some of the classics by black authors including Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou.
- Rachel Cargle’s YouTube video titled “Public Address On Revolution: Revolution Now” is a moving assessment of today’s reality.
- On Netflix, check out 13thfrom Ava Duvernay to understand the U.S. prison system’s history of racial inequality.
Finally, if you’re in the position to give, consider donating to one of the many reputable organizations helping further anti-racism causes.
We get it. Custom made meals served in biodegradable bowls and ordered through an app or over a sneeze guard are really good and really convenient.
And plenty sell each year—the fast casual sector posted an 8% sales gain in 2018, and traffic jumped 3% in the space despite the fact that total U.S. foodservice traffic was flat as a board. You can thank a confluence of factors from the ’08 financial crisis to rising rents for the industry’s recent ascent.
But not even the fast casual space, home to relatively fast, relatively cheap, and relatively healthy food we’ve seamlessly integrated into our lives and diets, is safe from COVID-19. The sector, much like fine dining and the rest of the hospitality space, has been brought to its knees by shutdowns designed to keep us all safe...and at home.
So today on Business Casual, we’re exploring what makes fast casual tick, what’s changed since the coronavirus set in, and what comes next for the Chipotles of the world. Most importantly? We’re pinpointing exactly what it is that helped fast casual thrive through the last recession—and determining which of those lessons can help us get through today.
This episode features two entrepreneurs in different stages of building their businesses: Nicolas Jammet of famed salad company Sweetgreen and Chef JJ Johnson of Harlem’s new(ish) rice bowl shop Fieldtrip.
We decided to bring in not one, but two experts to show differing perspectives on building moats around a business.
- For Nicolas and Sweetgreen, the biggest competitive advantage is white label tech that’s made the chain the envy of both fast casual restaurants and Silicon Valley alike.
- For JJ and Filedtrip, the biggest competitive advantage is a tight-knit community that’s served as the best marketing tool imaginable.
The insight the two bring...to the table...is unbeatable. They’re operating and more importantly adapting during an unimaginably difficult time for business and in a sector notorious for razor-thin margins.
Listen now to get their perspectives.
+ FYI, this is Part II of our two-part exploration of the restaurant industry in a post-COVID world. If you want to hear Part I, go check it out. It features fine dining czar Chef Marcus Samuelsson and tackles issues like government funding, small business, furloughs, and so much more.
COVID-19 makes it easy to do just that. Sure, we’d be a lot more capable with a paring knife or a turkey baster. But at what cost?
Restaurants are the backbone of small business in communities across the country. Without decent spots to grab a bite or celebrate an accomplishment, what good are barber shops or clothing retailers? If restaurants flounder, so too do the small businesses they help bolster.
That’s the world according to Marcus Samuelsson, famed restaurateur, Iron Chef competitor, Chopped judge, and owner of more than a handful of restaurants around the world.
This week on Business Casual, we spoke with Chef Marcus about his experience operating restaurants and strategizing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The long story short? It’s been really, really hard.
Restaurants have been suckerpunched by the coronavirus and the requisite shutdowns robbing them of business. And that means big changes for a lot of people:
- According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant industry employs 15.6 million people in the U.S. and was on track to do $899 billion in sales for 2020.
- The sad reality is that an enormous chunk of those 15.6 million people are now being furloughed or laid off. In NYC, restaurant spending dipped 90% in late March compared to a year earlier.
But businesspeople like Chef Marcus don’t just stop when things get tough. They pivot—to delivery, to making meals for frontline workers, to lobbying on behalf of the industry at large. Because as far as Chef Marcus sees it, the government is going to step in and give his business the help it needs.
In this episode, we explore exactly how COVID has expedited those strategic shifts, plus what they mean for the broader hospitality industry. Listen now.
And tune in to Business Casual’s next episode to hear Part II of our exploration of the restaurant space in the COVID-19 world. We’re tackling fast casuals with two of the brightest minds in the industry. Subscribe so you don’t miss out.
“I don’t think we’ll ever go back to what we had before.”
That’s what Barbara Corcoran thinks of commercial real estate’s future. In Part II of Business Casual’s interview with the star of ABC’s Shark Tank and real estate mogul, she makes several bold predictions about the ways commercial real estate come out of today’s pandemic and recession.
Chief among them? Compromise is the new open floor plan. Barabara says that today’s widespread WFH will illustrate the futility of giant office spaces, while also highlighting some of the difficulties of remote employment. That puts a few lucky commercial real estate players in pole position.
What else does Barbarba see in her crystal ball? Fewer bank foreclosures than you might think. A renewed appreciation for the layers upon layers of leverage in the commercial real estate market. Some unpleasant ripple effects of rent forgiveness. Retail’s death knell.
If you want to understand all of that, plus the important role the commercial real estate market plays in the broader economy...
Listen now. And FYI: This is the second part of a two-part interview. Go check out Part I, which centered on the residential real estate market, if you haven’t already.
So much of business is clinical, scientific even—balance sheets either add up or they don’t. But in the housing market, emotions are as important as 1s and 0s.
And today, many of us are walking an emotional tightrope made all the tighter by the fact that we’re staring down the barrel of a recession. So how do we understand what comes next for the residential real estate industry—a space characterized by physical, in-person dealings—when we’re mostly homebound and mostly short on disposable income?
This week on Business Casual, we get the answer from Barbara Corcoran—star of ABC’s Shark Tank, real estate icon, and (apparently) budding philosopher.
In Part I of our interview with Barbara, she walks us through the intricacies of the housing market today, from buyer to seller to broker. Curious about prices? Wondering what virtual home tours are like? Barbara’s got you.
And she’s serving up the insight in several flavors:
- The optimist’s case: The spring buying spree residential real estate typically enjoys isn’t canceled, but rather postponed. Once we get better COVID-19 testing mechanisms in place, we’ll come out of hibernation to what Barbara expects to be a “vibrant” midsummer market.
- And the pessimist’s case: For the housing market, it doesn’t matter how many trillions of dollars the U.S. government passes in stimulus and relief bills. Can you think of anyone who would spend their unemployment benefits, no matter how expanded, on a new home?
Listen now. We’ll cover the commercial market in depth (yes, we’ll talk about WeWork) with Barbara in Part II of the interview, out next from Business Casual. Subscribe to make sure you don’t miss it.
Not too long ago, Complex CEO Rich Antoniello tweeted this—what he considers the formula for success in publishing. Seems pretty straightforward, but...
It got the Business Casual team thinking: Does such a formula really exist? And if Rich is right in saying that it does, how can lessons he espouses from the publishing world apply to every other sector?
This week on Business Casual, we get an answer straight from the media CEO’s mouth. Rich answers every burning question about his formula for success, from what matters most to how differently things would’ve gone if he’d just invented YouTube.
There’s a reason we’re talking about this right now. It’s because now more than ever, success in publishing is hard to come by. In an industry known for its thin margins and stubborn resistance to change, a pandemic and recession have accelerated hardships already being played out.
We recorded this episode on March 31 as the COVID-19 pandemic began to take a stranglehold on the economy. The lessons have aged better than we could’ve ever expected: One look at this list of newsroom layoffs paints the picture better than any episode description could—layoffs have come for everyone, from old media to new.
- Understanding how to insulate your business (whether it’s in publishing or not) from having to make those hard decisions to let your people go? That’s important today and will be important tomorrow.
And FWIW, Rich’s wisdom spans far more than just the youth culture his Complex team is so devoutly dedicated to. Here’s a small sample of his pep-talk-but-realistic vibe:
- “There is no excuse not to evaluate yourself, every word, every story, every video, every social post, every campaign that you’ve created. There's always ways to get better. And you have to be pushing yourself and you have to go not to do more of it. Like this is not a more thing. It's a how do we do it better?”
For those of us lucky enough to have jobs that allow it, working from home has laid bare many uncomfortable truths—like the fact that productivity and the presence of pajamas are inversely correlated...or that fact that cybersecurity is a pillow fort when it should be Fort Knox.
After all, we’re in the midst of a global health crisis that’s forced us to adopt a new normal. And that crisis has sent us barreling toward dependence on digital tools to both keep us informed and help us do our jobs. But with that, how should our approaches to cybersecurity change?
This week on Business Casual, we’re getting the answers from Nicole Eagan, CEO of cybersecurity company Darktrace, the first to develop an AI system to thwart cyber threats. Nicole explains why we need to shift our mindsets surrounding cybersecurity from 1s and 0s to a more holistic view.
- Because as far as she’s concerned, hacks happen. No system is impenetrable.
- But what we need to think about now is how wide open our home setups are leaving corporations across the board. Face it, we don’t always use the VPN we’re told to.
Plus, Nicole adeptly illustrates how this pandemic, unpredictable and painful as it might be, is preparing us to adopt useful tech at a faster (read: better) pace than ever before. Just don’t expect AI to write these descriptions anytime soon.
We’ve read enough about Elon Musk to know that CEOs are as much a liability as they are an advantage. Just this month, Musk tweeted that Tesla’s stock price was “too high.” Tesla’s stock price responded in kind by tanking some 10%. I’m sure investors loved that.
And Musk is just one example of many. So why aren’t investors and reporters thinking more about leadership and its tangible effects on a company’s bottom line? If change starts at the top, why aren’t we talking about effective leadership in SEC documents instead of woo-woo weekend retreats?
To find out, I spoke with Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, CEO of Thrive Global, author of 15 books, and general expert in what it means to lead effectively.
Arianna delved into the “obvious consequences” of widespread burnout within top corporate brass—the kind of burnout she’s repeatedly claimed drives someone like Elon Musk to tweet something like “funding secured.”
And there’s a reason we’re talking about it right now. As far as Arianna is concerned, being a leader throughout a crisis like today’s is like stepping into the eye of a hurricane. It’s never been 1) harder and 2) more important to prioritize strong leadership, from both a human and a business perspective.
But that’s easier said than done. Listen now to find out why.
Part I of our interview with outspoken venture capitalist and entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya ruffled some feathers...consider that the pregame to today’s Part II.
In this episode, Chamath argues his thesis that “zombie companies” need to go six feet under for the rest of the economy to stay alive and well—especially in the middle of today’s pandemic and recession. He explains...
- Why stock buybacks and monetary mismanagement deserve more than a slap on the wrist
- How the government needs to reconsider the incentives it offers companies to create a more sustainable version of capitalism
And while he’s at it, Chamath draws apt connections between luck and hard work.
Come for the deep analysis of government intervention in companies deemed too big to fail, stay for Chamath’s assertion that the U.S. economy needs billionaires like the NBA needs LeBron James.
Listen now and let us know what you think. And if you missed Part I, go check that out, too.
American capitalism is kind of like apple pie. We know it’s supposed to be a quintessential component of our culture, but we’re not really sure how to make it from scratch without leaving a bad taste in someone’s mouth.
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, the provocative and recently very viral venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya argues that today’s recipe for capitalism isn’t working.
Palihapitiya’s case against this “perversion” of capitalism looks a little like this:
- We’ve strayed tremendously from the free market system that allowed all entities, wealthy or poor, to move together in unison.
- To Palihapitiya, that’s resulted in a massive zero sum game between resilience and efficiency. If we want to have both, we need to make some changes.
You might not agree with Palihapitiya. But this episode is full of thought starters guaranteed to provoke even the least civically inclined of your group chat. And just wait for Part II coming out next…
Go listen to Part I now.
+ And if you want to check out the viral interview we reference in the episode, find that here.
He’s not running. But if he were? The hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist says he would put bipartisanship above all else. Sounds great, Ray, but is it realistic?
On this episode of Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast and part two of our interview with Ray Dalio, we try our best to figure it out.
Dalio expertly describes the intersection of markets and politics in today’s crisis, making the intricacies of Fed policy, Wall Street psychology, debt cycles, and more make perfect sense. Plus, Dalio gives a master class in...
- What’s wrong with capitalism (there are some strong contenders for best pie metaphor of the year in that part)
- How we should interpret the markets which constitute our broader economy as machines that sometimes need tune-ups
If you missed part one of our conversation with Dalio, go check it out. In this second part, he expands on his thesis that students of history could’ve seen this pandemic coming. Are you sold?
Listen now and let us know.
Ray Dalio, billionaire philanthropist and hedge fund demigod, thinks we can utilize historical precedent to insulate ourselves from the inevitable pain points life throws at us. Do you?
Part I of our two-part interview with Dalio will help you make a decision.
In this episode of Business Casual, Ray makes a case for becoming a voracious student of history. And yes, Ray thinks we could have seen today’s global health and economic crisis coming—he even goes as far in the episode as to divulge what he would have done differently if he’d paid a little more attention to the history books.
Because as far as he sees it, there is such a thing as a formula for success. He shared that formula, plus tips for…
- Learning how to make decisions even when armed with imperfect information at best
- Positioning yourself to take advantage of your weaknesses as much as you do your strengths
- Understanding what the role of the billionaire class should be in times of global panic
Listen to the episode now. And make sure you’re subscribed so you don’t miss Part II of the interview, up next from Business Casual.
Today we’re flipping the script on Business Casual… and the host becomes the interview subject.
That’s right. Our guest for this episode is our very own Kinsey Grant, Morning Brew business editor and the host of this podcast. She’s the one constant voice on this show, and we want you, dear listeners, to get to know her better.
Kinsey breaks down how she uses razor sharp questioning and an impressive roster of guests to answer some of the biggest questions in business. But what exactly makes something a “big question in business”?
Reformed markets reporter, newsletter writer, and early bird Kinsey Grant and Morning Brew audio produce Marilyn Haigh get to the bottom of it.
Want to get in touch? Email Marilyn at email@example.com and Kinsey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 22 is Earth Day. Do you know if your favorite corporate behemoth is observing the holiday? Chances are...they aren’t.
Spoiler alert: That’s a terrible decision.
By letting climate concerns simmer quietly on the back burner, companies are not only opening themselves up to unmitigated risk but also leaving returns on the table. That’s according to Brian Deese, global head of sustainable investing at BlackRock (yes that BlackRock—the world’s largest money manager).
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, Deese (who was also an architect of the Paris Climate Agreement following a stint in the Obama White House) explains why investing with the climate in mind leads to stronger returns.
Deese also illustrates the important roles both 1) big data and 2) the federal government play in determining how and when corporate America prioritizes sustainability. Because all those returns we were talking about up there? They won’t matter if the world’s on fire in 30 years.
And unlike some investors focused on sustainability, Brian’s about more than just good press. Listen now to hear for yourself.
Things we learned in school: 1) always guess C and 2) never underestimate the importance of highly intricate supply chain economics and their trickle down effects on business.
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, Geoffrey Garrett, dean of UPenn’s prestigious Wharton School, explains what’s at stake for our globalized economy in the wake of COVID-19. We called in the best in the Ivy League for this one, since there are a lot of moving parts:
- First, we were concerned about supply as China’s countless manufacturing facilities went offline to observe social distancing and slow COVID’s spread.
- Then, we got worried about demand as Western countries shuttered entire economies and consumer spending hit a wall.
So...now what should we furrow our brows over? Dean Garrett has all the answers. It’s like getting a degree from Wharton, but without the rich mahogany smell.
Listen now and let us know what you think.
The thought of getting a $1,200 check in the mail from the government was nothing short of crazy just six months ago. Ask Andrew Yang. But now, that once impossible idea is reality—most Americans will receive a little somethin’ something’ from Uncle Sam as part of the government’s $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief package.
But what should you do with that money? If your groceries and basic necessities are already covered, should you splurge your Trump Bucks or save them? And what kind of boost—if any—will this program give the U.S. economy?
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, we’re diving deep into personal finance in the COVID-19 age with money expert and author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich Ramit Sethi. In the episode, Sethi covers…
- Why you need an emergency fund and what you should do if you’re in an emergency but low on the funds
- How and where we can find opportunity (read: earning potential) in the depths of a painful recession
- Whether it’s harder or easier to get rich today when compared to our last recession a decade ago
Listen now and learn more about how your personal finance situation could change.
You’ve read about the couple stuck in the Maldives. You’ve obsessively stalked ticket prices for Amsterdam in the fall. You’ve heard the cruise industry’s weary pleas for forgiveness. Now, it’s time to understand how—and if—the travel sector emerges from the pandemic that’s brought it to its knees.
Today on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of travel media and research company Skift, explains what’s at stake for the global travel sector, plus why the rest of the economy is finally recognizing just how impactful the travel industry is.
Ali breaks down what’s at stake for airlines, cruise lines, hotels, and one particular Silicon Valley home rental platform in this new norm—a norm that’s proving we can survive in a socially distant, vacation-free, remote-work world.
Ali will also give you the final answer to the question you’re all wondering: When is the right time to buy plane tickets?
Listen now to find out.
Today, the world gets its first glimpse of Quibi, the short-form mobile video platform as famous for its high-octane leadership as it is for its $1.75 billion in pre-launch venture funding.
Also today? Business Casual listeners get an exclusive interview with Quibi CEO Meg Whitman. In this conversation chock-full of insight, Whitman explains how Quibi is straddling the line between competition for time and competition for dollars.
As a veteran tech leader (and the former CEO of both eBay and HP), she has plenty of inside-baseball analysis about playing into the trend of our dwindling attention spans instead of resisting it. Whitman also explains to Business Casual…
- What it’s like to launch a consumer product in the middle of a pandemic and likely recession
- What it takes to raise $1.75 billion in funding without showing investors your product
- How to attract the finest talent from both Hollywood and Silicon Valley
Plus, Whitman defends her claim that Quibi, a video streaming service, is not entering the streaming wars. Want to understand that one? Listen now.
Like 4chan found a Bloomberg terminal. That’s the motto on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets, where 1 million members share the most horrifyingly risky stock market strategies imaginable.
And in these volatile times, those bets are riskier and bigger than ever. So this week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, we spoke with r/WallStreetBets founder Jaime Rogozinski to understand the new norms in market psychology.
Rogozinski, a serial entrepreneur who takes almost no responsibility for the fortunes both won and lost on the subreddit he created, explains…
- Why millennials are approaching investing differently during the COVID-19 pandemic
- How a fundamental lack of trust in the investing system impacts markets across the board
- When bear vs. bull markets are nothing but a social construct
Listen to the episode now.
You could use some good news. Today on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, we’re delivering just that—a conversation on the business of giving back with charity: water founder Scott Harrison.
Charity: water’s not your average nonprofit. Harrison has made the organization’s business model famous in the finance world for his focus on almost radical transparency and a nontraditional banking setup.
- In this episode, Harrison goes deep on how that works...and justifies the highly unique, heavily Silicon Valley-influenced (and sometimes criticized) model.
Plus, Harrison—who’s a former nightclub promoter—has something of an unorthodox approach to marketing that sheds light on more than just the nonprofit community. Small taste? He’s more concerned with what Nike or Apple is doing than what his direct competitor is doing.
This episode might make you feel better in a downer of a news cycle, but that doesn’t mean we’re holding back on the business analysis. America’s 1+ million charities raked in $427.7 billion in contributions in 2018—meaning charitable giving is big business.
Listen now and let us know what you think.
You’ve read every guide to improving productivity while working from home. You can list every country by confirmed COVID-19 cases in both ascending and descending order. Your Andrew Cuomo impression is getting scary good.
But now you’re wondering...how does this all end? And what are the world’s leaders doing to hasten that ending?
To find out, Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast spoke with geopolitical whiz Ian Bremmer (he’s also a celebrated political scientist and the president/founder of the political risk consulting firm Eurasia Group and GZERO Media).
Bremmer offers an honest assessment of the many ways government responses to COVID-19 differ, both for better and for worse. Plus...
- Who wins and who loses if the free world’s leadership scheme shifts
- How world leaders prioritize both human lives and economic livelihoods
- Why the possibility of a cold war between the U.S. and China has some experts concerned
Listen now for answers.
What would you do if you were in the room negotiating a stimulus deal with D.C.’s top brass? Do you know what you’d say? And what you’d lobby for? Mark Cuban does.
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, Cuban—owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Shark Tank investor, and media exec—does just that...and explains why perfection is the enemy of progress.
As Cuban sees it, the longer lawmakers hem, haw, and split hairs over the appropriate response to COVID-19, the more they hurt American taxpayers. Right now, aching businesses big and small need leadership, but the government can only do so much. Cuban explains…
- Why we have no choice but to make decisions with imperfect information
- How bailouts should be structured to benefit more than just the corporate elite
- When perspective matters more than profit
And because he’s Mark Cuban...he gives plenty of entrepreneurial advice. Don’t miss this episode—listen now.
The economy is hurtling toward a likely recession every day. And just like you can rely on your roommate eating all the good WFH snacks on day two, you can rely on markets experts to wonder...is the government going to do anything here?
For its part, the Federal Reserve is doing something. Several things, in fact, from last-minute emergency rate cuts to major loans for big banks.
But what does the Fed’s rapid fire monetary policy mean for your day to day, from getting a mortgage to choosing a bank? And will it even work? This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, the Brew’s Kinsey Grant interviews her college Econ professor to get those answers.
Washington & Lee University’s Professor Art Goldsmith gives a master class in how Fed policy works, why it exists in the first place, and what we can expect from central bankers as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on business.
Because when “explain it to me like I’m five” fails, there’s always “explain it to me like I’m 19.”
We hold these WFH truths to be self-evident: that we’ll always wear pajama pants no matter how many times we promise to get dressed, and that we’re spending way more time than usual scrolling through social media.
About that second one...social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become lifelines for human contact and important headlines in the era of #socialdistancing, putting pressure on Big Tech to clamp down on falsehoods and potentially harmful viral cure-alls.
But can Zuck & Co. handle it? Are they stepping up to the plate to root out dangerous misinformation? Can we trust anything we see on social media anymore?
In this special episode of Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, Bloomberg social media reporter Sarah Frier explains how tech c-suites are navigating what, for many, has become the most uncertain periods of their existence...and how those business decisions impact society.
Listen now and let us know what you think.
Back before the stock market was breaking all the wrong kinds of records and the global economy was teetering on the edge, Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast learned a well-timed lesson in resilience.
Our teacher? ClassPass CEO Fritz Lanman. The fitness subscription startup he leads became 2020’s first unicorn before 2020 was even a week old. But getting to that point— and building the kind of business that can survive today’s uncertainty-riddled economic environment — took time. And several different business models.
This week on Business Casual, Fritz goes deep on the importance of owning your mistakes and keeping yourself honest, even when it’s hard. Because reversing the way you make money? Not easy. Plus, Fritz explains…
- Why some marketplace businesses fail (looking at you, MoviePass)
- When it makes sense to lose customers on purpose
- How sustainability matters more than virality
After 11 long years and countless satisfied 401(k)s, the longest-ever bull market in stocks has ended (at least for the Dow). Investors, ravaged by coronavirus fears and unsure of who should step in when, are licking wounds and reevaluating allocations.
But what’s actually happening beneath all the doomsday headlines and major S&P 500 point losses? When will all this no good very bad sentiment hit the economy? And is a recession on the way?
We’ve got the answers. In this special episode of Business Casual, host and recovering markets reporter Kinsey Grant talks with expert financial adviser Downtown Josh Brown to get to the bottom of how the coronavirus is impacting markets...and what you can do about it.
FYI: We recorded this episode midday Wednesday. Before the Dow technically fell into bear territory. And President Trump restricted travel from Europe for 30 days. And the NBA suspended its season. And Tom Hanks announced he tested positive for coronavirus. News comes at you fast.
Listen now for a more informed conversation.
You know that feeling when you change the toilet paper roll? Or fill the office Brita? Or say “it’ll come out in the wash” instead of Venmo requesting your friends?
Being a B Corp feels like all of that at once. B Corp companies tick off a long list of boxes, from sustainability to community, to “balance purpose and profit.” Like Bombas, the digitally native sock company with a cult following and a give-back model.
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual, Bombas CEO Dave Heath explains why missions to “do good” can coexist with those to “do profit.” Plus why…
- Authenticity is more convincing than viral marketing
- Starbucks ought to write the book on product-market fit
- Venture capital sets any non-tech investment up for failure
About that last one...Heath poses some of the hottest VC takes Business Casual has seen. As far as he’s concerned, “there is no silver bullet” for direct-to-consumer retail success...but VCs like to pretend there is.
Listen and decide for yourself.
While you’re at it...got feedback? Want to advertise with Business Casual? Email us at email@example.com.
What do Madonna, Mark Zuckerberg, and Mike Bloomberg have in common? They’re richer than you They all get name-dropped by social media personality The Fat Jewish the second you ask him to talk about the influencer economy.
This week on Business Casual, we did just that. The Fat Jewish (real name: Josh Ostrovsky) takes us on a roller coaster ride of content, from selling his Babe wine brand to AB InBev to Mike Bloomberg’s meme campaign for the White House.
And in this unpredictable election cycle, Bloomberg’s social strategy matters. Josh breaks an NDA with Bloomberg’s camp to explain exactly how those fake DMs will play out. Want to know how it ends? Go listen.
If that’s not enough to convince you, this episode also features Josh...
- ID’ing when the influencer marketing bubble will pop
- Explaining how to reverse engineer your audience into an R&D flywheel
- Giving tangible examples of “cutting through the noise” that don’t sound like they came straight from a self-help book for entrepreneurs
If you survived the 2019 IPO season, you learned two things: 1) Morning Brew’s tailgates rivaled D3’s finest and 2) the only guaranteed win was investing in software as a service (aka SaaS) companies.
This week on Business Casual, we speak to Squarespace founder and CEO Anthony Casalena to figure out why SaaS companies are doing so well right now...and what it’ll take to nip all that forward momentum in the bud. We also cover...
- How businesses build “sticky” models
- Why the relationship between customer acquisition and customer value matters so much
- When it’s better to buy than build
Because in the last few years, we’ve seen a boom in “plug-and-play” models—businesses whose divine purpose is to make creating a subsequent business as easy as possible. Why now, and what comes next?
Did you have yesterday off from work? If you didn’t, we’re sorry. But even if you did, chances are you still answered a few emails, checked a few Slacks, and furrowed your brow thinking about all the things you’ve got to catch up on this morning.
But what if work...didn’t have to be like that?
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, we tear apart how work came to rule our lives—and what some in the business world are doing to fix it. Basecamp CEO, remote work enthusiast, and Bezos-approved founder Jason Fried explains why today’s idea of a work/life balance isn’t doing us any favors. Plus…
- How Silicon Valley’s ideas of “move fast and break things” broke the wrong things
- How venture capital puts companies in “pressure cookers”
- And how tech could change the notion of 9–5
Listen and let us know what you think.
For corporations, not everything about getting together is Russell Stover chocolates and long-stemmed roses. So to celebrate the Brew’s Merger Week (keep reading for today’s big piece)...
Today on Business Casual: Axios Business Editor and author of the Pro Rata newsletter Dan Primack explains why mergers and acquisitions happen...and why they don’t.
In addition to figuring out what today’s M&A means for bull market health, in the episode we...
- Navigate where the biggest red flags are for today’s megadeals, from unpredictable antitrust regulation to political nationalism to the 2020 election
- Determine the next big space for consolidation
- Parse out the logistics of some of the most outlandish deals the internet’s dreamt up (looking at you, Apple/Tesla)
Plus, Primack explains what options are left for Harry’s now that the FTC sued to block Edgewell’s acquisition of the razor maker—and then called off the deal. (FYI, this was recorded riiiight before Edgewell pulled the plug.)
Maybe you’re the kind of person who holds your plank an extra 15 seconds during 6am HIIT class (showoff). Maybe you need a full day to recover from 20 minutes on the elliptical.
Either way, this one likely applies to you: tech obsession. The zeitgeist’s current fixation with new-wave, at-home, tech-enabled fitness is changing the way we define success, both in terms of personal health goals and in terms of happy business endings (read: IPOs).
This week on Business Casual, we talk to Mirror CEO Brynn Putnam to understand exactly how tech’s influence on today’s fitness startups is impacting the business world. Brynn explains…
- What about the at-home fitness business model works
- How good tech and smart engineering can scale the unscalable
- Why every company is fighting for a tech valuation, even if it doesn’t deserve one
One parting idea: Putnam thinks in-home fitness streaming devices can become the next iPhone. Do you?
In five short days on Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will split into two distinct categories: those of us watching for the commercials and liars.
Half kidding. But whatever your reason for tuning in, you’re supporting a massive revenue generating business when you watch the Super Bowl—ads during this year’s game sold out in November for prices up to $5.6 million per 30-second spot. And the Patriots aren’t even playing.
This week on Morning Brew’s weekly Business Casual podcast, we tackle the massive business beast that is the National Football League. Famed NFL analyst and exec Michael Lombardi explains the ins and outs of the NFL as a business, including…
- Super Bowl hype sustainability
- International expansion
- Legalized sports betting
- And the biggest threats to profitability
Even if you didn’t play Pop Warner, you went to a D3 school, or you’re really only watching the Super Bowl so you can eat 13 wings without being judged, you’ll learn something from Lombardi’s episode.
Look—we all have goals. For some of us, that goal is not lying when we tell the dentist we floss 2x a week. For others, it’s getting a 183-year-old consumer goods giant to buy our 2.5-year-old company for $100 million.
Moiz Ali belongs in the “others” category. As the founder of natural personal care (read: deodorant) brand Native, he brokered the kind of deal young startups only dream of when Procter & Gamble bought his company. But once the ink dried on the contract, the hard work began.
This week on Morning Brew’s Business Casual podcast, Moiz takes us on a guided tour of the acquisition process—how to stand out, how to keep your head down, and how to make a graceful exit.
Even if you aren’t shopping your growing business for billionaire buyers, this episode has something for you:
- How to communicate any message with the right audience (and not blow your $$)
- How to persevere when the odds are stacked against you
- And a whole lot more
FYI: When you make it to the end of the episode, you’ll be looking for a very specific link pertaining to Moiz’s daily routine. Here’s that link.
FYI x2: Make sure you subscribe to Business Casual and leave us a rating + review on your platform of choice.
You know what happens when you assume: you make an investment mistake. So why are so many startup founders and everyday investors assuming today’s endless well of venture capital is...actually endless?
This week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, Business Casual, Union Square Ventures managing partner Rebecca Kaden explains that, even though venture as a whole is armed with more capital than ever before, “nerves are spiking and we know change is coming.”
But what does that change look like? When the change does come, where’s the opportunity in a venture-funded world packed with potential WeWorks? And what are the long-term implications of today’s multibillion-dollar private check-writing?
In this episode, Kaden explains. Plus, we...
- Determine why the inherent risk of venture capital is so misconceived by the market
- Explain why recessions are good for venture capitalists and bad for you
- Compare and contrast our economic predictions with those of Juicy J.
Don’t miss it. While you’re here, subscribe to Business Casual and leave us a rating and review.
“Best always wins. But first is a great place to be.”
“Build brand and bring value. And you basically karma and guilt people into doing business with you.”
“If you’re a winner, you’re unemotional about where you market.”
There’s only one person who would say all of that in the span of a half-hour: Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur, branding expert, and serial angel investor.
And this week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast Business Casual, Gary V opens up about everything, from brand building (both personally and for your business) to managing an unwarranted reputation to cherry picking the next big thing in marketing. Plus...
- How exactly some companies are “putting dollars in the trash”
- What the next “most underpriced asset in the world” is (hint: it’s not traded on any exchange)
- And how even the worst internet trolls add value
Some people call Gary V an inspiration. Some people call Gary V a snake oil salesman.
This week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, Business Casual, we explore the inner workings of direct-to-consumer (DTC) retail with two of the best in the business: Zak Normandin, CEO of Iris Nova, and Nik Sharma, the strategist dubbed “The DTC Bro.”
But this episode is about so much more than every suitcase, toothbrush, and mattress company’s effort to become a “lifestyle” brand (even though we cover that, too).
- We dive deep into the idea of conversational commerce—aka utilizing text messaging to create a more sincere 1-1 relationship with the consumer.
- Zak and Nik explain how an influx of venture capital funding in DTC retail can be a net negative on the space.
- We explain what “cutting out the middleman” actually means for retailers and for customers.
After all, DTC accounts for 40% of e-commerce sales growth in consumer goods. So...safe to say this movement is going anywhere. Don’t you want to know the ins and outs from the brightest in the business?
Want to text Nik? You can reach him at 917-905-2340.
Where were you 10 years ago? Morning Brew’s managing editor, Neal Freyman, was trolling Duke basketball players as a college freshman at the University of Maryland. But oh, how times have changed.
This week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast Business Casual, Neal joins host and fellow Brew editorial team member Kinsey Grant to discuss a decade’s worth of trends, themes, and breaking news in the business world.
And after years of writing your daily Brew newsletter, Neal has seen a thing or two. In the episode, Neal covers...
- The rise of tech and how it’s impacted our interpersonal relationships, from Facebook to Fortnite.
- Amazon’s stealth mode world takeover.
- How his bar mitzvah money is doing in the longest ever U.S. bull market.
You don’t want to miss this episode, especially if you’ve ever wanted a peek inside how the Brew covers everything in business, from the student loan crisis to Beyoncé’s greatest hits.
Check out the rest of our decade in review coverage here.
What was the first thing you looked at when you woke up this morning? Chances are, it was a product from Facebook, Twitter, Google, or Apple. But who makes the rules for the very exclusive Big Tech club running our lives, from how we eat to when we travel to what we buy?
This week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, Business Casual, we figure it out. Kara Swisher, who co-founded Recode and has been covering tech for as long as there’s been tech to cover, sits down in a wide-ranging conversation on tech ethics, futurism, and more.
- What company wins the title of “rapacious data thief”
- Elon Musk and the future of the mad scientist CEO
- Why Uber’s top leadership might be misunderstood
As Silicon Valley’s resident kingmaker, Swisher ranks as one of Business Casual’s most outspoken guests yet, and she pulls no punches explaining just how cleverly Big Tech fooled us when they said they’d do no evil.
Check out the answer to this week's trivia here.
Like building something from Ikea or responding to an “are you in the right headspace to receive information that could possibly hurt you” text, getting insurance can be complicated. But does it need to be?
This week on Business Casual, we hear the argument that it does not. Lemonade CEO Daniel Schreiber suggests the traditional broker-based insurance business model is “fundamentally and structurally” flawed.
Because when there exists a misalignment of incentives that egregious (insurer and insuree fighting for the same dollar), we’ve got no choice but to fire off those “it’s so ducking annoying” messages to the group chat after making a claim.
- Schreiber wants to reinstate insurance in the realm of social goods. To do that, he’s leaning hard into technology, behavioral economics, and 100x the data of traditional insurers.
Hear Schreiber’s theses on the promise of the insurance sector, the future of the IPO market for tech startups, and what it’s like to know Masayoshi Son on a first-name basis.
P.S. Did you stick around to the end? This week’s trivia: Rank these insurance types by market size—health insurance, auto insurance, home and renter’s insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance. Check for the answer today on my Twitter.
A few weeks back, Apple came under fire for allegedly deploying biased algorithms to determine credit limits for its Apple Card. Some women were given lower spending limits than male counterparts (counterparts who made less money or even had worse credit).
We don’t have to be the ones to tell you that’s a problem, but...that’s a problem. There is a gender gap in tech, and that gender gap leads to worse products for everyone. So...
This week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast Business Casual, wepick apart how that gender gap came to be, how it’s affecting the bottom line, and why the whole of society should care. To explain it all, Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code.
Boiling it down: You’ve read the stories of gender bias, sexual harassment, and more at companies like Google, Uber, etc. And those stories tend to sink stock prices. So even if you’re not a woman, your Robinhood account could suffer if tech companies don’t get their diversity initiatives in check.
Let’s face it, no matter how many times you’ve unsuccessfully explained to your mom what bitcoin is, you probably don’t even *really* know yourself. Throw words like distributed ledger technology, initial coin offering, and blockchain in? Yeah, no.
So this week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, Business Casual, we’re breaking down everything crypto—from bitcoin’s $20,000 ride to Facebook’s misadventures in “reinventing money and transforming the global economy.”
Because crypto memes are big, but crypto’s lasting impacts on the future of the worldwide financial system could be bigger.
- Is bitcoin really the favored currency of the black market, and if so...does that matter?
- Can Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook deliver on their promises of a new digital currency with the Libra project, and if so...can we trust it?
- Is “blockchain tech” really just overhype, and if so...why do we still fall for the headline every time?
To answer it all, Business Casual speaks with Arianna Simpson of Autonomous Partners, an investment fund focused on crypto and digital assets.
It’s been a big week for TikTok. The social video app reportedly passed 1.5 billion downloads worldwide, putting it ahead of both Facebook and Instagram. It started testing online shopping in the U.S. It’s under the microscope in D.C. as a Chinese-owned entity.
And now, it’s getting the Business Casual treatment. This week on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, we attempt to understand TikTok—what makes it work, why it blew up, and how companies are making money off of it.
Because TikTok isn’t like Facebook or Google, the de facto demigods of social media advertising. According to viral TikTok superstar Spencer X (follower count: 9.8 million), TikTok’s got a few competitive advantages that have Zuck shaking.
Spencer X tells us...a) how TikTok has made live streaming work in both theory and practice b) what brands are best suited to monetize TikTok and c) why influencer marketing is a force to be reckoned with.
Int. Morning Brew office, content team weekly check-in:
[Writer 1] Question: What kind of streaming service is best?
[Writer 2] That’s a ridiculous question.
[Writer 1] False. Black bear.
Any fan of The Office recognizes that reference. And any fan of business news knows the streaming wars are in the process of fundamentally changing the way you get your Dunder Mifflin fix, or any other media for that matter.
Today on Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, Business Casual, we’re picking apart precisely what’s made the streaming wars just that—wars, from Disney to Netflix, Apple to Amazon.
How do subscriber counts, ad dollars, and content spend equate to small, individual battles, each with winners and losers? Matt Ball, verified media guru and former global head of strategy for Amazon Studios, has the answers. Plus...
- How Amazon has impacted the media landscape.
- When we’ll be able to declare who owns the future of streaming.
- Why Netflix is still the streamer to beat.
What would you do if you’d just raised a $100 million investment fund? If you’re Ben Sun, co-founder and general partner at NY-based Primary Venture Partners, you don’t hop a Blade whenever you’re craving an iced coffee from the Golden Pear in Easthampton. You make sure small startups with big ideas get the money they need to succeed.
This week on Business Casual, Sun explains the ins and outs of venture capital—and how exactly the U.S. VC scene has managed to do $100 billion in investing this year.
What’s that? You want an idea of what Sun talks about in the episode? Because he’s had a crazy successful career in serial entrepreneurship and investing? Fine…
- Why profitability only matters sometimes. Hint: Jeff Bezos.
- The SoftBank effect. Has Masayoshi Son put a chill on venture capital, or has he been the rising tide that lifts all ships?
- How venture capital thrives in a recession. It has a lot to do with weeding out the weaklings.
Don’t wait another minute. Listen to the episode now.
Follow me on Twitter @KinseyGrant
You knew it was coming. It’s time for Morning Brew’s weekly podcast, Business Casual, to jump right into the belly of the beast: the U.S.-China trade war.
- What we know: So far, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on about $360 billion worth of Chinese imports, while China has put levies on about $110 billion worth of U.S. goods.
- What we don’t know: Everything else.
That’s why this week, we’re bringing in the Chairman of the Twitter Federal Reserve and CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, Josh Brown. Remember all those piping hot takes about Big Tech a few episodes back? Josh is bringing even more heat this episode.
A small sampling of what you’ll get re: the U.S.-China trade war this episode...Finally, an answer to the age old question: what came first, the trade war headline or the stock market meltdown? A real-world example to show who pays for tariffs, really. An explanation for how President Trump and Jerome Powell became oil and water. And so much more.
You know what the right thing to do is...but can you act on it? Today on Morning Brew’s podcast Business Casual, Ellevest co-founder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck is tackling one of the biggest questions in business: workplace diversity.
As Krawcheck sees it, we’ve read enough studies proving a more diverse workplace yields higher returns for investors (15% higher, per recent reports). Now, it’s time to do something about the pay gaps, investing gaps, savings gaps, and more that hold top talent back.
In this episode of Business Casual, Krawcheck also explains…
- What companies and CEOs are doing things right
- Why women-founded startups (think The Wing, Outdoor Voices, Glossier) are thriving
- Why impact investing doesn’t mean sacrificing returns
She knows what she’s talking about: Prior to building Ellevest, Krawcheck was CEO of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, CEO of Citi Wealth Management, and CEO at Smith Barney.
While MySpace was busy ruining friendships in the early aughts, Facebook was readying to upend life as we know it. Knotel CEO Amol Sarva thinks his flexible workspace platform is the Facebook to WeWork’s MySpace.
This week on Business Casual, we’re getting into the nitty gritty of flexible space and the future of work. Sarva isn’t afraid to name names...and cast doubt on WeWork’s financials.
More high points from the conversation:
- Sarva explains the difficulties of cauterizing “ethical rot” vs. “financial rot.”.
- He makes a case for celebrating the coming recession. Sarva argues that despite how capital intensive real estate is, flexible office space will thrive when things go south.
- For anyone looking to optimize your life—Sarva’s point about why we don’t build our own iPhones is for you.
In addition to out-Zuckerberging WeWork, Sarva 1) got his Ph.D. in cognitive science at Stanford 2) co-founded Virgin Mobile USA and 3) uses both “Faustian” and “schadenfreude” in the interview...so you know you’re going to learn something.
Trends come and go, but lunch is forever. Unless you’re Samantha Wasser, founder of the plant-based and vegan restaurant chain by CHLOE. In that case, trends are forever, too.
This week on Business Casual, Wasser explains exactly how making the most of food trends and taking the “polar opposite” approach of most vegan restaurants helped her fledgling salad shop grow to an international chain with an enviable Instagram following. And really good tempeh patties.
But this is Business Casual, and Business Casual is about more than tempeh patties. Wasser explains why a boom in business for plant-based meats like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods is good for all restaurateurs hoping to get more sustainable.
What else is on tap in this episode? Tips and tricks to optimize your phone eats first attitude. An argument in favor of sweating the small stuff. How to pitch venture capital on the long-shunned restaurant space, massive capital investments and all. And three letters: CBD.
Sign up for Morning Brew here: https://www.morningbrew.com/?utm_source=Podcast&utm_medium=Podcast&utm_campaign=Podcast-Episode3
Newsflash: By 2022, about $4.6 trillion will be managed by roboadvisors—super smart algorithms telling you when and what to invest. But can we trust the robots? Betterment CEO Jon Stein thinks yes—but there are limitations.
This week on Business Casual, Stein explains 1) why computers make better money managers than Uncle Rob’s neighbor’s sister 2) where the big banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are failing everyday people and 3) why good advice typically has a price tag. He also masterfully tackles the democratization of financial tools in under five minutes (could be a world record).
And because he was feeling generous, Stein clues you in on the single worst thing you can do with your money.
Sign up for Morning Brew here: https://www.morningbrew.com/?utm_source=Podcast&utm_medium=Podcast&utm_campaign=Podcast-Episode2
Breaking up Big Tech: everyone’s talking about it, but is anyone actually doing anything about it? Scott Galloway—NYU professor, NYT bestselling author, owner of the world’s most colorful vocabulary—has some ideas.
Galloway argues on Business Casual that Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple are “invasive species”—species robbing the everyday consumer of everything from a functioning democracy to their mental health. And forget about seed funding or innovation if you’re an entrepreneur. As Galloway sees it, the DOJ and FTC need to step in. Because after all, if Tom Brady (or Mark Zuckerberg) is allowed to cheat...he will.
Plus, Scott makes a bold prediction about Morning Brew’s future and offers “the only investment advice you ever need.”
Sign up for Morning Brew at: https://www.morningbrew.com/?utm_source=Podcast&utm_medium=Podcast&utm_campaign=Podcast-Episode1