Welcome to Monday, my nerds. We have a lot of great stuff today. In fact, this is one of my favorite batches of links that I’ve ever gathered. Set aside some time during your lunch break, because there’s a lot too enjoy here.
To start, let’s talk about Costco. (Have you noticed I have a low-key obsession with Costco? This is the fourth story about Costco I’ve shared in the past year.)
How Costco convinces brands to cannibalize themselves. [Napkin Math] — “While customers might not know it, Kirkland products are often made by the same manufacturers who make the branded products that sit next to them on the shelves. And not only that, but according to a Reddit user who worked at a Costco supplier, Kirkland products have to be at least 1% better than the equivalent branded products…Costco forces manufacturers to compete with a better version of themselves.”
In non-Costco-related news…
The battle to invent the automatic rice cooker. [Atlas Obscura] — “The automatic rice cooker is a mid-century Japanese invention that made a Sisyphean culinary labor as easy as measuring out grain and water and pressing a button. These devices can seem all-knowing. So long as you add water and rice in the right proportions, it’s nearly impossible to mess up, as the machines stop cooking at exactly the right point for toothsome rice. But creating an automatic rice cooker was not so easy.”
The collectors who spend thousands on rare Hot Wheels. [The Hustle] — “Five decades ago, Hot Wheels were America’s hottest new plaything. Today, the children of the ‘60s are fueling a small but mighty collectors’ market that wheels and deals in obscure corners of the internet…How did one-time 59-cent toy cars become 5-figure collectibles? And what drives grown men and women to spend princely sums chasing them?”
For the past decade, Brain Pickings has been one of my favorite blogs. Here, Maria Popova shares what she’s learned during her thirteen years running the site. I particularly like #3…
Thirteen lessons from thirteen years of Brain Pickings. [Brain Pickings] — “3. Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. ..To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.”
Lastly, I really liked this four-minute music video from Linda Diaz (and friends). It’s her submission to NPR’s Tiny Desk contest. It’s lovely.
Okay, I’ll be back tomorrow with more great stories from around the web. And I promise that this time they’ll be about, you know, money. (Or something close to it.)