Hi, welcome to your Weekend!
When you’re not celebrating the mothers in your life this weekend (hot tip: you can still order last-minute bouquets on Bloomnation), I recommend reading Annie’s powerful profile of Andy Dunn.
I first learned about Dunn and the menswear e-commerce brand he co-founded, Bonobos, in the late-2000s when I was an editor at New York magazine. I was invited by a publicist to check out the company’s office/atelier in Manhattan to try on some of their famously non-saggy-butted trousers. But beyond the snug fit of the pants, I was struck by the energy inside Bonobos HQ. It didn’t feel like a fashion label—it felt like a tech startup.
Fast forward a decade and a half later, and Dunn popped back into my consciousness, this time as the author of a forthcoming memoir about his struggle with mental illness. His is both a uniquely dramatic story and an all too common one in the tech world. As Annie writes, the same traits “most beneficial to a startup founder”—among them relentless energy and extreme ambition—are also symptoms of bipolar disorder. Dunn’s struggle could be anyone’s.
the big read
The Haunting of Andy Dunn
In 2016, Dunn, the co-founder and former CEO of Bonobos, was charged with two counts of assault after striking his girlfriend and kicking her mother. The incident was the result of a manic episode, a product of the bipolar disorder Dunn has struggled with since college. He’s kept what he calls his “ghost” a secret from the world, and even from his closest friends—until now. Through his new memoir and via emotional conversations with Annie, Dunn finally speaks publicly about his illness, his terrifying breakdown, and what came after.
University of Indecision: For Some High School Seniors, TikTok Is the New College Counselor
While commiserating over the college admissions process on social media is nothing new, turning to TikTok to decide where you’re going to college is a 2022 original. For some high school students, Margaux reports, it’s just another way to farm content from an inherently dramatic life moment. But for others, it’s an earnest attempt to get last-minute feedback on what might be the most important decision of a young person’s life.
scene and heard
Boomer Bankers Bow to Blockchain Billionaires on the Beach in the Bahamas
What do Bitcoin entrepreneurs, Wall Street scions, Anthony Scaramucci and The Information crypto reporter Akash have in common? They all were hanging out in the Caribbean last week at Crypto Bahamas—an event that drew 2,000 finance and crypto pros to Nassau for three days of schmoozing and panel-hopping. Akash reports on the scene, including how he got schooled on the new, blockchain-built financial system by “the Mooch.”
‘Making It Cool to Talk About Menopause’: A Celebrity-Backed Startup Taps a Long-Neglected Market
The three-year-old menopause startup Evernow is helping to guide women through the minefield of hot flashes, mood swings and lost sleep, providing telehealth consultations with licensed OB-GYNs as well as prescriptions. Its secret weapon? A star-studded lineup of investors (Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Gwynne Shotwell, Abby Wambach, Glennon Doyle) who are advocating for the company’s success.
Questioning: Is the NFT market really “collapsing”?
NFTs are dead—or at least “flatlining,” according to one hotly debated Wall Street Journal piece. As one might imagine, crypto fans responded in a very normal, calm way, calling the story by reporter Paul Vigna an “agenda-backed hit piece” and “crypto doom porn” that “knowingly” falsified data. Unfortunately, the NFT diehards actually had a point: even the WSJ’s primary data source, NonFungible.com, disavowed the piece, saying their estimates were “conservative” and that their data showed a “stabilization” as opposed to a collapse. Other crypto sources painted a far rosier picture of the health of the NFT economy. Whatever the truth, the dispute highlights a key problem plaguing crypto: for an industry that values transparency, locking down accurate, comprehensive data is, for now, close to impossible.
Noticing: The TikTokization of Instagram continues
Two weekends ago, Annie reported on how TikTok’s most addictive, slot machine-like design features are being replicated across the web. Her story must’ve made Instagram engineers’ ears burn, because now we learn that the app is also copycatting TikTok’s design, testing out a full-screen home feed, much like that of its social media rival. As TechCrunch points out, the announcement comes after Meta revealed that Reels now makes up more than 20% of the time people spend on Instagram. The full-screen feed makes the app’s content more immersive and, naturally, addictive.
Reading: The Squishmallow community turns toxic
You would think collecting Squishmallows, the wildly popular stuffed toys, would be a safe hobby. You would be wrong. Input’s Jessica Lucas reports on the toxic culture surrounding the whimsical plushies, with resellers getting doxxed, harassed, and threatened. The pastel toys retail for only $20, but can resell for hundreds. However, there’s a subgroup of Squishmallow activists who detest price-gougers, rallying groups on Discord, Facebook, and Reddit to investigate and release personal information about resellers. The toys may look innocent, all cartoon smiles and blank-eyed stares, but collectors have another descriptor for the community: “feral.”
Makes You Think
Coming soon to 2022’s top baby names.
Until next Weekend, thanks for reading!
Weekend Editor, The Information