What You Need to Know Today: January 28

Good afternoon, Early Risers!

Here’s what you need to know


FaceTube coming soon… “Video ad spend is not all incremental. Whenever we introduce a video ad format in news feed, it replaces another ad,” says Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. While that’s an important point to make, investors still want to see incremental ad spend. So what can Facebook do? How about build a video property.

What makeup how-to videos can teach you about advertising. Guys, you’ll want to see this too.

Rumor: Amazon is building a Spotify-killer. Did you know Amazon already has a music streaming platform, called Prime Music? I didn’t. According to the New York Post, “Amazon currently offers about 1 million songs to customers of its $99-per-year Prime shopping service.” One million songs is tiny compared to what Spotify and Apple Music offer. But, sources say that could change. Jeff Bezos is in talks of building a bigger, stand-alone, streaming platform. The Post has the full story.


Should startups focus on marketing or sales first? “The most important thing an early-stage startup should know about marketing is rather counterintuitive: that you probably shouldn’t be doing anything you’d use the term ‘marketing’ to describe,” says Jessica Livingston. Apple and Facebook both used this approach when they were just startups. Here’s what you need to know about focusing on sales vs. marketing first.

What investigative reporters can teach you about interviewing job candidatesMust-read for hiring managers.

Watch and learn. Imagine your smartphone falls on the ground, “Crack.” You’re scared to look, but you pick it up anyway. It’s as bad as you thought — the screen is shattered. Instead of paying an expert to fix your phone, you pull up a video on YouTube and watch a 14-year-old kid walk you through how to replace your screen. Looks easy enough, you think. You order the parts from Amazon, and two days later you try to fix it yourself. What was supposed to take you 30-minutes, turns into a 3-hour affair, until you finally give up. Three hours of your time wasted and your phone is still broken. This is a classic example of “watch and learn” failing. It’s tempting to think you can learn how to do someone’s job by watching. This is a serious problem companies are just now realizing. Fortune 500 companies lose $31.5 billion per year because employees are bad at sharing their knowledge. Thankfully, researchers have found a better way. Read this.


In defense of the plastic bag. People love to hate on plastic bags. But the plastic bag is a remarkable piece of engineering. “Plastic grocery bags cost pennies to make and hold more than a thousand times their weight. They’re light. They’re waterproof,” says Sarah Zhang. Zhang argues that it’s our lack of respect for the plastic bag — not recycling, or reusing it — that has led to so many environmental problems. While it’s easy to gloss over what Zhang is saying, I think there’s a bigger issue here. That is our relationship with cheap products. Just because something is cheap, doesn’t mean it’s disposable. Ikea furniture is a current example. The furniture store’s chief sustainability officer wants you to stop throwing away your Ikea furniture and he’s prepared to do something about it.

Why I work remotely (hint: it has nothing to do with productivity) by Jason Zimdars.


The Guy Who Solved Uber’s Insurance Problem

“Gus Fuldner had no insurance background when he joined the ride-hailing company two years ago. His secret? An unusually high tolerance for fine print.” — BuzzFeed

Do you like this newsletter? Please send it to a friend! If you don’t like this newsletter, please send it to an enemy. If you have questions or feedback, hit “reply” to talk to me.

Did someone send you this? Get your own copy of The Daily Brief sent straight to your inbox every weekday. Click here.

Check out what you missed in the last Daily Brief here.