Good morning friends!
I love moments that allow you to see humanity at its finest. And if you were in New York City yesterday, you witnessed many of those moments.
We were at dinner when the power suddenly went out in the restaurant. Little did I know it was part of a massive hours-long outage that caused a blackout on the entire west side of the city. Even Times Square was divided — one side was lit and the other was dark.
But it was the small moments that you stumbled into all day long. Since many venues were evacuated — including Broadway shows, Carnegie Hall, and a J-Lo concert at Madison Square Garden — people got creative. Outside “Hadestown,” the Tony winner André De Shields serenaded the crowd with a blackout-themed riff on “Road to Hell.” A Carnegie Hall concert also took place in the streets.
There were New Yorkers directing traffic, helping each other avoid meltdowns while stuck in elevators, and of course… even with all the chaos, they still stood in the middle of the street to take mediocre pictures of the Manhattanhenge sunset. And they screamed their heads off in celebration of the power coming back.
As someone on Twitter put it, “I guess this is what they call a New York moment.”
In other news, I got back in time to put together this newsletter (and the stories this week are excellent):
— The creative genius behind the Yeezy empire [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— Turkey’s e-commerce queen
— The most popular teen in the world
— The world’s top online dating tycoon
— The professional dungeon master
— The social media giant taking on bullying
— The photographer who captured America’s dark side
👉 If you enjoy reading profiles of the most successful people and companies, click here to tweet so others can enjoy it too.
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The creative genius behind the Yeezy empire: Kanye West’s unrelenting obsessiveness is largely the reason for his success. He sees his bipolar diagnosis not as a hindrance but as a “superpower” that unlocks his imagination. Take a rare peek inside the kinetic, chaotic, creative mind behind a billion-dollar sneaker empire. (Forbes)
“‘Crazy’ is a word that’s not gonna be used loosely in the future. And there’s a lot of people that have been called that ‘C’ word that have ended up on this cover.”
Turkey’s e-commerce queen: Hanzade Dogan-Boyner's father has been described as the Rupert Murdoch of Turkey. But he’s not the most successful entrepreneur in the family. Hanzade, the founder of Turkey’s largest e-commerce platform, is flourishing. Had she not defied her father and quit the family business, she would’ve never gotten out of her father’s shadow and gone on to succeed in her own right. (Forbes)
“Everybody thinks because I have this father that he would help me get a job, but for me it has always been the opposite. I have to first overcome him and then get my way.”
The most popular teen in the world: When I asked my little sister who she’s following on Instagram these days, she said, “Emma Chamberlain. You probably don’t know who that is.” And she’s right — if you’re over the age of 18, you likely have no clue. But I am here to inform! With 8 million subscribers on YouTube & 7.7 million followers on Instagram, Chamberlain dropped out of high school, started living on her own, and became a full-time vlogger. Here’s a glimpse into Gen Z’s bizarre world of Instagram influencers. (W Magazine)
“I’ve cried multiple times after posting a video. It’s like giving birth. Like, Oh, my God, that’s my masterpiece.”
The world’s top online dating tycoon: The Russian billionaire behind Bumble, the dating app built to empower women, oversees a corporate headquarters that more than a dozen former employees allege is toxic—especially for women. Andrey Andreev’s biggest asset is Badoo, a European- and Latin American-focused dating app that, with 60 million users, stands as one of the world’s largest. Now, sordid details are emerging about a culture of misogyny and sleaze at the online dating empire Andreev built. (Forbes)
“When female staff spoke up, their concerns were ignored or minimized, decrying a ‘misogynistic atmosphere.’”
The professional dungeon master: Thanks to the rise of Stranger Things and Game of Thrones, professional dungeon mastering has become a business—and for some, even a career. You can hire someone (a dungeon master) to come to your office and run a Dungeons & Dragons team-building activity for $500. For a negotiated fee, he’ll draw up custom battle maps, consult on purchases of various game accessories, and host bachelor parties, family gatherings, or kids’ birthdays. This is weird, and I don’t quite get it, but welcome to 2019. (Bloomberg)
“I think there’s a therapeutic part to it. Escapism is great. This is easy to access, a bit more immersive.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The social media giant taking on bullying: At a time when social media platforms are being blamed for a great deal of problems — and are under pressure from governments to demonstrate they can police themselves — Instagram has declared war on bullying. By one estimate, nearly 80% of teens are on Instagram and more than half of those users have been bullied on the platform. Instagram will start using machines to spot bullying in photos, meaning that AI would also analyze the posts themselves. This is easier said than done. (Time Magazine)
“If you’re not addressing issues on your platform, I have to believe it’s going to come around and have a real cost.”
The photographer who captured America’s dark side: The pictures in Robert Frank’s The Americans are so ordinary that you just might miss what makes them extraordinary. They show people eating, sitting, driving, waiting—and that’s about it. Frank had driven more than 10,000 miles to capture those photos. Along the way, he used 767 rolls of film, filled uncountable tanks of gas, and endured two stints in jail. He knew the photographs were good. But he didn’t necessarily think they would change photography—or how people see the country. They did. (Mental Floss)
“According to Jack Kerouac, Frank had ‘sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.’”