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Episode 173
August 28, 2020

Walmart's Midlife Crisis

Ingrid joins the show today while Phillip is on vacation. We chat about the impact 2020 has had on business growth (and in some cases, decline) and Walmart's new partnership which has the potential to help small businesses.

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We chat with Ingrid Milman Cordy about business growth and decline in 2020 and Walmart’s new partnership. 

Our Economy

  • The way our economy is set up, big businesses are bound to thrive, even during economic disruption like COVID-19.
  • Small businesses seemed to be the ones to cope best with the disruption, but the distinction of “essential businesses” shifted from small business to big business.
  • Businesses like Amazon and Shopify doing well also signifies that the small and medium businesses that sell through them are doing well. The difference between growth and decline in small businesses in 2020 comes directly from being in the right or wrong industries given the current circumstances.

Branding and Positioning in a Changed Market

  • Small businesses that have seen growth this year should be focusing on retention.
  • Businesses that saw the most decline were retail in fashion and apparel - but they could bounce back given they rethink their branding and positioning in the current market. 
  • COVID-19 didn’t kill these brands, they just sped up their already growing decline. 
  • The best branding comes from getting consumers to be emotionally attached to a brand, not just buying a commodity. 
  • Marketing plays a much bigger role in our community - in connection. 

Walmart and Shopify

  • Big businesses should have a system to help small or local businesses.
  • Walmart is teaming with Shopify and integrating small businesses into their model. They are realizing they cannot continue doing everything themselves and monopolizing markets. 


Have any questions or comments about the show? Let us know on, or reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. We love hearing from our listeners!

Brian: [00:02:03] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Ingrid: [00:02:10] And I'm Ingrid.

Brian: [00:02:11] And today you've got Brian and Ingrid on the mic. So Phillip can go on vacation and have his fun, although I really feel like Phillip is not vacationing. He's probably working through his vacation like usual because he is...

Ingrid: [00:02:27] A workaholic...

Brian: [00:02:27] ...that amazing. Phillip, if you're listening to this and you're still on vacation, just chill and vacation.

Ingrid: [00:02:38] We got this. I even... I made... You can't see it, obviously, because we're on the podcast, but I styled my hair a la Phillip in your honor.

Brian: [00:02:47] What? Oh, my gosh. How did we not do this video? I thought that you were joking when you said you were going to do that.

Ingrid: [00:02:55] Well, I'm actually joking, but wouldn't that be amazing?

Brian: [00:03:01] Oh. Oh. {laughter} That would be amazing. In fact, now I feel like you have to do it and screenshot it, so that we can just attach that as that artwork for the episode.

Ingrid: [00:03:10] Ok, OK, maybe. Maybe we'll see.

Brian: [00:03:14] That would be crazy. And I'm just laughing really hard inside picturing you with Phillip's hair on your head.

Ingrid: [00:03:24] {laughter}

Brian: [00:03:24] Well, I feel like we have a lot to cover today, because I'll be honest, we've been covering a lot of stuff like our reports that we've been putting out and listening to other retailers stories. But we haven't done like a what's happening in the World episode in a long time. And there is a lot happening. And so I feel like Ingrid, like we picked the perfect time to do this episode because this is right after the craziest earnings calls that we have seen in a long time.

Ingrid: [00:04:03] Seriously. My goodness. What was that Target number?

Brian: [00:04:07] The Target number was it like 73.8% of operating income growth?

Ingrid: [00:04:18] Crazy.

Brian: [00:04:18] That's nuts. It's nuts. It's the best ever comparable sales growth of 24.3%. Best ever.

Ingrid: [00:04:28] Yeah, yeah. And everyone was so worried about all of those places, like a few months ago. And now it's like, look at them go.

Brian: [00:04:36] It is crazy. So it's clear, like all the big players were winners. Walmart was up crazy amounts. Amazon is up. Lowes is up. Home Depot is up. Basically, if you're a big retailer, you're probably up.

Ingrid: [00:04:57] Yeah, it's a winner take all type of situation right now for sure.

Brian: [00:05:03] Yeah, which is a little concerning. I mean, if all the big guys are seeing all the gains, what does this say about the way that we're set up as a country, as an economy? Well, and also how COVID played out.

Ingrid: [00:05:25] Oh my gosh. Totally.

Brian: [00:05:27] Yeah. Talk me about that. What are your thoughts on that?

Ingrid: [00:05:30] Well, the setup of the country and the economy is such a good point to bring up because, you know, we have the really big news this past week of Apple finally hitting two trillion, which is just like...

Brian: [00:05:44] What? Right? That's nuts.

Ingrid: [00:05:46] The amount of zeros in a trillion I feel like I've lost track of. And my little brain can't comprehend how much that actually is. But what I do know is that it took them forty two years to hit one trillion and then just two years to hit two trillion.

Brian: [00:06:08] I have a hard time even commenting on that, because it's just so astounding, and I think your point here is well made. The economy as the way it's set up, sort of rewards the big players. And obviously, I don't want to take things away from Apple. They're an incredible company. They've done a lot of the right stuff and continue to do the right stuff. But, like, that's nuts.

Ingrid: [00:06:36] Yeah, yeah. It's not like they haven't worked hard. [00:06:41] Our economy, to be clear, at least in my point of view, it is set up for the bigger people and the bigger corporations to excel quicker, but they actually have to excel. So it's not like it's set up where any old person can see these types of results. But I do think that if you are combining the way that we are set up as a country and as an economy and the innovation and hard work and sort of DNA of a company like Apple, you really just are ultimately unstoppable. [00:07:19]

Brian: [00:07:20] Yeah, and I think, you know, you look at Amazon, I think they're in the same boat in many ways. Prime, objectively, was not Prime over this period. Like everything, even now, I feel like it's slower than it used to be, right?

Ingrid: [00:07:36] Subprime. Right?

Brian: [00:07:36] Yes. Subprime. Exactly. Getting into mortgages here. But Amazon... Prime is up. Subscriptions continue to rise. People still use Prime all the time.

Ingrid: [00:07:53] My addiction is raging. It has not slowed down at all, although my shipments have substantially.

Brian: [00:08:03] Exactly. Exactly. And so like that's it. This whole period, this age of COVID, The COVID Age. {laughter} It's like the Stone Age, the Bronze Age the Steel Age or whatever. And then The COVID Age. This has rewarded larger companies and it kind of doesn't matter like how well they responded or didn't respond to this. Even Kohls... It's crazy.

Ingrid: [00:08:45] Yeah, well, I think a lot of it has to do with the very questionable manner in which companies were declared essential, like who got declared essential is a little bit, I think, had a huge play in what these earnings now look like after all these months of them being able to stay open while other businesses weren't. But so, I mean, Target and Walmart and those big places, sure. I think people... They are pretty essential. But I think it does have a direct correlation with how well they've performed. But weren't there some weird ones that you brought up, Brian?

Brian: [00:09:26] Yeah, although I want to walk back on something I just said. Kohls did not see benefit from this. Kohls is not... {laughter} They were one of the few that couldn't capitalize on this, which is not surprising to me, just given their footprint. But yeah, I think it is interesting. There were some weird ones out there. I think before we go there, I just want to say the one thing that really bothers me about this is that it seems to me that the little guys are the ones that maybe... I feel like they're the ones that should be in better shape as a result of this. They should have better tools, and yet I think small businesses across the country are struggling. And that makes me really, really sad. That's sort of the... There's good news in that we are seeing growth. Retail sales, I believe, were actually up year over year. Was it in June? One percent, one or two percent up year over year in June. And yet a lot of that comes from these gains we're seeing. Like it's just channel shift from small business to big business. And that's the saddest thing ever.

Ingrid: [00:10:39] I think you are one hundred percent right to point that out. The one small I haven't determined how impactful this really is, but I do think about this a lot, especially when it comes to Amazon. And actually now more and more with Walmart, is a lot of Amazon's business is through their sellers central, so like third party sellers.

Brian: [00:11:02] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:11:02] Which most of those are, in fact, small and medium sized businesses.

Brian: [00:11:09] Such a good point.

Ingrid: [00:11:13] When Amazon is posting these huge gains, it's not just Amazon, it's so many of the sellers that are small businesses on Amazon that are winning. And then more and more, as Walmart continues to ramp up their 3P offering, they're in the same boat. So I think that there's some merit to what they're able to do with businesses, with small businesses. The other group that we're not talking about because they're a little bit out of this range is Shopify. So just the fact that Shopify has grown... Whoa... I don't even...

Brian: [00:11:51] It's more than doubled. Their stock price has more than doubled over the period.

Ingrid: [00:11:56] I'm happy. I'm a happy Shopify stock owner. It's doing pretty well. But what Shopify represents is small and medium businesses on eCommerce. And I think a lot of eCommerce businesses, if they still have inventory, continue to do well. So that is a small little rainbow on this essentially large cloud of big guys.

Brian: [00:12:22] That's a really, really, really good point. And actually, all the small businesses that I know that were in the right industries are at a growth level that is unsustainable. And a lot of that channel does come from Amazon. And I think like you said, Walmart is a growing spot there, too, where if you're in those channels, you're going to see benefit if you're in the right industry. And so actually maybe my revised position on this, and I think you really called something out well here is, [00:12:59] if you're in the right industry, then you saw some serious success, like overwhelming success through this period. And if you're in the wrong industry and you're not at scale, then you lost. So it's the small businesses that are in the wrong industries are the ones that we should all be really sad for. Small businesses in the right industries are sold out of everything. It doesn't matter what channel they're in. [00:13:25]

Ingrid: [00:13:25] Yeah. And now I think the next step for them, if I had to give them advice, is to make sure that they're continuing their conversation with those consumers that they just gained. Make sure they're lined up for email, following them on social media, offering them...learning more about them so they can continue to service them because, man, just from being in marketing for so long, it's really, really hard and really expensive to acquire a new consumer. They should be doubling down on retention now. Retention marketing should really, really be what people are focused on in 2021, as the people who have won within this new world really have an opportunity to invest in those customers they acquired.

Brian: [00:14:16] Yeah, that's so true, although if they did acquire them through a third party marketplace, it's a lot harder to engage those customers. Not impossible, but super, super hard if you acquired them, quote unquote, through Amazon. But I do think brand building on Amazon is possible, clearly. It's just continued engagement with those customers. It can be a challenge.

Ingrid: [00:14:46] Definitely.

Brian: [00:14:46] It's interesting. You know what else has been interesting is to see the businesses that were maybe a little larger that did suffer through this period most of them were in like apparel and fashion. And we've seen a lot of bankruptcies over this period. We thought we were going through a retail apocalypse before, that was nothing.

Ingrid: [00:15:11] It sped it up about five years. It just aggravated whatever was going to trickle in very, very sadly, like death by a thousand cuts, just got severed.

Brian: [00:15:23] Yes, exactly. Yeah. Went in there with pocketknife before and out came the machete.

Ingrid: [00:15:33] But I think there's still hope. Right? I think some of these guys are being consolidated and bought out by other places that actually might give them a second life.

Brian: [00:15:44] Yeah, and I think that there's going to be these brands are going to emerge probably stronger, a lot faster. It was going to be so brutal. That long, slow death was so frustrating and annoying. It just crowded the marketplace and made things... I don't know, like retail was annoying.

Ingrid: [00:16:05] And you got to a point where you felt sorry for them. Like you'd walk by, like Men's Wearhouse and be like, oh, that was, that's a sad place.

Brian: [00:16:14] Yeah. Oh, man. I really... I went in there a couple of times many, many years ago. Even then I was like, I do not want to be here. This is uncomfortable.

Ingrid: [00:16:25] Yeah. Well, I mean I'm like really, really looking forward to what happens when these companies get bought out by hopefully people who know what to do with them. And I still I feel really strongly about there being a very, very good marketplace opportunity for a brand like all the tailor brands. Like Men's Wearhouse and all those brands like Jos. A Bank. I think that if they were to continue their ethos of creating affordable, accessible men's clothing, but actually now understand what men's fashion looks like and what men want to be wearing, there are like two or three brands right now that actually are hitting that on the head and everyone else is just kind of flailing about. And so I think if they were to come back with some really great but still affordable options for men, I think there's a huge opportunity for those guys to come back swinging.

Brian: [00:17:37] Yeah, I think it's a really good point. Men's fashion, I feel like trailed women's fashion by a bit. And in terms of like the way that men sort of adopted athleisure a little bit later, and we saw brands like Rhone and Lulu also introduced their men's line, and it started the whole athleisure thing started to work its way into men's closets and again accelerated so fast by COVID as people just wanted to be comfortable. And I feel like this could change men's fashion forever. And so there will be a place, you're right, for like more formal men's clothes, but it's going to have to be fresh. It's going to have to pick up on the fact that men want to be really comfortable and don't have to dress up as much anymore as we continue to work from home.

Ingrid: [00:18:41] And even that. Think about...

Brian: [00:18:43] Yes.

Ingrid: [00:18:43] I'm really racking my brain to think about what occupations men have today that will require them to wear suits in the way that they did even ten years ago.

Brian: [00:18:57] Yes, it's true.

Ingrid: [00:18:59] We will eventually go back to offices. We're not only going to be wearing our pants with elastic waistbands. But we will... I just, I don't really know what you wear to an office job, really. It's certainly not suit, maybe if you like, work on Wall Street or are a lawyer? But I don't think those people are shopping at Men's Wearhouse anyway.

Brian: [00:19:25] Right. Exactly. That's a really good point. The professions that require those kinds of clothes, which I could even see that changing coming up soon. Professions that require those close are professions where men are going to have more money to spend than Men's Wearhouse.

Ingrid: [00:19:47] Yeah, but I [00:19:48] still... Having worked really closely with John Varvatos, there was a huge need for clothes that could be worn both casually and professionally, but that had a level of taste. And obviously that was a luxury brand. But the message, you can distill that to a more accessible price point, more accessible style. I'm really at a loss for what brands deliver that. And so that's why I'm thinking if they really turn around what they're there for and what their use case is, I think that they can have a really cool second and third life. [00:20:33]

Brian: [00:22:53] I think you're right, and I would throw Brooks Brothers in that category as well. I guess they're not affordable, as affordable, as Men's Wearhouse because Men's Wearhouse was pretty affordable. K&G Fashion. All the tailored brands were quite affordable.

Ingrid: [00:23:12] Yeah.

Brian: [00:23:13] The Brooks Brothers is probably a bit of a step, just a step, up from that. And I think that they... Actually I think they have that same opportunity though.

Ingrid: [00:23:25] Oh yeah.

Brian: [00:23:25] I feel like they started to trend that direction even before this, maybe they were thinking a little bit ahead, but maybe their clientele hadn't necessarily picked up on it yet. And so I think they lost a lot of customers just based on reputation, would be my guess. I don't have anything Brooks Brothers, I didn't shop at Brooks Brothers, and even if they changed their brand and did something different with it, I probably wouldn't have shopped there.

Ingrid: [00:23:56] I mean, it's a very like American heritage type of brand. It's very like East Coast pop collar crowd.

Brian: [00:24:09] Right.

Ingrid: [00:24:10] And I think that that style has sort of lost its grip on popular culture, especially with things like the sort of de-whitification of our culture and "black lives matter" and things like that. I think when I think about Brooks Brothers, I think about like a very, very white heritage American brand.

Brian: [00:24:38] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:24:38] That is a struggle. And but there is a pedigree that comes to that. And if they're able to transition into what a modern heritage, affordable-ish, but still like good quality brand, I think they could do well. I put them in the same category, not to the same degree, but they're like a Ralph Lauren where they just need to figure out what their new version of relevant looks like in today's market and give their consumers a high quality product and they'll be totally fine.

Brian: [00:25:18] Yeah, I think you're right about that. The only caveat I would have for that is I feel like... So we had Italic on the show recently. I really wanted to join that, and I could not join that interview. So Phillip had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy from Italic, himself. And I feel like those kinds of brands, I think, are supplanting and maybe not Brooks Brothers. Brooks Brothers was already supplanted. But like the Ralph Lauren and Calvin Kleins of the world, the ones that cover both clothing and home and bedding and broader category. Italic has the opportunity to completely disrupt those types of legacy brands that America has looked to for so long, like Calvin Klein, like Ralph Lauren, like Tommy Hilfiger, and even like the Izods of the world and more.

Ingrid: [00:26:18] Yeah.

Brian: [00:26:19] Those brands are kind of like they're just not relevant anymore in any way.

Ingrid: [00:26:25] That to me... Right. So, like, I think you're doing a very smart thing, which you're putting them into the full clothing and lifestyle category. And so when you're looking at it through that lens, Italic is eating their lunch. Let's just call a spade a spade. [00:26:45] But the thing that I think has made them lose their way is not a company like Italic. I think they lost their way a good 15 years ago because what happened was it became all about their assortment and their distribution. And what made them really, really magical in the 90s was their emotional connection to the consumer and the representation of what it felt like to wear a Ralph Lauren shirt, to have Ralph Lauren decor in your home. You felt emotionally connected with a lifestyle. Ralph [00:27:30] was brilliant in developing this American dream and leaving that for people and bringing you along for that ride through his polos that you can buy at Macy's. I just, I think he was so brilliant in that and then sort of lost it. It's a really hard thing to create to begin with, and he had a very, very relevant brand for like 30 years. So hats off to that, the fact that he did that for so long. And Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, too. They wove this emotion that I think that other brands like even coming to the market and offering a similar assortment and a better pricing model and all that are light years away from doing.

Brian: [00:28:29] I think that is such a good analysis of how they lost their way. I feel like how they won is still a way that these brands that are coming back from bankruptcy could potentially...

Ingrid: [00:28:43] Yes.

Brian: [00:28:43]  [00:28:45]They need to recognize the reason they lost their way was not COVID. COVID did not kill these brands. It did not force them into bankruptcy. They were headed that direction regardless, and so they can't just blame it on that. [00:29:02]

Ingrid: [00:29:02] Hundred percent.

Brian: [00:29:02] And the ones that do will not make it back like that. They can't just go on and assume that they can operate the way that they were before. The only way they're going to be able to, I think, come back is, like you said. The way the reason people buy something is because they want to have that sort of emotional connection to it. Look at Neiman Marcus. There was a mystique to Neiman for a long time. And I feel like... Obviously they're not a brand. They're a retailer. I mean, they are brand as well. But [00:29:38] I feel like the mystique of all these brands we were talking about, the compelling emotional reason to be there, the thing that made you feel special when you bought from them... The moment you lose that, all of a sudden you're just competing on price.  [00:29:58]

Ingrid: [00:29:58] One hundred percent. You're dead in the water.  [00:30:02]It's really, really going to be difficult for you to crawl back without realizing that you've lost the emotional connection. That to me is the way you go from being a brand to being a commodity. [00:30:15]

Brian: [00:30:16] Exactly.

Ingrid: [00:30:16] And once you're in commodity-ville, man it's really tough to come back.

Brian: [00:30:21] Well, you're competing with Amazon Basics and Kirkland.

Ingrid: [00:30:25] Oh yeah. Right.

Brian: [00:30:26] And it's like you're going to lose. You're going to lose to Amazon Basics and Kirkland.

Ingrid: [00:30:32] That's right. That's right.

Brian: [00:30:32] Kirkland being Costco's house brand.

Ingrid: [00:30:34] Yeah, I mean, and people from all walks of life form connections emotionally with brands. And I think that that's the reason why marketing is such a powerful tool. It's the reason why branding is so important. It's even I find myself... This is funny. So I just moved to Seattle...

Brian: [00:30:57] Yeah...

Ingrid: [00:30:57] I'm burying the lead there. But move to Seattle. I'm loving it so far. And I'm having these like moving from New York, all of the grocery stores, all of that are new to me. And they're like, "Oh," you know, when I'm buying my weekly groceries, they're like, "Do you have a card?" And I'm like, "Actually, no, I have to sign up and have the card." And so I live in Ballard, which within like...

Brian: [00:31:25] Which is cool.

Ingrid: [00:31:26] Which is really cool.

Brian: [00:31:28] Ballard is very cool.

Ingrid: [00:31:28] Very, very into Ballard. We could do a whole thing on Ballard. But within like a five minute walk or drive, there is every single grocer in my area. Right? So there's like Safeway and QFC and Trader Joe's and PCC. And so for those of you who are not in this area, the PCC is kind of like the fancier market. They have really, really high quality...

Brian: [00:31:52] Everything.

Ingrid: [00:31:52] Everything. Everything. Like the healthiest version, the most local version. They have a really great brand ethos where they support local farms. It's just a really great place to shop. But sometimes you go to PCC and sometimes you go to QFC and that's OK. But what was funny was I noticed this about even my own buying habits was I went to QFC, of course, got the card because you get the best deals. And then went to PCC and I wanted their card as well. But then when it came to like which tag of their program makes it to my key chain, I only want PCC on my keychain.

Brian: [00:32:43] You give QFC, aka Kroger, your phone number at the checkout. You have PCC on your keychain because you have an emotional connection to it.

Ingrid: [00:32:54] That's right.

Brian: [00:32:54] Also, you want other people to see you're associated with it.

Ingrid: [00:32:58] Exactly. It's a branding thing. It's like even I who have been like a branding marketer for like pretty much my whole career, am susceptible to it. Like I'm aware of how important it is. And I'm totally... It was like this funny moment where I was like, "Man, I'm totally this character that belongs in their marketing boardroom of like a persona."

Brian: [00:33:20] Yeah, absolutely. I think it's so interesting. So, you know, you've built your whole career in marketing, and I think this illustrates how powerful it is. You know what it is that's happening. And you understand that you're sort of stepping into exactly what they want you to do. Right?

Ingrid: [00:33:44] Yeah.

Brian: [00:33:44] But you're doing it anyway because it actually does matter. And that's something that I think a lot of people don't understand. [00:33:52] Marketing actually has a legitimate place in the way that we operate as a society and function as a community. It's not just a bunch of you know, let's just figure out how we can get people to buy things. It actually does determine how we operate and how we connect with each other and who we connect with. It has a much bigger impact on us than we even realize, in terms of how we form our communities. And for good or for bad. [00:34:31] And I think that's why we talk about a lot of what we talk about on the show. We need to make sure that we're doing things in a way that is good for people and ultimately that will be good for our brands.

Ingrid: [00:34:42] Definitely. Definitely. I think that is like as brands get developed and evolve, there are a lot of different things that consumers now look to to feel like they're part of a brand. I am not just excited to feel like I'm a PCC member. I'm excited to be connected with what they stand for.

Brian: [00:35:08] Yes, absolutely. Interesting things. I love to think about how... I think that there's a responsibility that comes with this, that as we look at KPIs, that responsibility to our customers and to our potential customers about how we are impacting their lives, that should be something that weighs on us as well and be a formal part of how we think about the job that we're doing. And I don't think I've ever seen a job with a KPI like, "Hey, how are you impacting the broader community?" It's pretty hard to quantify, I guess, but I think that the impact that we have on communities... And it just makes me think of like this small business impact that we're having right now. And I love what American Express has done recently with their focus on small businesses. It's been forever, but they've been doing it for a long time. But they're emphasizing it even more now. I wish more brands out there would try to ensure the success and long term growth of small businesses in the way that American Express has.

Ingrid: [00:36:33] I agree. I actually think that companies either like American Express or other ones that have the power to invest in small businesses and sort of incubate them and bring them along on journeys and give them the tools that they need to succeed should be more common.  [00:36:54]I think every single big company should have some form of like a small or medium business incubator or community that they cultivate to help their local businesses, even if it's just the local businesses where their headquarters are and things like that. I think they all have a responsibility to do that. [00:37:16]

Brian: [00:37:17] Yeah, and I think it's interesting, I believe entrepreneurship is at an all time low or near an all time low right now. And you'd think that it would be higher because you see all this stuff about people getting funded in VC culture and so on. But the fact is, like, it's very difficult to start a small business and be successful in it. And so it's kind of scary to step out there. So, yes, I agree. And actually, that's why I love the Walmart/Shopify partnership. I know we've talked about this before, but not from this angle. Effectively what I see Walmart doing, and this is so like Walmart. I would argue that they're doing an incredible job of shifting their image. It's taking them a long time to do it. But from like the 90s and into the 2000s.

Ingrid: [00:38:02] Definitely.

Brian: [00:38:02] Walmart was like get out there and, you know, burn the world down sort of business.

Ingrid: [00:38:09] Profit or die.

Brian: [00:38:09] Yes. Like whatever it takes, we're just going to win. We're going to get out there and we're going to put a store in and we're going to shut down all the competition and we're going to win. And now like this partnership with Shopify, I think that Walmart is... They've been saying this for a long time, but Walmart is saying, we want to partner with you. We can't actually win by ourselves. This is something that has to be a community effort. And our customers deserve to have access to small businesses around the world. And I see them actually... I know Amazon sort of did it first, but I feel like Amazon did it in such a way that was Amazon centric. I feel like Walmart is actually kind of like reaching out and putting the small business first, which is so weird. It's so weird. The world's flipped upside down.

Ingrid: [00:39:08] Well, it's interesting. I think that, like, Walmart has been around for far longer than Amazon, just as a company. And they're probably at a different place in their existence and phase of life. Someone once said something to me that stuck with me to this day and it was about like the two mountains. And your first mountain of life is you are just hiking up on your own. And everything that you're doing and all the skills that you're building are for yourself in order to just like get up the mountain and succeed. And then the second mountain of life is where you help other people get up the mountain as well. And that mountain is actually a bigger, more rewarding mountain. And that's obviously like a personal thing for me. And I really do identify with that. And I do think about when I do things like, am I on the first mountain or the second mountain?  [00:40:12]And I think that Amazon is still very much on the first mountain. They might be on it for a while. But Walmart, whether they were forced to or not, and I would probably argue that they were forced to get on that second mountain, has infinitely benefited themselves for being on the second mountain. So I think that Amazon has a lot to learn from Walmart. But I also feel like Walmart has a different point of view. And I think that that's helping them win today, because if they had stayed with that same mindset that they had in the 90s and 2000s, I don't think that we would be talking about Walmart right now. [00:40:53]

Brian: [00:40:54] I think you're right. I think they would have become as relevant as Kohls. I love that mountain analogy, by the way. I'm totally going to use that, especially because I've been doing a bunch of hiking lately. And it really is true. I feel like I've been hiking to get to the point where I feel comfortable taking my kids out hiking on bigger hikes. And that's going to be me on the second mountain. I really, really like that analogy. The other thing I was kind of thinking about was that you're totally right about Walmart being older. They are also I feel like in a bit of like a mid-life crisis. Like, oh, my gosh, like I've burned through so much. It's like that, you know, 40 year old, Wall Street...

Ingrid: [00:41:46] Definitely. They're buying a Ferrari. They're setting up Instacart. Let's go.

Brian: [00:41:51] Oh, my gosh. They're also having that moment. They're like, "Nothing I've done in my life has any meaning. Like, yeah, I've got to do something that's actually valuable. I've just focused on myself my whole life. And now I realized that was all for not."

Ingrid: [00:42:08] Hundred percent. Definitely. That's the difference between that old, rich person who is like happy and fulfilled. And there's that curmudgeonly old, rich person who never figured that out, that that was really the secret to success.

Brian: [00:42:26] Yes. And hopefully that's not Amazon in the end. They're going to be the old curmudgeon. Walmart's going to be the person that's like, "I've changed my ways," then like goes and like does all this stuff to atone for the life that they led.

Ingrid: [00:42:42] Totally, totally. We should write a children's book about them.

Brian: [00:42:45] Oh, my gosh. Yeah. Two different grampa's telling a story. So good.

Ingrid: [00:42:55] So fun.

Brian: [00:42:57] Well, I think we might be coming up on the end of our time, which really makes me sad because I want to talk about this all day long, and we should do another episode soon, and when Phillip's back from vacation, because I think he'd have a lot to say about all this, too.

Ingrid: [00:43:10] I know I'm kind of dying. I want to Phillip on my shoulder to come in and tell me I'm wrong, which would be fantastic.

Brian: [00:43:19] I know. Yeah. Phillip loves to tell people they're wrong.

Ingrid: [00:43:22] I love it. I live for it. I'm like, "Hit me with it, Phillip. What do you think?"

Brian: [00:43:28] The two angels on your shoulders. I'm they're like telling you, "Oh Ingrid. You're so right. It's so good." And Phillip's on the other side like, "No, Ingrid. You're wrong." No, it's good. This has been so fun. Well, we'll do another episode soon. Thank you so much, Ingrid, as always, for popping on with me today. And it's always so good to have your insights and hear your thoughts on what's happening.

Ingrid: [00:43:55] Happy to be here.

Brian: [00:43:55] Yeah. And thank you for listening. We're always excited to talk to you as well. So please reach out, leave us your thoughts, whether it be email or on LinkedIn or on Twitter or any other of our channels. Join in on the conversation and help us shape the future together. Thanks for listening.

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