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A huge part of being an entrepreneur is being up to date with what’s happening in the world and the latest trends. I used to check blogs, news, and podcasts every day (and still do frequently), but then I came across Morning Brew.

I thought it would be cool to be more organized with the reads I took in terms of tech and business news, so I decided to subscribe. +6 months later, I’m writing a detailed review outlining what Morning Brew is, who’s behind it, what’s included in their emails, some great points about it, and some things I think that could be improved.

If you’re short on time and want to stay in touch with what’s happening in the business world, we think Morning Brew is a perfect fit.

 

What is Morning Brew?

Morning Brew is a free daily email newsletter (six days a week, delivered before 6 am EST) that compiles the most important business and tech news and transforms them into enjoyable bites that can easily be digested while drinking your morning coffee (their logo is actually a cup of coffee).

Morning Brew's homepage

Morning Brew was launched in 2015 and has grown to +4 million subscribers. They have already sent +350 emails which you can find in their archive.

They started just with the newsletter we will be mainly talking about in this article, but they have since launched six other newsletters:

  • Money Scoop: A twice-weekly personal finance newsletter.
  • Sidekick: A twice-weekly newsletter sharing entertainment, recipes, productivity hacks, and more.
  • Emerging Tech Brew: A thrice-weekly newsletter covering news around drones, automation, AI, and other new technologies.
  • HR Brew: A twice-weekly newsletter sharing the news related to HR.
  • Marketing Brew: A thrice-weekly newsletter writing about the latest stories in the marketing and advertising world.
  • Retail Brew: A thrice-weekly newsletter sharing the news and insights retail pros need to know.

On the side, they have two podcasts:

  • Business Casual: It was launched in September 2019, and it is hosted by Kinsey Grant. In its episodes, Kinsey sits with well-known entrepreneurs and thought leaders, including Scott Galloway and Mark Cuban, to discuss trendy topics and get to know their views.
  • Founder's Journal: It was launched in April 2020 and hosted by Alex Lieberman, Morning Brew's founder. This podcast is basically Alex's daily diary made public, where he aims to give other founders the tools they need to build better businesses, products, and teams.

One more thing to note: They have a really active Twitter account where they tweet and re-tweet a lot of great stuff related to the behind-scenes of the company + the latest news, and a well-designed Instagram profile full of memes and funny content. Make sure to give them a look!

That’s all for what’s Morning Brew. If you’re already a fan, make sure to check their sweaters and mugs ;)

Also, go to the site and enter your email address in their subscription form. If you don’t enjoy or find their emails useful, you can unsubscribe in 2 seconds (I would wait some days, anyway).

 

Who’s Behind Morning Brew?

MorningBrew started small and lean but has grown to a team of +30, including writers, graphic designers, sales, developers, community managers, etc. 

Alex Lieberman (CEO) and Austin Rief (COO) are the two co-founders, and according to LinkedIn, Morning Brew is their first startup.

Pretty cool to find out all of the crew members (including Alex and Austin) have their emails listed on the website. There’re many interviews with Alex on how he started and grew Morning Brew, which are really interesting.

It all started as a side project and stayed like that for more than one year and a half until he left his full-time job (September 2018) to focus 100% on the business. Austin then joined him six months after when he graduated.

However, the “turning point” for Morning Brew didn’t come until the beginning of 2018. In just a few months, the newsletter grew by x10, and the team went from 4 to 24.

Here’s a great podcast interview Alex did with Noah Kagan.

 

What’s Included in Morning Brew’s Emails?

Morning Brew’s emails have changed throughout the years, and the topics included vary daily. However, they all have the same similar structure:

 

Introduction

Their intros are super short but friendly. They generally include jokes, recommendations, or summaries of something important they have published (such as the Mark Cuban podcast episode).

On the side, before the intro, there’s Morning Brew’s logo + the email sponsorship’s logo (I'll go into more detail on this later)

Morning Brew's introduction


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Markets

The first section of the email is a chart with how the financial markets performed the day before: NASDAQ, S&P, DJIA, GOLD, 10-YR, and OIL.

Below the chart, they include two or three points explaining something related + linking to articles where you can continue reading about it.

Morning Brew's markets section

 

Topics

The following 4-5 sections are dedicated to topics about the economy, politics, tech, international, etc.

The structure of these sections is always the same: title, image, and news analysis. They also include many links, which is really useful if you want to keep reading about that topic.

Morning Brew's topics section

Sponsor

All of their emails have 1 or 2 sponsors. They are generally business-related companies, such as credit cards, tools, and insurance, but I have lately seen more general sponsors like clothing and fitness brands.

After this, more topics and one more sponsor are included.

Morning Brew's sponsor section

 

“What Else Is Brewing”

Four or five important business news and a link to keep reading about them on sites like Wall Street Journal, The Verge, BBC, Bloomberg, etc. 

Morning Brew's what else section

 

Grab Bag (Key Performance Indicators)

The Grab Bag is a collection of short stories organized into three different categories:

  • Stat:  An interesting statistic from all over the internet. For example, one of the articles included a statistic from a study about organ donations rising around motorcycle rallies.
  • Quote: a recent quote from someone famous with why it was said.
  • Read: a catchy headline and a link to read the article.
Key performance indicators section

 

Around The Brew

Around The Brew is a section that highlights what other internal teams have been working on. This section changes depending on what cool things those teams have been up to.

Usually, you’ll get stories from Money Scoop, Money with Katie, Retail Brew, and others.

Around the brew section

 

Quizzes, Bets, and “From the Crew”

The last sections vary daily, but they are generally business-related quizzes or trivia and bets or recommendations from the Morning Brew team.

Morning Brew's quizzes section

One more time, I recommend you to check their emails yourself here.

If you find this article useful, please consider using our affiliate link to subscribe to Morning Brew.

 

How is Morning Brew Free?

We’re used to free newsletters and getting access to an infinite amount of content for free. However, people have lately begun to monetize their newsletters. Nowadays, there’re many paid publications or free ones that offer exclusive content for some $$.

Tools like Substack have facilitated this change. According to this tool, for example, the newsletter “The Dispatch” which writes about culture and politics, has thousands of subscribers that pay $10/month.

So why is Morning Brew free if it sends so many emails and there’s so much work behind each of these?

Their business model is different, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they introduced a payment gateway for exclusive content someday.

Morning Brew is making money ($50M in 2021!) through sponsorships and partnerships. Alex, Morning Brew’s CEO, hasn’t disclosed the amount they’re charging per advertisement, but a newsletter of millions of subscribers with an open rate of +40% can easily be charging +$50,000.

As an entrepreneur from a third-world country where $usd has a high value and can’t afford to pay email subscriptions here and there, I have learned to take advantage of free (but high quality) content like the one Morning Brew creates, paid by advertisers and VCs.

However, something you need to know is that Morning Brew does offer…

 

Premium Content

But wait. It’s premium but not paid.

As I mentioned at the beginning, Morning Brew’s emails are sent daily, six times a week (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

But some people missed them on Sundays, so they launched a premium Sunday email you can get access to if you refer three people to the Morning Brew newsletter.

You can easily ask for a referral link and if three people (friends, family, etc.) subscribe using it, you get the Sunday newsletter.

If you keep promoting, there’re bigger prizes, such as stickers, t-shirts, and even a trip to Brew’s HQ (you only need to refer 1,000 subscribers)!  

 

Morning Brew’s Numbers

Everything is free for the user. But at the same time, Morning Brew is making great figures. Here’re some numbers to see how huge this newsletter is:

  • They have a +4M subscriber base.
  • Morning Brew’s daily newsletter makes up 89% of the revenue, while Retail and Emerging Tech account for 10%.
  • They have an open rate of 50%, which is above the average.
  • Emerging Tech has 160,000 subscribers, and a 50% open rate; Retail Brew has 100,000 subscribers and a 55% open rate; Turnout (the newest) has 60,000 subscribers and a 65% open rate.
  • Their “Business Casual” podcast has 1M downloads.
  • In 2019, they made $13M from 180 newsletters (doubling the 97 figure in 2018).
  • They have a crew of 33 members.

The Negative Points

Okay, so everything seems to be positive. How can it be real?

Well, during these months of receiving and reading their emails, I’ve been taking some notes of things that could be improved:

  • No content customization: All subscribers receive the same content. Suppose I’m more interested in tech news, there’s no way to notify them and receive that type of content. I think this is something Morning Brew will work on in the future. It’s a huge business opportunity for them as they can do more targeting, bringing in more money.
  • No “markets” customization: Their “markets” section isn’t customized, which I think is a big error, and something they can (and should) solve soon. If I invest in some stocks, I’d prefer to see how they perform instead of receiving updates on gold’s price changes.
  • Lack of connection between the emails: I think there isn’t much connection between the email sent on one day and the email sent the next day. They generally don’t follow stories daily, and the topics covered change significantly. The only existing connection I can think of is following the same structure.
  • Amount of emails: I’ve thought about unsubscribing from their newsletter (and think I had for some time) due to the numerous emails I received from Morning Brew. When there are many things going on, the fewer emails you receive, the better. However, I’ve read some people that claimed that the emails were too few. They wanted one in the morning and one in the evening, which is another reasonable choice.
  • Too American/European: I’m from Argentina and have never seen any news about the startups and tech from my country (and Latin America in general). Their sections and news are almost all related to the US or Europe. I think they are losing a big market here, as the business-related audience from other parts of the world is huge.
  • No Indie News: The news are mostly about big venture-backed businesses from Silicon Valley or Wall Street. I think there are millions of super interesting indie/bootstrapped companies that could be covered. However, I understand why they are not including them in their emails and think they could be more interested in working on a separate newsletter for this kind of content.

I’ve been reading +50 reviews people have written here and think I haven’t missed anything big.

There’s only one repetitive criticism that I disagree with: “It’s too referral based!”.

Morning Brew has grown a lot with their referral program. One of their team members has written an article about this and explained how it was possible. Despite this, they have achieved a great middle point between asking for too many referrals and evolving their community.

At the same time, the rewards of referring users, apart from the Sunday email, which is easy to achieve, are just nice-to-have things, like stickers, mugs, or a t-shirt. It’s not that you need the rewards to understand their newsletters. 

That’s why I think there’s nothing wrong with their referral program and how they manage it.

 

Alternatives to Morning Brew

There are thousands, if not millions, of business newsletters. Some are similar to Morning Brew, particularly those from media sites like TechCrunch, The Verge, etc., which only include their stuff but greatly cover essential business and tech news.

Another great (one of my favorite newsletters) alternative to Morning Brew is Accelerated.

The topics covered are similar but more focused on businesses and startups. I like how they also talk about smaller businesses, even many run by college students. 

They also work on their articles and analyses. However, the frequency is just one email per week, so it differs from what Morning Brew offers.

On the side, I enjoy reading about indie and bootstrapped businesses, so I like newsletters like Startup Watching, Indie Hackers, and Startup Curated (as well as Failory’s newsletter!).

 

Wrapping up - Should I Subscribe to Morning Brew?

Yes.

If this was a paid newsletter, I’d try to give a more balanced recommendation on whether it is worth it and who is a great fit. However, this is free, and you can unsubscribe in 2 seconds. So there isn’t any loss if you then find out you don’t like Morning Brew’s emails.

Now that I have explained from the negative view, here’s the positive view: I think you should subscribe as it is a great way to keep updated with what’s going on in the tech and business world.

Who is a great fit? 

For anyone who has a strong interest in entrepreneurship or learning about how companies relate to the world around them, this newsletter is a great fit.

That’s all for this review. If you have enjoyed this article, please consider using our affiliate link to subscribe to Morning Brew. We get a really small payment, but if many people sign up using it, it contributes a lot to keep this site afloat.

If you think I missed anything, want to ask me something, or just give me your point of view about Morning Brew, just send me an email at nico@failory.com.

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