Skip to content

Happy Hump Day guys!

Good morning. There’s only one full-service state standing. Last week, Oregon lawmakers overturned a 72-year-old prohibition on pumping your own gas at gas stations, making New Jersey the only US state that still requires an attendant to fill up your tank.

Oregonians, welcome to the club. You’re about to discover one of the greatest joys in life: stopping the meter right on a round number.

The summer the world turned pink

Illustrated pink globe

Francis Scialabba

On Monday, Airbnb listed a real-life Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse hosted by “Ken.” It’s only available for two one-night stays, but if you’re lucky enough to score one of them, it won’t cost you a dime: “Ken’s thing is beach, not math,” according to a press release.

The Dreamhouse rental is yet another viral marketing stunt for the upcoming Barbie movie, which has cemented itself as the cultural event of the summer. A promotional effort that began in the spring with a selfie generator and a beguiling trailer (what exactly is the plot?) has ballooned to include seemingly infinite partnerships and even a themed boat cruise in Boston, proving that Kris Jenner works hard, but Barbie’s marketing team works harder.

In fact, the hype around the movie has inspired a whole new wave of interior design:

  • It’s leading more adults to decorate their homes in Barbiecore, “a palette made up primarily of hot pink, and similarly bold rosy hues like fuchsia and magenta,” the NYT reported.
  • According to the Times, searches for “Barbie aesthetic bedroom” on Pinterest jumped 1,135% from May 2022 to May 2023.

The pink fuzz is generating ear-piercing buzz

With every brand under the Malibu sun trying to get in on the Barbie action, Barbiecore is proving to be more than just a color palette. Mattel, the company that launched Barbie in 1959, and its 100+ brand collaborators, are seeing opportunity in seemingly every consumer category:

  • For gamers…Xbox is making a Barbie-themed console.
  • For style influencers…Aldo is collaborating with Barbie on pink shoes and accessories.
  • For amateur designers…Ruggable has a line of Barbie rugs and doormats.
  • For the finely motor-skilled…Impala sells Barbie and Ken’s neon yellow inline skates.

Mattel is hoping that these Barbie licensing deals will jolt the company from its current slumber: In the first quarter, it suffered an operating loss of $115 million and revenue fell 22% YoY.

If you’re not going to a theater on July 21…what are you doing? Not only is Barbie being released, but so is Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, an epic about the development of the atomic bomb. We’re making it a double feature.—CC

The convenient-est convenience store


VenHub’s fully autonomous, 24/7 smart stores are the end of brick-and-mortar “convenience” stores as we know them. They’re theft-proof, can fit anywhere, and serve customers instantly.

Entrepreneurs also love them for their go-anywhere flexibility. VenHub’s robotics and AI can help store owners achieve up to 5x higher margins and open new locations in 98% less time. They’ve racked up $44m in smart-store preorders already.

With 152k+ convenience stores in the US generating $652b in sales, making convenience even more convenient is a huge market opportunity.

The best part? You can join them as a shareholder for a limited time. Don’t miss out on the journey.

Tour de headlines

A runner in hazy Chicago

 Canadian wildfire smoke goes global. Chicago took the title of “worst air quality in the world” yesterday after smoke from Canada’s wildfires drifted to the Great Lakes region and other parts of the US. Chicago residents most vulnerable from the smoke were urged to spend more time indoors, while all Michiganders received an air quality alert. The smoke from Quebec’s fires has even wafted over the Atlantic Ocean to Portugal, Spain, France, and other European countries—but unlike the haze that Dune-ified NYC a few weeks ago, the smoke in Europe does not present a health risk, since it’s much higher up in the atmosphere.

 Diageo ditches Diddy after dispute. Spirits company Diageo broke off ties with Sean “Diddy” Combs after Combs sued it last month. In his lawsuit, the rapper and business mogul claimed that Diageo under-promoted his liquor brands—Ciroc vodka and DeLeón tequila—while hyping other celebrity spirits brands in its portfolio, such as George Clooney’s Casamigos tequila. Diddy accused Diageo of racial discrimination, claiming the company considered DeLeón a “black brand” to be marketed to “urban” customers. Diageo has denied the allegations but decided their business relationship was irreparable.

 United CEO blasts the FAA as delays and cancellations mount. Tens of thousands of US flights have been delayed or canceled over the past several days, causing one of the worst stretches for air passengers this year. And while widespread thunderstorms have caused havoc, United CEO Scott Kirby also blamed the FAA for air-traffic controller shortages: “The FAA frankly failed us this weekend,” Kirby told staff on Monday. Airlines are biting their nails ahead of a Fourth of July air travel weekend that could top 2019 levels.


Lordstown couldn’t save Lordstown

Lordstown auto plant

Megan Jelinger/Getty Images

An EV startup that was supposed to save an Ohio town from going under…has gone under.

Lordstown Motors, maker of the Endurance electric pickup with in-wheel motors, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. It’s also suing its largest shareholder, Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, for failing to plug it with promised investments.

But just four years ago, it seemed like Lordstown Motors would be the Batman to its Gotham City: Lordstown, Ohio. In 2019, the company swooped in to buy a recently shuttered GM plant that used to be Lordstown’s largest employer.

  • The facility was repurposed for producing the Endurance, which Lordstown hoped would beat the likes of Rivian’s R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning as the first electric pickup to hit the road.
  • The Trump administration touted the deal as a major win for a town that believed its carmaking days were over, and the former president even showcased the pickup at the White House.

But after going public via SPAC in 2020, Lordstown has sputtered. One of its test vehicles spontaneously combusted, and it produced just 31 trucks by early this year, of which several were recalled.

All may not be lost for Lordstown, Ohio…Lordstown Motors sold the auto plant for $230 million to Foxconn last year, and the factory is due to start churning out EVs for another startup, Fisker, in 2025.—SK

Seacrest takes the ‘Wheel’

Ryan Seacrest

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Two weeks after longtime host Pat Sajak said he was retiring from Triple Toss-Ups, the iconic game show Wheel of Fortune has found its new vowel seller: Ryan Seacrest.

That was fast. Sony Pictures Television likely didn’t want to flirt with any game show drama after everyone finally forgot about its Jeopardy! host-hunting fiasco following Alex Trebek’s death.

Seacrest is inheriting a Wheel that is still spinning after 48 years on air. At its peak in the 1980s, Wheel of Fortune brought in 40 million nightly viewers, and while those numbers have dropped off significantly, it still averages about 8.6 million.

From frosted tips to million-dollar gifts: In 2002, Seacrest skyrocketed to fame by interviewing hopeful pop stars and attractive people who were never told they couldn’t sing on American Idol. The man seems to always be juggling about five jobs at a time: Seacrest has hosted New Year’s Eve events, DJ’d radio shows, and gabbed with Kelly Ripa for six years on the morning talk show Live (which he left in April).

But…his new gig may not be such a time commitment. Being a primetime game show host is one of the most enviable jobs in Hollywood because it provides stability, offers mega payouts, and you only work a few days of the month. Meanwhile, Vanna White—who was rumored to be on the successor list—will stay on when Seacrest takes over, but she’s aggressively negotiating her first pay raise in 18 years, according to Puck.—MM

What else is brewing

  • The Supreme Court rejected an obscure legal theory pushed by NC Republicans that could have radically changed how elections are run.
  • A DOJ watchdog group released a new report saying that a “combination of negligence and misconduct” at a NYC jail allowed for Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide in 2019.
  • The CDC issued a health alert for malaria after five locally spread cases were found in Texas and Florida—the first such cases in 20 years.
  • Skims, Kim Kardashian’s underwear brand, will open its first permanent stores next year.
  • Pepsi is releasing its first-ever condiment for the Fourth of July: “Pepsi Colachup.”


Wednesday to-do list

 Mighty Modelo: Learn how Mexican beer conquered the US market.

 The museum of the internet: Check out this gallery of old websites.

 Thought experiments: 43 prompts that will change your life for the better.

 The Grimace Shake is taking over social media. Here are two videos capturing the bizarre Gen Z trend.

 Visualize data: Level up your small talk with the No. 1 visual newsletter from our good friends at Chartr. Join 350,000+ others who love snackable charts and insights on business, tech, entertainment, and society. Sign up for free.


 Ready, set, grow: Invest in a real estate portfolio where everyone wins. Roots is up 32% since its inception + investments start at $100. Get started in 5 minutes.*


Leave a Comment