🚀 What's up with NFTs?
Plus, the cookie business growing like a software company!
If you’ve spent any time on Twitter this week, you’ve probably noticed one topic dominating the conversation - NFTs! As the chart above from The Block illustrates, NFT trading volume has exploded from $270M in June to ~$2.5B in August.
What caused this 10x increase in just two months? I think there’s a few factors:
As the future of IRL gatherings seems uncertain, we’re all craving a sense of community. NFTs provide that! In many cases, owning an NFT gives you access to a digital community (e.g. Discord channels). They also give you a common interest to discuss with other users on places like Reddit and Twitter.
And with that comes status. Many NFTs have become status symbols, for better or worse. Changing your Twitter profile picture to a JPEG of an ape is a signal that you’re cool, very online, and have $100K+ in disposable income. It’s even cooler if you’re early to the next big project!
I also can’t deny that there’s speculation happening. Rapid price increases in any asset class tend to be a self-fulfilling prophecy (at least in the short run) - this makes the asset more attractive to people looking for a quick flip.
🖥️ YC hosted nearly 400 companies at its virtual Summer Demo Day - check out TC’s roundup of day one and day two. This batch was bigger than ever (by a lot!), but that hasn’t stopped valuations from climbing.
🩸 The jury was selected for the trial of Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos. Holmes was indicted on charges of fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud - she pled not guilty. John Carreyrou (author of “Bad Blood”) will be covering the trial via podcast.
💸 In funding news, fitness tracker Whoop raised a $200M round from SoftBank at a $3.6B valuation. Meanwhile, dental care brand Quip raised $100M and new podcasting app Callin launched with a $12M Series A.
📊 Lots of S-1 filings this week, from D2C brand Allbirds to diagnostic testing startup Cue Health (an incredible growth story). In enterprise software, digital optimization company Amplitude publicly filed, as did customer engagement platform Freshworks.
2020 was the year of every social platform launching “Stories” - but 2021 may be the year of rolling them back!
A month after Twitter killed Fleets, LinkedIn announced it will shut down its Stories in September. The company learned that ephemerality didn’t work well for business use cases - users wanted to “create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way.”
I’m lighting a candle for YouTube Stories, one of the last men standing - other than OGs Instagram and Snapchat! TikTok is also piloting a Stories feature 🤔.
what i’m following 👀
How an 18-year-old built a viral Twitter account off a 5 second SNL clip.
China is limiting online videogames for kids to prevent gaming addiction.
A look inside one of Jokr’s micro-warehouses - how does the company get groceries to your house in <20 minutes?
Mario Gabriele shares lessons learned from one year building The Generalist full-time. This is a great read if you’ve ever thought about launching + growing a paid newsletter/community, or if you’re just curious about how they work!
If you’ve been reading Accelerated for a while, you know that I’ve been fascinated by how social media shapes IRL businesses. From selfie mirrors in stores to hotels designed for the Instagram aesthetic, physical spaces are adapting to our desire to post everything online.
I’m not sure if any business has done this as well as Crumbl Cookies, which was founded in 2017 and is now the fastest-growing restaurant chain in America. Crumbl’s product is designed for social media virality - just check out their IG! The cookies are huge, the flavors are over-the-top, and even the packaging stands out.
Crumbl blew up earlier this year on TikTok, where it now has 2.4M followers. The menu changes weekly, with new flavors announced on Sundays. This “drops” model creates hype and keeps people coming back. It also results in a LOT of user-generated content - everyone wants to post about the new cookies. Crumbl has even installed giant screens in their stores to display TikTok review videos!
Click through to the thread ⬆️ for more on Crumbl’s strategy (+ my theory on how the company chooses locations for stores).
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puppy of the week 🐶
Meet Boris and Doug, a fox red Labrador and Dalmatian who are now brothers and live together in the UK.
They enjoy watching soccer (well, football to them), playing at the beach, and using each other as pillows.
Follow them on Instagram @boris.and.doug!