4 Business Newsletters I Make Sure To Read Every Single Day
Three are free. The fourth costs a small fortune
Even if you don’t aspire to own a bazillion-dollar company, keeping up on current business and innovation news will keep you sharp. In some cases, this knowledge may even help you see and implement your next brilliant business idea.
There’s a ton of content buzz these days around the new kids on the block: TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Clubhouse. They’re overrated in my opinion; articles and email newsletters remain one of the most-preferred content vehicles for staying informed.
It’s cool to be in the know:
- Billionaire Mark Cuban calls the “information advantage” one of the most valuable ways to get a leg up in business;
- Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz stated in a 2006 interview for CNNMoney that his morning routine for 25 years had been to read three papers — The Seattle Times, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal — alongside his first cup of coffee; and
- Let’s not forget that one of the most famous sales advertisements of all time — Wall Street Journal’s “two men’ narrative, which yielded $2B in subscriptions over 28 years — asserted that the difference between being assistant manager and CEO was reading a newspaper every morning.
Staying informed doesn’t have to be a drag. In fact, an increasing number of outlets have opted for a bright, bold voice and relentless commingling of daily news with pop culture references. I’m here for it.
If you don’t subscribe to any of these newsletters, consider adding one to your inbox queue today.
#1: The Hustle
Before founder Sam Parr was overseeing a media brand that has 1.5 million email subscribers, he was slinging wieners from a hot dog stand in Nashville, Tennessee. Clearly the man has a knack for eccentric marketing: The tagline was “Wieners as big as a baby’s arm”, and if a parent brought their baby to the stand and squiggled mustard on the child’s arm, their hot dog was free.
Parr saw the oncoming Facebook train wreck years before the rest of us did:
“I felt from the beginning that building up an audience on the back of Facebook was like building a business in a rented apartment where the landlord raises the price every quarter. I knew from day one that that would be a horrible idea. I’ve always wanted to be independent.” — Sam Parr via OMR
An email-centric media brand has helped keep costs low and fanaticism high. And while The Hustle didn’t take any VC to start things off, having angel investors like Tim Ferriss and David Nemetz (Co-founder of the Bleacher Report) probably means you’re headed in the right direction.
#2: Benedict’s Newsletter
Cost: Free, or $10/month for premium edition
Everyone seems to be pooping their pants these days about Substack, so I’d just like to point out that this entire operation from Andreessen Horowitz partner Benedict Smith operates on a Squarespace site, a MailChimp subscription, and two Stripe payment buttons.
The newsletter is weekly, has more than 150,000 subscribers, and delivers tech and business context in easy-to-read sections.
If you’re wanting to keep abreast of events, but have a brain made of swiss cheese like I do, this weekly digest from someone way smarter than any of us are will keep you informed and leave you feeling accomplished.
#3: Morning Brew
My desire to jump off a cliff has been quiet lately. Reminding myself that Morning Brew — a hyper-profitable media company founded by two college grads that recently had a majority stake acquired by Business Insider’s parent company in an all-cash transaction — resurfaces that strange mixture of inspiration, eye-rolling, and jealousy I’ve come to know and love.
Once I click and read MB’s latest email, however, my grouchiness always melts away. In addition to Morning Brew’s primary newsletter, which reaches 2.5 million subscribers a day, there are several niche newsletters: Retail Brew, Emerging Tech, and Marketing Brew.
My latest guilty pleasure is their niche newsletter Sidekick (Formerly known as The Essentials), a late-afternoon pick-me-up that consists entirely of suggestions. 84% of consumers trust an online review as much as a referral from a friend, and with adorable sections like “Try It, Buy It” you won’t be able to look away.
You’ll be the most interesting person in the room — once we’re all allowed to be in rooms together again.
#4: The Information
I turned my nose up at The Information at first. With hundreds of terrific free content outlets to choose from, why do I need to drop hundreds of dollars for this particular publication?
The premise is simple: The Information’s journalists are boots-on-the-ground in Silicon Valley and often land deeply reported insights or direct scoops that no one else can access. The outlet also occasionally looks at, oh, you know, how technology will soon engulf all of humanity. Light stuff.
A New York Times feature on founder Jessica Lessin has several fascinating nuggets:
“Ms. Lessin, founder of The Information, an influential Silicon Valley publication, thinks most reporters are still focusing on the wrong topics: glamorous cryptocurrency, for example, rather than the blockchain looming over bank loans and stock trades; or the number of cars sold, rather than the artificial intelligence and driver networks that threaten to make that number obsolete.” — via the New York Times
The Information, which runs no ads, is projected to hit $20 million in revenue this year. Quick napkin math indicates that’s about 50,000 paid subscribers. But is the content that good?
Short answer: It is. Slightly longer answer: It pays to pay. Here are a few reasons why:
- When you pay, you pay attention. Back when life was normal, I was happy to pay 25 bucks for a yoga class because it kept me accountable to getting the hell away from my desk for an hour. When you pay, you pay attention.
- You will actually focus. Research has found workers looking at a screen are distracted every 40 seconds. Want to be more focused? Put yourself on the hook. Paying time or money to consume the right information in the right order accomplishes that.
- To be successful, read what other successful people read. Your brain continues to evolve and reform throughout adult life because of a phenomenon known as neuroplasticity. Instead of tracing successful tech founders’ footsteps, read what they read and you’ll start thinking like them.
The Information was worth it. But maybe that’s because I coughed up so much for it I read every article no matter what. I’m a lick-the-plate-clean kind of guy. (P.S. — they run sales throughout the year if you are considering a subscription.)
Keeping up on the news doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Doing so will not only set you up for success, but also keep you motivated and inspired along the way. Find content creators and outlets you love, carve out the time to read their work regularly, and you’ll remain sharp in business as everything else continues to change.
Thanks for reading. 🙏🏼
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