January 23, 2024

BONUS: After Dark with Phillip and Brian

Our Predictions episode was packed with many great insights and discussion points, but the guys had even more to discuss regarding what 2024 has in store. PLUS: Rite Aid gets a hefty penalty from the FTC, healthcare trends, “Trendcore” and “trendwashing”, and what Phillip and Brian are reading right now.

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Our Predictions episode was packed with many great insights and discussion points, but the guys had even more to discuss regarding what 2024 has in store. PLUS: Rite Aid gets a hefty penalty from the FTC, healthcare trends, “Trendcore” and “trendwashing”, and what Phillip and Brian are reading right now.

Product is Content

  • {00:08:41} - “The terminally online people are the ones who are constantly trying to gain recognition by glomming onto other people's visible success, and Yotpo just didn't have that kind of brand affinity in social media.” - Phillip
  • {00:28:41} - “2024 is just gonna be another really rough year in health care because we've been saying forever that a lot of the technology does exist to bring some of these technologies to homes. It could be, but the problem is adoption by the ecosystem and by consumers. And that's not gonna hit in 2024. Sorry.” - Brian
  • {00:35:50} - “The Rite Aid issue {is} a great example of this where people are actually genuinely relying on technology that ultimately is able to fail in ways that no one understands. As technology becomes more and more of a black box, it's going to be harder and harder to identify what the cause of something actually is.” - Brian
  • {00:39:23} - “If you look at the Hailey Bieber dress can trend because Hailey Bieber in a red dress becomes a meme, and Shein produces it within a week, and then people are buying it within another week, and then it turns on social media as a result within a couple weeks. So the meme half-life of about a month is able to reach mass cultural and commerce adoption, and then necessarily dies to whatever is next.” - Phillip
  • {00:42:39} - “People who have made phenomenal monetary investments in the last cycle get left out of the next two cycles, and that's how you get old.” - Phillip

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Phillip: [00:00:00] Our economy depends on Marvel misogynists and Disney adults.

Brian: [00:00:06] 100%. It's real.

Phillip: [00:00:08] Our economy depends on diabetes too.

Brian: [00:00:12] Right.

Phillip: [00:00:13] The commerce must flow, Brian. Hello, and welcome to Future Commerce After Dark, a bonus episode of the Future Commerce podcast filled with a variety of content and topics that didn't make it into the main show. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:42] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:43] This episode is brought to you by the fine folks, the patrons, the subscribers, the members of Future Commerce Plus. You can get your own private feed of bonus content by joining Future Commerce Plus at You'll get ad-free episodes of the main show and all the Future Commerce properties, plus your own private GPT to search Future Commerce, borrow our brains, in our 8 years worth of content and research, and all of our reports all in a private GPT provided by ALANI from bundleIQ. That comes along with the Future Commerce Plus as well as a discount on print and merch for 15% off, which you'll need when you buy Muses, our brand new journal from Future Commerce available now. It is out and shipping as of the time of this recording January 12, 2024, and it is available right now in the Muses Bundle. And free shipping, United States flat rate shipping to Canada., and like I said, 15% off if you are a member of Future Commerce Plus. How could you possibly say no? Alright. Brian, we got a lot to talk about. We haven't done an After Dark in two weeks, and there's a lot to cover.

Brian: [00:03:00] A lot to cover.

Phillip: [00:03:01] We just finished our annual predictions episode, which was a banger and the longest episode of the podcast that I think we have ever recorded just the two of us.

Brian: [00:03:10] It was fun. All time. Yeah. I actually think Roemmele's first go with us, Brian Roemmele, the first time we recorded with him, I think that might have this beat. However, we broke that up into two episodes. So I think we've never dropped a two hour podcast before, and so that's kinda fun.

Phillip: [00:03:31] Yeah. We did. We did it, and we didn't even get all the way through our annual predictions. So we saved some of them that are kinda far afield, far afield of our typical beat. We saved a couple of those for talking about here on this episode of the podcast. So After Dark stuff, and this may actually, I think the first one of the year, I'm thinking about putting out on the main feed, Brian. What do you think?

Brian: [00:03:58] I think that's the plan. I think we might have even said that on the predictions episode that we would be doing that maybe. Maybe.

Phillip: [00:04:04] Might have even said it. So if you're listening to this and you're not subscribed to Future Commerce Plus, this is a free gratis episode of the After Dark, and you can get more of this by joining Future Commerce Plus. Okay, Brian. We gotta talk about it. And I always get in trouble when I cover this kind of content. For some reason, it creates a lot of issues for me. But our longtime partners and friends whom I have known for over 10 years, at Yotpo have finally recently addressed a longtime critique, criticism that first started with the deodorant guy, Moiz Ali, calling them out on Twitter and then a subsequent pile on that they became sort of the face of an anti-legacy SaaS.

Brian: [00:05:00] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:05:01] Platform roll up movement. They have finally addressed it by issuing revised and transparent pricing.

Brian: [00:05:11] However, so I wanna call out of things here. I feel like you have been an ardent supporter of Yotpo through this whole narrative.

Phillip: [00:05:23] That is not what some people believe.

Brian: [00:05:27] I know. That's not what some people believe, and that's because you have a dry sense of humor and you have some wit to you, and when you have wit, sometimes it gets lost, especially online. But if anyone wants to go back and review the record, Phillip has always been a supporter and really honestly, a critic of the critics in many ways. That's not to say that Yotpo pricing was perfect. Maybe. Who knows?

Phillip: [00:05:57] For sure.

Brian: [00:05:58] But I think the overly critical behavior of Yotpo has been something that you've been like, "Why is this the one? Why is this the company?"

Phillip: [00:06:13] Yeah. Why is this the company that we're using as the poster child for critique?

Brian: [00:06:17] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:06:18] Actually, I now have a thesis around this.

Brian: [00:06:21] Yeah. Let's hear it.

Phillip: [00:06:22] I actually now have a fully formed understanding of it.

Brian: [00:06:28] Let's do it.

Phillip: [00:06:28] I think it's because it's a convergence of a number of factors. I think the first thing is they had very little presence on social media. They had very little, I would say, brand presence on social media in a way that people had positive associations that weren't already customers of Yotpo. They also are a victim of their own success in that they were so early to the game, and they were one of the very first that were doing sort of the roll-up customer experience platform style acquisition to build a business, they had a lot of the legacy parts of what it took to build things in that era.

Brian: [00:07:12] Yeah. That's right.

Phillip: [00:07:12] They are pre-cloud in some respects. They are pre SMS was, SMS Bump, I think it was, that they acquired in I wanna say 2017, maybe 2018. So the addition of SMS, those things sort of came on around their core product, and that core product was always around ratings and reviews. And the chief criticism was always a little bit wrong to begin with because they were saying, they were comparing Yotpo's pricing as a platform to other standalone point solutions, and Yotpo was always co-selling in the style that the Oracles, SAPs, and Microsofts of the world have always... And they always get their own criticism... In a bundling capacity.

Brian: [00:07:57] Right.

Phillip: [00:07:57] So the sales process has always been lead with the core platform, which was Ratings and Reviews and tack on other things as a value add. And so the criticism was always disingenuous to begin with. But I have the thesis now that it was their lack of punching back and their lack of directly addressing the criticism for years that actually allowed it to exist, and they thought, "Well, just ignore it." That made them an easy surrogate also because they didn't have the social media. And I think in some ways, we have the same problem where we have a lot of attention and a lot of people that pay attention to us, but they are not terminally online people.

Brian: [00:08:41] Right.

Phillip: [00:08:41]  [00:08:41]And the terminally online people are the ones who are constantly trying to gain recognition by glomming onto other people's visible success, and Yotpo just didn't have that kind of brand affinity in social media. [00:08:54]

Brian: [00:08:54] Interesting.

Phillip: [00:08:55] That's the thesis.

Brian: [00:08:56] Yeah. That's a lot less conspiracy theory oriented than maybe some people might assume, but the hit piece was from a competitor or something along those lines.

Phillip: [00:09:09] I've heard it all. I've heard it all. I've heard people saying it was anti-Israel. I've heard everything that could be said about why this happened, but I'm glad to see them actually doing something about it. The problem is it's not gonna change, and this is the issue. You can do all the answering of the critics that you want. I don't think changing your pricing is going to change the brand sentiment because Yotpo is now the Nickelback of eCommerce. It's not that there's anything wrong with them. It's that it's an easy punchline and an effortless punchline that people have decided is the thing. And that is really mean-spirited and wrong.

Brian: [00:09:51] I think it's easy to pile on when someone's already been piled on to. The mimesis of pile on is easy to take part in.

Phillip: [00:10:02] And really hard to undo.

Brian: [00:10:04] Hard to undo, and we there's a guy that can do it. His name is Terrance Riley. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:10:13] The former CMO of Crocs

Brian: [00:10:15] Yes.

Phillip: [00:10:16] Who's now at Stanley.

Brian: [00:10:18] Now president of Stanley. Yes. Right. The thing that I think is really interesting as well, I'll add on to your theory, is that Yotpo out into the market, you're right, sort of in that pre-cloud environment. I remember the first time they went to a Magento conference, and they showed up.

Phillip: [00:10:34] Me too.

Brian: [00:10:35] And they had some of the best swag I've ever seen. It was a 5 star t-shirts for kids.

Phillip: [00:10:43] Genius.

Brian: [00:10:44] Yeah. Genius. But they started and they started as a startup. Their pricing was incredibly low. I remember when they came in and they were butting up against the giants that were there.

Phillip: [00:11:00] Yeah. The Bizarre Voices and Power Reviews of the world. Those were the ones they were charging you... My brother in Christ, if you think that Yotpo is expensive, have you seen Bizzare Voice?

Brian: [00:11:14] {laughter} I'm sure Bizzare Voice has adjusted since then as well.

Phillip: [00:11:17] They all have to. Right?

Brian: [00:11:18] They all have to. That's right.

Phillip: [00:11:19] It's the law of platforms. Right?

Brian: [00:11:21] It's the law of most services in general, software services.

Phillip: [00:11:28] It's a race to the bottom.

Brian: [00:11:29] Eventually, there are rises and falls of the pricing models, and the challengers come, the challengers grow up, and then the original, OG older companies can re-raise their prices again because they've added all these features and acquired all these companies. It's just how it goes. This is the cycle of software. It's just I feel bad for Yotpo that they took so much heat over something that's actually a pretty natural process. It's not to say that there shouldn't be criticism. I'm sure they're probably there are reasons to have criticism of pricing, and everyone needs to readjust it at some point, but it sure took a lot of heat.

Phillip: [00:12:07] This is what I think. I think the thing that might have made this whole situation difficult to navigate from a social media perspective for Yotpo is in 2021 when Shopify was making these strategic investments in Klaviyo and other eCommerce companies, they were late. I think Yotpo raised a Series E around the same time just a year before. So Yotpo is OG to the point that they are in the stage in the capital cycle where they are poised to go public. And Shopify's investment thesis at the time is we're gonna invest in these tech companies that have multiple offerings, their platforms onto themselves. They bring a lot of halo effect. They compete by investing in other ecosystems besides Shopify, but the way that Shopify wins is by partnering with those companies, and they're really smart. I think it makes it really difficult for a company like Yotpo who is now in the crosshairs. You have ardent supporters of Shopify who are now critiquing Shopify's partnership, and yet it makes it even worse because all it would take is for Tobi or Harley to say, "Hey, shut up about this." That's all it would take, and I think everybody would have fallen into line, and they said nothing. Right? It makes it even worse.

Brian: [00:13:36] I'm not entirely sure that some of the individuals involved in the criticism would even shut up then.

Phillip: [00:13:44] You're talking about Moiz Ali. That's probably true. And then there are others because he was kind of the beginning of it, and he's also the one who in a petty way, has kinda kept beating the drum over and over and over.

Brian: [00:13:57] Right. Continually. It's like years.

Phillip: [00:13:59] Nonstop. And he hasn't been a customer of Yotpo since before the pandemic. He carried a grudge. And in some ways...

Brian: [00:14:08] It's almost gotten to the point of, like, a joke. I wonder if, at this point, it's a joke to him too. I can't help but wonder.

Phillip: [00:14:14] It's a meme. It's a meme.

Brian: [00:14:15] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:14:15] And that's the sad thing here is that it's a joke, but it has serious consequences for a company. So we had mentioned this on the main pod, and this is the last, I guess, that we can talk about it. Because I did wanna cover this, but I mostly wanted to cover it in a sense of this is something that's happening, but Yotpo, if they were the first in the market to sort of be building this multipoint solution, eCommerce customer experience platform, and then they're first in the market to get the critique around their pricing, then they're gonna be the first in the market as they're readjusting their pricing for the modern era to now have to contend with this idea that the public market outcome for them is going to be a lot smaller and reset the valuation expectations from a 2021 $75,000,000 Series E. They will be the first of the eCommerce set to then have to relevel expectations with their late series investors and their late stage investors.

Brian: [00:15:22] Maybe.

Phillip: [00:15:22] And reset the valuation if the public markets are where they're destined for. And it probably has to be.

Brian: [00:16:14] Klaviyo was probably targeting a higher valuation than they got, but Klaviyo is arguably a very similar model just in a different space.

Phillip: [00:16:23] Massively profitable. Massively profitable company.

Brian: [00:16:26] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:27] Massively, I wanna say... I forget the number. I believe that the founding team still retains something like 23% ownership of the company. Wild.

Brian: [00:16:42] So that's what I was getting at. It was massively successful. That's what I was trying to say. It was a huge success. In fact, they are probably the standard bearers for what you're talking about. They got there first.

Phillip: [00:16:54] I don't think that they had a down round public offering valuation, though, from their prior round. Like, I'm thinking Instacart as being the... Yeah. Oh, sorry.

Brian: [00:17:05] Yeah. They were targeting higher, but still wildly successful. It was both going for more and still landing somewhere that I would say they're probably very happy with the outcome. And so I think maybe Yotpo will experience something similar. Maybe it won't be where they wanted it to be, but it could still be a good outcome. That's I think, the thing that I'm sure every company in that position is looking for is just something that's successful in some way. And so I think there's still hope for them. That's what I'm getting at.

Phillip: [00:17:44] Well, I'm not saying there's no hope for them. I'm saying their greatest opportunity right now in every area is going to be to reset expectations in the marketplace, and that's from their customers, their prospects, social media, their own goodwill ambassadors. Hiring the likes of Eli Weiss, who has his own media company, if you will. Having that kind of a reset and they're doubling down, what are they doubling down for for something? Right?

Brian: [00:18:24] Hiring Eli Weiss, who's very active in the very online communities.

Phillip: [00:18:32] DTC. Yeah. But, you know, it's funny they you talk about a prophet's without honor in his own country. It's funny to see how the DTC community has turned on him, and sad, actually.

Brian: [00:18:45] That was... Yeah. That was rough again. Like, yeah. Weird. Weird. Weird. People dumping on him hard. He posted something on a Monday a couple weeks ago or a week ago or something, and I was like, man, this sucks for him. He went and joined, I guess, the company that people wanted to dump on, and it doesn't matter who you are, I guess, if you do that.

Phillip: [00:19:14] If this were a regular episode that I wasn't just gonna push publish on and that we're gonna do literally any editing too, I would slot in the clip of, you know, "They were who we thought they were."

Brian: [00:19:30] {laughter} I love that clip.

Phillip: [00:19:32] He was getting into. It's not like he didn't know what he was signing up for.

Brian: [00:19:35] That's true.

Phillip: [00:19:35] It just it sucks to see how quickly the tide turns. And this is the thing that I was saying in our predictions episode about A24.

Brian: [00:19:45] Right. They could swing back around on you so fast.

Phillip: [00:19:48] It doesn't take much. It takes one person who people like to basically speak up and say, "I don't like this thing anymore." And then people, you know...

Brian: [00:20:01] It's funny. It takes just the right person, though.

Phillip: [00:20:04] Yeah. It does. Yeah.

Brian: [00:20:05] You know, Scorsese, who's considered the greatest...

Phillip: [00:20:09] "I don't like Marvel."

Brian: [00:20:10] Yeah. I don't like Marvel. No one cares. And I think Martin Scorsese may be the greatest living director, but he was the wrong voice even though he is the greatest living director. It takes the kind of person that's got heat behind them to say something like that. Not just respect, but heat.

Phillip: [00:20:36] I think I think Moiz is one of those, where he's kind of an activist investor.

Brian: [00:20:41] Yeah. That's an interesting way to put it.

Phillip: [00:20:43] That's a perspective. It's like he's acting in a way to exert some force on an investment of his. He always says that he's a Shopify stock holder. And he's been critical of Shopify, too.

Brian: [00:21:02] This is interesting. Activist micro investors. So people that hold influence, in power, in the discourse who have personal interests in companies, but don't necessarily it's not like they hold a huge stake. They can't go force the board to make a decision, but they can wield their power in the public forum. That is something that probably people who are investing talk about all the time, but I've never read about. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:21:41] Well, we'll see what happens. Congrats to the team for all the very, I would say the very earnest, I think, and very, what's the word I'm looking for? It's an earnest recommitment to trying to turn the brand of Yotpo around. But I think that you only do that when you when you have to. You have to do that. They have to do it. Right? They're now doing the thing they have to do, and that means, you know, maybe I buy more Shopify if I stock because maybe Yotpo's eyeing an IPO as IPO market's open in '24. I don't know. They could be gearing up for the next. They need to show two quarters of growth to justify it in the back half of '24. Maybe that's what they're trying to do.

Brian: [00:22:32] Yeah. Just adding logos probably would go a long way.

Phillip: [00:22:38] Oh, for sure. Let's shift gears because I do wanna talk about some After Darky stuff. You had this idea about... You had some stuff you wanted to talk about.

Brian: [00:22:48] Oh, I mean, Well, we were gonna kinda finish predictions and then maybe chat a little bit about what we're reading and listening to and watching and so on. I think that'll be fun. We didn't... We started to get into fashion and design at the end of our predictions episode, and we kinda ran out of time. What are some trends in modern work? What are some trends in health? You said that CRISPR is gonna be one of the biggest stories, which I think sort of doubles as your health trend, in many ways. I would also argue that just I wanna say something about health. I noticed recently, that our local urgent cares and prompt cares have been so full, that you actually have to call ahead first thing in the morning to even get on the list and have chance at getting into an urgent care.

Phillip: [00:23:47] I freaking hate this. Yeah. Yeah. That's true. Do you know why? Do you know why?

Brian: [00:23:52] Why?

Phillip: [00:23:54] Because you can't see your GP either.

Brian: [00:23:56] Right. You can't see your GP either. That's the other problem is you can't get into your GP when you're actually sick, when you actually have a problem, and so it's like you can't get into your GP for a month. You're now having to go to these care facilities where no one knows you. You don't have any history with them. You have no idea of the quality of care that you're receiving, and you can't even get into those when you actually have an emergency. So you have to go to the ER. But even at the ER, you've gotta wait forever unless you have something super serious.

Phillip: [00:24:32] No, Brian. No, no, no. What if I told you that the world's largest retailer can see you right now in the next 10 minutes via telehealth. What would you say then for a low monthly cost?

Brian: [00:24:45] And this is the thing. Telehealth, it almost feels like the only answer at the moment. I'm not saying it's good. I'm not saying that's what I want, and I even predicted last year that teams for health would start to take some prevalence. I feel like that's not true actually.

Phillip: [00:25:04] Overdue. Yeah.

Brian: [00:25:05] It's overdue. It's going to happen at some point, but it's not working. And so here's my going into 2024 health care prediction. It's just it sucks. It sucks so much. It's gonna keep sucking. It's not gonna get any better this year. Health care is not getting better.

Phillip: [00:25:27] That's a horrible prediction.

Brian: [00:25:27] I know. I'm so sorry. This is my darkest prediction. Maybe there's some day in which Walmart and Costco and some of these retailers and Amazon, go make a dent in this and actually do something about it and make it better. And I think about back to our Walmart Health episode, and so many things about that episode are just striking a chord with me now, and I think I know Costco made a little bit of a partnership or an acquisition in health care, this year, in 2023. I'm just hoping some of these private bets payout for consumers because right now, it's not working.

Phillip: [00:26:13] Yeah. I'm with you there. What if, and this is wild. Okay? Let me poke at this. Let me just poke at this real quick. Okay? Pandemics and Wuhan wet markets notwithstanding. Okay? Put all those things aside for just a minute.

Brian: [00:26:42] Lab leaks.

Phillip: [00:26:44] Okay. Putting all that aside isn't the number one issue with health care, generally an obesity epidemic and the lack of poor diet in Americans or in the west in general. I feel like there's a lot of comorbidity. There are a lot of things that make susceptible to disease that I feel like, hear me out. Ozempic

Brian: [00:27:19] You're looking to Ozempic to save our health care system.

Phillip: [00:27:22] I'm just saying that... I'm not saying there aren't second and third order facts that we have no idea what they are yet, and we don't know economically, you know, I was saying this on Twitter. Our economy depends on Marvel misogynists and Disney adults.

Brian: [00:27:38] 100%. It's real.

Phillip: [00:27:41] Our economy depends on diabetes too. The commerce must flow, Brian.

Brian: [00:27:49] It must flow.

Phillip: [00:27:50] We have to keep buying. But what if GLP-1s are the answer to a lot of the types of things that keep people from keeping the GPs full, that keep the urgent cares full? And over the long term, people experience, fewer of those types of issues, and it becomes a much more index for preventative care.

Brian: [00:28:17] I'm not saying you're wrong. I think you're probably in the long run, you're probably right. And we can look to innovation in medicine and in technology as probably the way to fix things. I'm saying right now the current system, I don't know if it can save itself. It's gonna require innovation to change. And that's why I think [00:28:41] 2024 is just gonna be another really rough year in health care because we've been saying forever that a lot of the technology does exist to bring some of these technologies to homes. It could be, but the problem is adoption by the ecosystem and by consumers. And that's not gonna hit in 2024. Sorry. [00:29:06]

Phillip: [00:29:07] Can I make another point hear that kinda talks back to some news? What we didn't cover really on the podcast, I don't think, but was mentioned as a story in our newsletter, The Senses, was Rite Aid, and full disclosure, formerly Brian and I...

Brian: [00:30:27] We both have worked with them.

Phillip: [00:30:27] ...worked with a company that was a service provider for Rite Aid, for its eCommerce business. So, that's full disclosure, but Rite Aid was handed a fine and a judgment by the FTC for falsely identifying people as shoplifters with artificial intelligence and closed circuit TV, and then the judgment prevented them from using artificial intelligence for 5 years, which is insane.

Brian: [00:31:02] That's okay. There could be all kinds of other penalties. Let's not use technology feels like the worst possible penalty.

Phillip: [00:31:12] Well, I guess if you're going to use and this is the After Dark, although it goes on the main feed, but this is the kind of thing I say in the After Dark that I wouldn't say normally. If you're going to beat someone up, beat up the corpse.

Brian: [00:31:26] Right.

Phillip: [00:31:27] If you're going to make an example out of someone in how things can go wrong for you and your business if technology is applied in a wrong way, especially when it's falsely identifying people of color and a certain racial profile as a criminal.

Brian: [00:31:48] Wild.

Phillip: [00:31:48] Then why not, if it's weekend at Bernie's, just, you know, shoot the dead guy, Because, it's not like Rite Aid's gonna exist in 10 years most likely, at the rate that it's going.

Brian: [00:32:00] They would need Terrance Riley to come in if they're gonna survive.

Phillip: [00:32:05] {laughter} So my point is make Rite Aid great again. That's what I'm saying. No. The point is Rite Aid and CVS and Walgreens are another place where people receive primary clinic care. It is the other thing that's propping up a place where people are receiving the kind of on demand health care that you're talking about that is not telehealth.

Brian: [00:32:30] Right.

Phillip: [00:32:31] And when you have this kind of bad behavior, well, think about it this way. It's just unfortunate because Rite Aid was trying to initiate a brand turnaround with a lot of leadership that came out of Walmart who were innovation-centric people to begin with. I don't know if you remember, wasn't the CEO of Rite made for some time was, like, an x innovation lab Walmart leader? I'm gonna say her name Hayward... Hayward Donegan.

Brian: [00:33:03] Oh, Hayward Donegan. Okay. Yeah. Nice. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:05] This is the problem with the early adoption, especially with nascent technology. Things like AI.

Brian: [00:33:10] Bleeding edge technology.

Phillip: [00:33:11] And who adopts it? Who adopts it? It's not always the innovator. They're just bringing in outside partners and outside vendors to deliver some of this stuff. It's kind of like how Walgreens put in TV screens instead of its glass case coolers. There's something in here that they're just trying because they have to do something Because this company is so aged and stuck in its old ways, they have to initiate a turnaround. They'll do anything that they can because there's an existential threat to the business. It's unfortunate because there's always an unintended consequence that sort of falls out from there. But when Rite Aid shuts down, a lot of people will lose access to primary care. That's the point that I was trying to make.

Brian: [00:34:02] If retail takes on primary care, when retail fails or has to close stores, people will lose access that they previously had.

Phillip: [00:34:12] That's correct.

Brian: [00:34:12] Yeah. That's true. Yeah. Although I think I would rather see some care come about as a result of the private market, and risk that chance because it's so bad right now. You brought up an interesting point. Technology falsely accusing people or causing problems... There's a huge scandal right now that just came out in Britain regarding the post office, and over 900 people accused were prosecuted on criminal charges, 700 of which were convicted, 236 jailed, and many more left in ruin, personal lives destroyed all because of a software glitch is what they're finding out that would transfer money to these people's accounts. This is wild to me. One, that it wasn't identified for 10 years. A pattern of this magnitude... Of this magnitude could go by.

Phillip: [00:35:24] Wow.

Brian: [00:35:24] It's like reverse Office Space. The glitch was actually AGI locking people up. Like, oh, we can find a glitch that's so unobvious that we can send people to jail. This is gonna be... I actually think that this could also continue to be a problem, [00:35:50] the Rite Aid issue being a great example of this where people are actually genuinely relying on technology that ultimately is able to fail in ways that no one understands. As technology becomes more and more of a black box, it's going to be harder and harder to identify what the cause of something actually is. And there's only gonna be a limited number of people in the world who are gonna be able to go in there, and actually uncover what's really happening. And [00:36:22] so a lot of assumptions are gonna get made in the process.

Phillip: [00:36:25] This is... Oh my gosh. Okay. All of that from a health care prediction. I hope you're wrong. How's that? Do you like that as a response? I hope you're wrong.

Brian: [00:36:40] I hope I'm wrong. I don't see it in 2024. It's not gonna be like...

Phillip: [00:36:44] Sign up for 1 Medical. Just do it. Just like, what's the deal, man? Just sign up for the thing, and then you don't have to worry about it. But that is a thought. That is if you don't go to jail first because AGI put you there.

Brian: [00:36:57] Put you there. Exactly.

Phillip: [00:37:00] I have a thought because we kinda covered fashion trends, a little bit on the main show, but I did wanna kinda come back to it real quick.

Brian: [00:37:11] I mean, you can see I'm still rocking Burleycore. I got my...

Phillip: [00:37:15] Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Did you get a haircut?

Brian: [00:37:20] No.

Phillip: [00:37:21] No? Not yet. Are you gonna get a haircut before next week?

Brian: [00:37:25] I'm gonna trim. I'm gonna have a trim. Doing a little trim.

Phillip: [00:37:27] You could do a little more than a trim.

Brian: [00:37:30] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:37:30] Yeah. High and tight, Brian.

Brian: [00:37:31] I gotta keep up my reputation as an influencer in the Burlycore scene.

Phillip: [00:37:38] {laughter} That's true. You do. You do have to do that. By the way, there's this beautiful picture of you and me at Muses.

Brian: [00:37:48] Gosh is so good.

Phillip: [00:37:49] It's such a great picture.

Brian: [00:37:50] It's the best picture of us that I could ever imagine.

Phillip: [00:37:53] It's great. And we both look so... We just look great.

Brian: [00:37:58] You look great.

Phillip: [00:37:58] You look great. We look great.

Brian: [00:37:59] Look at us.

Phillip: [00:38:00] Look at us. Who would have thought?

Brian: [00:38:01] Say it again. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:38:04] {laughter} On the fashion trend piece, we had talked about sort of nostalgia. I called it Nostalgiacore.

Brian: [00:38:13] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:38:14] But I wanna amend that. Wanna amend it a little bit because

Brian: [00:38:22] Do it.

Phillip: [00:38:23] I think that as the pendulum swings towards the fast fashion sort of being culturally acceptable and we're looking at these new business operational models and manufacturing models that enable it, I think that nostalgia is the thing that breaks through that is universally identifiable in things like social media, but I don't think that nostalgia is actually the trend. I kinda wanna go back on this a bit.

Brian: [00:39:01] Whoa.

Phillip: [00:39:03] I think that nostalgia is kind of the trend. I almost think that the trend is the trend.

Brian: [00:39:10] Trendcore.

Phillip: [00:39:11] It's Trendcore. And that's the thing that I feel maybe that's like a a universal year on year, you could make that prediction every year, but [00:39:23] if you look at the Hailey Bieber dress can trend because Hailey Bieber in a red dress becomes a meme, and Shein produces it within a week, and then people are buying it within another week, and then it turns on social media as a result within a couple weeks. So the meme half life of about a month is able to reach mass cultural and commerce adoption, and then necessarily dies to whatever is next. [00:39:51]

Brian: [00:39:52] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:39:52] And that is to me, that's just Trendcore.

Brian: [00:39:58] Mhmm.

Phillip: [00:39:58] Right? Commerce-enabled Trendcore.

Brian: [00:40:00] Yeah. TrendCore. That's good. Yeah. Commerce-enabled TrendCore. And especially given how quickly we can now manufacture and ship products. Product is content. Product is content.

Phillip: [00:40:13] Product is content. Yeah.

Brian: [00:40:14] And so I said this on an in an earlier episode. The pace of change right now is so fast and language is evolving so quickly that you could get off Twitter for a weekend, miss something, see a meme about it a week later and be like, "Gosh. I'm out of touch." I think that this is the very, very online culture is culture right now. And Trendcore has to do with the people who are leading culture are very online. And so for them, last weekend's trend was a really big deal, And it has a month, you know, maybe a month or two life, and then maybe there'll be a meme that survives out of it. Meme is like the touchpoint of that moment, as Ruby Thelot called it. These touchpoints... Or he I he didn't call it that. I guess, he identified it.

Phillip: [00:41:16] Checkpoints.

Brian: [00:41:17] Checkpoints. Thank you. Checkpoints. It's a checkpoint for a moment of communication shift within our culture.

Phillip: [00:41:26] It kinda comes in a couple waves Or maybe there's, like, aftershocks because eventually an aftershock from an earthquake, like, there's smaller reverberations, and then they're gone. So the aftershocks depending on how big the the meme was...

Brian: [00:41:44] Right.

Phillip: [00:41:44] The Hailey Bieber thing, I would just kinda come back to a couple times here in this conversation. It's so perfectly positioned for parody. So there's a meme cycle where Hailey's in the red dress, Justin looks like a slob. It happens at just the right time that people four months or five months later that dress up as a couple's costume at Halloween, make it trend again.

Brian: [00:42:17] Yeah. Totally.

Phillip: [00:42:18] Right? Those are the kinds of things that I think, just to think about it more abstractly is that is its own cycle of fashion in my, and I'm not a fashion analyst or or I wouldn't even say I'm fashionable. But when I'm looking at the way that...

Brian: [00:42:40] You're pretty fashionable. You're not Burlycore, but...

Phillip: [00:42:44] Thank you. {laughter} "You're no Burlycore influencer, but you hold your own." It makes me worry though too about the shift away, and maybe this is my age showing, [00:42:58] people who have made phenomenal monetary investments in the last cycle get left out of the next two cycles, and that's how you get old. [00:43:09]

Brian: [00:43:10] Totally. Totally.

Phillip: [00:43:11] Because I'm in a place where the resurgence of sneakers and the cultural acceptance of sneakers in all scenarios, and specifically the Jordan hit at a time when I was able to afford to buy Jordans, and I was nostalgic for them because I couldn't have them as a kid. Now I have too many of them, and nobody wants to buy them used secondhand. So I missed the off ramp. So now I have 200 pairs of sneakers. What am I gonna do with that? I'm not gonna buy goofy loafers. I would. I'd buy a goofy, Gucci... Goofy mule. {laughter} I wanna see that. Someone designed a goofy mule. I wanna buy a Gucci mule. I would. No. I'm definitely not going to now.

Brian: [00:44:05] Yeah. You're already so overinvested. You're pop committed. You went all in. You have so many shoes to wear that you have to wear them.

Phillip: [00:44:14] I love wearing my shoes. I think it's great. I don't mind making it part of my thing. But that was the last trend cycle for me before I'm an old man. That's me.

Brian: [00:44:25] Yeah. You're old man. You're gonna be a Jordan wearer till you're 80. You'll be like, "I bought these in 2012."

Phillip: [00:44:33] The trend filter cycle, though, means that my kids are still very cool at school.

Brian: [00:44:39] Very cool.

Phillip: [00:44:40] Very, very cool. They're still cool, but in about two years' time, they're gonna be like, "Dad, I don't wanna sneakers anymore."

Brian: [00:44:46] Totally. Yes. This is when they're gonna revolt against you. "Dad, you're not cool."

Phillip: [00:44:50] I'm almost there. Yeah.

Brian: [00:44:51] Man, we're out of time. There's so much more I wanna talk about.

Phillip: [00:44:56] What we've been reading. Can we cover it quickly or no?

Brian: [00:45:00] Well, I think so this gets into a little bit of the vibe that I started to get into at the end of the predictions episode, but the move to nature. So nature, I see as being a big trend in 2024. Give me more Atlanta Season 4 episode 7 and 9.

Phillip: [00:45:25] Very specific reference.

Brian: [00:45:26] Yeah. Yeah. I know. I'm serious. You should go watch these episodes. Interesting that the theme of nature and coming out of urban environment and the relationship with nature in Atlanta is so, so good.

Phillip: [00:45:38] Wow.

Brian: [00:45:39] Because nature is actually a really foreign and almost scary place. There are certain episodes where people end up in nature, and it is not good. But by the end of the show, and Season 4 is the final season of Atlanta. Two of the most powerful episodes of that entire show in my opinion are the two main characters, so Earn and Paperboy, they each have their own episode where they go out into nature. They move out of urban into a natural experience and what they have to come up against in that. And Earn finds peace. And, actually, I think also Paperboy also finds he has to it's just there's a real struggle and a strain against it, and he overcomes that in the end. And it's some of the most powerful TV I've ever watched, I think. It's so good. I see that as being the answer to a lot of technology that people see coming up here, and that's why I believe that a lot of technology is gonna eventually and maybe it's not a 2024. We are gonna see a lot of gadgets, but I think designed into things. The Luddite trend or the move back toward nature or getting into nature is essential and will be a bit of a counter to the amount of insane technology that we're up against. I still am having a hard time figuring out which professions you can actually avoid software, and it's just unbelievable.

Phillip: [00:47:29] I love this content piece, by the way. I'm excited to look through some of that research too because I was thinking about this. I can't think of a piece of the economy where software has not already made some sort of an impact even in a non obvious way. Just communications, like text messaging for workforce management is its own way. There are very few truly unplugged, truly analog careers that I think exist in the world. So, maybe the Wuhan wet market, maybe. But that's about the only thing I can think of.

Brian: [00:48:13] I said western. I said western.

Phillip: [00:48:15] You did say western.

Brian: [00:48:16] You can find analog, you know, all over the world, but in America.

Phillip: [00:48:20] Can I cover a few things on my reading list, before we sign off?

Brian: [00:48:24] I've got one too. Go ahead.

Phillip: [00:48:27] Well, then I'll rapid fire. A few things on my nightstand right now that are blowing my mind. And I kind of read... I've been doing this thing. It's terrible. This is so ADD of me. I buy, like, 6 books.

Brian: [00:48:43] Yep.

Phillip: [00:48:43] And I read, like, chapter 1 and 2 of all of them.

Brian: [00:48:46] Yep.

Phillip: [00:48:47] And then I kinda find the one that gives me energy, And I that's the one I dig into.

Brian: [00:48:52] Exact same thing, man.

Phillip: [00:48:53] Oh, okay.

Brian: [00:48:54] Exact same thing.

Phillip: [00:48:56] We are both the worst.

Brian: [00:48:57] This is why I like short stories because you can actually get the complete story, and then you can come back to it. It's not like you have to pick up the narrative. I think short stories are phenomenal.

Phillip: [00:49:07] I agree, but I don't read a lot of short stories. I have also been doing this thing where I had racked up last year a lot of audiobook credits. I didn't do a lot of, like, big trail runs last year. You know, usually, I'll do an ultra or two in a given year, the last 6, 7 years. So I didn't have a lot of running training time where I would be listening to an audio book, which is typically the thing. So I'd racked up all these credits. So what I'd done with a few books at the end of 2023 was I bought the physical book. II had Kindle credits from doing delayed Amazon spend, and I had banked a bunch of Audible credits. So I found multimodal reading actually really awesome.

Brian: [00:49:55] My wife and kids do this for a lot of the books that they get through.

Phillip: [00:50:00] It's so good.

Brian: [00:50:01] It's helpful because you can take it through your whole journey. If you're running, if you're in the car, if you're home. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:50:07] Totally. Yeah. And also revisiting content doesn't feel like I'm going backwards and doesn't feel like I'm frustrated by it because Kindle is searchable.

Brian: [00:50:19] Right.

Phillip: [00:50:20] Audible, I can just listen to and rewind. I can go back and visit. I can clip it, which is really cool, clipping the Audible content. Anyway.

Brian: [00:50:28] So cool.

Phillip: [00:50:29] Here's what's on my nightstand, and things that I'm currently making my way through slowly in parallel. Alain de Botton wrote a book in 2008 called The Architecture of Happiness. This book, the writing style of de Botton blows my mind. And this is how broken my brain is. I'm like, oh my gosh, I need to make a prompt to write in the style of Alain de Botton because she's so very good. So illustrative. Paints incredible visuals but does so in a nonfiction, you know, teaching you about a specific subject, but by doing so in almost visual parables and first person perspective of things that are inanimate objects, which is just one of my favorite things ever.

Brian: [00:51:31] I love that. I love that. So cool.

Phillip: [00:51:33] I love that. So very, very cool, The Architecture of Happiness. Blowing my mind. And that book, by the way, friend of the pod, and Co-Founder at Springy Jeans, Giancarlo, he doesn't like being called that. Geo.

Brian: [00:51:50] Geo.

Phillip: [00:51:51] I posted about that on...

Brian: [00:51:55] By the way like he's an incredible human. Incredible human

Phillip: [00:51:59] The best of humans. No one wears a fishnet shirt like that man. I'll tell you right now. Okay.

Brian: [00:52:09] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:52:09] Anyway, he's he's a beautiful human being. We love him. We have to look him up when we're in LA next time.

Brian: [00:52:17] Oh, absolutely.

Phillip: [00:52:18] We'll be there in February, actually, for eTail West. We should, hit him up. Actually, if you're listening to this Geo, just I'm sorry. I didn't call you back. Hit me back. He said this book rocked his world, and suggests it to everybody. Just quickly winging through the rest here. Abstraction and Empathy. Contribution to the Psychology of Style by Wilhelm Wodinger, is an incredible read, and sort of talks about basically the history of abstraction in art, and it talks a lot about things like optical recognition reproduction. Even though it's written in 2014. It talks a lot about basically I would say, computer reproduction of artwork, which I think is really interesting and prescient. Trekonomics is the third, by Manu Saadia and is sort of the exploration of how economics work in Star Trek, which is a super nerdy read, but I really wanna learn more about it without me having to revisit all of Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and the original series.

Brian: [00:53:32] Yeah,

Phillip: [00:53:32] And then all of the ones that I just have never seen.

Brian: [00:53:35] Janeway forever. Right?

Phillip: [00:53:38] What was that? Which series would that? Remind me?

Brian: [00:53:42] That's, oh my gosh. How am I blanking on this? Shoot. What's it? It's not Deep Space. It's the one after Deep Space, or parallel to Deep Space 9. How am I forgetting this? I've watched a lot of it.

Phillip: [00:53:54] Voyager.

Brian: [00:53:56] Voyager. Voyager.

Phillip: [00:53:57] Oh my gosh.

Brian: [00:53:57] My brain.

Phillip: [00:54:00] Yeah. You know, Delta Quadrant forever. Dude, I'm really interested in looking at how these fictional universes realize commerce,

Brian: [00:54:14] Well, inspired Amazon, I guess. I mean

Phillip: [00:54:17] But that's the kind of thing that I'm really excited about, and I actually have a running list right now of other series of fiction and their commerce like, their economics. What are the forms of commerce that exist in those economies? How do the characters' lives unfold around transactions and consumer behavior. It's really thing stuff. Can't wait to get in more in it. And I'll give you a little more. Also looking forward, next Tuesday, I get an advanced copy of Kyle Chayka's Filterworld, which I'm really excited about.

Brian: [00:54:55] That is exciting. Oh. He's a pretty smart guy. I'm reading Guy de Montepant's short stories right now, which I've been working my way through for a while, but I'm a huge fan of them, and he's just so poignant. He's so poignant. And then, I'm working my way through Probes, which is a Marshall McLuhan book. Yeah. It's very good.

Phillip: [00:55:18] Probes.

Brian: [00:55:19] Yep. Yep. And that's it. I can't recommend them enough. If you read those books, you will learn so much. It's wild.

Phillip: [00:55:30] Probes is a little heavy for my carpal tunnel. {laughter}

Brian: [00:55:32] It's a heavy book, but it's easy reading. It's easy reading. It's very easy to get through.

Phillip: [00:55:39] I'm at the age where I have to think about my wrist when I'm gonna read. {laughter}

Brian: [00:55:44] You're like, man, I can't pick this up. It's heavier than my dumbbells are.

Phillip: [00:55:51] That's why I run instead of lifting heavy. I'm like, "But my shoulder and my wrist."

Brian: [00:55:57] We should go. We're, like, 10 minutes late for a meeting.

Phillip: [00:56:01] Oh shoot. Okay. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the After Dark. Thank you so much to our members at Future Commerce Plus for making this episode happen. If you wanna get your own private feed of ad free episodes and 15% off merch and print from Future Commerce, which you can use on the brand new Muses Journal. That's You can get all of that by joining the membership, Thank you for listening to this episode of the After Dark.

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