Discover more from Future Commerce
Episode 221
September 17, 2021

Are Industry Events Ever Coming Back?

We examine the 2021 retail trade calendar and review Retail X, the first retail trade industry event to take place since the start of the pandemmy. ALSO: The rise of the headless platforms, Telfar TV launch makes waves, and we’ve rolled out a new podcast brand identity. Listen now!

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We examine the 2021 retail trade calendar and review Retail X, the first retail trade industry event to take place since the start of the pandemmy. ALSO: The rise of the headless platforms, Telfar TV launch makes waves, and we’ve rolled out a new podcast brand identity. Listen now!

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!

Phillip: [00:00:14] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:44] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:45] And we are... If everything went to plan... If everything went to plan, we are launching our rebrand today.

Brian: [00:01:56] It's today! Woo!

Phillip: [00:01:58] I wanted to tell a story real quick.

Brian: [00:01:59] I like stories.

Phillip: [00:02:01] When we started... {laughter} When we started this show five years ago. I went on in their logo creator. Do you remember that?

Brian: [00:02:11] Oh, yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:02:12] It says, "We'll design a logo for you."

Brian: [00:02:14] Yeah, I remember this.

Phillip: [00:02:15] Squarespace had a logo creator. This episode, by the way, brought to you by Wix. So that's fun. Let's talk about Squarespace for five minutes. So Squarespace has this logo creator and they said, "What is the name of your business?" And I was like, "FutureCommerce." Back then it was all one word because we were cool

Brian: [00:02:36] Or not cool.

Phillip: [00:02:38] And it shows it literally just gave me a rocket ship with the words Future Commerce all in nondescript font. Some font that I don't even know what the font was. It was kind of roundy looking. It's all like lowercase, all shoved together. And I thought, you know, that's good enough. That's good enough for now.

Brian: [00:02:57] It was good enough for then.

Phillip: [00:02:59] That, and I thought that would last for maybe two weeks until we, you know, got around to really designing something. And that lasted for two and a half years, maybe. That stupid freaking rocket ship.

Brian: [00:03:10] About two years. You know, what's really cool, though, is like it was so...

Phillip: [00:03:13] The fact that I didn't pay for that logo. I was supposed to pay $5 for it, and I screenshot it and traced it in Illustrator instead on the matter of principle. Is that cool? Is that what you're talking about?

Brian: [00:03:20] That was not cool.

Phillip: [00:03:25] I should go back and pay for it now.

Brian: [00:03:26] Yeah, you probably should. What was cool was that like rocket ships became something awesome after that, I guess. I don't know if they're awesome or not, but like we were ahead. We were ahead of the rocket ship trend. That's all I'm saying.

Phillip: [00:03:42] Rocket ships were very popular. I mean, like wasn't Quicken Loans a rocket ship for a little while?

Brian: [00:03:48] It was, and they really took off. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:54] Buh dum cha. {laughter}

Brian: [00:03:55] And in the last, you know, 18 months to the Moon, baby. Like that kind of stuff.

Phillip: [00:04:03] Yeah, that's the best. So we are redesigning and rebranding and, you know, just honing in on that brand identity. And I do want to call out and thank the expert guidance of the folks at All True and Jesse Tyler for leading our expert continuation of the evolution of the Future Commerce brand. And this is the story. You know, when we sat down with Jesse and then his then partner, Gio, back in now 2018, maybe? At the end of 2018 or somewhere around there. And we said we'd like to really put an identity to this once was a podcast now is a business. And you know, we're going to start doing research and we're going to launch into, you know, written content. And we're going to have a newsletter and we're going to do all these things and they put this deck together. Do you remember the deck, the first pitch?

Brian: [00:05:05] Yeah. Oh yeah.

Phillip: [00:05:06] Do you remember what you felt when we saw that first pitch?

Brian: [00:05:09] I was excited. I have to say. I was....

Phillip: [00:05:13] Are you ever not excited?

Brian: [00:05:16] Yes, there are moments when I'm not excited, I guess.

Phillip: [00:05:21] Like this moment right now on this podcast with me at this moment. It's lacking the Brian Lange enthusiasm.

Brian: [00:05:28] Oh, don't worry, it'll come. It'll come. We'll get to it. It's coming.

Phillip: [00:05:33] The enthusiasm will come later. Why don't you just bring it? Just pull it in right now. Bring the enthusiasm right now.

Brian: [00:05:39] Yeah, you know what? Ok, fine. I will do that. It was incredible.

Phillip: [00:05:42] It was incredible.

Brian: [00:05:43] I felt like I was on cloud nine. We had taken our rocket ship, maybe not to the Moon, but to the clouds, at least. {laughter} And we were like, we got into symbolism. We got into, you know, like things that we actually cared about that represented the things we believed in, the things that we believed for the business and really built a brand identity that reflected who we were, where we were at and where we were going and represented what we saw as the future of commerce, as it should be, as we hoped it would be, as the way we wanted to help bring it into being. And that initial deck helped actually give me vision for where we could go.

Phillip: [00:06:35] Yeah, this is the excitement I was hoping for. I needed a little Brian rant.

Brian: [00:06:40] Let me just add to this because now we're really... I'm going to spit into the mic here shortly and make everything pop.

Phillip: [00:06:46] This is the content everyone subscribes for.

Brian: [00:06:49] I hope so.

Phillip: [00:06:50] It's for us to navel gaze at the things that like, are, you know, foundational to literally any business online.

Brian: [00:06:59] Any business of any value.

Phillip: [00:07:00] Let us wax poetic about, you know, the fact that Jesse and Gio put, you know, a Roman god in front of us and my jaw dropped, you know?

Brian: [00:07:10] But let me continue, which is this next round of branding I think it was a similar feeling, right? This next round of branding represents the...

Phillip: [00:07:26] Oops I muted you by accident trying to mute myself. That's let's leave that in the show, because that's going to be really funny.

Brian: [00:07:32] You muted me. I'm sorry. You're like, "Brian. Don't give it away."

Phillip: [00:07:36] No, my kids are playing in the background and I accidentally muted you trying to mute myself. I'm sorry about that. Sorry, go back to what you were saying. {laughter}

Brian: [00:07:44] {laughter} Oh my gosh, Phillip's like, "Shut this guy up already."

Phillip: [00:07:47] No way. No, we've been doing this for 200 plus episodes. I'm used to it.

Brian: [00:07:51] Yeah, where I was headed was I think that this brand represents not just Future Commerce the brand, but the next generation of what we think about where the future of commerce is going. And so I like I am hyped. I am hyped. We got nine concepts back when we first started doing this rebrand.

Phillip: [00:08:18] Every one of them was great.

Brian: [00:08:19] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:08:20] Every one was better than the last.

Brian: [00:08:22] Yes. And we could have walked away with any single version. And I was like, "Why don't we go the faculty route here?" Because like they did like seven official different brands.

Phillip: [00:08:34] What does that mean? The brand faculty.

Brian: [00:08:35] Yes. Faculty, like the men's nail polish brand that has like seven different...

Phillip: [00:08:46] Yeah, they have a fluid brand identity.

Brian: [00:08:50] Yes.

Phillip: [00:08:50] If you were interested in checking it out and yes, they have sort of a fluid brand identity, which I think would mesh very well with their customers sort of fluid identity of their, you know, potentially their gender or the way that they gender identify in the way they wear clothes and style themselves. So we're brand fluid. Is that what you're saying? Not really.

Brian: [00:09:15] Well, I think we did land on some something, but...

Phillip: [00:09:19] Yeah, we did choose a direction.

Brian: [00:09:20] But I do think that it was so good that we're actually using some of the different artwork in different places because it was all very on point.

Phillip: [00:09:29] Yeah, for sure. Anyway, we've rebranded. Nine minutes on the rebrand. Anyway, it's a very exciting thing for us. Hey, it just happened and it's come up on Twitter. So I'm going to mention it, but Intuit is buying MailChimp. It's official. It's definitely happening. I want to get your live reaction.

Brian: [00:09:52] I saw and posted in our Senses channel.

Phillip: [00:09:55] Twelve billion dollars in stock and cash.

Brian: [00:10:02] {laughter} You know what? You know what? You know what? You know what? Maybe. Intuit is onto something. Intuit is a juggernaut for a reason.

Phillip: [00:10:10] I'll tell you why right now writing's on the wall. Five years from now, MailChimp is not even going to exist because this is... Here I'll tell you right now. This quote, OK, this quote from Sasan Goodarzi who's the CEO of Intuit, says, "Together, MailChimp and QuickBooks will help solve small and mid-market business' biggest barriers to growth, getting and retaining customers." I'll tell you right now, if there ever was two things that I didn't think would appear in a sentence together, it's MailChimp and QuickBooks. Does the MailChimp crowd... I mean, maybe MailChimp users like by and large use QuickBooks. Maybe that's true. I would be shocked.

Brian: [00:10:51] Actually, this makes a ton of sense. Like think about like big enterprise level ERP plays and the types of things they've acquired.

Phillip: [00:11:00] Yeah.

Brian: [00:11:01] SAP acquired Emarsys, right?

Phillip: [00:11:07] Yes, but SAP was already in the email marketing business.

Brian: [00:11:12] Oracle acquired Bronco. Well, but they...

Phillip: [00:11:14] Oracle acquired Bronto and then let it, you know, slip into its quiet slumber.

Brian: [00:11:19] That's true.

Phillip: [00:11:21] They killed it. It was more of a snatch and grab.

Brian: [00:11:24] It was a little bit of a snatch and grab. But my point in saying this is it's not surprising.

Phillip: [00:11:28] Consolidation... Who else would buy? Who else would have bought... If there's a parallel timeline, which I know you love the multiverse...

Brian: [00:11:36] I love talking about options that could have happened.

Phillip: [00:11:40] Yeah. Well, why do you hate the multiverse then?

Brian: [00:11:43] This is because it's wrong. It doesn't exist.

Phillip: [00:11:46] It does exist. Your consciousness is... Did you ever watch Devs?

Brian: [00:11:50] Yeah, of course. It's so good.

Phillip: [00:11:52] You did not. Did you watch Devs?

Brian: [00:11:53] Yeah. Oh, dude, I watched it as it was being released. I was so in on Devs.

Phillip: [00:11:59] As it was being released. Yeah, insanely good. There's a multiverse show.

Brian: [00:12:03] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:12:05] And you still hate... Anyway, ok. Anyway, I'm trying to get somewhere. If so QuickBooks... Also from the press release, "QuickBooks helps more than seven million small and medium sized mid-market businesses get paid fast and access capital," and blah blah blah. Earlier up, it says that MailChimp has 13 million total users and 2.4 million monthly actives.

Brian: [00:12:33] Yeah, that would be a reason to acquire it.

Phillip: [00:12:35] 13 million total, 2.4 million monthly actives and 800K paid customers. If you did the pyramid there of paid versus monthly active versus total, it's an impressive business with an impressive exit with very few people, very few, deciding to actually spend money on it.

Brian: [00:12:58] Yeah, but it is a huge audience.

Phillip: [00:13:01] I mean, you're talking like six percent. If six percent of people spent money on anything else in this world, would it even exist? I don't know. It's a shocking thing. Anyway. Where they make their money is not on paid users, by the way. MailChimp makes all kinds of money from a lot of different ways, including, you know, it's not mentioned in this press release, but I only have to imagine in this sort of business that they're in...

Brian: [00:13:27] Lemonade Stand. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:13:31] No. {laughter} The eCommerce platform that literally nobody uses. No, it's that they basically control or own a tremendous amount of email delivery. They know who people are and that is valuable, you know, identifiable research. Their ability to create data overlay and probably sell that back to Nielsen or IRI is probably, you know, a large part of their business and top line revenue. I guarantee it. And that's also me not knowing how these things work. But I only can stand to reason that that's how a company like this might make money, because that's how I might try to make money on a business like that. Anyway.

Brian: [00:14:09] Still it blows my mind.

Phillip: [00:14:12] Largest sale ever of a bootstrapped company.

Brian: [00:14:14] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:14:15] That's incredible. And it's one that we have operated our business on for five years. Mailchimp. So they can only credit... And we are paying customer, MailChimp, so it's all due to us really at the end of the day. This is our success.

Brian: [00:14:32] Probably. I'd say so.

Phillip: [00:14:34] We have missed like a million things that have happened in the world of commerce because we haven't done a show that's just you and me in quite a while. I wanted to hit a bunch of topical stuff that I think really leans into sort of the dark side of Future Commerce from many years ago that we might have surmised.

Brian: [00:14:51] Oh man, we're going to talk right now. I was going to go like funding acquisition because there's a lot of that going on to catch up on , too.

Phillip: [00:14:59] But there's so much of it like that can literally just be its own podcast.

Brian: [00:15:01] I know.

Phillip: [00:15:02] What are some of the ones that are top of mind for you?

Brian: [00:15:06] Headless is slowing up right now, I think.

Phillip: [00:15:09] Yeah, Commercetools joins Chord and Fabric and a recent Shogun round as being, you know, one of the last four or five that has brought, I think, the total funding, I saw this number quoted somewhere, the total amount of capital invested in headless plays is in excess of a billion dollars now, and with this round probably pushing 1.25. The amount of, you know, bets on the number of players as headless solutions on top of Shopify, I mean, they're all Shopify plays, well with the exception of Chord.

Brian: [00:15:47] Commercetools is not.

Phillip: [00:15:49] Fabric, I guess as well. Ok, so what I said makes no sense. Many of these, many Shogun, Nacelle, Pack Digital, a lot of them, they're all these, you know, sort of layers on Shopify. I find this to be interesting. You know, [00:16:00] we are entering into strategic partnerships with a couple of these because I do believe the future of commerce is better customer experience, which means more flexible layout, greater control for the marketer and less dependency on back end developer expertise for a front end developer to make those immersive commerce experiences. So I do think there will be headless. Headless is an emergent and necessary part of designing, especially if you look at, say like shout out to Web Smith 2PM. The top 20 direct to consumer brands that he tracks live week to week on the DNVB Power List over at 2PM, of that top 20, 25 percent run a custom cart or a headless play of some sort. So I mean, there's a strong correlation with experience, design, and having a superlative and differentiated direct to consumer brand. [00:16:59] But that's my perspective. What's your thoughts? You brought it up. What's your thoughts on the headless?

Brian: [00:17:08] I mean, you covered a lot of them already.

Phillip: [00:17:10] Sorry.

Brian: [00:17:10] I think that's exactly right. Like, we are entering an age where the marketer is sort of king that a lot of like the things that we use to spend development budget on need to go into other parts of the business or into integrations with new tools that people need, that marketers need. Integrations with CDP and Pims and things like that are essential for having a good or being able to actually address your customers. And so the investment makes sense, and I see some big winners coming out of this.

Phillip: [00:17:51] It makes sense. But let me ask a question that's going to lead you in the same direction that my thinking is. How do you acquire customers to your brand new headless build? How do you drive people to that site?

Brian: [00:18:04] It's very similar to what we do now.

Phillip: [00:18:07] And it's the same as what we do now. It's the same channel. Still web commerce. So you've got mobile web, desktop web. And theoretically, they're both like an average of the two. You know, what you build is like one site to display to them all. It's kind of an average best fit experience. Let's say you don't do headless or progressive web app or whatever the heck we call it. Let's say you don't do that. What do you do instead? What do you build?

Brian: [00:18:36] You build a responsive website.

Phillip: [00:18:39] Ok. No, I mean, like, let's say you wanted the next level up, the next tick up, right?

Brian: [00:18:43] Sorry, not backwards, forwards. The next step up would tick up would be something that probably was only in context, one hundred percent in context.

Phillip: [00:18:52] It's a mobile app. Yeah, you're building an app. You're actually building a native app. Look on the top 10 on on iOS, right? Three or four of the top 10 downloaded apps are retail brands.

Brian: [00:19:03] Well, hold on, hold on. I would argue that headless and mobile app are not mutually exclusive.

Phillip: [00:19:10] No, they're not. But adopting a headless platform might hydrate the catalog needs of, say, like a mobile app.

Brian: [00:19:18] Yeah, definitely. Yeah, it could. It could.

Phillip: [00:19:21] I'm saying most of these headless plays... I'm trying... Sorry.

Brian: [00:19:25] Yeah. Go where you want to go.

Phillip: [00:19:26] I want you to make the counterargument along the way. The argument I'm making is that I think apps may have long been considered dead, but there are a number of changes recently that are in play, especially this Epic versus Apple ruling around captive payments. I think for those who aren't aware, you know, Epic is embroiled in this lawsuit with Apple that may change the way, fundamentally, the app stores run in these closed ecosystems, and Apple's been a walled garden for, you know, a decade in its App Store. And that might be changing and starting with the inability for Apple to be able to only allow payments to happen in context through its Apple Pay service or through Apple payments. So the walls around app stores might be crumbling. And my thinking is there's an under leveraged channel in app stores in acquiring customers. If you're on the top 10 of the Apple iOS apps, that is a natural channel for growth.

Brian: [00:20:34] Yeah, I totally agree. And in fact, we're starting to I believe and I should probably go double check this, but I think that the openness to download an app is actually going up compared to where it was at just even a few years ago, because there was a time period where people were downloading apps like crazy and then everyone was like, "Oh my gosh, I have too many apps." And then all of a sudden it was like no one was downloading any net new apps like except for like once every six months or something like that. It was crazy. Like if you downloaded an app, you were kind of weird because phones actually only had a limited amount of space. Do you remember when you only had remember 64 gigs on your phone?

Phillip: [00:21:18] Oh I remember.

Brian: [00:21:18] And actually a lot of people, that would actually have been a step up. That would have been sort of best in class for a lot of people. Sixty four gigabytes. And even that was pretty limiting. You had to like, manage your photos. You had to manage your apps.

Phillip: [00:21:32] I don't even know if it's just that. Like most apps were just crappy.

Brian: [00:21:36] Also they were pretty crappy. Yeah, that's true.

Phillip: [00:21:37] They were really bad, right? So it's like the world sort of collapsed in on four or five super apps that did all these things. And that's what gave, you know, Facebook Marketplace gave rise to the ability to transact in like local commerce in Facebook is because, you know, Craigslist kind of sucked and you weren't sure if you were, you know, buying a mirror or, you know, accidentally hooking up with some dude somewhere. And then there was like a whole world of these Amazon, obviously, you have, you know, Amazon and Facebook. But now I think apps are actually, you know, there are direct to consumer brands who launched app first.

Brian: [00:22:16] Yes, that's true. Let's do a little thought experiment. What was the last app that you downloaded?

Phillip: [00:22:23] I mean, how it takes me no thought at all because I download apps all of the time.

Brian: [00:22:28] Interesting. So what was it?

Phillip: [00:22:29] Yeah. The last app I downloaded lets go in reverse order because I can just do that on my phone. I downloaded a metronome app for practicing music called Sound Brenner. That was yesterday. Two days before that, the American Airlines app. A few days before that, I installed Shein {Shee-an} or Shein {Shine}. The clothing retailer shopping app.

Brian: [00:22:49] Nobody knows how to say it. Nobody knows how to say it.

Phillip: [00:22:51] That's the fun part of it. I bet you people know how to say it if they actually went and did any research whatsoever, which I've not done. Before that I installed Patreon, where I'm getting some content recently. There's direct to consumer and content for you. Before that, I installed the New Jersey Transit and MTA apps. You want me to keep going? This is all a week and a half.

Brian: [00:23:13] No. We're done. We're done.

Phillip: [00:23:14] I install apps like crazy recently.

Brian: [00:23:16] Yeah, that's a lot. Dude, you were on an app tear.

Phillip: [00:23:19] I have five like crypto wallets.

Brian: [00:23:24] Oh my gosh, dude, your phone gives me a little bit of anxiety.

Phillip: [00:23:29] No, it's incredibly well organized. Everything's like prioritized by how far I have to reach with my thumb.

Brian: [00:23:36] Yeah, I do that too.

Phillip: [00:23:37] I have like seven different shopping apps just for shoes.

Brian: [00:23:40] Right. But your thumb can must be able to reach pretty far.

Phillip: [00:23:45] It reaches. It reaches baby. I've got a very reachable thumb.

Brian: [00:23:52] I don't know. I don't know about this.

Phillip: [00:23:53] You don't install apps. You're not the consumer I'm talking about.

Brian: [00:23:56] No, I'm not.

Phillip: [00:23:57] The highly experimental, you know, always looking for something new, you know, sort of maven of, "I want to be at the forefront of everything new and cool and hip." That's the person who's installing a ton of apps. Hey, there's I'm just a quick Google tells me, an article in September said that the pandemic fueled a 35 percent hike in eCommerce app installs, which was 12 percent above Q4 2019. And consumer spending on apps. This is an article from... So that was a, which definitely is, you know, a very reputable source. Techcrunch, back in June had an article about consumer spending, hitting a record 64.9 billion in the first half of this year and that installs were up across the board in every category, and that's up almost 24.8 percent from the same period the year before. The pandemic has fueled a lot of experimental app installs, and I mean, they're not all of the top 10 overall apps. Most of them are entertainment or social. But the ones beyond that are our commerce centered. And that's, I think, really interesting.

Brian: [00:25:11] How many of the apps that you downloaded in the past two weeks, do you think you're going to uninstall?

Phillip: [00:25:17] Oh, quite a bit of them. But I don't think that... Patreon is going to stay, obviously. Yeah, New Jersey transit MTA I'm going to uninstall as we speak because I'm not in New York this week. Shein. I don't know, I don't buy women's clothing and I don't buy enough of it to post haul videos on my TikTok, {laughter} but it's really interesting as an experiment to see what everybody's talking about. If you go to Google's App Store, the shopping apps, Shein is number one. And I'm pretty sure I'm saying it wrong, but I'm going to stick with at least one pronunciation.

Brian: [00:25:57] Are you saying Shein {Sheen} or Shein {Shee-an}?

Phillip: [00:26:00] Shein {Shee-an} because it just sounds like a thing I should say it that way. I have no idea how to say it.

Brian: [00:26:04] I feel like you're right. I feel like it's Shee-an.

Phillip: [00:26:07] I'm pulling up a YouTube video while we're sitting here. Hold on.

Brian: [00:26:12] Can we hear it Live? Let's just listen.

Phillip: [00:26:14] No, hold on. I'm listening. You're not going to able to hear this.

Brian: [00:26:17] Oh yeah, you've got headphones on.

Phillip: [00:26:19] How do you say this name? It is a surname, a family name and a famous clothing and fashion brand name. Oh, it is Shee-an. Yeah, because it used to be called, She Insider.

Brian: [00:26:32] Aha.

Phillip: [00:26:32] What? Holy cow. So they shortened it to She-in, and then dropped the hyphen to result in Shein. That's amazing.

Brian: [00:26:41] A little bit of Reading Rainbow for you today.

Phillip: [00:26:44] {singing} The more you know. Ok. Long story short, I think app stores are undervalued customer acquisition channels, and if you can knock out multiple birds with one stone, and let's say that all of these headless plays have a direct ladder into mobile commerce, which I do think is super important, then hey, maybe there's a greater path to digital omnichannel for retail and direct to consumer brands.

Brian: [00:27:12] Yeah, I think having a unified backend is what it's all about because like I want to kind of swing around on the other side to something I said when you said, like what's next level, which is in context purchasing. I feel like that's something that you've been talking about since, like the beginning of Future Commerce.  [00:27:30]In context is sort of the flip side of an app where like people buy at the places where they are in context of Netflix or in context of the video game that they're playing or whatever it is instead of these stores that we've created, these sort of manufactured spaces on the web that represents our catalogs. An app, I think is one side of it, which is like a curated experience that you specifically downloaded and engage in. And the other side of it is being in someone else's experience and offering a purchase experience there. And so like, those are the two places that I see actually the idea of headless being really powerful because it actually can underpin a lot of that. [00:28:25]

Phillip: [00:28:25] I think that's true. But the other argument would be from, you know, a bunch of composable commerce advocates including, you know, former show sponsor Brightpearl, is that maybe having not a unified back end, and I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but it's an argument, maybe it's not a unified back end, but it's maybe it's disparate front ends that are unified by operations and unified by data orchestration, order management, CRM and CDP. Because the fact is point of sale, you know, unless it's Shopify and you're running a Shopify Point of Sale, it's going to be you're not going to have a common back end.

Brian: [00:29:06] Right.

Phillip: [00:29:06] The fact is like you will be in channels in the future, too. That will not have the ability to have direct access to this common, you know, this theoretical common back end, even doing business overseas. If you're doing business in China, you have to physically locate if you're doing any size of business in China, like you'll have to physically locate your technology investment in China. That means that the eCommerce platform that you deploy in China might be different to the one that you have in the United States. It's the reason why Allbirds, when they went to China, had to buy Magento, you know?

Brian: [00:29:43] Well, is that a function of having like the wrong system in place to begin with? Or is that a function...

Phillip: [00:29:50] Allbirds started out on Shopify.

Brian: [00:29:52] That's what I'm saying.

Phillip: [00:29:53] Should they have been on Magento to begin with? No.

Brian: [00:29:56] If they had a roadmap for...

Phillip: [00:29:58] They have three products, Brian, they had four or five products. Like they're the poster child for why you should not buy Magento even at their scale.

Brian: [00:30:06] Or allow me to pose it, like Shopify is deficient. Like Shopify is deficient. That's what I was saying.

Phillip: [00:30:13] Or maybe just being multichannel by nature, you're going to have fractured and fragmented points of sale everywhere all the time. Orchestration is the future. Orchestration OMS and CRM and CDP.

Brian: [00:30:28] I do agree that there will be a certain level of like disparate channels.

Phillip: [00:30:34] If there's more than one ever, then you have this problem.

Brian: [00:30:40] Yes, that's true. So you're going to need both. Like, that's my view.

Phillip: [00:30:44] So why not keep the eCommerce platform that brung ya, and why do you need headless? I don't know. This is like an existential question.

Brian: [00:30:55] I don't know. Here's my view. Headless is going to set you up for more success so that you don't have to have as many disparate...

Phillip: [00:31:01] If you're building right now, let's say this a different way. If you're building right now, how do you build? Are you building headless? Or is that still too complicated to be like, "Maybe I'll do it later."

Brian: [00:31:15] Depends on what you're building.

Phillip: [00:31:17] Well give me an example of something that you build on headless. By the way, this is now my favorite conversation we've ever had. Great rebrand episode.

Brian: [00:31:24] {laughter} I think if you're going to go watch a three SKU product in the US, and you have limited capital, then Shopify is a no brainer, right?

Phillip: [00:31:33] Well, if you have unlimited cap, hold on, you qualified it there. Unlimited capital.

Brian: [00:31:37] What did I say? Unlimited? I meant to say limited capital.

Phillip: [00:31:40] No, you said limited. I'm saying, what do you do? Why would that change if you had unlimited capital? What does the amount of investment matter?

Brian: [00:31:47] Depends on what your vision is for the product. Like if you're going to go multinational and you're going to launch in multiple channels and you've got several API type integrations that you need to bring to the table, like if your vision is scale, then why not launch with something that you can scale with initially?

Phillip: [00:32:09] I mean, Allbirds to make the argument and use Allbirds, they're still on Shopify in every region that allows them to be on Shopify.

Brian: [00:32:19] Yes.

Phillip: [00:32:20] They chose it from the beginning. And it's working today. By the way, they still have no site search.

Brian: [00:32:25] We should have Allbirds on the show.

Phillip: [00:32:27] We should. But now they're all big deals because they're going public. That was the thing we hadn't covered on this show just yet. We have not done, you know what we need to do. Here's what we need to do.

Brian: [00:32:36] Told you there was stuff we need cover. We didn't even get into the dark stuff. We have a lot to cover.

Phillip: [00:32:41] Frickin I wanted this, I wanted the dark side. I don't think we're going to get to the dark stuff. I really, really wanted. I don't know. I don't think that building headless is de facto.

Brian: [00:32:49] No.

Phillip: [00:32:56] Even if I think it's actually it's like edge case. It's if you're a Nordstrom and you're rebuilding eCommerce and you only do it every 10 years you're seriously considering to, you're sort of like hedging bets as to what is the future of your digital retail channel and what affords you the most flexibility to make that to whatever it needs to be in the next 10 years? Think about where commerce was 10 years ago. We're still making websites on Dreamweaver and had to check stuff out from a shared drive. That's the way we built websites.

Brian: [00:33:28] I feel like maybe Nordstrom might still be doing that.

Phillip: [00:33:34] {laughter} Nordstrom runs on Dreamweaver. You heard it here first. Probably true. But that's how I... You know, then yes, ok, but is it still in limited capital? No. They're still going to do things on a shoestring budget, right?

Brian: [00:33:48] Yeah, everyone does things on a shoestring budget. Let's just put that out there.

Phillip: [00:33:53] Ain't that the truth? Also, site building feels like it's a commoditized practice. Like building something is getting cheaper every day, and the tools that allow you to have some sort of meaningful control over the build after it's done means that the builder has less to do. Right? If you're the marketer, the toolkit is better now for you to adapt and evolve it over time.

Brian: [00:34:29] Yeah. Yeah, I see like one angle of this where it's like, if you're going to build something pretty basic, you're a hundred percent right. Things are cheaper and they're easier. But if you're going to go integrate in the full stack, you just talked about CDP, ERP, OMS, PIM, like the full thing, I feel like things are getting kind of pricier, from another angle because...

Phillip: [00:34:53] I mean, that's the joke here, is that all of these things are really all these implementations, like the things you just listed, the acronym soup...

Brian: [00:35:00] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:35:02] That is all just unbundling of what eCommerce platforms traditionally have been.

Brian: [00:35:05] Except for they didn't, though. Not really.

Phillip: [00:35:08] Yeah, they had a CRM. It was just crappy.

Brian: [00:35:12] That's what I'm saying. It's like, here's what I'm getting at. Here is the crux of this. There are a set of incredible tools out there that cost a lot of money to bring together and a lot of money to pay for licenses of. And so if you want best in class, everything is getting more expensive at an enterprise level. It is a lot of money to go build the stack that we're talking about. It also wasn't very profitable in the past.

Phillip: [00:35:45] That's true.

Brian: [00:35:46] Yeah. So like the cost is there, and the new tools...

Phillip: [00:35:48] According to a friend of the show, No Best Practices author Alex Greufeld, she would tell you that enterprise software is really just proxy for anything that gets a VP a promotion.

Brian: [00:36:03] {laughter} Ok, well, that very well may be true. Alex, I'm not going to argue with that.

Phillip: [00:36:09] There's software bloat. There's like there is software bloat, right?

Brian: [00:36:12] Yes.

Phillip: [00:36:14] All right. I want to come back to more points, but this has been great. In part two, we're going to go to the dark side. We're going to go to the dark side.

Brian: [00:36:35] We're going to go an hour twenty. Was this the light side? I feel like this wasn't that light.

Phillip: [00:36:37] No, I mean, it's just I'm being combative. That doesn't mean it's dark. {laughter} This is just our dynamic of our relationship.

Brian: [00:36:46] I love it.

Phillip: [00:41:31] There was a like a Matt Damon SNL skit that is burned into my memory where they do this like radio, like college... No, it was like a morning drive radio talk show sort of a thing where they go to commercial or they or they go to like to play a song and they're like arguing. I think it's it's Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, and they're like arguing back and forth in between commercial breaks and then the commercial ends and they're like, "Oh, we're back." It was a real vibe.

Brian: [00:42:13] Feel like I watched that, but it was not emblazoned on my brain like it was on yours.

Brian: [00:42:17] Oh, it's emblazoned on my brain.

Phillip: [00:42:21] Just to wrap up. I want to come back to MailChimp real quick only because sort of the Twittersphere has turned on... It went from the story was isn't it incredible to have the like largest private market exit of all time, 12 billion dollars, you know, isn't that incredible? That's so incredible. How commendable, Ben Chestnut. What an incredible thing that they've built, you know, launch, launch and iterate, you know, yada yada. And but now in a mere matter of hours, it turned into and this is why venture capital is more progressive, because venture capital would have made multimillionaires out of hundreds of employees, you know, seemingly in a short period of time as opposed to what it seems like is sort of on the face of it is that this 12 billion dollars is locked up to, you know, whoever had ownership stake in the business and not necessarily redistributed to the employees and the operation. And so therefore, Brian, venture capital is being more progressive...

Brian: [00:43:25] Get out of your pitchforks.

Phillip: [00:43:28] Mainchimp is greedy. Greedy, Brian. {sacrcasm}

Brian: [00:43:31] It's funny, like last year in Nine by Nine, which, by the way, Nine by Get there.

Phillip: [00:43:38] Yeah, that's a thing. And I think we might have a teaser at the beginning of this show about it.

Phillip: [00:43:43] We might. We really might.

Brian: [00:43:45] But yes, Nine by Nine 2021 off the absolute hook.

Phillip: [00:43:49] Yeah, that report is going to be amazing and in it better be. We put a lot of work into it over many months. But yes. What about last year's Nine by Nine?

Brian: [00:43:54] Yeah, we had the 100 club. So is the 100 club inherently selfish? Is that what I'm hearing?

Phillip: [00:44:02] So this is the good question. 100 club being the Audrey McLaughlin having coined the phrase of folks that retain 100 percent ownership of their business and didn't, you know, sell part of that control, give up control to private equity. 100 club being 100 percent. Is it selfish? I mean, I don't know, but there is a breakpoint at which 12 billion, I mean, with anyone with any billion, maybe I mean, what is life changing money? This is going to be like a really interesting conversation to have.

Brian: [00:44:41] Oh gosh.

Phillip: [00:44:41] But what kind of money would be life changing to where you don't need to work anymore? What is that number? You know, I know we have transitory inflation right now. There's an SEO phrase for you. But in 2021, as we record this. September of '21. What is life chaging money?

Brian: [00:45:00] Definition: whatever Scott Galloway has, because...

Phillip: [00:45:05] hHat guy has no fs given. Yeah, for sure.

Brian: [00:45:08] I'm not sure how much that is. It could be...

Phillip: [00:45:11] And they and the guy is wrong about every single, you know, stock call that he makes. You know, there's an Anti Scott Galloway index.

Brian: [00:45:17] Yeah, but it doesn't matter to him because he has enough money that it doesn't matter to him. So whatever, whatever that number is, I'm not sure what that number is. I don't know how much.

Phillip: [00:45:28] According to, Scott Galloway is worth $30 million.

Brian: [00:45:33] Well, there you go. Thirty million dollars. That is enough.

Phillip: [00:45:35] I don't think it's a big like. I don't think it's that big of a number in... So from 30 million to 12 billion is a pretty long haul, right?

Brian: [00:45:45] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:45:46] So it begs the question as to which it's like at what point do you redistribute wealth to employees and like, how much...

Brian: [00:45:56] Is this a conversation we're having right now? Privatized socialism. I just wrote about this.

Phillip: [00:46:03] But I'm saying like, at what point? What's the tipping point at which you become greedy? That's the question. Like, why does Twitter have to turn on everything? Like, at what point is it, "Oh, well, venture capital is actually more progressive because it redistributes the wealth," and look at what Stripe has done and look what Uber did and look at all these, you know, all these venture backed darlings like they have gone on to create, Affirm too, have created an incredible amount of wealth and operators who went on to then create their own path to create more wealth and create more and more incredible operators, right?

Brian: [00:46:41] Right. Right, right, right. I hear you loud and clear.

Phillip: [00:46:44] How many people leave MailChimp to go found the next Stripe? And you can't see this at home. I'm holding up at zero with my fingers. I don't know how many ex MailChimp people are out there founding the next great startup? Like there's an argument to be made here, I think.

Brian: [00:46:59] Yeah, I actually I would agree. I think it is good to have multiple people involved because it does spur more. Like if you look at even Silicon Valley, there's sort of like a ripple effect that happened. I look at Seattle, which was sort of the opposite, where it felt like more...

Phillip: [00:47:18] Oh, it is. Seattle is actually like the hotbed of the place to sort of keeping the valuation locked in and concentrated within a few folks. Absolutely.

Brian: [00:47:34] Private equity or a family and so like like what happened in Seattle for a long time, it's finally changing. Finally.

Phillip: [00:47:44] How did you work Seattle into this conversation?

Brian: [00:47:46] I did. I did. But it was all really big or really small. There weren't a lot of mid-market companies. If you talk to like, you know, a lot of like recruiters or people that were well-connected in the area, they will tell you. For a long time, Seattle was devoid of mid-market companies. It was Avalara that actually really broke the mold here. And there are a few others. Avo...

Phillip: [00:48:13] And I mean, Wayfair is a good example of one in...

Brian: [00:48:19] Wayfair is not Seattle.

Phillip: [00:48:19] Wayfair is Boston.

Brian: [00:48:20] Sorry. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:48:21] Zulily. Wasn't Zulily venture backed?

Brian: [00:48:24] It was. Yes, I think so.

Phillip: [00:48:28] I'm going to grasp it. I don't know. I don't know. Nothing at all. I know nothing, Jon Snow about the...

Brian: [00:48:35] Anyway, long story short, long story short.

Phillip: [00:48:37] How did we get to Seattle?

Brian: [00:48:39] Seattle and the Bay Area were like the extreme ends

Phillip: [00:48:44] Opposing forces, right? You got Microsoft. Basically, what you're talking about is like Microsoft, Costco, the other one, Amazon.

Brian: [00:48:58] And things are finally spinning out of Amazon, like finally. We look at, you know, Shippium, and Jason Murray coming out of...

Phillip: [00:49:08] You have to drop Shippium. They're very early, and they would admit so as well. I think that it's promising, but ok. Anyway, we had to throw that last little tidbit in. I don't know why. It's like a dog coming back to its vomit. I had to come back to the MailChimp story. I apologize.

Brian: [00:49:24] {laughter} That's what the Mailchimp story is.

Phillip: [00:49:26] Can we talk about TELFAR.TV? And then, by the way, we're going to get to the dark side. We're going to talk about Retail X here in a minute. So hang on to your hats.

Brian: [00:49:30] Wait. Retail X was your dark side, dark horse?

Phillip: [00:49:34] Yeah, I can't remember what the dark side is anymore because we shifted gears.

Brian: [00:49:37] I mean, this is like how many hours...

Phillip: [00:49:40] Retail X I think actually is... You want to talk about Retail X right now? You want to do that?

Brian: [00:49:45] Should we talk Retail X or TELFAR? I mean, they're both interesting to me.

Phillip: [00:49:49] Here's a great segue between the two. I bought a TELFAR bag, and I wore it to Retail X. That is completely a hundred percent true.

Brian: [00:49:59] You know what's the best part is when you identified someone else who had a TELFAR bag in Chicago.

Phillip: [00:50:05] Yeah, we were pointing at each other like, hey.

Brian: [00:50:06] You gave a nod. There must be a secret TELFAR sign.

Phillip: [00:50:10] It's a Jeep wave.

Brian: [00:50:11] A Jeep wave. Exactly. That's what I was thinking. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:50:13] It's the sort of like whatever the the like challenging of heteronormativity Jeep Wave is. That's what the TELFAR people do to each other. That's what we do to each other.

Brian: [00:50:29] I don't know what it is.

Phillip: [00:50:31] Let me tell you how much I love my TELFAR bag. It's a shopping bag, by the way. It's orange. It's a medium shopping bag.

Brian: [00:50:37] It's basically the old Magento checkout icon.

Phillip: [00:50:42] Oh, don't say that.

Brian: [00:50:44] In their demo store.

Phillip: [00:50:44] I do love this color. I love this orange. I love the orange. It's a beautiful color. It's a great bag, It's a great bag. And I'm loving the bag more than I loved my backpack. I had an Away backpack for the longest time.

Brian: [00:50:59] I used an Away backpack, it's fair.

Phillip: [00:51:00] But it started falling apart and I'm loving the TELFAR bag, and it's a bit of a switch up.

Brian: [00:51:05] You know what I have to say about the TELFAR bag? It's stole my color. Look at my wall right now. What color is it?

Phillip: [00:51:12] Oh yeah, you have an orange wall.

Brian: [00:51:14] It is TELFAR orange.

Phillip: [00:51:15] Is it a TELFAR orange?

Brian: [00:51:17] I mean my camera on this particular computer is not the greatest.

Phillip: [00:51:19] The next time I come to your your place, I'm going to hold the TELFAR bag. I'm going to hold my shopping bag, my medium shopping bag, up to your wall and we're going to see.

Brian: [00:51:27] Definitely. In the right light is it is pretty close in.

Phillip: [00:51:32] In the right light we all look good, Brian. So TELFAR.TV launching. What's really interesting about our TV and sort of the, you know, the latest of the content to commerce.

Brian: [00:51:44] It's the reverse. The reverse.

Phillip: [00:51:45] Commerce to content. The commerce to content.

Brian: [00:51:49] It's the Amazon model.

Phillip: [00:51:50] Is that there's a strong push around user generated content being the cornerstone of sort of the 24 hour programing model. You know what's really fascinating is that very few companies have dared to say, Hey, we're going to do twenty four hour programing and Monocle is one of them. Monocle Radio. I don't know if you ever listened to Monocle Radio or if you ever shopped to the Monocle Store.

Brian: [00:52:15] I have, but like once.

Phillip: [00:52:15] But it's like there is like a vibe. You listen to Poolsuite, right? You're on Poolside FM. You listen to Poolside sometimes, right?

Brian: [00:52:24] I do. Yeah, it's like my sometimes work music when I'm not listening to the Strokes.

Phillip: [00:52:29] Okay. Yeah. So, you know, there are a few brands that can pull off the Hey, we're a, you know, sort of a media company now. TELFAR might be it. And I think putting it around the community of like very enthusiastic customers is uniquely TELFAR. And yeah, I'm very impressed. TELFAR may make an appearance in our Nine by Nine report.

Brian: [00:52:59] "May." Preview. Sneak peak. Spoiler. It does.

Phillip: [00:53:04] I don't know. It may. It might be in there somewhere. And I think for all of the reasons that you may think that TELFAR would be on there, it's not just because of the media launch here. I think, you know, that's only recently happened, but I also think that if there is a brand that's indicative of promoting gender neutrality and specifically sort of upending the hype culture and drop culture around trying to make something that's become like an it luxury purchase to be more accessible to everybody by promising anyone who wants to buy one to buy it at the retail price and then like, we'll ship it to you eventually... If they did that with sneakers... Who else is doing this? It's kind of incredible like inclusivity being at the core in both access and in values. And I think that that's hard to find nowadays. And so let's see what the media launch is like. I think it will be really interesting.

Brian: [00:54:03] I mean, you say like access, like it's still...

Phillip: [00:54:08] A two hundred dollar bag, Brian, but there's $200 things that people buy all the time. I have $128 pair of pants and I wear it with a $158 hoodie. I mean, it's not that far off.

Brian: [00:54:20] Here's what I will say. It's a flex for the next generation. How's that?

Phillip: [00:54:26] I'm telling you there are running shoes that are more expensive.

Brian: [00:54:28] No, of course.

Phillip: [00:54:30] It's an expensive price point. But as far as you know, purses go...

Brian: [00:54:35] Yes, no, I get it. It's a budget purse.

Phillip: [00:54:39] I think it's a very accessible purse. That's the thing I would say. You can certainly spend a lot less. But to have a bag, that's sort of a statement bag that says something and it identifies yourself with a community. It immediately identifies you with a community, like immediately. You're saying something when you carry a TELFAR bag. I mean, that's impressive.

Brian: [00:54:58] They have a secret sign that I haven't been let in on yet that they show to each other when they pass each other on the street.

Phillip: [00:55:06] The Jeep Wave. Maybe that's the title of this episode. Now, I feel like we cannot pivot to Retail X because I don't know if I want to leave it there.

Brian: [00:55:13] I kind of want to. I actually do want to pivot to Retail X.

Phillip: [00:55:17] So for those who don't know, Brian, what is Retail X?

Brian: [00:55:21] Retail X is a conference in Chicago that's held annually. It used to be called IRCE and have a couple of other different names because a bunch of conferences merged to become Retail X.

Phillip: [00:55:35] Typically 40-50K attendees, right? 250K square foot of expo.

Brian: [00:55:39] Not quite. Not quite. It was more like 15 to 20, I think.

Phillip: [00:55:44] No brother. Go look at the website. I'm reading it right now.

Brian: [00:55:47] Well, I don't know. That would be impressive. It's a lot.

Phillip: [00:55:51] It's somewhere between 15 and 40 thousand, depending on who you ask.

Brian: [00:55:55] Yes, that sounds about right to me.

Phillip: [00:55:57] It's a lot of people. It is the biggest retail trade show outside of NRF.

Brian: [00:56:02] Yes, that's correct.

[00:56:02] That happens in North America.

Brian: [00:56:04] That is correct. Yes, 100 percent. And in a very impressive venue at McCormick in Chicago. And you know, something that was actually kind of a highlight because I like Chicago, like an annual highlight for me.

Phillip: [00:56:17] It was a highlight. And it was a spring... No, no, no. It was an early summer event. It was usually in June.

Brian: [00:56:22] Yes, which was actually a much better time.

Phillip: [00:56:25] Well timed. Well timed.

Brian: [00:56:27] Much prefer Chicago in June than I prefer Chicago in August, and I can give a lot of reasons why that should be the case, especially if you decide to go for a long run in Chicago. June is much better than August.

Phillip: [00:56:40] Brian is... Let me let's take a little pause. Brian and I go for a long run along the lake, which started later than it should have. I was trying to get it for like a 4:30/5:00 in the morning start. Brian wasn't having it.

Brian: [00:56:53] We were up until like 3:00 in the morning.

Phillip: [00:56:56] I went to sleep at like 2. No...

Brian: [00:56:59] Lies.

Phillip: [00:56:59] I went to sleep earlier. I went to sleep way earlier.

Brian: [00:57:01] Lies. No you didn't.

Phillip: [00:57:01] It doesn't matter. We're not going to have this conversation on this show. But the long run along the lake. I'm from Florida, I'm a Florida runner, and I am used to running in the heat and humidity. And I had just come off of a marathon like seven days prior. So I had tons of training under my belt. And this poor guy, Brian...

Brian: [00:57:21] You didn't know if, in case you haven't heard, I'm from a place called Seattle.

Phillip: [00:57:27] Oh my gosh, he's from the Pacific Northwest. If you haven't heard yet. Anyway, it's very interesting when you like leave a weather that you've been in, like a climate you train in and go somewhere else. I feel like a superhuman when I go to where you are because the air is drier and it's cooler, right? And I feel like I can run faster and further and need less water. That's not what this whole thing was about.

Brian: [00:58:01] I feel like a baby when I come to somewhere that's hot and humid.

Phillip: [00:58:05] Yeah, it kills you. Ok, so but that is not how Retail X was this time. This was, well, I think we've kind of shored up our point of view here, this is the sacrificial lamb.

Brian: [00:58:19] Yes.

Phillip: [00:58:20] Of the return to like retail trade conferences.

Brian: [00:58:24] So here's what I think was...

Phillip: [00:58:27] Like the fact they even had this show is a miracle.

Brian: [00:58:29] It's a miracle.

Phillip: [00:58:30] It should not have happened, to be honest with you. The timing of it around the, you know, resurgence of Delta, you know, happening in late August, the fact that it even happened and there was anyone there on the trade show floor to begin with, no matter how small it was, it's less than a quarter of the size than it was in any prior year. Lots of empty space. Pretty much no retail attendees, no one from the merchant class.

Brian: [00:58:59] There were some.

Phillip: [00:59:01] As I said in The Senses, the merchant to vendor ratio was worse than the male to female ratio on Grinder. And that is just an objective fact. There were very few people in any of the sessions. It was quite empty, but we had to have one of these. Like we had to have a retail trade event.

Brian: [00:59:26] I thank you, Retail X. Thank you.

Brian: [00:59:29] Yeah, actually. Thank you.

Phillip: [00:59:30] And is Internet Retailer still involved in that show?

Brian: [00:59:33] Is it a brand still? I'm not entirely sure, but thank you Retail X and all involved, all the people involved, all the brands involved. Like that had to happen because now we can have NRF.

Phillip: [00:59:48] Digital Commerce 360 is what Internet Retailer is called now, although the IR 500 still exists. You know what was the best part of this show? It was the best partner marketing event that I've ever been to. I had so much time one on one with folks in like in the ecosystem of what makes commerce happen. You don't deliver commerce in a silo anymore. And you know, if you have a Shopify store, you've got apps. And if you've got a Magento store...

Brian: [01:00:21] A lot of time with Klaviyo. A lot of time with Gorgias. It was great.

Phillip: [01:00:25] Those are all sponsors past, present, and future of this show. But we also deploy them. We see how they are used in real world contexts every day and the fact that we got to meet with them and spend time with those folks unencumbered, you know, usually we're all running back and forth to meeting with clients, right? Anyway, I had a great time with the show.

Brian: [01:00:52] So did I.

Phillip: [01:00:52] It was a ghost town. There wasn't a lot of business to be had, but there was a lot of partner to partner conversation that we were able to engage in. And that was really valuable. And by the way, we actually helped participate with an event with the folks from Gorgias and Klaviyo who put on a breakfast, a networking breakfast. And let me tell you about this breakfast. We had 99.9 percent attendance of our RSVP list. I've never seen anything like it. We only had one person that had RSVPd who did not come to that event. And it was because she was in a car accident. She actually wound up not coming. I've never had that happen, ever. I think everybody's excited to be back at an event, no matter how big or small. And we're going to find out what happens at the next one because Groceryshop is next week, as of the time of this recording. This should come out within a couple of days. So Groceryshop still will not have happened when this lands. But there's something you know, [01:02:05] I hope we get a few of these out of our system in 2021, so that when we get to NRF that there's a little bit of an atmosphere of we're getting ready to do some business. Let's do some business. And I realize there are challenges in the world that we all need to approach this cautiously, but I'm cautiously optimistic because people are spending money, people are buying things. Retail is still happening. The venues that it's happening in are different and the way that we can hopefully rise to meet some industry challenges with greater collaboration, and what better way to collaborate than for us to be able to meet face to face with appropriate precautions. [01:02:54]

Brian: [01:02:54] Yeah, totally agree. No. And I think you're right. Like for the people that were ready to engage, which, you know, not everyone and that's OK... For those that were ready to engage, they were ready to engage. I think that's one of the things like that you're kind of getting at here is like the attendance of events was like the RSVP to show-up-rate, to actual attendance rate, was high. And I think that's because for those that are ready to get out, they are very, very ready to get out and do things.

Phillip: [01:03:33] And I am very, very ready to get out.

Brian: [01:03:39] {laughter} There's a lot of that. And enough of it where like again, I'm glad that Retail X did this. And best of luck, Retail X. I hope this was enough to give you the boost you need to be back next year because I'm actually afraid that if it didn't happen this year, it wasn't going to happen.

Phillip: [01:03:59] It's true.

Brian: [01:04:00] And I hope that it was enough of a boost to get you to the next ball game.

Phillip: [01:04:09] I think so. I think it will be in looking back. I think we won't look at Retail X as a failure. We're going to look at it's the very long, slow ramp back up into, you know, hopefully some sort, I don't want to say normalcy, I don't think we're ever going to be normal ever again. But, you know, some form of return to physical in-person. I don't know how else to say it. There's also a Women in Retail event that will be happening in October and mid-October, October I think like the 12th through the 14th or something like that in Miami. Which Miami hey, that's the place to go put an event if you want to be guaranteed that that event will not be encumbered by local and state restrictions. So there's a place that most events I think might move to in this, you know, somewhat near or not too distant future. And that's kind of filling out the docket. DTCX, which is a gorgeous event that one's going to be online only this year. Commerce Next is incredibly restricted to the fact that God bless you, Veronica, I was uninvited from the show.

Brian: [01:05:30] What?

Phillip: [01:05:30] Merchants only. Yeah, merchants only. Only merchants. Merchants only. That I've said it four times just to really underscore how they're being...

Brian: [01:05:40] I'm a little confused, I'm a little confused, but that's OK.

Phillip: [01:05:45] No, it's sponsors and merchants only. I forgot the sponsors part. And they're all out of sponsorships, so they're constricting the attendance to sort of meet the sort of indoor requirements of the space.

Brian: [01:05:59] Got it. Got it. Got it.

Phillip: [01:06:00] For New York State. That is just, you know, a thing that is unavoidable for this year. Do you think we'll see the WB research events come back anytime soon?

Brian: [01:06:14] I mean, there, I think if you go look at their site right now, I think they are planning to bring them back. I could be wrong about that. But last I looked...

Phillip: [01:06:23] Every time you say I could be wrong about that, I start wondering why you even said it because you're usually right.

Brian: [01:06:32] Last I looked I think they were planning to continue on.

Phillip: [01:06:38] So there's theoretically, it looks like there's. online only for as far as I can see, yeah, even the Future Stores event in October.

Brian: [01:06:59] Whoa, whoa, whoa. Now hold on. I see stuff that might be in-person starting in October.

Phillip: [01:07:12] Not in the United States and not in retail?

Brian: [01:07:17] Not in retail, but eTail Australia, that looks like it's in-person. That can't be right.

Phillip: [01:07:23] Good luck getting into... Basically eTail Palm Springs looks like it might be the first...

Brian: [01:07:32] Well, it's in February. That's coming up.

Phillip: [01:07:35] February of '22.

Brian: [01:07:36] That's what I was looking at, actually.

Phillip: [01:07:39] Long story short, Q1 2022, fingers crossed we'll be back to some kind of normalcy.

Brian: [01:07:49] Oh my gosh, you know that that was the last event that I attended was eTail west.

Phillip: [01:07:55] eTail Palm Springs is what we call it now.

Brian: [01:07:57] Oh, eTail Palm Springs.

Phillip: [01:07:59] That was the last event you attended?

Brian: [01:08:01] Yes, it was.

Phillip: [01:08:02] So funny Future Stores Miami was the last event I attended.

Brian: [01:08:07] I wanted it come to that.

Phillip: [01:08:10] We did a whole video thing. Future Commerce did a whole video thing there. Now we interviewed Sari Azout when she only had the Check Your Pulse newsletter. She hadn't launched her various digital properties yet at that point. Which, by the way, I miss that newsletter so much.

Brian: [01:08:26] Check Your Pulse was quite new at that point. Yes.

Phillip: [01:08:27] Was fairly new. It was fairly new.

Brian: [01:08:29] Yeah, she's amazing. Yeah.

Phillip: [01:08:33] Yep. Oh, she's incredible.

Brian: [01:08:35] Also, that was a Ministry of Supply interview. I feel like.

Phillip: [01:08:41] Yeah, we had a bunch. We had Neighborhood Goods, Ministry of Supply, and we started ramping up video operation. I would have thought 2020 was the year that we had a big video launch. I mean, we had done a bunch. We did video that in 2019, I believe, at eTail Boston. So I had thought that there were, you know, we were going to have a lot of these videos, a big push into video. But it's interesting the pandemic and sort of, you know, I tested a bunch of single camera stuff, site tear downs. You know, we were experimental last year, but I think the freedom of not traveling allowed us to, and this is I'm spinning into a promo for Nine by Nine and then we can wrap it if you want. It allowed us, like freed us up to be able to focus more on writing and developing that muscle and putting out content every single week that's, you know, high quality and then creating, you know, the space for us to have quarterly reports and to have big omnibus reports twice a year, one of which is Nine by Nine. Big, big, big hit last year. And this year we expect it to be even bigger and better than last year. So much, so much, I don't know, like really so much, really so many really ambitious swings that we took in this one in trying to make the quantity and quality so much better. Great insights and covering nine categories and nine brands a piece that will, we believe, are changing our world. So is where you can go and sign up to be one of the first people to read it and get an advance copy before it comes out to the rest of the world. And that will be very, very soon. Will be launching very soon. Go to Brian, do you have any last words? I'll give you the last word, brother.

Brian: [01:10:39] I mean, the last word is download Nine by Nine.

Brian: [01:10:43] Is that it? Okay.

Brian: [01:10:45] Get it on the advance list. I'm going to just repeat what Phillip said. I'm stoked about it.

Phillip: [01:10:52] So stoked.

Brian: [01:10:52] We put a lot of work into it.

Phillip: [01:10:55] The team is bigger than ever at Future Commerce and the folks that we have in the Future Commerce expert network. I think there's over 80 members of that, which is over on LinkedIn. But the way that you get onto the Future Commerce expert network is you can apply by subscribing to Future Commerce Insiders at And your welcome email there will give you some insight onto what you need to do to be able to apply to be in the FC expert network. But we, you know, in collaboration with them and some really, really smart folks in our ecosystem, we were able to put this incredibly comprehensive overview of 81 brands that we think are not just meaningful but world changing. I really, truly believe we're all impacted by the investments. And by the way, impacted doesn't always mean necessarily for the better. I'll leave it at that. How's that?

Brian: [01:11:52] Mostly it does.

Phillip: [01:11:54] Mostly for the better. But some things I think are notable. And but you question what the motives are, right? And so I think that that's hey, that's a delicious little morsel to whet your appetite. So maybe you should get on the advance list and find out what those brands are and why we believe that they're noteworthy. OK. We've had so many commercials in this very long episode. I love it. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce. Remember, we can all change the world because we believe that commerce can change the world. And so let's try to do that and bring about the world that we want to all live in. Thanks for listening to Future Commerce and until next time...

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