So David Hogg thinks he wants to be an entrepreneur…
David Hogg, the former student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida during the lethal school shooting there, has a knack for publicity. He parlayed his attendance on that awful day into fame as a gun control advocate, an acceptance at Harvard, and co-authorship of a book. Now, apparently seeking vengeance on Mike Lindell for being a pro-Trump advocate of the thesis that there was serious vote fraud behind Joe Biden's electoral victory in 2020, Hogg announced plans to start a rival pillow company. Before he had a product, before he had a manufacturing site, before he even had a name for the product or for the company.
Jim Treacher of PJM has a delightful takedown of Hogg, using his own words and tweets.
You can almost see the cartoon thought-balloon over Hogg's adorable little head: "Hey, if a crazy crackhead can become a multimillionaire by making pillows, how tough can it be?" Unfortunately, young Mr. Hogg is quickly discovering exactly how tough it can be. And thanks to the modern miracle of Twitter, we can watch him sink into a pit of disillusioned despair in real-time.
I NEED A UNIONIZED PILLOW MANUFACTURER IN THE US— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) February 5, 2021
We’re having a hard time finding one
If you know one PLEASE dm
Since Lindell's TV commercials show footage of workers in his home state of Minnesota happily stitching together pillows, Hogg seems to realize that outsourcing to China might be a mistake. And because he is appealing to Trump-haters, a union label is a must. That will mean a premium price, but after a couple of days, Hogg realized that costs might be a consideration:
What states would you say are the best to start a business in and why so?— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) February 7, 2021
States that are not California (cost of living is way too high)
California is a high-cost state because greenie land development restrictions and regulations make housing costs double or more those of most states, and because taxes and business regulations are both stratospheric. But these are policies his target consumers must approve of. And, in fact, in Europe, companies that flee high-cost countries to operate in cheaper, less welfare-statish locations are accused of "social dumping." It sounds as though Hogg is flirting with this sin against progressivism.
Hogg has a partner, older (27 years old) and with some business experience, software developer William LeGate, who has offered to put up $100,000 for starting capital (always a key problem for budding entrepreneurs). And the duo scored publicity that would be out of reach for most entrepreneurs less than a week into their venture, an admiring feature in the Washington Post, owned by perhaps the most successful (measured by wealth) entrepreneur in history, Jeff Bezos. They've settled on a name, "Good Pillow," and although they still don't have an actual product, they are seeking sophisticated expert help on a logo, but on a budget:
Looking for top-tier designer who has availability within next 3 hours - will pay $200 to help us finalize our logo by noon. Already have it more or less done, just need an expert's eye re: spacing. Respond with link to portfolio, if interested.— William LeGate - #GoodPillow :) (@williamlegate) February 9, 2021
It is very clear from all of this that their appeal to consumers is a chance to signal virtue, not anything to do with a superior product, which is still an afterthought. Buy a "Good Pillow" because it is not owned by Mike Lindell, but it will help make David Hogg rich! I wonder how big a market that will be — especially if the pillow is expensive and not perceivably better than the bargain basement pillows one might find elsewhere. After all, Hogg has got to cover some other costs, too, via the WaPo:
After sharing memes about the idea on Twitter for the past week, Hogg and LeGate are now formally committing to a list of progressive promises, including using unionized manufacturers and allocating a percentage of profits to charitable organizations chosen by their customers.
Lindell's pitch stresses the superiority of his product, which he avers took years of research to perfect. Hogg has already foreclosed the notion that his product will be anything special. He hasn't even figured out who will manufacture it for him under contract. The logo is more urgent that the product design.
Like fellow progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, David Hogg seems to believe that becoming an entrepreneur is pretty simple. You may not know — because the media have zero interest in publicizing it — that before she turned to politics from bartending, the much-publicized Congresswoman founded a publishing company that turned out to be more than she could handle, failing to publish a single book. Here she is — in her pre-glam nerdy habitus — announcing her plan to put out children's books focusing on urban artists and experiences.
Because she was not yet famous, Ocasio-Cortez, then 22 (two years older than Hogg is now), foundered and failed with no help from publicity at big newspapers or from rich supporters, as Hogg can reasonably anticipate. She even went out of business, leaving an unpaid tax bill of $1,870, owed to New York State. The advocate of higher taxes thought that was very unfair, apparently unaware that lots of taxes apply to businesses whether or not they turn a profit:
"You don't really make a profit in your first year," Ocasio-Cortez said Monday at the Sunshine Bronx Business Incubator in Hunts Point. "To get taxed on top of that is a real whammy."
At last report, N.Y. State is still seeking payment for the bill, now grown to over $2,000 with interest and penalties, and AOC is still stiff-arming the tax man. While a Republican would be pilloried for such behavior, the media are letting her get away with being a tax scofflaw with no adverse publicity.
Because he is already prominent and has support from the personal newspaper of Jeff Bezos, Hogg may find partners and contractors to do all the work and actually sell enough pillows to gun-grabbers to make some money off his planned venture. But it will all be based on his publicity, not his product.
Let's hope he doesn't end up sticking suppliers, workers, or taxpayers with any unpaid bills.