Live To Tell | March 29, 2019

The underground story of business, entrepreneurs and influencers.

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Fantastic: World’s Strongest Man Orders Everything on Taco Bell Menu

The internet is a wild place. Four-time winner of the World’s Strongest Man competition Brian Shaw has amassed quite the viewership on his YouTube channel, where he chronicles the calorie-laden diet required of a strongman. In his latest video, Shaw ordered each and every menu item at Taco Bell, which surprisingly only set him back approximately $120. By the end of the video, The Takeout notes, Shaw is sweaty and sad yet simultaneously victorious, leaving the viewer to question if Taco Bell—or any of the brands featured in Shaw’s other “cheat day” episodes, like Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s—benefits from this publicity.

Celebrity: Shaq Joins Papa John’s Board of Directors

Papa John’s simply won’t stay out of the news long enough to be featured on this program. This time, though, the reason is of Hall-of-Fame caliber: Four-time NBA champion and television personality Shaquille O’Neal has entered into a multi-faceted partnership with the brand. O’Neal will join the Papa John’s board of directors, serve as an ambassador for the brand and receive an ownership stake in nine Atlanta-area restaurants.

Cash Money: Meat Companies Investing in Meatless Products

A recent trend that, on its surface, may seem counterintuitive is becoming more prevalent: America’s biggest meat companies are investing in vegan foods. The young yet fast-growing industry that is plant-based and lab-grown meat has received funding from the likes of Tyson Foods and Cargill, an encouraging development for the meatless movement taking shape. Despite what may seem like a fundamental difference of opinion on the side of the investors, their logic is data-backed: “There’s growing global demand for all forms of protein and we want to grow with it,” a Tyson representative told Vox Media.

Forward Thinking: McDonald's Acquires Israeli Startup Digital Yield

Earlier this week, McDonald's announced it has entered into a deal to acquire Tel Aviv-based tech startup Dynamic Yield, an AI-powered platform specializing in personalization and decision logic technology. The burger giant plans to improve customer experience by using the technology to enhance its menu boards and drive-thrus. The deal is for upwards of $300 million, the Wall Street Journal reported, marking it the biggest acquisition for McDonald’s in two decades.

Friend or Foe: Laser-Shooting Robot Farmers

A New Zealand orchard has become the first to employ a new “metallic farmer,” as described by Wired, to harvest the apples in its orchard. This nifty piece of agricultural innovation navigates apple orchards and trees using lasers, imaging the fruits with machine vision to determine if they’re ripe enough to pick. If the apple is ready to be harvested, the robot uses a laser to cut it from the tree and a vacuum tube to collect it. How about them apples? Is automation bound to aid or overtake the agricultural industry?

Heating Up

When it comes to data, if it looks like a unicorn and smells like a unicorn, it’s probably a unicorn, No Limit Agency CEO Nick Powills says in his latest column for 1851 Franchise. The way to achieve brand growth isn’t by setting unattainable growth goals based on unicorn data sets and determining your next move based on the competition, but rather by assembling a killer team and developing strategies informed by the proper data. Doing so, Powills argues, will help you become the Chick-fil-A, not the Burger King.