This is issue No. 1 of Financialicious, a weekly newsletter on the latest business, finance and culture happenings you must know. If you’re new here, kick off your shoes and make yourself comfortable! You can find past issues of Financialicious here, and you can send in recommendations

This week, I was noodling around in Zapier’s research chatbot builder, perusing reactions to this study on the new target number for retirement, and getting some blogs published on HENRYs, golden visas, and Roth conversion ladders.

I’ve tracked down for us some dystopian AI news as well as market projections for the online coaching industry, and got to start playing with my new Hollylark smartphone wireless mic, which I am completely obsessed with for recording video content on my phone.

Also, for our weekly column, I've laid out the objective of this newsletter: Who it's for and why we're here.

(Recommendations for future installments of Financialicious are welcome. What are you vibing on right now? What’s an industry tidbit people aren’t talking about enough -- and what’s overblown? Last online splurge? Apps can’t you live without? Send TMI and then some to this email address: .And if you know someone else who has great taste, have them subscribe to Financialicious here. New issues are published to the site every Monday, but as a subscriber you get them delivered directly to your digital doorstep one day early.)

Let’s eat.

What's Fresh

Headlines and nutgrafs (“nutshell paragraphs”) of what you should know this week

Main Course

One column each week, usually about an industry trend, whitepaper, analysis or recent interview

c/o Mercedes Barba Photography

“Why Financialicious Exists”

Financialicious exists to help professionals improve literacy in the areas of business, personal finance and culture, usually from my perspective as a gay male editor and the finance columnist for Out magazine.

My story is that I became self-employed back in 2016. There were up years and down years, which I’ve documented here. The short version is that the freedom and creative autonomy of self-employment were empowering, but the volatility was not for me. Craving stability, I returned to a corporate 9-to-5 in 2022, a media job.

The transition from online business owner to editor was challenging at first. Readjusting to employee life took a moment, but I love it now. I love how “service journalism” – a type of reporting that also includes readers helpful information on what to do next – has purpose and impact. And I love the niche of personal finance writing. Personal finance creates freedom and can shift your career direction, which ultimates shapes a lot of our lives and our destiny.

In the fall of 2022, I started a finance column with Out magazine’s print edition focused on LGBTQ+ equity. This was exciting because my personal finance perspective has always been driven by my lived experience as a middle-aged gay man.

I grew up poor. Instead of tight budgets, though, I’d rather go after the extra money that’s needed to live in an urban gayborhood, travel, buy houseplants, drink lattés and prioritize personal growth. I also think about the AIDS crisis in the eighties and early nineties, and how so many men died so young. There is spiritual fulfillment in living a vibrant life in honor of these men who never got to fully live theirs. We all deserve to live a fabulous life.

I’m blessed to partner with Out magazine for this column. It’s also just five articles a year. There’s so much more to report on and so many more stories to tell — that’s where Financialicious comes in.

Financialicious curates quality business and finance information from around the internet, then delivers it to your inbox each week with gusto and rigor to keep you in the know. You certainly don’t have to be queer to subscribe, but LGBTQ+ business and financial literacy as a lifestyle is our primary objective.

Selfishly, Financialicious is also a vehicle for my personal editorial style – genre-fluid, Beyoncé-obsessed and a little campy at times – where I can let my column writing run wild. Life is short, express yourself.

“What about you, Nick? What about your company?” I’m still a marketing consultant who became an editor. I still promote my company offerings from time to time. But the objective of Financialicious is not to attract clients. It’s to get well-curated business and finance information into readers’ inboxes. After some soul-searching these last two years, I've realized I don’t want to use my newsletter only as a direct response marketing funnel. I want to use it as a creative vehicle to start publishing and sharing the best work of my career — and some silly shit from time to time, too. 😜

Thanks for reading to the end. I hope you’ll join me on this new journey. If this newsletter resonated, a share or comment in the pre-footer box is always welcome.

Reading Is Fundamental

News, snack-y business and finance explainers, past favorite personal bookmarks, occasional culture roundups

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Business and Commerce

Google parent company Alphabet will consider buying HubSpot, which has a $35B market cap. (Reuters)

Court filings from FTC lawsuit against Meta show Instagram made $32.4B in ad revenue in 2021.Notable in that this was more than YouTube's $28.8B in ad revenue that year. (Business Insider)

Forbes has been accused of selling MFA media to brands under the guise of legitimate ad space. (The Drum)

It's not just you: MLMs operate similarly to cults, so much so that the industry refers to them as commercial cults.(Psychology Today)

Tech

Snapchat turns off Solar System, which lets users see their position in their friends' orbits, by default, after a report said it was adding to teens' anxiety.(TechCrunch)

A look at Marissa Mayer's troubled startup Sunshine, which raised $20M, and its photo-sharing app Shine, which a source says had ~1K downloads on its first day. (Platformer)

Google is suing two app developers who uploaded a crypto app to the Play store, then used it to scam people into investments they’d never get back. (The Verge)

I Played With Disney's Magic HoloTile Floors and AI-Boosted Droids.Great inside scoop from my colleague Bridget Carey. (CNET)

Waymo self-driving cars are delivering Uber Eats orders for first time. (CNBC)

AI

Sources: OpenAI transcribed 1M+ hours of YouTube videos through Whisper and used the text to train GPT-4; Google also transcribed YouTube videos to harvest text. (New York Times)

Sources: Meta debated buying a publisher like Simon & Schuster for AI training data and weighed using copyrighted online data even if that meant facing lawsuits.(New York Times)

OpenAI's COO says that ChatGPT Enterprise has 600K+ paying customers, up from ~150K in January, and 2024 will be “the year of adoption for AI in the enterprise.”(Bloomberg)

This Camera Turns Every Photo Into a Nude. What could go wrong? (404 Media)

A ‘Law Firm’ of AI Generated Lawyers Is Sending Fake Threats as an SEO Scam. Fake DMCA takedowns as a backlink strategy was not on my 2024 bingo card. (404 Media)

A study from University of Minnesota Law School found that when law students could use GPT-4, speed of work improved. Quality improved too, but only for the lowest-skilled participants. The students also enjoyed the work more. (University of Minnesota)

Can AI be sued for defamation? (Columbia Journalism Review)

CNET launches AI Atlas, a hub for artificial intelligence news, explainers and analysis. Shameless plug, but it’s been fun to watch my talented coworkers take this from idea to launch. (CNET)

Culture

Barriers & Exclusion: A baseline study on the LGBTQ+ Experience in Venture Funding. This is a free, ungated whitepaper by Colorful Capital, an LGBTQ+ venture capital fund. (Colorful Capital)

Boots, Backpack and a Ubiquitous App: How AllTrails capitalized on its pandemic boom. (New York Times)

Nonbinary job applicants using 'they/them' pronouns are less likely to get hired, according to a new report. (The Advocate)

Loneliness is bad for your health. A lack of social interaction is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia and more. Researchers are unpicking how the brain mediates these effects. (Nature)

The hidden queer tax. My latest for Out magazine. (Out)

Aperitif

One finishing takeaway

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Maybe you should just start.

I launched this newsletter a week late. There are lots of loose ends to tie up. It’ll be bumpy at first since this newsletter is now fundamentally different from what many readers originally signed up for. After years of direct-response email marketing, this is new territory for me.

But sometimes you just have to launch and let it be a little messy at first. Launching creates clarity and shines a flashlight on what you need to do next. 🔦

Hope you’ll join me on this quest to stay plugged in to what’s happening in the world.

Let’s make it a great week!

Nick