Episode 277
November 8, 2022

eCommerce is Violence

On today’s episode, Philip and Brian discuss their recent issue of The Senses, as well as some tips for preparing for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season. They also talk about the recent release of a Ralph Lauren collection in Fortnite and how Roblox has become a giant brand playground. Plus listen in for a HUGE announcement that we are really excited about!

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this episode sponsored by

Do you Insta Cop?

  • How to be prepared for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season, including some horror stories from past years
  • ECommerce itself is gamified. ECommerce best practices tend to point to how do we become more persuasive? How do we appeal to our basest of instincts like FOMO?
  • We will be publishing a Future Commerce trade show and conference guide to assist in all of your “Which shows do I go to and why?” questions and needs, so stay tuned
  • Brian has more Marshall McLuhan to talk about, which reminded him of our big announcement
  • Our big announcement is that we are publishing a 240-page journal called Archetypes, and it’s going to blow your mind 
  • Plus we are launching Archetypes at a live event centered around art and performance, including modern dance, on December 1 in Miami, FL (wait until you see the merch!)
  • Phillip is loving the brand Teenage Engineering on every level
  • Any generational brand becomes what's relevant and they find product market fit and then they find the generational brand culture fit much later in their journey
  • The guys share a little “remember when” about how hard it was to get a site back up when it crashed back in the old days

Associated Links:

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

Phillip: [00:00:08] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Phillip, and Brian, who is here today, has no podcast clamp still.

Brian: [00:01:30] Still.

Phillip: [00:01:31] Still.

Brian: [00:01:31] Ordered the wrong one. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:01:32] Tell me the story.

Brian: [00:01:35] The story? There's no story.

Phillip: [00:01:36] How did you lose it?

Brian: [00:01:38] How did I lose it? I don't know. I started taking it apart. I've had it clamped to my desk for...

Phillip: [00:01:45] Three years? Four years?

Brian: [00:01:46] Yeah. Ever. Forever.

Phillip: [00:01:47] Years and years.

Brian: [00:01:47] Forever. Forevermore.

Phillip: [00:01:48] Forever, ever.

Brian: [00:01:50] I don't remember the last time I took it off. And then, of course, I decided to go mobile and bring my whole rig with me, which was not the right move, I guess.

Phillip: [00:01:58] Looking back, bad idea, but looking forward, we're going to keep ordering random replacement clamps on Amazon until one of them fits. We haven't found the one yet, but we will eventually. If you have recommendations, drop us a line. Hello@FutureCommerce.fm, and if you want more podcasts from us, help us find the right clamp. But also for more episodes of this podcast and all Future Commerce properties, you can find them at FutureCommerce.fm. And we also give you the latest and greatest three times a week Futurism in your inbox from Future Commerce. Everything you need to know for retail, omnichannel, direct to consumer, and eCommerce. However, you sell things, and to whomever you sell them, do it better by subscribing to Future Commerce at FutureCommerce.fm/Subscribe. All right. I've been trying to get the things into the show at the beginning of the show. We're going to try that for a little while.

Brian: [00:02:50] Yeah, no more at the end. The end can just be, "Hey, goodbye."

Phillip: [00:02:53] "Hey, see you." So we're going to chat about a bunch of things today. I really liked frontloading, things we love. I'm geeking out on something right now. We'll cover a little bit of news from our recent issue of The Senses, so we'll wrap up talking a little bit about the Black Friday/Cyber Monday season, and how maybe you can best prepare. Maybe we could cover some horror stories of BF/CM past.

Brian: [00:03:17] Prepare? It's too late now.

Phillip: [00:03:17] Well, I mean, you have to prepare and steel your resolve. All the preparations should have been laid. How you can prepare yourself emotionally is what I mean.

Brian: [00:03:26] Oh, like mentally and emotionally. Yeah, that's exactly right. Every single time you have to ramp yourself up. You need a playlist...

Phillip: [00:03:34] {laughter} You need to play the hype playlist. It's 52 hours of The Strokes.

Brian: [00:03:39] That's not my hype. That's my productive playlist.

Phillip: [00:03:41] That's how you become productive. It's how you crank through a bunch of stuff.

Brian: [00:03:44] Yes. It's like instant hack. It's not instant crash, it's instant hack.

Phillip: [00:03:49] Do you have something to share this week for Things We're Loving? Things were crushing on?

Brian: [00:03:52] Things were loving and crushing on? I mean, I don't know about love.

Phillip: [00:03:59] Love is a strong word. It's a very strong word.

Brian: [00:04:00] Did you see what Ralph Lauren is doing?

Phillip: [00:04:04] I did see that. Fill us in. Give us the deets.

Brian: [00:04:06] Yeah, they did a full phygital release.

Phillip: [00:04:11] Please never say that again.

Brian: [00:04:12] In Fortnite. The whole collection. Yeah, I know. And they changed the pony to a llama.

Phillip: [00:04:18] For Fortnite. The Fortnite llama.

Brian: [00:04:20] The Fortnite llama. Yeah, Yeah. Big deal. Big deal. It's interesting. I mean, I love it's just more, it's just more content for the metaverse. That's how I feel about it. This is also on the heels of that Roblox activation as well, which is really just again, I think we've talked about this, the McDonald's Play Place. It's like grooming the younger generation to be aware of the Ralph Lauren brands and Roblox has really just become a giant brand playground.

Phillip: [00:04:57] Yeah, we actually released a Roblox brand activation tracker. You can get it over at Future Commerce. Brand new FutureCommerce.fm.

Brian: [00:05:05] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:05:05] We relaunched a bit of a redesign over there and we've got what they call in the business a Fat Footer, which are probably the two grossest words that could go next to each other in the English language. I hate feet.

Brian: [00:05:19] I mean you hate feet.

Phillip: [00:05:21] Let's not go there and the fat one at that kind of gets me. Ew. But we do have a link I think in the footer that links to our Roblox activation. It's also somewhere on the home page. But the Roblox brand Activation tracker... One thing that's interesting, so we're tracking it in real-time. Today's update will cover a couple of things. There is a Hello Kitty salon that launched, but the Parsons School of Design launched an activation with digital learning and some real-life, actual fashion designs that are launching in Roblox as digital fashion. And along with that, they produced a consumer study that showed that as much as 40% of consumers in the study said that their digital fashion, again, these are avid Roblox players, so consider the source, but about 40% of them said that their digital fashion choices more closely mirror their actual personality and ideals than their real fashion choices. And they changed them quite frequently. I have to ask you, Brian, because you have kids. I do, too. My ten and eleven year old spend probably more time in the character designer of things like Animal Crossing, Breath of the Wild, and in, say, like Roblox. They spend more time working on outfits and fashion. Pokémon Go. Huge. They spend a ton of time in the character designer way more than they actually spend playing the game.

Brian: [00:06:45] Yeah. It kind of blew my mind. So actually, this has been happening for me for years.

Phillip: [00:06:50] You spend a lot of time in the character designers?

Brian: [00:06:53] No, I don't. {laughter} My kids. Even when they were really young and I introduced Super Smash Brothers to them, I've always been like, "Guys, can we just play?"

Phillip: [00:07:03] Yeah, play the game.

Brian: [00:07:05] Play the game.

Phillip: [00:07:06] Let's play the game.

Brian: [00:07:06] It's been a million... They spend more time making their names than they do playing the game. I swear if I go in there and I look at the names in Super Smash Brothers, there are like 100 names that they've created.

Phillip: [00:07:20] That's really funny.

Brian: [00:07:20] Yeah. And they customize like every character and then they switch to like, "Wait a minute, now I don't really want to be..."

Phillip: [00:07:28] So [00:07:31] following the thread through digital fashion, it is grooming to some degree, but eCommerce has always taken cues from... Because ECommerce itself is gamified. That is actually what a lot of eCommerce best practices tend to point to how do we become more persuasive? How do we, I don't wanna say prey on people, but appeal to our basest of instincts like FOMO? [00:07:56]

Brian: [00:07:56] It's a fictional game. That's what it is. ECom, a fictional game.

Phillip: [00:08:01] But is it fictional or is it the realest? It's the deadliest game.

Brian: [00:08:06] No, I know, but I was referring back to my asynchronous fiction piece.

Phillip: [00:08:10] Oh, asynchronous fiction. I got it. That was a piece...

Brian: [00:08:11] All eCommerce is fiction.

Phillip: [00:08:16] Well, one of the interesting design patterns that have emerged, and we've talked about this a few times over the years, but video games are more closely starting to resemble actual eCommerce shopping experiences because that's the UI pattern that people expect when they're doing digital shopping. And so you go to Animal Crossing and you have a category listing page, you have a shopping bag, you have promo codes. You're shopping. It's a store. It's eCommerce. You're being immersed in it.

Brian: [00:08:54] Kids are better at shopping. They know more about shopping from the time they've spent in Zelda and going around to the different shops and price comparison shopping across different towns. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:09:09] This is why... {laughter} Price comparison shopping across different towns. That will lead us into BF/CM later. I think that it's an interesting emerging experience. You see brands like Ralph Lauren, certainly not the first to become sort of faceted in the way that it's appealing to Gen Z or Gen Alpha in this new sort of world. I think there is actually a really interesting part of this Vogue business write-up of the Ralph Lauren piece that there's up to... So Roblox has 200 million monthly active users, but 70% of that audience is 24 or younger and 60% of Fortnite's audience is 25 or younger. So Fortnite actually even tends to skew even younger, which I find to be really interesting in that it's effectively like a [00:11:31] fighting shooting... [00:11:32]

Brian: [00:11:32]  [00:11:33]Pretty violent.

Phillip: [00:11:42]  [00:11:42]It's a violent game.

Brian: [00:11:42]  [00:11:42]It's pretty violent. The younger generations, we'll graduate them from violence to building...

Phillip: [00:11:42]  [00:11:42]ECommerce is violence. There's your show title. [00:11:44]

Brian: [00:11:44]  [00:11:44]Oh jeez. No. [00:11:45]

Phillip: [00:11:49] So I think it's interesting and we'll keep an eye on it. We obviously still are. I also have one other piece of content that I want to put out in the next week because we're coming up on the end of the year is trade show and conference season will be happening in the next quarter or so. I know you don't want to think about it. Three or four months from now, you're going to be deep in the thick of it. We will be publishing a Future Commerce guide to conferences, so we're going to put that out in the next week. Bet. Count on it. So we'll be looking forward to where we're going to be next year and where you should be investing your time next year if you're going to do any trade shows or any eCommerce ecosystem conferences or expos, we'll tell you where to be. And mostly because we're going to tell you where we're going to be, but we all actually have... I've been tracking it for years. I have a comprehensive list of all of the events that I know of and will publish that on FutureCommerce.fm for everybody in the future.

Brian: [00:12:50]  [00:12:53]Another thing I love. You ready? I didn't really love the last thing, but... The thing I love is actually something that we're doing. And the reason why I bring it up now is because I actually just got a book. I did get another Marshall McLuhan. It's called From Cliche to Archetype. It's blowing my mind. I know I told you ten years of McLuhan ahead. It's still coming because I'm just realizing more and more how we just stumbled into becoming very unintentionally McLuhan disciples.

Phillip: [00:12:52]  [00:12:53]You say "we," but I think you mean "you." {laughter}

Brian: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]You as well. Archetypes. Literally archetypes.

Phillip: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]I have a McLuhan book I carry around in my bag, but it doesn't mean I am a Bible thumping McLuhan devotee.

Brian: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]You literally carry around a McLuhan book with you in your bag...

Phillip: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]I learned it by watching you.

Brian: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]I know. I know.

Phillip: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]I learned it by watching you.

Brian: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]But even if we never read a single McLuhan thing, we have unintentionally carried on his legacy.

Phillip: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]We are on the same train of thought. I understand.

Brian: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]We came up with Archetypes before I knew about a McLuhan book called From Cliches to Archetypes.

Phillip: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]Alright, give me the From Cliche to Archetypes speil.

Brian: [00:12:53]  [00:12:53]No, I just got it. I just started reading the cover. The Table of Contents is on page 161 apparently. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:12:52] {laughter} Homeboy, you have sent me multiple pictures and highlights already. Give me one nugget.

Brian: [00:12:58] No, it's the thing, you know how we were talking about how when someone reads Archetypes, our Archetypes, they're not going to read it cohesively...

Phillip: [00:13:05] We haven't actually announced that on the show yet. By the way.

Brian: [00:13:08] Oh.

Phillip: [00:13:08] We said, "Something's coming."

Brian: [00:13:09] Yeah, I know. That's why I brought it up. That's why I said, the thing that gets me most excited, it's actually not Marshall McLuhan, it's us.

Phillip: [00:13:15] Why are you putting Marshall McLuhan in front of us?

Brian: [00:13:18] Well, because I don't know. It reminded me of it.

Phillip: [00:13:24] He's much deserved, I believe. Unless he got canceled at some point. In which case, screw that guy. Amiright? {laughter} You have to be so careful nowadays. You have to hedge everything.

Brian: [00:13:34] There probably is reason for him to cancel. He was from the sixties.

Phillip: [00:13:38] Yeah. It's like who lived through the sixties and wasn't canceled yet, amiright?

Brian: [00:13:42] Apparently, Woody Allen made fun of him in one of his movies. So by association, are we canceling him?

Phillip: [00:13:48] By association, we have to cancel Marshall McLuhan. You know what I'm going to have to do? I'm going to have to put a stinger at the beginning of this, as I've been saying I would do for two weeks now. We are putting on so we are releasing a book. This is the first official announcement now 16 minutes into the show.

Brian: [00:14:04] A journal. It's a book.

Phillip: [00:14:05] We're putting together... Hey, it's a book. It's a journal. It's a 240 page compendium of interviews, essays, and some product reviews, and it's a magazine that we'll put out annually.

Brian: [00:14:17] Poetry.

Phillip: [00:14:18] Poetry, Yes, even poetry. And some beautiful and insightful, heartfelt pieces written by Brian and some other folks here on the team. Me, myself. Jesse, our Creative Director. It was a full team effort, 240 pages, perfect bound. It's gorgeous. Original photography, original artwork, fully branded. We call it Archetypes. There are 12 archetypal characters that embody what eCommerce is all about, what commerce is all about, and the roles that we all play in this world and the space that we occupy, and how each of those work together to create a story of commerce. So we are bringing that out. We will release it on December 1st. A new website will accompany it. Its ArchetypesJournal.com. We'll link it up in the show notes. Hopefully, it's live by tomorrow when you see this and when you hear it. But we are also putting on an event, Brian, at on December 1st with our friends at Adobe Commerce Services.

Brian: [00:15:15] It's a big deal.

Phillip: [00:15:16] We are putting on an event that is centered around performance and art, in particular modern dance. And so we are putting on a multi-hour event at Art Basel at The Set in Wynwood. You can get tickets to that event. DM me, and I'll give you a $50 off coupon. If you email us at Hello@FutureCommerce.fm, maybe I could even swing a little better than $50 off. But whatever you do, get in right away. Space is limited, and we're almost at capacity. So hit us up. Hello@FutureCommerce.fm. We will link the details to the event and to the journal that we're launching at the event and we have amazing merch, mind-blowing, incredible merch. We have gone all out. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, no lie, on this event and the book, and the merch. It's going to blow everybody's flipping minds. Thank you, Brian, for bringing this up. I am loving that too.

Brian: [00:17:09] ArchetypesJournal.com. I can't tell you how cool this is going to be.

Phillip: [00:17:15] It's going to blow everyone's mind.

Brian: [00:17:15] It's blowing my mind.

Phillip: [00:17:18] You launched a podcast this week. We are way down the line. We're not just a podcast. I used to get upset that people started podcasts. And like you didn't ask us to be part of what we're doing because you're doing a podcast? I want to do a podcast with you. And I'm like way down the line now. I'm like, "You're going to do a podcast. Good luck with doing that for the next six years of your life. I've been there."

Brian: [00:17:39] It's a lot. Podcasts are a lot. People don't understand how much.

Phillip: [00:17:42] They have no clue. You think we just talk into a microphone? I didn't get to the thing I love, but I do love some things.

Brian: [00:17:50] Yes.

Phillip: [00:17:50] I want to call out one brand, which is just doing it for me at the moment. They seem like they just can't miss. It's a company that makes what I would say are probably the purest expression of modern design and modern industrial design that we have at the moment. It used to be Apple and before that maybe Braun, which Braun is an industrial design, consumer product design company, super inspired Steve Jobs. I think the modern incarnation of that is this company called Teenage Engineering. Teenage Engineering started with quite impressive music equipment for synthesizer nerds, and they have transcended into really just an incredible consumer products brand. They have some really interesting stuff that they've come out with. Certainly still one foot in the music nerd world, but their very expensive design and industrial design lends itself to being pieces of art. So Teenage Engineering actually did this really amazing collaboration most recently where they are collabing to create a beer. I don't know if you've seen this, Brian. I think it will likely be in the next issue of The Senses on Friday when it comes out. But they are...

Brian: [00:19:11] It was in our chat so yeah.

Phillip: [00:19:13] Yeah. So they are partnering up with Stigberget. It's an Okinawa-style lager. And this brewery is doing a special Teenage Engineering collaboration, a clear lager in the style of an Okinawa lager. I've never had an Okinawa lager, nor a clear Okinawa lager, nor a small shortie can. {laughter} And you'll only be able to get this in Sweden starting on November 7th. If you're in and around there and you get a picture of it, or you can do a review, we'd love to host it. Hit me up. We do have some people that listen to this in Sweden. You know, I'm going to ping some people. This isn't the only thing that's really done it for me. They just came out with a merch line that includes a $250 backpack and a $129 fanny pack. And I looked at these and I very nearly bought it like insta cop. Have you ever insta copped something?

Brian: [00:20:07] No.

Phillip: [00:20:09] The art of the insta cop. There's a certain kind of person like me who will buy something that they've never seen before within mere seconds of seeing it because that's just the kind of persuadable consumer they are. It is a completely irrational way.

Brian: [00:20:26] I might have done this before.

Phillip: [00:20:28] What have you insta copped?

Brian: [00:20:29] I'm trying to think back. I feel like I have. I insta copped... Are you ready for this? It's going to blow your mind. So I'm stretching way back. The original Amazon Alexa Echo device. I was early access. I bought it at the moment it came out. I was like, this is world-changing.

Phillip: [00:20:48] Wow. And it really it actually kind of was.

Brian: [00:20:50] And guess what. This will blow your mind as well. I still haven't used that device, actually.

Phillip: [00:20:55] Wait, what?

Brian: [00:20:57] Gen 1.

Phillip: [00:20:57] You have the riginal? Is it in the box?

Brian: [00:21:00] No, I use it every day in my house.

Phillip: [00:21:02] Oh, I thought you said you haven't used it.

Brian: [00:21:04] No, no, no, I still have and use it everyday.

Phillip: [00:21:07] You have it and use it. I have my original Gen 1 as well. I did not insta cop it though. I did not do that. I very nearly insta copped a $250 backpack in $150 fanny pack from Teenage Engineering, and then common sense took hold and I said, "I don't need that. I want it. Super want it. Really in love with it. If someone wanted to buy it for me, I would be like, "Heck yeah.'" But I settled for a tote bag instead at $29.

Brian: [00:21:34] Nice.

Phillip: [00:21:34] Super, super freaking cool. I am in love with this brand on every level.

Brian: [00:21:39] Comment on this. Are all cool next-generation brands not going to start as what they become?

Phillip: [00:21:48] Isn't that every company? Every company is that. Nintendo started with making card games right?

Brian: [00:21:54] Right.

Phillip: [00:21:54]  [00:21:54]This is the story of any generational brand. They become what's relevant and they find product market fit and then they find sort of the generational brand culture fit much later in their journey. [00:22:07]

Brian: [00:22:07] It's not every brand, I think. Certain brands start as one thing. I mean, REI I guess they didn't intend to be a retailer the way that they are now, but that was just the natural growth but like natural growth out of who they were. I think some brands do kind of like just kind of naturally grow out of what they are. Going from cards to video games is a pretty big shift.

Phillip: [00:22:33] Oh, geez. I mean, well, no, I mean, it's still a game.

Brian: [00:22:37] It is a game.

Phillip: [00:22:38] It is a game. I think going from... There's one thing like producing a video game. There's another thing of being sort of like a license and IP holder. And Nintendo is a good example of having unbelievable cultural capital and having licenses and intellectual property that are known the world over. They are a culture company.

Brian: [00:22:59] If only they used them more effectively. Sometimes I feel like Nintendo underutilizes how deeply it's ingrained in our psyches. Disney is sort of the opposite of that.

Phillip: [00:23:11] Disney has clobbered you to death with its IP.

Brian: [00:23:14] Right.

Phillip: [00:23:15] And Nintendo you're like, "I don't get enough of Nintendo stuff. I don't get enough Zelda. I don't get enough Mario."

Brian: [00:23:19] Totally. Yes,

Phillip: [00:23:20] Although I feel like there's a lot of Mario in the world.

Brian: [00:23:22] A lot of Mario.

Phillip: [00:23:22] There's a freaking Chris Pratt movie coming out.

Brian: [00:23:25] Oh, that's true. Yeah. I think they're finally maybe just finally taking advantage of it. When they introduced Mario Lego that was awesome.

Phillip: [00:23:35] For sure. For sure. For sure. Okay, We did want to touch on at least one more thing before we wrap up here today. A little bit of a shorter episode. BF/CM looking backward, we've had a few interesting ones. You know, I started my career once upon a time having to manage infrastructure and custom code that was not able to internet scale by pressing buttons. You had to like physically prepare and launch. You had to buy new racks and provision new servers and have them on standby and get ready to scale out. Like it used to be on hard mode. It's kind of I know how everyone thinks it's it's hard now. I don't want to degrade anyone and say that you have it easy today, but you kind of have it easy.

Brian: [00:24:19] But you can't have it easy.

Phillip: [00:24:20] The kids have gotten soft.

Brian: [00:24:22] Yeah, they like on Shopify auto scale. You're on AWS auto scale.

Phillip: [00:24:26] Oh, no, Shopify is down. What are we going to do? You do nothing. You're just waiting for it to come back up. You know what I had to do? You know what I had to do? I had to sit on the phone with Rackspace for 20 hours. That's what I had to do.

Brian: [00:24:38] Good times.

Phillip: [00:24:40] I had to launch brand new Squid Proxies and bring on brand new hardware that had never been set up or tried or tested before for three and a half days with no sleep.

Brian: [00:24:49] When Shopify goes down, it's not Squid Proxies, it's Squid Games. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:24:59] {laughter} {clapping} That's true. At least when Shopify goes down, you can tweet, "Hey, is Shopify down for anyone?" There was no confirmation in the world of what was happening ten, 15 years ago when we were doing eCommerce.

Brian: [00:25:14] I have a hard stop. I gotta jump. I hate it. We have to pick this conversation back up on our next episode.

Speaker2: [00:25:22] We'll pick it up on the next one.

Brian: [00:25:24] More of like how old we are. Jump on the next episode. No, just kidding. We're going to talk about BF/CM. And actually, we usually do a live episode.

Phillip: [00:25:33] We usually do a live episode. We should do another one this year. We'll figure out how to do it.

Brian: [00:25:36] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:25:36] Thank you so much for listening to this edition of Future Commerce. You can find more episodes of this podcast at FutureCommerce.fm. And remember, we've got a lot of good stuff coming up. You can find out all about it and never be out of the loop. Get the new stuff when it happens, including Archetypes journal and all kinds of other things. You can find that at FutureCommerce.fm/Subscribe. Stay in the know. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Future Commerce. Be well, even if you've gotten a little soft. Even if it's on easy mode, be well.

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