Morning Brew - ☕ Short supply

How a TikTok trend made a diabetes drug hard to get...
February 23, 2023 View Online | Sign Up | Shop 10% Off

Morning Brew

RAD Diversified

Good morning. This week has been jam-packed with Morning Brew announcements, but we hope you’ve got room for one more.

We’re excited to introduce a new interview series in the newsletter, Inside Jobs, that aims to expand your perception of what a “career” could be. We’ve been talking to folks with unconventional jobs—from a hot-air balloon pilot to a professional basketball shooting coach—to learn more about their niche industries and how they found themselves on that career path.

Today, we’ve got an interview with the co-founder and CEO of a dating app photography company. Check out his profile tips after the news.

Jamie Wilde, Max Knoblauch, Abby Rubenstein, Neal Freyman














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 4:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Stocks took a beating yesterday as investors worried that the Fed plans to continue to hike interest rates. The S&P suffered its fourth day of losses after the newly released minutes from the Fed’s last meeting showed a group of central bankers fully committed to bringing inflation down. One bright spot was Wingstop, which had its best day ever thanks to chicken sandwich sales boosting its earnings last quarter.


Diabetes patients need Ozempic, but dieters want it

Doctor writes a prescription LumiNola/Getty Images

Ozempic may be TikTok’s new favorite weight loss drug, but it served a different demographic before dieting celebrities: Type 2 diabetes patients. Now, the drug is in short supply.

As more people inject the drug for weight loss, diabetes patients are pharmacy-hopping to find stores that have Ozempic in stock, lowering their dosages to make their supplies last longer, and attempting to switch medications. The company that makes it, Novo Nordisk, expects supply to be iffy through mid-March.

Meanwhile on TikTok…

#Ozempic, #ozempicweightloss, and #ozempicchallenge have a combined 785 million views on TikTok, where the use of the drug is a viral trend. According to Novo Nordisk, the use of Ozempic has grown 69% this year and use of Wegovy, a higher dose version, went up 75%.

Ozempic may be having its moment now, but it’s not new:

  • The FDA approved Ozempic, generically known as semaglutide, for treating Type 2 diabetes in 2017.
  • It blew up when people noticed that one of its side effects was weight loss, and in 2021, the FDA approved semaglutide, under the brand name Wegovy, for that use.

The problem is that Wegovy can also be hard to find. But as TikTok would say, everybody’s so creative, and it’s a common practice for doctors to prescribe medications for something other than their FDA-approved use. So, doctors scribble up Ozempic prescriptions for weight loss.

There’s another reason a doctor might prescribe Ozempic for weight loss over Wegovy: While diabetes drugs are often covered by insurance companies, drugs for weight loss usually aren’t. Without insurance, a one-month supply of Wegovy costs upward of $1,300. Many insurers won’t cover either solely for weight loss—but, according to BuzzFeed, some physicians are willing to prescribe Ozempic and provide a blood test showing the patient is prediabetic if documentation is requested.

Backlash is building: The American Diabetes Association is telling doctors to give priority for Ozempic to diabetes patients, and numerous celebrities have spoken out about its rampant off-label use and potential side effects.—JW



The best-kept secret in real estate

RAD Diversified

Real estate is a lot of work. There’s always a new guru pitching new courses and teaching old tactics that may have worked once upon a time.

Inner Circle is different. Do they provide education? Sure. Do they fix, flip, and hold? Yes.

So what’s different about Inner Circle?

It’s done for you. In this partnership, the company does all the work. The only thing you have to do is invest in properties. Inner Circle finds, fixes, manages, and sells ’em. You then reap your return.

See how Inner Circle helps members build a legacy now that will stand the test of time.

Discover real estate investing together. Learn more today.


Tour de headlines

A man clearing snow from the winter storm CRAIG LASSIG/AFP via Getty Images

The weather outside is frightful. At least 75 million people were under winter weather alerts as of yesterday, and the National Weather Service has cautioned that a prolonged coast-to-coast winter storm will impact just about every region of the US today. And it really does mean coast to coast: Parts of Los Angeles are under the area’s first-ever blizzard warning. The storm has already begun to wreak havoc on travel, with at least 1,400 flights canceled so far. Meanwhile, it’s going to feel like summer in much of the mid-Atlantic, with temps in Washington, DC, expected to hit almost 80 degrees.

Unexpected early galaxies discovered. NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has captured images of six potential galaxies from early in the universe’s existence, some 500 million to 700 million years after the big bang. That’s impressive, but what really made them stand out to scientists was that they’re so massive and mature they shouldn’t exist under our current theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies. How unexpected is this? Well, one of the authors of the paper revealing the discovery described it as “bananas.”

NFL follows golf into Netflix doc realm. Netflix and NFL Films partnered to create a real “too soon” watch for Eagles fans: a docuseries called Quarterback following QBs Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota through the 2022 season. Should be interesting: One won the Super Bowl and another was benched before being placed on injured reserve. The first collaboration between the streamer and the league, Quarterback is slated for a summer premiere. Just one season has been ordered so far.


Mormon church fined for hiding $32b in investments

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints historic Mormon Salt Lake Temple George Frey/Getty Images

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a nonprofit investment manager controlled by church leaders have agreed to pay $5 million in fines to settle the Securities and Exchange Commission’s claims they used shell companies to keep the size of their massive investment portfolio a secret for more than two decades.

What regulators claim: The SEC said Tuesday that from 1997 through 2019, the investment manager, Ensign Peak Advisers, did not file the required paperwork laying out all of its holdings. Instead, senior leaders of the faith, which is widely known as the Mormon church, directed it to use 13 shell companies to file smaller disclosures. The church feared “negative consequences” from publicly sharing its investments, which by 2018 had grown to $32 billion, the SEC said.

What the church says: Like most entities that tangle with the SEC, the church has neither admitted nor denied the agency's allegations. But it did release a statement that said: “We affirm our commitment to comply with the law, regret mistakes made, and now consider this matter closed.”

Looking ahead…we probably won’t hear too much more about this from the church, which has historically kept mum about financial matters, outside of encouraging members to tithe 10% of their income.—AR 



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Spotify’s Discover Weekly gains sentience

Spotify DJ Hannah Minn

Bing and Google are already asking us to trust AI with search results, and now Spotify is asking us to trust it with the aux. Yesterday, the music streamer launched a new AI feature called DJ to give users the experience of having their own private radio host at all times.

DJ operates like…well…a DJ, curating music and occasionally delivering commentary about specific tracks and artists. So far, there are no plans for trivia contests, 20 straight minutes of local commercials, or the ability for someone in the region to call in and dedicate a Whitesnake song to their ex-wife.

  • Both the voice and the info it provides are AI-generated. But the voice is based on that of Spotify exec Xavier “X” Jernigan (and the company suggested it may expand voice options in the future).

Like all good DJs, DJ will only talk after every fifth song or so. You’ll be able to shift the mood by pressing a button at the bottom of the screen.

Zoom out: This isn’t Spotify’s first AI rodeo. The company already uses the tech to deliver users customized playlists. So far, DJ is only available in English for premium subscribers in the US and Canada.—MK



Key performance indicators

Victor Wembanyama on the basketball court Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Stat: Take Shaquille O’Neal and add four inches in height—that’s how tall Victor Wembanyama stands on a basketball court. The 19-year-old French phenom is 7 feet, 5 inches tall in shoes and has a wingspan of eight feet, according to a new ESPN report. Blending size and skill, Wembanyama is the most highly anticipated basketball prospect since LeBron James. And when he’s selected No. 1 overall in this summer’s NBA Draft (which is pretty much guaranteed), he’ll become the tallest player selected in the lottery of the draft since Yao Ming, who’s 7-foot-6.

Quote: “The recent Michigan shootings are a tragic reminder of the importance of taking care of each other, particularly in the context of creating inclusive environments.”

If that statement seems a little bit off to you, it’s because it wasn’t written by a human. Vanderbilt University’s Peabody School has apologized for sending out a ChatGPT-authored mass email to its students in the wake of the deadly shooting at Michigan State. Admitting that it wasn’t the best time to rely on a chatbot, one university administrator noted that the AI-written missive lacked the “personal connection and empathy” needed during a tragedy.

Read: Fat, sugar, salt…you’ve been thinking about food all wrong. (Wired)


Nick knows how to get you matches

Inside Jobs image featuring Nick Friesen

To kick off our Inside Jobs series on unconventional careers, we wanted to talk to someone who could make us look good.

So we did. Nick Friesen is the co-founder and CEO of The Match Artist, a company that specializes in online dating photography. We talked to Nick about his career journey, the science of dating, and when to show some skin in your profile.

Here’s a snippet of the interview.

MB: What do you recommend leading off with for a photo?

NF: Typically some sort of headshot. I haven’t seen too much of a difference looking at the camera or looking off—just some sort of a smile. If you’re more on the casual side it could be more mysterious, like raising the bottoms of the eyelids with a little bit of a smirk.

There are a lot more insights into the world of dating apps in the full convo. Check it out here.


What else is brewing

  • Tesla will base its engineering headquarters in California, Elon Musk announced alongside the state’s Gov. Gavin Newsom yesterday.
  • The man convicted of killing hip-hop star Nipsey Hussle was sentenced to 60 years to life in prison.
  • Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have been subpoenaed to testify in the criminal probe into the former president’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, according to the NYT.
  • Unilever is working to engineer ice cream that stays solid in warmer freezers. The Ben & Jerry’s parent owns the freezers at many corner stores, and it’s trying to cut down on gas emissions and energy bills.
  • Bill Gates has purchased a stake in the Dutch company that owns Heineken, even though he’s not much of a beer guy.


To do list Thursday

Hidden worlds: Google Street View offers a peek into the restricted areas between North and South Korea.

Know when it’s safe to go back in the water: Make every week Shark Week with this research group’s map that tracks tagged ocean dwellers.

From model to market: Learn why car companies still commission life-size clay vehicles.

Unusual travel perks: A castle-turned-hotel in Japan comes with its own band of samurai for you to command.

Forecasting: Prepare for the future of finance with this guide from CFO Brew. Understand the role technology plays in financial forecasting and empower your workforce.

Improve hair growth: Take control of thinning hair with Nutrafol, a natural supplement clinically proven to promote fuller hair with visible results in as little as 3 months. Shop now.*

*This is sponsored advertising content.


The puzzle section

Brew Mini: Neal was pretty proud of himself for finishing today’s souped-up Mini in 1:41. Want to beat that time? Solve the Mini here.

Three headlines and a lie

Three of these headlines from this week’s news are real, and one is faker than a 10-minute recipe. Can you spot the odd one out?

  1. NJ sales manager sets Guinness World Record with 217,000 new LinkedIn connections in 24 hours
  2. Researchers turn dead birds into drones that could spy on people
  3. Spanish transport secretary resigns after new trains too big for tunnels
  4. US cancer patient developed ‘uncontrollable’ Irish accent


Insider knowledge...for outsiders

Insider knowledge...for outsiders

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We made up the LinkedIn one. Not bad, eh?


Written by Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch, Abigail Rubenstein, and Jamie Wilde

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