I love doing research. I always have. One of the topics that I enjoy researching the most is business. Beginning in 2020, I began to notice something interesting – companies were being funded and launched that didn’t offer value in my opinion, instead, they were companies that operated similar to a circus act performed under the big top. In February of 2020, I coined a term to describe what I was seeing – gimmick companies.
Gimmick companies all have something in common – they acquire customers by offering a service that doesn’t exist anywhere else, the companies walk a fine line between what they offer and what’s legal, the companies have a high cash burn rate, and most of the companies aren’t close to being profitable. Examples of gimmick companies include the following:
- Gorillas, GoPuff, Getir, and other rapid grocery delivery companies
- Cerebral and other companies that make it easy to get ADHD medication online
Rapid grocery delivery (RGD) companies operate with the promise of making deliveries in as little as 10 minutes. RGD companies didn’t launch because consumers were begging to have their groceries and other products delivered in minutes. RGD companies became a thing when Gorillas founder and CEO, Kagan Sumer, leveraged his experience working as a consultant for Bane & Company, to come up with the idea for a new way to deliver groceries. What Kagan came up with was a gimmick, 10-minute deliveries. Soon, other RGD companies were launched and funded by investors intrigued by the new business model.
I became an advisor to several of the RGD companies and I began to write posts and articles about the topic. I haven’t deviated in my belief that no RGD company can succeed using a model that delivers groceries or anything else in 10 minutes. I was right. Gorillas and Getir, the two largest RGD companies, announced layoffs and issued warnings about their companies.
Cerebral is a company that should never have been allowed to launch, and it highlights a disturbing lack of oversight by several government agencies. Feeling overwhelmed? Struggle to focus on more than one task? Finding it difficult to do your homework? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, you must have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, better known as ADHD.
Instead of having to go visit a doctor in person who will ask you all sorts of prying questions, Cerebral offered a service whereby all a person needed to do was fill out a few questions, speak to a pseudo clinician, and Walla, a prescription for Adderall or Ritalin would be written, and the drugs would be delivered to the persons home.
What I find most interesting is where Cerebral decided to market their company – TikTok. Cerebral’s executive team clearly understood that on TikTok, they would find a large audience that would buy into their gimmick. It worked. Thankfully, however, Cerebral is now being investigated.
TOPICS OF INTEREST THIS WEEK
We All Looked Alike
I hinted in my last newsletter that I would discuss certain aspects of my career as a model and male dancer. I’m not going to dedicate an entire newsletter to the topic, however, on occasion, I will introduce lessons learned from the experience that I believe are relevant.
I’m being kind to myself when I state that my modeling career was mediocre. I didn’t begin modeling seriously until after I was discharged from the Marine Corps, and my career took place at the height of popularity for the Abercrombie & Fitch male model-inspired look which peaked in popularity in the early 2000s.
The picture above is a test shot that I also used as part of a portfolio for a global jewelry company that was casting for models. I don’t own the copyright to pictures of me appearing with other models hence the need to carve out the image of the woman who is leaning against me in the picture. I wasn’t chosen for the ad campaign as I didn’t have blond hair. I chose to add blond highlights to my hair after being rejected. Most male models at the time did the same thing. Frankly, we all looked alike.
I was never a star as a model. Where I excelled was as a male dancer and entertainer. I danced for four years but two things led me to quit. First, the injuries I sustained in the Marine Corps, 1.5″ of bone removed from my left ankle and 20% of disc L4 removed, made it very difficult for me to keep up with the dance routines. Also, I met a male dancer who at 40 years of age, was still acting like he was 20. Meeting him scared me. I didn’t want to be like him at his age.
Nevertheless, I did learn valuable lessons from being a model that I continue to utilize like taking care of my skin. Women are taught at an early age to care for their skin, but most men invest little time doing so. Bad idea. I strongly encourage all men, regardless of their age, to invest in products to cleanse, moisturize, and protect their face. For example, products like these.
None of the men I modeled or danced with wore a beard. The best advice I can give for a how a man can improve his appearance is to do the following – if you wear a beard or goatee, shave it off. Beards rob men of their individuality by making men who wear beards all look alike. I constantly hear men say that wearing a beard is in style. False. Two men look good in a beard – Captain America and actor Sylvester Stallone – and you aren’t them.
I challenge every man, regardless of their age, who reads these words to shave off their beard or goatee, and use skincare products for the next 30 days. You will like what you see when you look in the mirror. Don’t ever forget, unless you have a twin, no one else on earth has your face. Show it off.
Is The NRA Friend Or Foe?
On a daily basis, shootings occur in the United States. Whenever a major shooting occurs at a school or a workplace, it’s guaranteed that there will be cries of repealing the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution which protects the right to keep and bear arms. It was ratified on December 15, 1791, along with nine other articles of the Bill of Rights.
There are also cries of banning assault weapons. It’s staggering how many shootings occur using the same weapon – an AR-15 style assault rifle. (I fired thousands of rounds of ammunition through the military equivalent of the AR-15 while I served in the Marines, the M-16A2.)
It’s also guaranteed that the National Rifle Association will be criticized for promoting gun rights, and that the NRA will release a statement arguing why they must continue to fight for gun rights and resist any attempt to expand firearm background checks or ban assault rifles. It never stops.
The NRA is arguably one of the most effective organizations operating today in terms of being able to influence politicians, primarily Republicans, to support their position. Democrats overwhelmingly reject what the NRA stands for. Due to the inability of Democrats and Republicans to agree on anything related to guns, little if anything is accomplished.
For example, the shooter who killed 21 people, including 19 children, in Uvalde, TX, at 18 years of age, was able to purchase a Daniel Defense AR-15 style assault rifle. 18-years old? Doesn’t reading that make you ask the question, should that be legal? Most people would agree that if Congress did nothing else, making it illegal for an 18-year-old who can’t legally buy liquor until they’re 21, to not be able to buy an assault weapon until they’re 21, make sense.
The NRA won’t agree with such a law as they believe giving the government such power will result in a drip, drip, drip of further eroding the power of the 2nd Amendment over time. In addition, the NRA believes the government will create a database of gun owners and use that information to eventually confiscate guns.
I have an idea. It may not be a good idea but I believe it’s worth considering. If the NRA doesn’t trust the government, and if the NRA can effectively block the introduction of what many people believe are common-sense gun laws, why not hire the NRA? Specifically, why not hire the NRA to conduct all background checks on individuals who want to purchase a firearm, and allow the NRA to be the sole repository for gun ownership information?
In return, the NRA agrees to support common sense gun laws that should have already been passed, like preventing 18-year-olds from purchasing assault weapons, people under the age of 18 from being able to purchase weapons at gun shows, etc. Congress will agree to push for maximum sentences of anyone who uses a gun during a crime, and agrees to find and prosecute whoever provided or sold the gun used during a crime.
My argument is this – nothing is getting done. Gun violence is at an all-time high. The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right of gun ownership. The NRA is steadfast in their resistance to new gun laws because of their distrust of government. So call the NRA’s bluff. Fund the NRA to be in charge, and use the General Accounting Office (GAO) and third-parties to audit the program. Maybe the time has come to stop treating the NRA as a foe. Maybe it’s also time to call the NRA’s bluff.
Until next week,