Startup Stash - Oh The Drama & Fooling Yourself 👠

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Getting Dramatic For a Minute

Who doesn’t like soap operas? They’re the fantasy stories we wish were living — the “seriouslys” by Meredith Grey, the ghost of Denny Duquette, the mysterious murders in Wisteria Lane. 

Most soap operas have often hour-long episodes with seasons spanning decades. So if you are late to get on the trend, then you may have to spend thousands of frustrating hours catching up. But today’s youths, raised on social media and apps, don’t have the attention spans for such lengthy shows. 

Enter the era of ReelShort, an app that melds the essence of TikTok videos with the drama of soap operas, as reported by The New York Times.

Launched in 2022, ReelShort has swiftly garnered attention, boasting 1 million downloads via Apple's App Store and an impressive 3 million through the Google Play Store last month. The app has also raked in $5 million and $3 million from the respective platforms. The year 2023 witnessed a staggering 7 million+ downloads in the US alone, with global downloads surpassing the 24 million mark.

Shows offered by ReelShort

But behold, the app is not free. While you can catch a couple of quick episodes on Youtube or TikTok, you will have to pay for an app subscription to watch your favourite drama in its entirety. A typical drama comprises of 60-90 episodes, for which some dedicated users willingly part with $10 to $20 a month. 

However, ReelShort isn't trying to copy the Netflix model. 

Its business approach is different from traditional streaming services. Its primary demographic — 75% female viewers. And its production cost — a mere ~$300,000 per show, thanks to the modest crew of recent film graduates.

Yet, ReelShort is not alone in this venture. A slew of other apps, including Sereal+, ShortTV, DramaBox, and FlexTV, are all competing for our fleeting attention spans. 



City Peeps Love a Good Makeover

Cities are undergoing a facelift. 

They’re transitioning from a corporate vibe to a more community-oriented atmosphere. Once bustling with the 9-to-5 routine, office buildings are now finding a new purpose — as the dwellings of urbanites. 

According to a study by RentCafe, in 2021, a modest 12,100 apartments emerged from repurposed office spaces. By 2022, that number nearly doubled to 23,100. The trend continued its upward trajectory, reaching 45,200 in 2023. As we step into 2024, an impressive 55,300 units are in the pipeline, marking over a fourfold increase in less than 4 years.

Wondering where these conversions are happening? Washington, D.C., takes the lead with 5,820 units transitioning from office to apartments, closely followed by New York with 5,215 units in the pipeline. Finally, Dallas, TX, is also making waves with 3,163 units.

What's driving this transformation? For starters, there’s the  $150 billion in office mortgages due by 2024. Office spaces are going into losses — a reflection of the remote-work reality — making payment of these mortgages daunting. Simultaneously there’s been an increase in housing prices and a surging demand for residential spaces. Put it all together and you get a lucrative opportunity for developers. 

But beyond these reasons, the movement also signifies a broader shift towards sustainable and community-focused urban environments, reflecting changing lifestyles and priorities in American cities.



Trying To Make Employees Happy

Happier workers make for better performing companies. But the return-to-office mandate has lowered employee morale. In order to fix this, companies are investing in employee recognition software or workplace perks programs as a way for managers to easily reward employees for hitting milestones.

Employees can earn virtual “points” for everything they do right — delivering a great presentation, helping a colleague with a project, meeting a tight deadline. Those points can sometimes be traded in for cash or gift cards.

The market for these programs is enormous: employee recognition software is a $33 billion industry, according to one recent projection, and is expected to grow to $46 billion by 2028. 

But are they really working? OR just brushing the problem under the carpet? 

Management scholars say the use of this software amid return-to-office mandates misses the point. The point-based rewards are little consolation for more systemic dissatisfactions on the job — say, issues with pay and benefits. In the US, employees on the whole are dissatisfied with their salaries. nearly two-thirds of employed Americans say their pay hasn’t kept up with inflation. Gift cards for presentations do little to move the needle when employees are seeking raises instead.



Shorts ⏳

😂 Un-housing the Housers - The LA Housing Department was evicted from its office by the landlord. The irony!

👂 Car Talk - The more you interact with your car means the more opportunities your car has to interact with data brokers.

🔖 Pink Slips - A new study finds that remote workers are 35% more likely to be handed the pink slip than those who work from office.

🕴️ Unexpected Streaming - Suits was streamed more times in a single year than any showing history; the record was previously held by the Office since 2020.

🪖 War Economy - Russia is spending so much invading Ukraine that the war is actually good for its economy now. 



Stash Recommends: Tools to Explore
99designs: A vibrant online community that connects people who need something designed - like a logo or t-shirt - with talented creatives around the world.

CouchDBA lightweight, open source, NoSQL database tool that scales from Big Data to Mobile.

Gigster: Gigster creates teams of top talent from all over the world. They practice Elastic Staffing, to continuously right-size your team and reduce project risks.
 
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