Discover more from Future Commerce
March 26, 2021

Building in Public

Thank you for being with us for 200 episodes of the Future Commerce podcast. In this episode, we look back on how we grew up from a podcast into a retail media research startup, and how building a show in 2016 led to personal and professional growth. Listen now!

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Thank you for being with us for 200 episodes of the Future Commerce podcast. In this episode, we look back on how we grew up from a podcast into a retail media research startup, and how building a show in 2016 led to personal and professional growth. Listen now!

2016 to Present

  • We launched in 2016. Our first guest was Scott Emmons and we talked about the online to offline blur in retail businesses. 
  • Every episode has been transcribed at Everything we have said is searchable. 
  • “Technology adoption is always slower than you want it to be. You see potentials, you see opportunity, but it’s not really about the technology. It’s about people adopting the technology and how people use [it].” - Brian Lange
  • In 2018, we picked up on the coming boom in secondhand retail or “secondhand commerce.”
  • Through 2016-2018, we had a trajectory of doing live events - eTail West, NRF, Shoptalk.
  • On Ingrid Milman Cordy’s impact on Future Commerce: “Prior to 2019, we didn’t have consistent other voices, specifically women’s voices or younger perspectives to help us understand what other people’s points of view are and what their challenges [were].”
  • This fed into our listener study in which we realized the future we wanted to create, a future with more equal representation: “How do we tell different stories through other people’s perspectives?” 
  • On Earth Day in 2019, we joined the Climate Neutral program and we’ve maintained the commitment for the past three years. 
  • “Most of the future of commerce is just getting data right, understanding how to interpret it, understanding when and where to surface it, understanding if it’s clean or it’s not, understanding how to get it to the point where it’s usable and actionable and has a reason to exist that is meaningful.” - Brian Lange
  • Our most listened to episode ever (Episode 124 with Nick and Emmett from Pattern Brands) was in a pivotal moment - realizing that it’s “not just about creating things in the world, but about being able to create the world that you want to live in.” - Phillip Jackson
  • It was this pivot that it clicked for us that commerce has the power to change the world because it touches just about everything.
  • In 2019, we partnered with Shopify to create a new series, Step by Step, in walking through what’s needed to know to launch and grow successful retail businesses. 
  • In 2020, we put out four reports, forty eight essays, started Stairway to CEO, and launched two newsletters.
  • “If you had asked me in 2016 what Future Commerce was, I would have said a podcast. If you ask me in 2021 what Future commerce is, I would say we’re a media business that covers retail. We believe that we have the power with our voice to exert influence on the way that commerce is done in the world and that commerce can change the world.” - Phillip Jackson

Past Episodes

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Phillip: [00:00:14] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce,the podcast about cutting edge. That's right, I said it, Brian.

Brian: [00:01:20] Throwback.

Phillip: [00:01:20] I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:21] And I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:22] And this is our throwback episode. Weare Episode 200.

Brian: [00:01:25] What?

Phillip: [00:01:26] We did it.{clapping}

Brian: [00:01:27] Two hundred episodes.

Phillip: [00:01:29] This is our 200th episode.

Brian: [00:01:29] I am so happy right now.

Phillip: [00:01:31] Are you?

Brian: [00:01:32] I am.

Phillip: [00:01:33] You're kind of tired right now.

Brian: [00:01:35] It's early. This is early. I'm like I'mtearing up because I'm so tired.

Phillip: [00:01:40] I hope that, you know, if you've beenaround since the very beginning, I hope that this is a celebration for you aswell. If you've been listening since the start.

Brian: [00:01:50] We celebrate you, too. If you werelistening to the start. Yeah. Thanks for sticking with us.

Phillip: [00:01:56] It's true. You've listened to over twohundred episodes of Future Commerce somewhere in the two hundred and sixtiesnow, if you count it all, count everything. Bonus episodes. If you count theStep by Step.

Brian: [00:02:07] Step by Steps.

Phillip: [00:02:08] If you count live streams. If you counteverything we're something close to two hundred and sixty ish episodes. Butnone of this would be possible if it wasn't for you, our listeners, who numberin the tens of thousands now. It's kind of insane. It's been an incredible rideand cannot believe we're here. So we decided, Brian, taking a victory lap.

Brian: [00:02:31] Yeah. Or at least we can talk about ourhumble beginnings.

Phillip: [00:02:35] Yeah.

Brian: [00:02:35] And where we've come to you now.

Phillip: [00:02:38] How did we get here? It's amazing howwe got here. When we launched we launched this show it was actually 2016.

Brian: [00:02:47] Twenty sixteen.

Phillip: [00:02:48] I can't even believe that. That'sincredible. And we've put out years upon years of content at this point. So wethought we would take a little bit of a look back. And if you're new to theshow, this is not going to be one of those crappy sort of mail it in episodeswhere you get those like best ofs. No, no, no. Brian and I, we're going tonarrate our best stuff.

Brian: [00:03:10] Yeah, that's so much better that way.

Phillip: [00:03:14] I thought we would like take a coupleof glimpses, you know, over the next four hours. How long do we have today? Wedon't have that long.

Brian: [00:03:24] Oh, we're not doing a four hourepisode? We talked about doing a four hour episode.

Phillip: [00:03:29] I'm sorry.

Brian: [00:03:30] We go back to like the Roemmelleepisode. Like that was a long...

Phillip: [00:03:34] You're getting a little ahead of us.But but that that is one for the books. Why don't we start sort of toward thevery beginning, which is our very first guest that we ever had. Who was it? Itwas Scott Emmons.

Brian: [00:03:49] It was Scott Emmons. Actuallytechnically Tom Robertshaw was our first.

Phillip: [00:03:54] Do we give Tom any credit, though?

Brian: [00:03:57] I know. Tom's our friend.

Phillip: [00:03:57] I guess if you want to be technical,Tom was the first guest, but our first guest, no offense Tom, that actuallymeant something in the world of retail...

Brian: [00:04:07] {laughter} Oh poor Tom.

Phillip: [00:04:08] Was Scott Emmons, who at the time wasrunning the Innovation Lab over at Neiman Marcus, right?

Brian: [00:04:14] Yeah. Yes. In fact, why don't we rollout and then I'll do a little story time about that.

Phillip: [00:04:19] OK, here we go.

Scott Emmons: [00:04:21] We know that technology continues toinsert itself into the shopping experience, that it has to. And it's all partof that sort of, you know, I think natural blurring of the lines between theonline retail business and the physical retail business.

Phillip: [00:04:40] The online to offline blur is somethingthat was being talked about in 2016. That's impressive.

Brian: [00:04:48] Yes. This predated our last president.

Phillip: [00:04:54] What? This was Barack Obama era? Ialmost said George Bush. How old am I? What year is this?

Brian: [00:05:02] I don't even know.

Phillip: [00:05:04] That's an incredible thing, actually.This is three presidents ago.

Brian: [00:05:08] You might be old, but you're not thatold.

Phillip: [00:05:12] What were a couple of those offline toonline things that he was talking about? I remember it was like Magic Mirrors.

Brian: [00:05:18] Yeah, it was. In fact, the way that Imet Scott was actually at the first Shoptalk, which is amazing. Scott wasactually the opening event and somehow... I mean, it was a mixer. It was amixing event.

Phillip: [00:05:39] You were mixing it up.

Brian: [00:05:40] I was mixing it up and just kind ofbumbling around and talking to people. And I landed at Scott, and of course,back in those days, I mean, these were the days of Episode 8, which nobodyknows what that means.

Phillip: [00:05:53] My gosh, Brian, I told you we're notgoing to cover it here.

Brian: [00:05:56] I know. I know. I know. But this is howI got to know Scott, which was basically like spewing all of my theories aboutbody data at Scott. And at the end of the conversation, he was like,"That's actually interesting. Let's chat."

Phillip: [00:06:13] That's... OK. And I got to give it toyou. Like Brian in the early days had such hustle. Not that you don't anymore.You definitely do. You are hustler. But this is a man, Brian, to get guests onthe show would sneak backstage at events. If you're listening, like Brian Langeis a little bit of a shark. He's not above putting on a t shirt for aconference that he doesn't belong to, to go get someone to pay him just alittle bit of attention. But anyway,

Brian: [00:06:47] You do what you got to do.

Phillip: [00:06:48] And the Episode 8 reference, by theway, for those that are uninitiated, is that I feel like that was the turningpoint that comes up over and over and over and over again, that this show couldbe much more than just let's cover the news of what's coming in tech andtalking about what the future of retail tech might be, but more about far futurism.And, you know, this idea of what are the implications of the path and thetrajectory we're on, which I think set a tone for the next year. This is aclip. This is one I really appreciated, which is sort of just you kind of goingoff, I think, about this idea of the altar of Black Friday that we all worshipat once a year. Let's take a listen to it from Episode 53 in 2017. This isConsumerism is Our Religion.

Brian from Episode53: [00:07:44] I will say this, if ourgod is consumerism, the malls were certainly our temples. It's interesting, ourreligion's changing where our temple is now the Internet.

Phillip: [00:08:00] You've gotten a little more eloquentover the years, but I will say...

Brian: [00:08:03] I have.

Phillip: [00:08:03] And you got better mic technique.

Brian: [00:08:05] I do. I definitely do.

Phillip: [00:08:09] But you haven't stopped saying amazing,potent potables and quotables.

Brian: [00:08:14] It's interesting. We've been sayingthat for a long time now. I feel like a lot of what we've been saying just inthis past year still relates back to that this sort of, you know, this idea,this transition of the alter that American consumerism worships at and whatthat looks like.

Phillip: [00:08:36] It's funny to which, by the way, thoseweren't necessarily original ideas in 2016/2017, but they were original to usand it was us sort of working out. There's a lot of talk about building inpublic these days, and it's more like, you know, bragging in public. What wehave done, and we've left it all up for everyone to listen to. Everyone can gosee. In fact, every single word we've ever spoken is transcribed right now

Brian: [00:09:06] Almost every word.

Phillip: [00:09:06]  [00:09:06]It's pretty much everything that wesaid is searchable. And it's this incredible, very long form, and it would takeyou a long time to listen to, journey of... [00:09:18]

Brian: [00:09:19]  [00:09:19]Thought progression? {laughter}

Phillip: [00:09:20]  [00:09:20]...watching us find our voicetogether and watching us figure out what the show is all about. [00:09:26]And so actually, one of those turning points was also when we met the formerDEP Sec at State, Danny Sepulveda. Another amazing get from Brian Lange tobring someone with an incredible voice and a perspective on the future into ourshow. And so let's listen to what Danny had to say about I believe he'sspeaking about network neutrality. This is from Episode 49 in 2017, with DannySepulveda.

Danny Sepulveda: [00:09:56] The Internet is the interconnection ofcommunications networks around the world built on Internet protocol, and thatis communicating everything from supply chain management to now the Internet ofThings to multinationals management of their human resources activities aroundthe world. So it really is just one thing now. There is no differentiatorbetween what we used to call the Internet economy and the regular economy. It'sjust the digital economy. It's just one big thing.

Phillip: [00:10:26] I was waiting for you to say something

Brian: [00:10:28] More in line blurring is what'shappening there. Danny, you know, we go from Scott to Danny some 40 ishepisodes later, and it's a very clear trend. And that's actually in many ways,one of the reasons we sort of started the show was because you and I recognizedsome things that were happening. We had conversations with each other about itand it was like, who else is talking about this? We didn't know. It was like,let's start talking about it. Because there weren't too many resources outthere sort of chatting about these things in public.

Phillip: [00:11:09] No.

Brian: [00:11:09] You talked about public building. Itwas more like us publicly, sort of vomiting up our ideas on the  Internet and seeing what sort of what stuck

Phillip: [00:11:20] There really weren't any retail focusedpodcasts either at the time.

Brian: [00:11:25] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:11:26] There were certainly like eCommercetips and tricks podcasts. And my goodness, there's a lot of those today too.And it's so funny because the eCommerce tips and tricks have changed over theyears. But the trajectory of how to engage in business that, you know, actuallyrecognizes consumers as people hasn't really changed. And the thing that wehave sort of... We've honed our message and figured it out over the last fouror five years, and retail tech has changed, but I think the thing that we foundout over time is it's not really about the technology.

Brian: [00:12:05] Right.

Phillip: [00:12:06] Although technology definitely has abearing. So that was 2017. 2018... I remember this. It feels like it wasyesterday. I can't believe it was three some years ago. But we went to AmazonGo. And it was like two weeks after it opened, there was like somebody standingoutside who was asking for our press credentials or something. Do you rememberthis?

Brian: [00:12:28] Oh, yeah, totally. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:12:30] Yeah, it was very, very soon after itopened and it was kind of an amazing experience to kind of be there and bepodcasting live. For whatever reason, we don't have a clip of it. Oh, Iremember because I'm an idiot and I didn't press the record button. Do youremember that? {laughter}

Brian: [00:12:49] {laughter} I do. I do. Yeah. Yeah, wewere there talking to them at the front and we should have been recording thewhole time, but yeah.

Phillip: [00:12:56] Yeah.

Brian: [00:12:57] That was funny.

Phillip: [00:12:58] That was like before... It definitelywasn't before of vloggers where people just like unabashedly walked around witha camera in front of their face. But it was definitely before I was aware thatpeople did that. And so I was very sheepish, like I didn't want to look like Iwas recording something.

Brian: [00:13:14] You were like, "We have to produceit. It's got to be on the real mics." {laughter}

Phillip: [00:13:19] Kill me. Well, it would be done alittle differently today, but yeah, that is one implementation of technologythat's interesting that hasn't, I don't know, quite gone anywhere or made amark in the culture. But certainly hinted at...

Brian: [00:13:32] Well other than the Softbank standardinvestment that just happened.

Phillip: [00:13:37] Well, OK, sure. That puts this episodeat a specific point in time. Brian Lange. Thank you.

Brian: [00:13:45] It is Episode 200. You know.

Phillip: [00:13:48] It is. That's true. It's not like ifyou were to ask me three years later, I would have said, oh gosh, I mean, thisis going to explode everywhere. We're going to have more just walk out shoppingand maybe we will. But it's taking a little longer than we thought. That's kindof a recurrent theme for us, because I specifically remember us thinkingconversational commerce was going to be huge.

Brian: [00:14:12] You know what's interesting is thatconversational commerce, the conversation around it has evolved over the years,and I think it's just morphed into something else that it is today. And, yeah,it's taking longer. It's absolutely taken longer than we hoped it would. Ithink we talked about it on our first episode. And it's interesting alsobecause I remember reading articles from Greylock and others talking about howVCs were like, please just give us something to invest and get around this.Please. Somebody somewhere give us something that's actually like usable andinteresting around this. And it's taken some time. And I think we're startingto get there now. But, yeah, the conversation,[00:15:04] I think to your point, Phillip, the conversation has changed for usbecause technology adoption is, well, it's always slower than you want it tobe. You see potentials, you see opportunity, but it's really not about thetechnology. It's about people adopting technology and how people usetechnology.  [00:15:27]

Phillip: [00:15:27] How they use it. Right.

Brian: [00:15:28] And it's about how people interact witheach other. And there's good and healthy interactions and there's alsounhealthy interactions. And I think working our way through those has been apart of this journey as well.

Phillip: [00:15:46] Let's talk about one of those unhealthyinteractions. You know, one that we were on very early on within, I think, thesame week. Let's take a listen to the clip and then we'll give you some contextaround it. This is about deep fakes in 2018, Episode number 63.

Phillip from Episode63: [00:16:04] There's no real legalconsensus on deep fakes and what they are, but a lot of communities cametogether and said these are not something that we want to support. So this iskind of an impressive thing. So there was a community on Reddit that was thedeep fake sub Reddit, was banned by Reddit. Also PornHub, Gfycat, Discord, andImager all came out and they banned like hundreds of communities that werearound these. And so I felt like this was hitting right on the topic of thatscary sort of Black Mirror-esque world that we now live in where you canunwittingly, if a video is out of you on YouTube, your face could unwittinglybe applied to literally any context and some of the seediest and darkest ways.

Phillip: [00:16:57] And who knew in February of 2018 thatthat would be a news story that would be common knowledge, that the concept ofdeep fakes, especially around disinformation, would be so commonplace that it'spart of popular culture now. In fact, that there's a whole part of popularculture wherein fans of, say, Star Wars try to use deep fakes to recreatebetter visual effects. And it's an incredible thing that we picked up on veryearly on.

Brian: [00:17:33] Yeah, that was that was definitely preLinkedIn conversation. That was early. I totally agree. In fact, some of thethings we talked about in that episode, I feel like are still going to come tobear about how it's going to be leveraged. And I think we knew we were earlythere. It's going to continue to mature. And I think deep fakes are going tocontinue to be part of the conversation in years to come because they are soimpressive and so lifelike and they're getting easier and cheaper toaccomplish.

Phillip: [00:18:09] There's another thing that's sort ofimpressive that we picked up on in 2018, which is the coming boom in secondhand retail. Or what we would what we would go on to call second hand commerce,which the popular press actually then dubbed re commerce, which I think isactually better. {laughter} Let's take a listen to this clip from Episode 70 in2018. I think this episode was titled Second Hand is the New New. And this isjust you and I sort of wrapping after an interview we did in that segment.

Phillip from Episode70: [00:18:48] It's just interestingthat there's these  brands that have, youknow, sort of manufactured scarcity and very expensive for like canvas andleather or like very expensive products. But what they've done is they have avery, very large following in a secondary market. And these products take on asort of a life of their own and amplify the brand in secondary market more thanthe brand could do on its own in direct to consumer.

Brian: [00:19:22] Yeah, I mean, if that's not a trendright now, I don't know what is.

Phillip: [00:19:29] Manufactured scarcity? What?

Brian: [00:19:30] What? You mean you can manufacturescarcity digitally as well? {laughter}

Phillip: [00:19:38] No, that's a whole other thing. Mygoodness gracious.

Brian: [00:19:43] You could actually argue that theentire NFT market is like second hand scarcity and second hand commerce. Likeafter the initial sale.

Phillip: [00:19:54] Third hand scarcity.

Brian: [00:19:54] Yeah. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:19:56] What's crazy about listening to thatconversation, that could have been a conversation that we could have had thisyear. Could have been a conversation we had last year. This idea of manufacturedscarcity. That's kind of how the whole world has always worked, right?

Brian: [00:20:12] Yes.

Phillip: [00:20:12] Gas supply or oil supply...Manufactured scarcity. Diamond supply... Manufactured scarcity.

Brian: [00:20:18] Gold.

Phillip: [00:20:18] Like there's a whole sense of this.Most everything that we have access to, even precious metals, it's manufacturedscarcity. The thing that is interesting is to watch this happen in real timeand things that became so culturally significant, like sneakers.

Brian: [00:20:42] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:20:45] Listening back, it's like thatconversation could have taken place just yesterday. Let's shift gears a littlebit, because we had a big turning point. One thing we've never talked about orwhat we haven't talked about yet here is that the three years of 2016, 2017,and 2018 were sort of this huge trajectory for us of doing live events.

Brian: [00:21:06] Yeah, we had a ton. I did a huge amountof live events. In fact, I can't wait to do live events again. And we will. Andthat will continue to be part of what we do as we are allowed to.

Phillip: [00:21:17] Yeah, you were at eTail...

Brian: [00:21:23] eTail West.

Phillip: [00:21:23] Yeah, we both did NRF multiple times. Ithink at this point when we were going into 2019, you know we had highlightedeTail, Shoptalk I think we'd hit in 2018. So we'd had so many live podcastopportunities, but the one I wanted to share I'll give without any context andthen we can talk a little bit about it. This is from 2019, Episode number 95.Bottle up Kindness.

Ingrid Milman Cordy: [00:21:52] You could have in the system thatyou're not as efficient with and it kind of blocks you from being able to be assouped up or innovative as possible. And it's almost like it's the least sexything to talk about. Right? Like "What is your POS?" Or "What isyour data management system?" or whatever. But it's kind of like you can'tdo any of the super charged stuff without eating your peas and carrots first,right? So I always say, "Don't buy a Lamborghini if you haven't built theroad yet."

Brian: [00:22:20] Classic Ingrid right there.

Phillip: [00:22:22] Who is speaking there?

Brian: [00:22:24] That was Ingrid Milman Cordy. And thatwas her first episode with us. And she's done multiple episodes with us sincethen.

Phillip: [00:22:34] She's not just a friend of the show, Iwould say Ingrid is very much part of the show now.

Brian: [00:22:40] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:22:40] She's really helped us hone our voice.And her coming around in that January episode, number 95 of 2019, I thinkreally helped us get a new perspective. That was also after we had done our...We had done a listener study with a market research firm that highlighted abunch of things to us that we didn't realize we had blind spots in.

Brian: [00:23:05] Yeah, yeah. Why don't you roll thattape as well?

Phillip: [00:23:09] Well, I'm OK.

Brian: [00:23:10] Well while you're while you're findingthat, another story about the evolution of the show. This was another situationwhere I was at a conference. The way that I met Ingrid was she was on a panelat eTail West and she was talking on the panel. And I don't mean to disparagethe other people on the panel, but they were not having their best day. Therewere not very many good things to say. And so Ingrid was just jumping in thereand saying some incredible things. And then she talked for maybe three minutesor something like that. And she was like, "Oh, but I've been talking toomuch. Why don't you talk?" Of course, which is very gracious of her. And Iwas like, no, no, Ingrid, don't stop talking. You just need to keep talking,because what you're saying is way more interesting and way more relevant thanwhat anyone else is saying on this panel. And I immediately, like, ran up andtalked to her after the panel and was like, you need to come on the podcast. Itwas one of those moments where you just recognize that somebody else is headand shoulders above the competition, not the competition...

Phillip: [00:24:31] Other people who are speaking in thespace, yeah.

Brian: [00:24:34] And had real insight and could actuallyarticulate it in a way that made a lot of sense. And so I was really impressed.

Phillip: [00:24:48] There's something to be said of too,and this is where I think this gets back into what I was saying aboutblindspots, is realizing that our own perspective and just suffer me throughthis, but our own perspective is two white males in information and knowledgework is informed by extreme amounts of privilege and is informed by oneperspective and one viewpoint in the world. And the years prior on this show,prior to 2019, we didn't have really consistent other voices, specificallywomen's voices or younger perspectives, to help us understand really like whatother people's points of view are and what their challenges, not just in theirrole as operators in the business, but as people and consumers in the world andhaving other people's perspectives changed everything for us.

Brian: [00:27:16] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:27:16]  [00:27:16]We did this listener study and thetwo main takeaways were, it's a bunch of dudes, particularly mostly white dudeson this show, and you kind of begin to attract that same sort of an audience.And for us to have a more equal representation... When we talk about FutureCommerce, when we talk about what the future looks like, that's not the futureI want to create. I want to have a more equitable future. And so that was suchan eye-opening study for us to really kind of dive into what are we missing?Right? What are we missing in our content creation? And that was when we reallystarted thinking, how do we tell different stories through other people'sperspectives? [00:28:00] Let's listen to a little bit about what thatresearch drew out. And this is Rachel Swanson of Method + Mode, who you've ifyou've been listening for a couple of years. This is her first appearance onthe show. She conducted our listener study through Method + Mode, our veryfirst one. And little did she know she would be partnering with us multiple,multiple times over the next two years. Let's listen to what Rachel had to sayabout some of the data that came out in that first study that we did back inlate 2018.

Rachel Swanson: [00:28:28] You want people to feel obviously thecontent is relevant, but four out of five actually said that Future Commerceintroduces them to new concepts and platforms that you wouldn't have discoveredotherwise, which to me is like the ultimate badge of content, especiallyprofessional content.

Phillip: [00:28:45] And that was from Episode number 103,Data Driven Storytelling. We didn't do anything for our one hundredth episode,did we?

Brian: [00:28:54] I don't think we did, but it's insaneto me to think that that was one hundred episodes ago, almost. Or over,actually.

Phillip: [00:29:02] Yeah.

Brian: [00:29:05] It's interesting. We're kind of takinga victory lap here, but I can't tell you how much I've discovered as a resultof doing this show. I mean, let alone the people that are listening, all of youwere listening. I have learned so much and just become a better person andprofessional and thinker and just everything. Everything. My life has actuallybeen transformed by this in many ways.

Phillip: [00:29:37] I agree. Yeah.

Brian: [00:29:38] And so I'm actually humbled to be apart of this. And I'm so happy that way back when we decided to do this,Phillip, because I think I am a better person as a result.

Phillip: [00:29:54] Aw. Oh my gosh. Me too. I feel the sameway. I feel the exact same way. It's amazing. Again, building in public. It'snot all... Building in public today has a very specific connotation on Twitter,anyway, about sharing growth metrics and sharing the wins and the losses, etcetera. We've been growing in public, I think just growing as people and asindividuals and finding not just our voice as podcasters, because who cares,right? It's just one person, one or two people's perspectives, but us becomingbetter, just better human beings and learning that there are... Not justlearning, but applying some of the things that we've learned into building thisas a business. We started a podcast, but now we have a business. It's so muchbigger than just the podcast. And this, I think 2019 also represented a hugeshift for us in realizing that we could be building content that sits outsideof the podcast proper. And 2019, it's amazing to look back we didn't even havea website that could have content that wasn't podcasts.

Brian: [00:31:15] Yep. That's correct.

Phillip: [00:31:16] And we realized in 2019, to get towhere we want to go, to do the next steps, we're going to have to take a hugeleap forward and we're going to have to start taking some of our own medicineand applying some of the things that we tell retailers to do all the time fromour particular perspectives, in the world of professional consulting and startapplying it to Future Commerce as a business. One of those things was we cameto really form a relationship with the folks at Climate Neutral. And so weannounced on Earth Day in 2019 that we were joining the Climate Neutralprogram. We committed to being carbon neutral in 2019. We've maintained thatcommitment for the past three years, but us putting that commitment down andsaying, hey, as a small early stage company, before we even had a one employee,that we are going to be carbon neutral, that was kind of a scary thing for meto say that. OK, well how does that impact us? Like how does that impact ourtravel? How does that impact, like, how we do anything? Like how do you grow asa business if you can't produce carbon? It gave me a completely differentperspective, and I know that sounds kind of juvenile, almost, but it's reallyinteresting what happens to you when you actually have to make those kinds ofdecisions and when you have to make those commitments and you do them inpublic. You sort of hold yourself accountable in the public to do them. It'sjust, it's yeah. It's sort of eye-opening to see what, you know, how do businessesdo that at scale? It puts a different wrapper around well I just wrote a bigthink piece that punches up a Victoria's Secret because they don't have astated climate policy. As a two person business if I'm wrestling with it, oh mygosh.

Brian: [00:33:02] And it's interesting. That is themoment we started to write seriously.

Phillip: [00:33:07] That's true.

Brian: [00:33:07] And we started to get into... And werebranded. I don't know if you remember, but our old branding, I mean, itlooked kind of like the branding that Chord just released. The color, the colorscheme...

Phillip: [00:33:22] The color's the same,

Brian: [00:33:23] The future of commerce

Phillip: [00:33:25] The font looks about the same. It saysthe future of commerce. Not to slap Chord at all. That's a whole other topic.Their pivot. We had a pivot.

Brian: [00:33:37] We did.

Brian: [00:33:37] Our pivot was huge. And I think thatconnection with Rachel in that clip you just played, it actually was a hugemoment for us because. That's when we realized how important research was tous, what it meant to us, just doing it on our own property. And that's when westarted to look at where, you know, how we could start to do some of that incommerce as well. And the importance of being able to test some of your ideasand hypotheses against the data. And I think we've learned a ton since westarted to do it. One of the things I think that's been huge for me, a biglearning on the show is the future isn't... You know, there's a lot of thingsthat it is in technology and change and a lot of things. I've actuallyrealized, like I thought we were in kind of a mature industry and that's,again, a little bit naive and juvenile to think that. But it was like, oh,yeah, I like eCommerce has been around for a long time. We know what we'redoing. This is something that we've got down. You know, this is easy stuff.Let's talk about the hard stuff. And it's like, wait a minute, hold on.Actually, it gets back to what Ingrid said in that clip, the blocking andtackling, eating your peas and carrots... We haven't finished that yet.

Phillip: [00:35:05] You're right. Yeah.

Brian: [00:35:07]  [00:35:06]Most of the future of commerce isjust getting data right, understanding how to interpret it, understanding whenand where to surface it, understanding if it's clean or it's not, understandinghow to get it to the point where it's usable and actionable and has a reason toexist that is meaningful. That is actually the future of commerce, like a bigchunk of it at least. [00:35:27]

Phillip: [00:35:29] Ooo.

Brian: [00:35:29] And that's what we recognize as abusiness. There's a ton of data out there. There's so much data out there. Wecan collect data all the time, and we're going to be adding to that. Like thepile is just getting bigger. But the problem with just having a whole bunch ofdata and just having, like, recognizing what's out there, we're seeing a momentin time. Oh, this many people did this or this many businesses invested inthis. It actually doesn't mean that much without being able to interpret it.And this gets back to a Senses article that you just wrote, Phillip, about whatit means to have instinct and to be able to interpret data. I think that thatis something that, you know, again, talking about evolution of what we're doinghere, being able to provide a narrative and an understanding and a recognitionof that data and how it's to be something that you want to consume, that justsomething you have to consume, I think is really, really important.

Phillip: [00:36:32] Wow, the coffee just kicked in Brian.I'm feeling it right now. Let's shift gears a little bit. Speaking of pivots,this was what I believe might have been probably the most... Represents, wellnumber one, the most listened to episode that we've ever produced.

Brian: [00:36:50] Oh. It's a good one. It's a good one.

Phillip: [00:36:50] So, yeah, this was in 2019. But it wasaround a pivot. It was around a business pivot. And that pivot coincided with notjust about creating things in the world, but about maybe being able to createthe world that you want to live in. This is from Episode number 124 with Nickand Emmett from Pattern Brands. Let's roll the clip.

Nicholas Ling: [00:37:17] I think they're types of things we'retrying to do to help people grow intention rather than just gravitate towardsthe overall push of the digital ecosystem. The second one, I'd say, is thisidea about selling a product. I don't think we're selling a product. I think we'reselling a way to use your time.

Phillip: [00:37:38] And that to me, that was the moment.And if the clip had gone a little longer, that was the moment where I was like,OK, well, hold on. I got it. I got it. I got what you're doing. I understandwhat you're doing. It's bigger than just the product. It's bigger than thebrand. You have the power. Like Nick and Emmett had the power and theinfluence. They had built enough influence to then use the very tool that theyhad developed to try to bring a world that they wanted to exist into existence.And that's where it clicked for me. You can hear it if you go back and listen,we'll link it up in the show notes. That episode, one hundred and twenty four.That's when it clicked for me that commerce has the power to change the world.

Brian: [00:38:25] Yes, commerce touches everything, justabout everything.

Phillip: [00:38:30] Yeah.

Brian: [00:38:31] And so by influencing commerce, youactually are influencing the world. And I totally agree. It was a huge momentseeing that transformation from Gin Lane, the agency that was sort ofempowering other people's stories and, you know, and helping them do the thingsthat they wanted to do, seeing Nick and Emmett turn that around and say, OK,actually it's time for us to own this and build the type of brand that webelieve is the way the world should work and represents our viewpoint on theworld and has an impact that way. I think that was huge.

Phillip: [00:39:12] It wasn't the big hope-y change-y...

Brian: [00:39:15] No.

Phillip: [00:39:17] It was just about like how one personwants to spend their time and to be more intentional and more mindful. Andthat, I think, just resonated with me in such a deep way. Gosh. Anyway, a bigshift for us. Also a big shift, Brian, is we have had multiple opportunities tobe able to interview our heroes. We didn't actually... One of which shall notbe named on this show ever again. That's a whole other problem. But there wasyou got to sit down with someone who represented a lot to you. There was amusician that you really appreciate at a certain label that you also reallyappreciate. Can you just... We don't have a clip out here, but I thought maybeI'd let you shot that one out.

Brian: [00:40:11] That was also really cool. That was theJohn Beeler. And there was... And there was a... Look at me.

Phillip: [00:40:21] Wow, now your brain's broken.

Brian: [00:40:22] Wow, wow. You just blew my mind. Thatwas the episode with Asthmatic Kitty and Sufjan Stevens' stepfather, Lowell.Blew my mind that we even could touch that and talk about that. And the impactthey had and actually the mindset of Asthmatic Kitty is something actually Istill want to dive into in a future date at a deeper level. And so maybe moreon that to come. But yeah, and think about this, you're absolutely right. Tonsof heroes that we had on this show. I remember way back, I think it was Episode14. We also had Jason L Baptiste on.

Phillip: [00:41:00] That's true.

Brian: [00:41:01] He huge influence on you at the moment,at that time, and passive commerce and his thoughts around that. We've had alot of people on this on the show. In fact, one of the ones in 2019 that blewus both away was Matt Taylor from...

Phillip: [00:41:20] Tracksmith.

Brian: [00:41:21] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:41:22] And we have a clip of it. We're goingto play the clip. But just to give you context around why this was so importantto me, it was that my public adoration of Tracksmith for the course of a yearcaused them to reach out to me and say, "Hey, do you want to come to thestore and sit down with Matt and record a podcast?" What? Yes, please.This is from Episode number 132 with Matt Taylor.

Matt Taylor: [00:41:50] I think that most of the running brandsthat we know today that have been successful all started from a very similarplace, which is this real passion and sort of desire to support and help andmake better the running industry and the running community. And so our approachis really not that dissimilar from all of those brands and how they started

Phillip: [00:42:14] And we sat in their stock room in theback of their...

Brian: [00:42:22] Trackhouse.

Phillip: [00:42:22] Their Trackhouse on Newbury Street,which admittedly beautiful location, historic location from a Boston marathon'sperspective, and a beautiful building. But you get the sense when you walk inthere, man, this brand really is punching well above its weight because this isa small company.

Brian: [00:42:42] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:42:43] And when you see, like, I came intothis context of, oh, my gosh, Tracksmith does what nobody else is doing. NotNike, not anybody. They are doing like I had this like in my mind Tracksmith isup on this pedestal and we walk in and it's like there's seven desks in hereand it's a very small showroom. And we're meeting, like we're recording apodcast and a stock room that is smaller than the office that I'm sitting inright now in my house. And so it's incredible to meet people that you considerto be heroes, but also realize one, they're real people, two, their influencecan be outsized in the world compared to the actual size of the brand or theamount of revenue or the amount of capital that they have behind them.

Brian: [00:43:32] I think it's a really good point. Imean, that was true for Asthmatic Kitty and for Jason L Baptiste and for abunch of other people that we had on the show that we thought were like justabsolutely mind boggling that we could ever have them, you know, and that's nottrue for everyone. I mean, we had the you know, the Co-Founder of Wayfair onthe show. And it's like you've got some of those guys on here as well whereit's bigger than you expect them to be.

Phillip: [00:44:00] Big gets. Big gets. For sure.

Brian: [00:44:01] Totally. And Jeremy King was the CTO atWalmart. And we had some of that as well. But it's actually really incrediblehow many of the heroes that we had on the show or people that we just foundreally, really compelling actually, we're just so down to earth. There were sodown to earth, so interesting and easy to talk to. And just Matt, I think,represented that to me more than anyone. He is such an incredible guy. I wasreally blown away by him.

Phillip: [00:44:35] This continuing arc of 2019 realizingwe're bigger than a podcast. Actually it was another podcast that we hadcreated in 2019 that I think bridged us into the transformation of FutureCommerce as a business and as a media organization. We partnered in 2019 withShopify to create a new series, a mini series, under the Future Commercenetwork of media. And that series was called Step by Step. And this is a clipfrom Season 1 of Step by Step, which premiered in December of 2019.

Phillip from Season 1of Step by Step: [00:45:12] Welcome toStep by Step, a five part series from Future Commerce. In the series we walkyou through everything that you need to know to launch and grow a successfulretail business. In Step by Step Season 1, we're talking about funding. You'vegot to get paid, son.

Phillip: [00:45:30] {laughter} A couple of things there.One, there's some audio processing that makes me sound like I have a lisp.Number two, I'll be honest, this is part of the education of Phillip and Brianis we were creating the content that we needed because we didn't understandprivate equity and venture capital.

Brian: [00:45:48] It's true.

Phillip: [00:45:51] How many out there are sitting aroundlacking that information? How can we bring that to them with the tools that wehad? That's why we created Step by Step.

Brian: [00:46:00] And it's been just educational fromthere on out, like all the different series we've had. We're on Season 5.Season 6 is coming up. We're actually we're about to launch Season 5 and like aweek. Right?

Phillip: [00:46:15] And we're in the midst of creatingSeason 6.

Brian: [00:46:18] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:46:18] It's a thing that just has taken hold.And it's our most popular content by far.

Brian: [00:46:24] Yes, absolutely. As a whole. It's had ahuge impact. And oh man that first season though I actually still look back atthat as one of my favorites and being able to bring Forerunner, and we hadMichelle from Lively on. Yeah. It was such a good series. Ok victory lap over.{laughter}

Phillip: [00:46:47] No, but it's good. And then the otherside of that is in that same month we sat down with Audrey McLoghlin to talkabout like what's the antithesis of that? How do you build a business and notgive up any equity? Let's listen to this clip from Episode number 138 withAudrey McLoghlin.

Audrey McLoghlin: [00:47:08] While I was watching these young womenthat work for me and are building this company with me and seeing how theyreally fundamentally think different than the generations before them, and itwas so inspiring and so interesting. And I just ultimately really, reallywanted to be able to launch a brand that speaks to what's going on today andspeaks to the customer that we would want to speak to. And so that all cametogether in the form of a brand we launched this year called Grayson, which isnamed after my fearless little four year old real life princess named Grayson.

Phillip: [00:47:39] And I'm going to be honest that I feellike I pulled the wrong clip on this one. What I wanted her to have said wastalking about the Hundred Club. It's this term she has for retaining a hundredpercent ownership of your business. But she's a serial entrepreneur, multi timefounder and brilliant speaker. And Audrey opened up our eyes to there's anotherway to build a business and stay outside the hype factory that is direct toconsumer and venture backed startups in the retail world,

Brian: [00:48:13] Sustainably built businesses.

Phillip: [00:48:14] That's right.

Brian: [00:48:15] It was incredible. That was, again,another eye-opener for me. How you could go about building a brand thatactually wasn't just there to be sold. It was actually something that she caredabout and was passionate about and is passionate about and is going to continueto invest her life. And that's incredible.

Phillip: [00:48:41] And that brings us up to 2020. 20,20was a bit of a year for everybody. But if you look at, from a Future Commerceperspective, the things that we did in 2020, that was the year where I thinkthe the world really validated the things that we created. From our Visionreport and getting retail coverage of our Nine by Nine report. We put out fourreports last year, four original reports. We put out, I believe, forty eightessays last year alone. We launched two new newsletters last year, and webrought on a brand new podcast. Lee Greene joined us a little bit of a clipthere from Stairway to CEO.

Lee Greene: [00:49:24] Hello, everyone, welcome to theStairway to CEO podcast, brought to you by Future Commerce. I'm your host, LeeGreene, and it's my mission to bring you a real, honest, and unfiltered look...

Phillip: [00:49:34] That sound right there is how hundredsupon hundreds of people begin their Tuesdays. By listening to a brand new showthat is sitting down and talking about the life stories and the foundingjourneys of CEOs of direct to consumer and eCommerce brands. And that alsorepresented just a widening of our voice and our influence by bringing on otherpeople to come present different perspectives into our world of content thatwe're building at Future Commerce. It's humbling.

Brian: [00:50:10] It is humbling. And I think this pastyear, I think we've continued to evolve our voice. And it's funny, like goingback and applying the lens of today to the lens of yesteryear through thisepisode and thinking about how we've evolved in our thinking and changed how wesee the future of commerce. What's driving that, in many ways. And I think thedriver, and we've already said this many times, continues to be people. And itwill continue to be people. Technology is changing how people do things. Butit's filling the fundamental needs and use cases and things that people, youknow, they have already in their lives. It's just we haven't really uncoveredthem yet. And so we're still uncovering those things. There's going to be moreto come. I'm so excited about where we're headed for the next hundred episodesand really not just the next hundred episodes, but all the things that we'redoing right now. The next hundred reports. The next hundred articles. The nexthundred, whatever it is.

Phillip: [00:51:20] You're giving me anxiety, Brian.{laughter}

Brian: [00:51:21] Whatever it is that we're doing, thenext hundred of them. There's a lot a lot more to come, a lot more to uncoverand to think about and to muse on and to listen to. I'm excited about all ofthat. I'm excited about what I'm going to learn in this process.

Phillip: [00:51:40] If you had asked me in 2016 what FutureCommerce was, I would have said a podcast. And if you ask me in 2021 whatFuture Commerce is, I would say we're a media business that covers retail. Butwe believe that we have the power with our voice, we have the power to exertinfluence on the way that commerce is done in the world and commerce can changethe world. But you know what? We can change commerce, and we're doing that in15 different ways these days. What an amazing journey. What an amazing thingthat has been built with tens of thousands of you out there listening andparticipating with us. And we want you to become more of a community and giveyou an opportunity to lend your voice to us. Why don't you drop us a line Let us know what this podcast has meant to you. Thankyou so much for staying with us for four and a half years and for two hundredepisodes.

Brian: [00:52:38] Yes. Thank you.

Phillip: [00:52:38] It's been a complete honor, and fromBryan and I both, thank you so much for listening to Future Commerce. Andcheers, buddy.

Brian: [00:52:48] Cheers. Raise your coffee cup.

Phillip: [00:52:50] To the next two hundred. Raise a glass.Thank you so much for listening to Future Commerce. And we'll see you forEpisode 201.

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