Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11
Episode 211
July 2, 2021

Insights Per Minute

How are cows like brands? What is a merchant vs a retailer? How is Shopify creating market pressure with its most recent announcements? Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

The Multiverse is Real 

  • “Brands are like cows because it’s very easy for them to understand how things affect them, but it's very hard to see how things in the world affect others.” -Brian
  • Technology can act as a containing—or limiting—factor. It can enable cost savings, but it can also be an enabler of more meaningful interactions. 
  • Shopify is looking to the future as a global empowerment of a merchant class
  • Digital channels for legacy retailers boomed during the pandemic. Why? Default behaviors are latent. We will always regress to defaults, especially in a retail context. Best Buy is a great example of this; as are Lowes and Home Depot. Digital success was bolstered by physical defaults. 
  • For the first time in a decade, eCommerce is facing headwinds. Why? Because traditional brick and mortar retailers are experiencing tailwinds due to reopening. The roaring twenties will prove to be difficult for eCommerce businesses.
  • Where is luxury headed? Luxury is the silence of money and not constantly being barraged with ads. 

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Phillip: [00:00:14] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, or might I say "How now, brand cow?"

Brian: [00:01:59] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:02:00] I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:02:01] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:02:02] Brian hates The Multiverse. That's what I found out right before I pressed record.

Brian: [00:02:06] I was literally in the middle of a sentence, and Philip is like, "Stop. I'm pressing record before you finish that." And I was about to say...

Phillip: [00:02:12] Why do you hate The Multiverse Brian Lange?

Brian: [00:02:14] As much as I hate The Multiverse, I do think that our next high concept show that we do should include The Multiverse. But I hate that.

Phillip: [00:02:21] I mean, the next model... We haven't done... Well we've done a concept show. We've done a concept show. That's a Step by Step was.

Brian: [00:02:28] Yeah, I mean Step by Step is a, it's a deep dive. It's a great deep dive.

Phillip: [00:02:33] I said "was." You said, "is."

Brian: [00:02:33] I wouldn't call it high, high concepts. I wouldn't call it the high concept show.

Phillip: [00:02:38] Not a high concept. I've done a show, you know this. I did a show for many years prior to COVID called Merchant to Merchant, where we got retailers to sit down in a place of retail and talk about... Wait for it.... Retail. It was amazing, and it was called Merchant to Merchant, which is interesting because that is a very nice segue into a Twitter poll I saw recently, which was basically arguing what do we call online store operators? Like is brands the right term? I don't know if that's correct. Is it merchants? Like is it shops? What do we call purveyors of goods in a digital space?

Brian: [00:03:28] So for a long time I believed in the term merchant.

Phillip: [00:03:34] But I think that's the right term, isn't it?

Brian: [00:03:35] Yeah. So it covers everything. It covers... That's why it's the right term, because it's so generic.

Phillip: [00:03:40] Because brand doesn't cover everything.

Brian: [00:03:41] Right. Brand doesn't cover everything. A retailer does not cover everything. But merchant kind of does. But the word merchant just doesn't... It doesn't really inspire me. Like the word brand is more inspiring. Even the word retailer is like...

Phillip: [00:03:58] Hold on. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, retailer has its own connotation. Right? Like these all have definitions. This is why we need to put out a glossary. In one version of The Multiverse, which you hate Brian Lange...

Brian: [00:04:12] I hate The Multiverse. So over it.

Phillip: [00:04:12] Oh my gosh, why do you have to hate it so much? What's that about?

Brian: [00:04:16] It's super played out, first of all.

Phillip: [00:04:19] What did The Multiverse do to you?

Brian: [00:04:21] It's assaulted me in every movie I've ever watched recently.

Phillip: [00:04:27] But that's literally the plot of Loki is to get rid of The Multiverse.

Brian: [00:04:31] Yeah. Yet another... Oh...

Phillip: [00:04:32] Are you loving that?

Brian: [00:04:32] Well, hold on. Wait a minute.

Phillip: [00:04:34] They destroy The Multiverse at every turn. That's what they do. That's their whole job.

Brian: [00:04:38] Yes. But The Multiverse still exists. Like it's still coming at me.

Phillip: [00:04:42] No. It's trying to exist and they're like No. One timeline, sacred timeline.

Brian: [00:04:47] Sacred timeline.

Phillip: [00:04:48] You would worship... In another version of The Multiverse. You would worship, you know, the time lords, the time keepers.

Brian: [00:04:54] That assumes The Multiverse exists.

Phillip: [00:04:57] No, I'm saying that the timekeepers are ensuring that The Multiverse does not exist, which should be your favorite thing ever.

Brian: [00:05:04] But the possibility of it existing is actually just as annoying to me.

Phillip: [00:05:09] Ok, we're having three conversations. So back to the brands thing. In some existence, we have created this glossary that we've toyed around with and it would be beautiful to our creative directors delight, Jesse Tyler, it would be a physical hardcover book. And it would be, you know, just beautiful paper and it would come cellophane wrapped and it would have an ISBN and all that stuff.

Brian: [00:05:34] Love you, Jesse.

Phillip: [00:05:34] And he'd freakin love it. He would love it so much. But we've created this glossary and the glossary would say Brands is basically OK, branded manufacturers. Retailers are multibrand retailers of the old school variety. And now, you know, doing that online, there's marketplaces, right? There's merchants. Merchants encompasses all of them because they all sell something. Right?

Brian: [00:05:59] Right. So here's here's my take. Like, fine use merchants when you want to use merchants. If you can refer to a brand, refer to a brand. If you can refer to a retailer, refer to a retailer.

Phillip: [00:06:12] Because language is important and it has meaning. Words mean things.

Brian: [00:06:15] Yes. So if you can be specific, be specific. Sometimes if you want to refer to both brands and retailers, you could say merchants or you could say brands and retailers.

Phillip: [00:06:26] Are you going to permute every single possibility? We get it. This by the way, this is another midnight recording of Future Commerce.

Brian: [00:06:34] Yes. So good.

Phillip: [00:06:36] So you hate The Multiverse. And at the same time in this version of our reality...

Brian: [00:06:46] Dang it. No.

Phillip: [00:06:48] No. I'm saying in the one that we inhabit, the only one we know, the sacred timeline Brian Lange, {laughter} you took to our blog, you wrote an essay recently about how brands... You know, you said brands. So that's why I'm having this conversation.

Brian: [00:07:10] I said brands because it made sense in the title.

Phillip: [00:07:13] How brand... Ok.

Brian: [00:07:14] It was cute. It was a cute reference. I mean, I probably could have said "How now merchant cow." But that didn't have the same ring. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:07:21] {laughter} Doesn't have the same ring. I'll give you that. Yeah, "How Now Merchant Bovine..." You can't say cow, because that means something. If you say bovine encompasses everything. {laughter} Wow, it took a little while for me to get there, but that's I that landed exactly the way I wanted it to.

Brian: [00:07:49] I laughed for real. That was a real laugh.

Phillip: [00:07:52] Pretty proud of that one. How our brands like cows? How is it raven like a writing desk? Is what Lewis Carroll would say. How are brands like cows, Brian?

Brian: [00:08:02] Brands are like cows because it's very easy for them to understand how things affect them. Technology affects them, but it's very hard for them to see how things in the world like affect others.

Phillip: [00:08:18] And this is based on your observation of cows?

Brian: [00:08:21] Correct. Based on my observation of cows.

Phillip: [00:08:22] How often do you go into contact with cows?

Brian: [00:08:24] And merchants or brands, whatever you want to say.

Phillip: [00:08:31] Potato, potato.

Brian: [00:08:31] Basically, the idea is that it's very easy to look at... Like US retailers when they go to make purchases with technology in particular, they're constantly thinking about costs. They're thinking about how does this technology, like how can I see it measurably impact me in this moment? And costs are such an easy way to see that. They understand when something's going to make them more efficient. And I should say merchants. It's not just brands.

Phillip: [00:09:02] It's not brands, not retailers. You actually merchants because you mean everybody.

Brian: [00:09:07] Correct.

Phillip: [00:09:07] So and this is based on your experience of a decade of doing solution consulting for eCommerce builds of all sizes for every kind of merchant.

Brian: [00:09:19] Correct. Yeah. And spending a lot of time talking to commerce, technology companies.

Phillip: [00:09:25] People in the community.

Brian: [00:09:26] Correct. Exactly. So that that's the thing is like if you are like a growth tool, it's a lot harder to sell in than if you are a cost cutting or a clear ROI type tool that's not...

Phillip: [00:09:42] Oh ok. I didn't take that away from the... That wasn't the thing I read immediately in the article. The thing that got me in the piece, which by the way you can find right now at and sign up for Insiders, which is our weekly essay and it's our memo, it's our letter to you of the thing that we think is the most important thing that you should know about what we're observing in the world from our vantage point, which, yeah, I think is worth your time. So sign up at and you'll never miss another piece of bovine prose that Brian will no doubt bestow upon all of us.

Brian: [00:10:23] Prose or poetry, potentially.

Phillip: [00:10:24] It's true prose and poetry. In fact, we have had both poetry and sonnet in Brian's heyday and a lot of philosophy. It's amazing and very worth your time. The thing I took away from your article, sorry, are that we've now said essay, blog, article, letter, and memo, so... {laughter}

Brian: [00:10:51] I mean, which one is the most...

Phillip: [00:10:53] This is like the vocabulary episode.

Brian: [00:10:56] Which one is the most encompassing of all of them?

Phillip: [00:10:56] Which one means all of them?

Brian: [00:10:59] Yes. Yes.

Phillip: [00:11:00] Letter. I don't know. {laughter}

Brian: [00:11:00] It's prose. Prose. It's prose. Yes.

Phillip: [00:11:03] It's prose.

Brian: [00:11:04] No wait... That doesn't encompass poetry.

Phillip: [00:11:05] OK, well...

Brian: [00:11:07] Or writing.

Phillip: [00:11:08] Whatever. Whatever this particular piece was. This piece.

Brian: [00:11:10] Yes.

Phillip: [00:11:10] This one piece.

Brian: [00:11:11] Piece. This pretty encompassing.

Phillip: [00:11:13] Piece is good.

Brian: [00:11:13] Merchant is to piece as to...

Phillip: [00:11:14] Our transcriptionist is killing us right now. Kristen, I'm so sorry.

Brian: [00:11:20] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:11:20] Yes. So here's what I took away. There's a fence on this property. I was trying to get you to the sort of like set up the story.

Brian: [00:11:33] Oh yeah. You tell the story.

Phillip: [00:11:33] And the thing that you noticed was your kids come out to this property where there are cows and the fence exists for more than one reason. One, it keeps the cows sort of concentrated into a specific space. Right?Because they could wander all over 10 acres.

Brian: [00:11:56] Correct.

Phillip: [00:11:56] But two, it also protects your children. Right?

Brian: [00:12:03] Correct.

Phillip: [00:12:03] From getting too close to the cows. You would never let them that close if there wasn't a fence there. So the fence enables a more meaningful interaction between your kids and the cows.

Brian: [00:12:11] Correct. That was like my third point.

Phillip: [00:12:13] That to me, that blew my mind because technology can be something that can contain, right?

Brian: [00:12:22] Yep.

Phillip: [00:12:22] But it can also be something, which is the cost saving piece. But what merchants may not be understanding is that that same technology could also be an enabler to allow a more meaningful interaction, which is the thing that your kids or consumers or customers in our very tired analogy here that we've stretched a little bit is the thing that they actually value. They don't care about your operational efficiency. They don't care that your cows could be wandering all over 10 acres. They don't. They don't care about that at all. What they care about is they want to have this experience.

Brian: [00:12:59] They need a fence or they're not going to let their kids near the cows.

Phillip: [00:13:04] That's right.

Brian: [00:13:04] I'm not going to let my kids near those cows without a fence.

Phillip: [00:13:07] Yeah. Big, big, big cows. Bovine. Anyway, great article, wonderful insight. Something I took. And there's more in there, by the way. And it really kind of extolls a bunch of different points of view about the buying journey is like nobody's really honest with themselves in the way that they buy software, which I think is actually a really astute observation. It's like the first conversation is usually like high level and fluffy. The second conversation usually is the thing that's like, OK, well, actually if we can afford X, Y and Z.

Brian: [00:13:39] Yeah, yeah. All of a sudden we like we move into like the oh wait, we don't really want to invest in those things.

Phillip: [00:13:47] To lay upon you another tired analogy, which is not something that I had planned on talking about, but we just instituted an allowance with my kids. Do you have an allowance with your kids?

Brian: [00:14:01] We do like a chore system, so not quite an allowance. But like if you complete these tasks, you get this money.

Phillip: [00:14:09] Oh, OK. That's literally the definition of an allowance.

Brian: [00:14:12] Oh is it? I thought of the allowance which is like, oh, you get this money.

Phillip: [00:14:16] No, I mean you, I mean I guess that's how it worked in my house.

Brian: [00:14:24] Yeah. That's how it worked in my house, too.

Phillip: [00:14:24] I'm sure that maybe there's a different... Yeah. I don't know, maybe there's different systems out there. OK, so we instituted an allowance system. My kids get money for doing chores or helping out or something. Various tasks. What do my kids do with that money? My children...

Brian: [00:14:48] This is an article all unto itself.

Phillip: [00:14:51] I think it is actually.

Brian: [00:14:52] We should collab on this one because I think our kids might do different things with the money.

Phillip: [00:14:57] I have to wonder what twenty five year olds who are single and live in New York City think about our writing. This is probably a limiting factor.

Brian: [00:15:06] We write about cows and children.

Phillip: [00:15:08] Cows and children. In a previous version of this podcast, this episode title would have been cows and children. And literally no one would have listened to it. And that is not why it will not be titled Cows and Children.

Brian: [00:15:23] I don't know. I'm kind of into that.

Phillip: [00:15:23] You're into it. Oh, you're like, oh, gosh, cue that up right now.

Brian: [00:15:26] Cows and Kids. It's an alliteration, no less.

Phillip: [00:15:28] Cows and Kids.

Brian: [00:15:31] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:15:31] Hmm. Hmm. I like it. OK, so.

Brian: [00:15:40] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:15:41] Anyway. [00:15:43] My children, they receive this allowance and there really isn't a consideration of a thing that they want most that they're, like an aspiration. The thing that's immediate to them is "I have five dollars. What can I spend five dollars on?" And that mindset, I think, is very akin to what I have also witnessed in the way that eCommerce investment is made is "I have seventy five thousand dollars, what can I get for seventy five thousand dollars?" And in reality, what I would prefer for my kids and I guess clients to also, the kind of mentality I'd like them to have is "Why don't you stop thinking about the money that's available to you and start thinking about what is most fulfilling and what would be most beneficial to you? What is the thing you want the most?" Because that conversation will lead you into the next piece, which is how can we afford that? Or what is it going to take to get there? And then you set up things like goals and then you set up things like, "Oh, dad, maybe we can do extra chores?" "Dad, how can I earn more money?" You start getting in a different mindset. [00:17:13]

Brian: [00:17:13] So good.

Phillip: [00:17:14] I hate to be like the TV preacher, but this poverty mindset we have in eCommerce is incredibly limiting. It really is because people operate their channel. I'll get on a soapbox for a second. [00:17:26] People operate their channel from a mentality of "This is all we have to work with." And the fact is that if you could actually... I've seen it time and again, you can earn your way and prove your way into more CapEx and additional OpEx if you can prove that you can actually grow the channel. So instead of thinking of backing into everything as "This is my budget," what you should be asking yourself is "How do I get more budget?" [00:17:49]

Brian: [00:17:53] Yes. Ok...

Phillip: [00:17:54] That's how it should be.

Brian: [00:17:55] I love where this is headed and I want to keep heading there. But something you said triggered something else in me. So you're tired analogy that I want to pile on top of. I'm going to actually talk about my kids and the way that they spend and I'm going to leave that directly is something you tweeted not long for now. And actually, we weren't planning to talk about this, but I think this could be really fun. So my kids, when they go purchase, so I have four children and they act like this collective to take down their parents often. Like they gang up.

Phillip: [00:18:29] Well you have so many of them, they are literally like a cult.

Brian: [00:18:31] Oh man. So oftentimes they'll get like caught up in similar ideas of things they want to do and different kids will kind of take the lead on things. And like, they actually will the way that they purchase things is they'll be like, "Hey dad, how much does X cost on Amazon?" And then I'll be like, "OK, let me go check." And then they look it up and they're like, "Oh, it's only forty dollars? OK, all right, everyone get to work. We know what chores we need to do. We can pool money and we could buy it." And so they like all worked together to get after something that they really want to have. So like recently it was rock chisels, like they really wanted rock chisels because my kids are really like... I'm not even kidding you. They are so into rocks.

Phillip: [00:19:13] I know. I've heard this from you already. This is like the best thing ever. My kids are like, "Let's go to the dollar store and find some crap we can buy."

Brian: [00:19:21] They do that, too. But occasionally they get these like big hype train. Someone leads that charge.

Phillip: [00:19:27] How much does a rock chisel set go for?

Brian: [00:19:29] I think it's like fifteen or twenty dollars, you know.

Phillip: [00:19:33] So they group bought. First of all, we're going to have to come back to the group buy but yes.

Brian: [00:19:37] Yeah, that's what I'm going to. We're not even coming back to it. That's what you tweeted. I think you're totally right. I think that group buy is actually completely underrated. And I know this is a complete switching topics here, but I thought that was...

Phillip: [00:19:51] He's these midnight podcasts are like only stream of conscious. So I hope everybody's buckled in. This is only... You're at minute eighteen. You're like IPMs, Insights Per Minute, all time high right now on Future Commerce. So go Brian. So group buys.

Brian: [00:20:08] Group buys. You tweeted out like "Group buys. Totally underrated experience. Who wants to build an app around this?"

Phillip: [00:20:15] Excellent, excellent UI experience. By the way. This is where... Ok...

Brian: [00:20:21] There it is. Let's go.

Phillip: [00:20:23] So there it is. There it is. Rock chisels.

Phillip: [00:20:25] We have this... There's this really interesting thing that I feel like maybe I'm the only person who does this. The Uber app. I was in all day meetings today. All day from literally six o'clock in the morning...

Brian: [00:20:46] It's like your everyday.

Phillip: [00:20:48] I know, but...

Brian: [00:20:49] It was extra bad today.

Phillip: [00:20:51] It was extra bad today, six a.m. to six p.m., I had to get up, you know, way before the sun, go into an office because we're back, baby.

Brian: [00:21:03] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:21:03] Offices are back. Offices are cool again. People are in person. You can see their mouths. It's crazy.

Brian: [00:21:09] We did a happy hour not long ago.

Phillip: [00:21:11] We did actually. We'll talk about that.

Brian: [00:21:12] It was amazing.

Phillip: [00:21:12] We'll talk about that when we come back after the sponsor break.

Brian: [00:21:14] Ok.

Phillip: [00:21:15] So I had to go to an office today. I didn't even have time to stop for coffee. So what did I do when I got to the office? Who delivers coffee? Uber Eats delivers coffee. I'm going to have a coffee and a pastry delivered to my office. It's going to be like 2019 all over again. It's going to be amazing. And so I order on the Uber Eats right? In the Uber app you have Uber Eats, and I go into the coffee and there is an icon. And this is the thing that I don't know if anyone else does. There was no callout. There was no like guided walk through. It was a random UI like feature, like top right, top of the box, a plus sign next to like a little human figure silhouette, and I'm thinking to myself, "What does that do?"

Brian: [00:22:15] I love that when you're in an app and you're like, I wonder what this button does.

Phillip: [00:22:18] I did like, I just looked at it and I was like, am I going to add someone to this order? Like, am I adding? I thought intuitively this must be a group buy option, but it wasn't prompting me for anything. I'm just like curiosity is going to make me click on this thing, or I guess tap. So I tapped on it and it brought up a really slick UI that was "You are here, you're ordering from this restaurant, which is over here. Would you like to start a group purchase and would you like to set a spending limit for your group purchase?" And my mind was blown because group purchases have been around forever. I did a talk which has been referenced here on unbelievable numbers of occasions. The talk that launched this podcast was a talk I gave in 2015 called The Future of Commerce, and that talk mentioned Alexa and Slack as brand new areas of engagement and opportunities for commerce. We didn't have the word conversational commerce just yet. This is like late 2014 or early 2015. And we didn't have the workforce productivity tools that we have today. And I surmised, hey, like buying over text message is going to be a huge thing. Concierge buys are going to be a huge thing. Buying over, buying group buys in Slack is going to be a huge thing. Buying with your voice is going to be a huge thing. All of these things have had like false starts, but I think we're finally at a place where they can actually happen. And it turns out, Uber has been doing this for a long time. It also turns out that companies like Hero, Alistair Crane, CEO, he's been on this show before. Hero is doing this to some degree and facilitating group buys in a live stream context. We've had we had Liyia Wu from ShopShops on here. They're effectively engaging in group buys through live stream, but not quite the same thing that I'm talking about. It's a modality that is often overlooked that is a thing that people do in this world that I feel like could be accelerated with digital commerce if you provided the right sort of user experience. And we just don't have enough of those.

Brian: [00:24:43] That tweet got me fired up. I agree with you.

Phillip: [00:24:47] It should. Freaking amazing.

Brian: [00:24:48] I think groupies are coming. In fact, we're seeing them. We're just not calling them groupies with like NFTs and being able to split things up into fractional ownership. We talked about this actually quite a bit.

Phillip: [00:25:04] Yeah.

Brian: [00:25:04] We just called it something else. But when you were like, wow, this group idea... It's like everyone's getting kind of their own thing, but it's they're all kind of going in on it at the same time. I just think there's a lot of opportunity to sort of reset expectations about what it means to make purchases and how to get people on board with things and come together and provide shared experiences. And there's just a lot there that I think could be explored by use cases that are probably a little bit less obvious than Uber eats app.

Phillip: [00:25:42] The most, the least obvious, infinite, upside... Infinite, and I mean literally infinite. Infinite upside, Brian Lange, is having a group buy that you can share with another version of yourself in The Multiverse.

Brian: [00:25:59] {laughter} Oh, now you just made me hate it. Wait, hold on, hold on here, so I'm going to switch gears again, but there's going to be a pretty decent transition here. I kind of want to go build this app because literally right now, if you go build an app for Shopify, the first a million dollars of every year, you don't pay any fees. I'm blown away. I'm like losing my mind.

Phillip: [00:30:16] Shopify Unite this week, Shopify Unite this week there is an announcement from Harley Finkelstein that they are discontinuing their 20 percent rev share for Shopify app developers up to the first million dollars of revenue for those app developers.

Brian: [00:30:42] Annually.

Phillip: [00:30:42] So it resets per annum. So in the old world up until the 29th of June of 2021, if you had made a million dollars of income as a Shopify app developer in the Shopify app marketplace, you would have only taken home thousand dollars of it. Today, you just got a two hundred thousand dollar raise. And here's what's insane about this, because... And Webb Smith of 2PM characterized him as Tobi Lütke, who is the Founder of Shopify and CEO, he called him Thanos Lütke, which is effectively he like snapped and obliterated every other eCommerce marketplaces' revenue share, because they all eventually if they don't do it this year, they will eventually. They all will have to retire in the same fashion that 20 percent of revenue to keep competitive in the marketplace.

Brian: [00:31:47] Yeah. And you know what's what's incredible about this? Like, literally everyone in the world should become a Shopify app developer.

Phillip: [00:31:55] That's what they want.

Brian: [00:31:57] And they did it. Like literally like you, you and you and you... You know who I'm talking to right now. That would be you should become a Shopify app developer.

Phillip: [00:32:09] It's the Oprah meme. And you get a Shopify app. And you get a Shopify app.

Brian: [00:32:13] That's exactly what just happened. It was Oprah. That's a better comparison, actually.

Phillip: [00:32:18] I have an alternative take.

Brian: [00:32:20] OK, take it.

Phillip: [00:32:22] I think this is a... I think it's a brilliant move. I think it's a brilliant move, and I think that the strategy of it is likely, how do we subsidize? Rather than investing that 20 percent, like whatever revenue that would have been, would likely have gone into R&D and research for us to try to pad our product, manage our product roadmap, rather than that, we're going to subsidize it by enabling our app developer community to find product market fit for us, so that we will build it into the core piece of the product in the future.

Brian: [00:33:03] Yeah, there's some probably some truth to that.

Phillip: [00:33:07] Well, that is the law of the erosive nature of the eCommerce platform ecosystem. That is the truth.

Brian: [00:33:16] Let me take a little bit less cynical view here, which is to say you just I would say you're right. Like, R&D was just like given a huge budget increase. And whether that gets pulled into the platform or not, because it's not all going to get it pulled into a platform, some of it's going to stay outside of the platform. I think there's a lot of proof of that in the Shopify world because a lot of stuff that I feel like I'm still recommending app forms, that could totally be part of the product. But my point in saying this is like I think that this is going to create an exponential effect on R&D and yes, maybe some of it gets pulled in the core product, maybe some of it doesn't. It doesn't really matter. It doesn't really matter. Shopify, this is exponential. This is not linear.

Phillip: [00:34:16] Yeah, I agree. It's exponential. I think the overhead of... Hmm, how do I say this? I think that there's... The Shopify marketplace is fairly constrained given the scale of Shopify's partner ecosystem right now. I was reading through their earnings from Q1 and it said... I wish I had it open because I would I would just read it directly, but something to the effect of forty two thousand six hundred partners referred business to Shopify in Q1 of 2021. That is an unbelievable number. Forty two thousand partners referred business to Shopify. Now. Contrast that with the number of App Store developers, which I think numbers in the 1500 to 2000 range, what they just did was so they have all these partners that are referral partners for them, they just took those forty two thousand partners and they said to them, there's literally nothing keeping you from also participating in the app economy and Shopify. So you're like opening the floodgates for another, a different problem, a knock on effect, an unintended consequence of a lot of garbage apps that are going to flood into the marketplace and make it really hard to discover the good ones, because right now there's a little bit of a barrier to entry. In fact, the Apple app developer program for a decade now had an annual fee, I think, of a ninety nine dollars associated with it to try to have some barrier to entry to require... It's now after midnight. My words aren't coming together. Basically to keep the grifters out. I don't know how to say it any other way. And having a little skin in the game is not a bad thing because policing a marketplace at that scale becomes incredibly expensive and really difficult and whack a mole after some time.

Brian: [00:36:36] Yeah I think back to Magento Connect days. {groan}

Phillip: [00:36:39] Oh gosh, yeah. But that was also Magento Connect was a free marketplace for anyone and with no rev share.

Brian: [00:36:46] Right. No. I hear you loud and clear. I see what you're saying. Let me add a flip side to what you're saying, because I do think there's some...

Phillip: [00:36:54] Yeah, no, I want the alternative take because I feel like mine is very cynical.

Brian: [00:36:56] The flip side on that is that if you look at a lot of the other commerce ecosystems as they matured, talent has become a big problem. And I think what the other thing that you've done here is you've opened the market to bring in new developers. And I think I believe for high quality mid-market Shopify development, like there's actually quite a bit of competition for good developers. And so I believe this is going to bring a new set of talent into the ecosystem that can be trained up to that level. And so you're making commerce really appealing to a new set of developers that are going to see the opportunity to make money. And I think that's a really good thing for their commerce ecosystem.

Phillip: [00:37:47] I think you're right, Shopify has an escape velocity, like they've achieved escape velocity and they are so influential now out, like they have achieved a scale and have achieved a critical mass to where there really is... I don't think that the things that have befallen other eCommerce platform ecosystems could possibly happen to Shopify at the scale. There is now inertia. This thing is so giant and has such a gravity around it. It's a gravity well. It will continue for the next 10 years, even if they stagnate in every way. Where other platform ecosystems screeched to a halt after one bad failed upgrade. And that is one of the the things that I don't think Shopify... Is it because Shopify is executing perfectly? I don't think so, because there are actually a lot of frustrated people at Shopify. It's like one of the other announcements that Unite was, it's the third year in a row wherein they've announced, you know, something about sections everywhere, which I'm going to pretend like I know what that means. I could probably surmise what it means. But, you know, there have been lots of empty promises in the Shopify ecosystem over the years. And also Shopify is eating their own partner's lunch. You know, the recharge and the subscription payments of the world are now being put out to pasture. There's a lot of those kinds of things that's like there's not everybody... Not everybody is so happy with Shopify. And that's just the law of platform ecosystems. Eventually the platform, will compete with its own app developers who made them successful,

Brian: [00:39:56] Let me add on to this, though, think about who Shopify actually competes with. So, yes, it competes with other platforms. But if you were going to stack Shopify up against a single company, who who would that company be?

Phillip: [00:40:15] Amazon.

Brian: [00:40:17] Yes. And so think about what...

Phillip: [00:40:19] Is that because that's true or is it because that's what I'm buying into the investor memo?

Brian: [00:40:25] Yes, you may or may not be buying into the investor memo. But let me say that Amazon does everything in-house. I mean, they do make some acquisitions. They're building all of that infrastructure and they're supporting all of the merchants that come on their platform. And it's all Amazon. What Shopify is basically saying is we want to democratize that. And so the experience that you get on Amazon as a merchant with Shopify is being democratized. Now, there are still some problems that they're going to face going forward. Like you don't have a marketplace. Like it's not like you just search all Shopify stores and find all the things that are on Shopify. But how many years do you think they've debated turning something like that on? It wouldn't be a far stretch for them to do it, and maybe someday they will, but they don't really have to right now. They're doing everything that they need to do to empower merchants to sell stuff online. And they're going to continue to do that. And they've just accelerated the heck out of that opportunity.

Phillip: [00:41:39] Well, the other thing that they've done is again, in the Q1 earnings that I read through, there was a line item around how much capital they're deploying with Shopify Capital and something like two billion under management. And that's an incredible amount of money. In fact, it's the same amount of money that they raised at their IPO. And in the words of Michael Scott, "My how the turntables." And so it's a really interesting thing. Like not only and this is where the you know, the Shopify mantra of "Arm the rebels" I think does come to play is they're not only providing them with tooling, but with the capital, the non dilutive capital, by the way, to do this. It's impressive and a little bit frightening. But only in the fact that they're able to do it at scale. They're giving a lot of people opportunity to be entrepreneurs and begin and remove objections to becoming entrepreneurs or having some sort of form of entrepreneurial access to entrepreneurial success. And that's only a good thing. My thought is, in a world where we've basically just tested universal basic income, does that actually harm Amazon at all? Like does it? Is it an existential threat to Amazon? Absolutely not, because Amazon apparently... This was a news story this week. In the past two years alone, Amazon has built 140 million square foot of distribution center and warehouse space, which is equivalent to Walmart in its entirety of the last 50 years.

Phillip: [00:43:53] Right.

Brian: [00:43:53] And I don't believe... I just don't believe the idea, like I just don't believe it. And the numbers don't show it. If you look at the world's second most valuable business, that Amazon is existentially threatened by a Shopify. I believe that this is all... It's just there's so much liquidity and in the world at the moment, there's so much money to go around that they can all grow and co-exist. That's what I believe.

Brian: [00:44:27] Absolutely. And I think that merchants and entrepreneurs love having both of them because it offers multiple channels to make money. And so they can get into one and they can make money. And they get into another and they can make money. And all you have to do is like add channels to grow your business. And so as an entrepreneur, we talked about how in 2020 entrepreneurship is actually at an all time low and that we expect with the, you know, the K shaped recovery to see growth and it was already happening.

Phillip: [00:45:03] It was 2019 going into 2020. 2020 was like the number of new businesses that had been launched has had never been seen before. New business filings was at an all time high.

Brian: [00:45:15] Right. Yeah. Sorry. Timeline off timeline.

Phillip: [00:45:18] Yeah.

Brian: [00:45:19] Multiverse and all that. Actually you know if we were in The Multiverse looking back, and let's say we could get ahead to the future. And you and I were there and we looked back on now, I see this moment as a moment. We're like, wow, that actually did a lot of good things for the future in that timeline.

Phillip: [00:45:45] Oh yeah. {laughter} Yes, exactly. There's so many other things I'm actually really bored with the Shopify talk. Congrats to them. You know who is existentially threatened by all of this is the mall.

Brian: [00:46:04] The mall's in trouble.

Phillip: [00:46:06] That's who's existentially threatened because legacy retailers. So we're in a moment right now. I know we're called Future Commerce, but let's call it the present commerce for a moment. Right now, there has never been more excitement to go out into the real world. And brick and mortar has tailwinds for the first time in who knows how long? A decade? Which means, you know, by extension, that eCommerce has headwinds for the first time in a decade. So most everybody is going to want to go shop in the real world. You see this play out in the earnings of a company like Best Buy. Who for whatever reason, have performed a monumental turn around and have become sort of a beloved destination for a consumer wanting to buy electronics and other various accouterments. The shocking thing to me is that they were buying at Best Buy before the pandemic. They bought even more from Best Buy post pandemic. And if I had to guess, they're going to buy even freaking more in-person now as we come into a recovery. And it's because of the power of defaults. We have default behaviors that were programed with we like certain retailers because we like them, because they're familiar to us, because that's what we seek. Like we seek some... We have some kind of a hard wired, learned behavior to frequent certain retailers once we've begun to frequent them. We'll even take that behavior to digital channels and go frequent them there. That's why Home Depot and Lowe's had lines coming out the wazoo when you could do curbside pickup. It's our defaults are there, so maybe there's a little bit of a leveling here and maybe Shopify doesn't bode so well in the back half of this year when everybody is so excited to go shop with, you know, mom and dad's old brick and mortar store. They're going to shop there online, too. And that means, you know, hey, maybe the Adobes and the SAP's and the oracles of the world who do diploid monolithic eCommerce that the big boys use and not these walled garden SaaS platforms that mom and pops use, maybe it's time for them to shine a little bit.

Brian: [00:48:33] It could be. It could be. I think there's also pressures from other angles, though.

Phillip: [00:48:37] Such as?

Brian: [00:48:38] So like you've got Etsy blowing up like.

Phillip: [00:48:41] Oh. Yeah.

Brian: [00:48:42] And so, you know, you think about the mom and pops that are out there and the creator economy and what that's become. And I just think that there's going to be a lot of those companies that because they are companies that are going to graduate to Shopify. And so there's pressures from all different directions, I think, right now.

Phillip: [00:49:05] Oh, you mean the mom and pops that are graduating from out of Shopify?

Brian: [00:49:08] Etsy into Shopify. They started on Etsy.

Phillip: [00:49:14] Oh I see what you're saying.

Brian: [00:49:14] They got their start in Etsy, they're DIYers. They said, hey, I can make something cool and sell it. I'm going to make some money on that.

Phillip: [00:49:20] Absolutely.

Brian: [00:49:21] They saw a market pick up and boom, they're like, wait a minute, I've got a business on my hands. And so all of a sudden they're like, well, how do I get beyond Etsy? And so the immediate next step is Shopify. And we've already seen this a lot, I think. But Etsy is on a tear right now. And, you know, they're acquiring more and more second hand markets all throughout the world. And it is late, so I'm blanking on the one they just acquired, I believe, to access the South American market. I should probably look it up. But as these Etsy's making moves, I think that this actually is a worldwide phenomenon. And so I see Shopify looking to the future. Isn't just about the US in any way. And they've done very well in the US, but they actually I think there's a lot of room for them internationally, I think. And so as we look to the future of Shopify, I see it as a global empowerment and not just like North American phenomenon. So there's pressures from all angles that I think could drive this in a number of different directions. And that's why it's good to think about all these things. I also want to get back to something you just said about default behaviors, because I believe you're you're absolutely right about default behaviors. I do think that we're learning them now like my kids default behavior is Amazon. That wasn't true for me growing up.

Phillip: [00:50:59] It's true.

Brian: [00:50:59] When I wanted to try something, my default behavior was not Amazon.

Phillip: [00:51:05] Hold on. What was your default?

Brian: [00:51:07] My default last year was probably the grocery store. I don't know.

Phillip: [00:51:15] Wait, what?

Brian: [00:51:17] I don't know. I spent my money on weird stuff as a kid. I liked... I don't know.

Phillip: [00:51:20] Ok, you're not the ideal focus.

Brian: [00:51:22] But probably malls, right? Malls were default behavior.

Phillip: [00:51:26] Maybe. But I'm thinking about yeah, OK, fine. I was going to say, like Sears, so, yeah, the mall.

Brian: [00:51:37] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:51:37] You know, I think about where I bought my first hand tools and it was Sears. I bought Craftsman stuff, you know. Where did I buy our first appliances? Sears.

Brian: [00:51:47] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:51:50] There's a lot of that.

Brian: [00:51:52] Target. Target.

Phillip: [00:51:55] Yeah. You know, our wedding registry now, which is like 17, 18 years ago.

Brian: [00:52:00] Just had my thirteen.

Phillip: [00:52:01] That was all Target. It was Target. We did some mall stuff. We had like a Williams-Sonoma thing going on. Literally nobody... One person. My older sister, she bought from Williams-Sonoma for us.

Brian: [00:52:12] Yeah. So my point in saying this is that new behaviors can be learned based off of what's happening in the world at the time. I feel like Etsy is actually one of those new behaviors. In fact, my kids, I ended up taking them to Etsy to look for their rock chisels at one point or no, no, no, no. Sorry, their Augurs. They wanted Augurs. That was a different...

Phillip: [00:52:37] Augurs?

Brian: [00:52:38] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:52:39] What the?

Brian: [00:52:39] I know.

Phillip: [00:52:40] Cows and Augurs and rock chisels. Oh my.

Brian: [00:52:42] Yeah. Oh my is right. They've got like handsaws. They're into building things and making things and I've got like a pile of bricks in my backyard that they like do stuff with. They've broken most of them with their chisel but they still make things with them. So my kids are builders. They're makers. Yeah. And so [00:53:05] Etsy I think is like a net new behavior for a lot of people. And I think it's actually spilling over into their kids. And so it will be a default behavior going forward into next generations to look for handmade and direct to creator. [00:53:20] But I still I want to get back to something that you said there. And I think the default behaviors are a part of like a lot of the nostalgia purchasing and a lot of nostalgia waves that we're seeing right now, because people right now, in this moment, especially post pandemic, are looking for things that do bring them comfort and familiarity. And they want to get back into the world. So, yes, malls are in trouble and like we just had a mall not far from us in Auburn where the owner went bankrupt.

Phillip: [00:53:58] No.

Brian: [00:53:58] Yeah. I think malls are in a lot of trouble. Right now I almost rather be in a strip mall than in a mall.

Phillip: [00:54:11] Oh, now that's extremely true. Yeah. Well let's wrap this one section up. Because I think everybody gets it. I think we're... I don't know, we'll see. You know what the real travesty is here? And I just I don't know why I'm on this train of thought, but the real travesty is that coming up on well, now, it's been three years. Three years ago, Adobe acquired Magento and the largest source of creativity tools in this freaking planet. You know, the company that enables creativity in every form of entertainment that exists. Right? Every single thing that you see that is designed in this world by professionals everywhere and aspiring artists alike... Like this is the creativity company could have owned the creative expression of commerce, and they've had three years to do it. They could have married a creative suite to far outpace any other front end experience in eCommerce. And, you know, they've just done nothing with that. And that's so sad. And in that same three years, they're sort of allowing dominance in the marketplace to go to a few SaaS players, Shopify in particular, who are busy trying to actually enable... Like they're not trying to create a in an ecosystem of bundled enterprise SaaS software, like what they're what they're trying to do is they're trying to create like a really powerful single ecosystem. They're like building the community that everybody else thought the Magento had, which is absolutely an incredible twist of fate.

Brian: [00:56:24] Let us blend these two conversations, because I think there's something interesting that could happen out of this. And so we talk about the travesty of malls and what would happen with them. And we talk about the travesty of Magento and the potential there.

Phillip: [00:56:45] Travesty of Magento. There's a show title. Kaylee, do not name the show The Travesty of Magento. Please.

Brian: [00:56:55] The question that I have is, if we took digital commerce and physical commerce, which digital is having its moment. It's had more of a moment than it's ever had the past 18 months. And we take physical, which is, as you said, has tailwinds, massive tailwinds. What does that experience look like coming up here? Because if it's not a mall, and it's not a strip mall. What does that blend of digital and physical look like? How is that going to be manifested in the world going forward? Is it going to be some like open air experience that's basically mall, but it's not a mall and it's a strip mall, but it's not a strip mall? And there's going to be digital experiences that kind of guide you through it. Like what is this crazy world? What is not a mall that is also related to digital commerce that is going to be the next version of how people go out and experience what is effectively shopping as entertainment?

Phillip: [00:58:11] There was an experience that we mentioned. I feel like we're talking around something. And four years from now, we're going to go pull this out and be like we didn't know, but we were talking about this, about X, at the time. And we were talking like we didn't know what to expect, but we basically were predicting this. And there was this really strange experience I remember us bringing up on the show a couple of years ago in like the UAE as like an installation where you had to, like, walk through this sensory portal that, you know, basically kind of like followed you down like a moving walkway. One of those, like people mover type things.

Brian: [00:58:53] Yes. I remember this conversation.

Phillip: [00:58:54] And yeah, and it was like it was an art installation, but there was some commerce level component to it around advertising. And I think I remember saying it reminded me of... Not a Scanner Darkly... What's the movie with Tom Cruise where he gets his eyes ripped out?

Brian: [00:59:12] Minority report.

Phillip: [00:59:13] Oh minority. Yeah. {laughter}

Brian: [00:59:16] Yes.

Phillip: [00:59:17] I couldn't... I came up with a Scanner Darkly, but I couldn't come up with Minority Report.

Brian: [00:59:21] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:59:22] Don't ask me how. Yes, Minority Report. And yeah, that particular, you know, this sort of like idea being, you know, and targeted advertising, like in the real world, wherever you happen to be. Oh yeah, that's what we call "phygital," Brian. P H Y

Brian: [00:59:43] Phygital. Oh, man.

Phillip: [00:59:45] Phygital. It's physical digital.

Brian: [00:59:46] Makes me think of like, I don't know, fidget spinners or something horrible like that.

Phillip: [00:59:50] Well there's a musical mode called phrygian, which is used in a lot of heavy metal, which has a sound to me, which is a thing that I often... When everyone says phygital, I immediately hear like a rip in metal guitar solo and phrygian over some minor key. If Chris picks up on this in this edit, Chris, drop in like, you know, some nasty Opeth, you know, phrygian solo right here.

Brian: [01:00:28] I can't wait to hear that.

Phillip: [01:00:29] Anyway, it's probably not going to happen. Nobody actually listens to our show that works for us. They're like, "Let's just ship it."

Brian: [01:00:38] Especially fifty five minutes or however far in we are now.

Phillip: [01:00:42] We're going to keep going.

Brian: [01:00:44] No, I mean, I think we're dancing around something. And I think you're right. The actual expression of this is going to be very interesting. Is it just a Minority Report experience where like...

Phillip: [01:00:57] No.

Brian: [01:00:57] That looked horrible. I don't want that. I don't want to be personally targeted based off of everything that I purchase as I walk through the world.

Phillip: [01:01:09] No, I disagree. One hundred percent. I could not disagree with you more. I want that because what is happening is because of IDFA and the cookie less future that we're all facing, ads are getting less contextual and therefore less relevant. And that means I notice them more. Like that's the problem. I'll give you a good example. Walking around Seattle with my family and there's billboards I got to cover my kids eyes up for is not a thing I'm used to seeing. Wouldn't it be amazing if the billboard was contextual to the people around it at that time and could make it more relevant to advertise some television show that my kids would love to watch? Like I'm praying for that. That would be better, not worse.

Brian: [01:02:00] It would be better than what we have now. But mostly I'm just like I just don't want to be advertised to all the time. Just constant barrage.

Phillip: [01:02:09] And now a word from our sponsors of this podcast. ShipBob.

Brian: [01:02:17] {laughter}

Phillip: [01:02:17] Congratulations, by the way, to ShipBob for raising two hundred million.

Brian: [01:02:20] Yes. That's an amazing.

Phillip: [01:02:22] Amazing accomplishment. And hey, why don't you look up your boys. Give us a call next time. You know, we're doing a little angel these days.

Brian: [01:02:35] We are. That's true.

Phillip: [01:02:35] We should be. We should be at least seventh or eighth on the list.

Brian: [01:02:38] I feel like ShipBob is probably a past angel at this point. I feel like there might be past angel.

Phillip: [01:02:42] Oh no I know, but you kind of bring some folks along for the ride.

Brian: [01:02:46] True. True. I feel like this is a really good discussion, actually, though. The idea of ads being placed in like contextual moments all the time.

Phillip: [01:03:00] We need that. I want that.

Brian: [01:03:01] I don't know. I don't know. I've got to think about this a little bit more. I agree with you. I don't want ads that don't make sense to me, but I also don't want everything in the world to advertise to me. Maybe that's already happening.

Phillip: [01:03:14] I'm sorry, Brian. That is the world we live in and the freaking business that you run with me.

Brian: [01:03:24] Ok, OK. Actually, so [01:03:25] this gets back to something else we've talked about, which is where luxury is headed. Basically if you don't want to be advertised to all the time, you have the opportunity to opt out. And that is the definition of luxury, or part of the definition of luxury. Not constantly being barraged with ads and things that you don't want to see. It's the silence of money.  [01:03:56]

Phillip: [01:03:56] Maybe. Oh yeah. Oh, the silence of money.

Brian: [01:03:59] Show title. There we go.

Phillip: [01:04:00] Show title. Hey, Kaylee, there you go. Listen, I agree, but I also kind of disagree because there are inspiring ads that I'm glad that I've seen in my lifetime.

Brian: [01:04:10] Yes. That's true.

Phillip: [01:04:12] Tracksmith just had an ad.

Brian: [01:04:16] It's so good. It's like one of my favorite ads of all time.

Phillip: [01:04:19] We need that. We need the sample that we "So goooood."

Brian: [01:04:24] This is a Future Commerce...

Phillip: [01:04:26] Tracksmith had this ad. Malcolm Gladwell... So they did the short film with Malcolm Gladwell, and they did this just incredible series of ads that they've been running during the Olympic trials. And that is a brand that just is always firing on all cylinders, always doing something so unbelievably authentic. It reminds me... Their advertising and their creative reminds me so much of Nike, but in a totally different way. But what an incredible thing. Also, so many of their athletes are not just runners. They have hammer throw and shot putters that are also wearing Tracksmith, so like basically like a lot of track and field. It's sort of the whole variety of athlete in the track and field variety, disciplines, that Tracksmith is accommodating and supporting in the Olympic trials. So they're showing really strong. Their ads are incredible. And I'm glad to have seen them. And I'll tell you what. I wish I saw more ads like that.

Brian: [01:05:39] Yes. So maybe that's what it is. I think there's an opportunity to...

Phillip: [01:05:46] I don't want to live in an ad free world. Discovering things is actually really awesome when it means something to you and when it's exciting, when it's relevant.

Brian: [01:05:57] Yes, I agree with that.

Phillip: [01:06:00] I feel like I just quoted Google. That is Google's entire value prop of its ad product is ads are actually enjoyable when they're relevant. And I think it's true.

Brian: [01:06:14] No, I agree. When I see an ad that I think is like really good and it takes me to go to buy something that I'm really happy with, that I'm really happy that I saw that ad.

Phillip: [01:06:23] Purple is running incredible commercials right now. Have you seen the Purple commercial where the the ladies like "Who likes memory foam? It's so hot and apparently it like remembers things." The fact that they're like weaponizing memory foam to be like "it remembers what you did on it." That's brilliant advertising. It's just brilliant. I've never cared about mattress advertising, not once in my life, and it has now made me think I might want to change my mattress because it remembers everything that I've done on it, because it's memory foam, Brian.

Brian: [01:07:03] Oh, man. Don't get me started on mattresses.

Phillip: [01:07:08] Yeah, exactly. It's like the parable. Brian doesn't just have one mattress. Brian has six mattresses. Indeed you speak truth.

Brian: [01:07:23] I feel like...

Phillip: [01:07:24] You don't just have one mattress, Brian. You've had six mattresses.

Brian: [01:07:26] It's almost like the Billy Goats Gruff. It's like, you know, the first goat comes and it's like, oh no, you should get the next one. And like, you know, that's sort of the the Brian Lange mattress story. I feel like to sort of wrap this all up...

Phillip: [01:07:43] Did you get a Purple mattress? I forget. Did you have a Purple mattress?

Brian: [01:07:47] No, we didn't get Purple. So I guess we're going to have to...

Phillip: [01:07:49] You got a Zinus.

Brian: [01:07:51] Yeah, Zinus is one. We got Casper.

Phillip: [01:07:54] Is that what you wound up with in the end?

Brian: [01:07:56] We got we got a whole bunch. I think we did end...

Phillip: [01:07:58] No, I want to know what you have right now.

Brian: [01:07:59] I think Zinus. I think it's Zinus. Yeah.

Phillip: [01:08:02] Ok. So this is what's insane. We went to the Amazon 4-Star in Seattle. And one of the days that we were in Seattle with the kids we went down to the Spheres and right next to the Spheres, of course, because right there, it's like Amazon headquarters-ish area. So you've got the Amazon Go right there. And my kids, like, basically shoplifted a bunch of things. It was awesome. And what a thrill. And then there's an Amazon 4-Star like right next door. And they have an Amazon 4-Star here in Palm Beach Gardens. This one is very different. It has like a whole little mattress section with Zinus mattresses. The act of physically seeing the Zinus part of the store, the branded experience moved Zinus in my brain, from one area to another.

Brian: [01:09:09] Oh, boy.

Phillip: [01:09:09] Seeing it in person and seeing the display changed the way I thought of the brand, because when I see it on Amazon, I'm like {noise of disdain}. When I see it in person, I'm like, Oh, wow. That's pretty...

Brian: [01:09:28] Oh, my gosh, dude, you know what you've just done? You've just summed up the conversation we had like two conversations ago.

Phillip: [01:09:34] Which is what?

Brian: [01:09:35] Which is what happens in the future between physical and digital and why does it matter? And you just nailed it. Maybe it's a set of curated stores that are like effectively Amazon 4-Stars where you have the best products. They're all rated online. It's like the new department store. [01:09:56] I think the Amazon 4-Star concept has legs beyond Amazon. This might be it. The best stuff that's rated really well online ends up being basically curated department stores that are not driven by buyers, they're driven by consumers and consumers then have the opportunity to see what everyone else is talking about online and get a sense for it in-person. And it's going to change the way that they think about the brand as more than just like an Internet brand into like, hey, this is part of my canon of brands that I trust. [01:10:43]

Phillip: [01:10:45] So there are examples of this today. You know, I've been to Showfields, right? I've been to Neighborhood Goods. There's a concept, I think, that opened called Brik & Clik that are like DTC malls to some degree. It's like, come experience the Internet only brands in real life.

Brian: [01:11:11] Yep.  But a lot of those are still by like experienced designers and whoever they can sell to be in the physical space. But I agree with you.

Phillip: [01:11:28] That's true.

Brian: [01:11:28] I do agree with you. I think that they're on to something. This is all early days.

Phillip: [01:11:33] Yeah. I think you're right.

Brian: [01:11:34] This is all kind of leading up to this next generation of experience.

Phillip: [01:11:38] Well, this is where... So who has the data? Let's start there.

Brian: [01:11:40] Yes.

Phillip: [01:11:44] The 4-Star concept. Let's say that the 4-Star. Well, who else has the data?

Brian: [01:11:45] Shopify.

Phillip: [01:11:48] No. Shopify has transaction data.

Brian: [01:11:53] That's true. You're right.

Phillip: [01:11:54] They don't have sentiment data.

Brian: [01:11:56] You're right. Yotpo has data.

Phillip: [01:11:58] Yotpo has data.

Brian: [01:11:59] Bazaar Voice. Yotpo.

Phillip: [01:12:00] Returnly has data.

Brian: [01:12:01] Returnly has data. That's a really good point.

Phillip: [01:12:04] Ok, who just got Happy Returns? I forget. Is it PayPal? PayPal bought Happy Returns. You know, PayPal has sentiment data now. They also have the payment and transaction and refund like story. They could piece together sentimentality and do some sentimental analysis around certain retail. Well, hold on. Let's use the right term now.

Brian: [01:12:36] Merchant.

Phillip: [01:12:38] Certain merchant experience. Brought us full circle. There are lots of companies that I think that have product level sentiment data that could facilitate either a data product or a retail partnership that would allow that. Can you imagine Yotpo powering a Nordström 4-Star?

Brian: [01:13:04] This is actually giving me kind of excited right now? This is actually really cool.

Phillip: [01:13:09] I told you, highest insight's per minute of any Future Commerce episode ever. How now...

Brian: [01:13:14] Brand Cow? {laughter}

Phillip: [01:13:18] So cool. I want to know what you all think about the future. And would you shop at Yotpo mall? If you're Moiz Ali, I know you hate Yotpo, so you're probably... Well, you probably not listening to this episode, Moiz, but if you were to tell me why Junip could possibly do this better and I'll tell you one hundred reasons why they couldn't. And if you say Bazaar Voice to me, I'm just going to laugh at you. So but at any rate, if you have a particular hot take on this, I want to hear about it. Drop us a line at I'm wrapping up, by the way.

Brian: [01:13:50] I know.

Phillip: [01:13:52] And if you don't want to wrap up and you never want to wrap up, there's two hundred and forty other episodes of this podcast and and six seasons of deep dives in a series we call...

Brian: [01:14:05] Step by Step.

Phillip: [01:14:05] I almost said Merchant to Merchant. Step by Step is another series that we have here at Future Commerce and our sister podcast hosted by the venerable Lee Greene. She hosts an amazing deep dive with CEOs called Stairway to CEO. Incredible interviews with mostly director to consumer founders and brand operators. I know you're going to love it. You can find hundreds of hours of content and every other podcast we've ever made over at And you can subscribe to all of our insights. We get two newsletters in your box, in your digital box every... It's that digital... Inbox is the word I'm looking for. Twice a week, Wednesday and Friday, and one is called Insiders. That is our deep dive essay that gives you a really detailed analysis on something that we really care about. In this particular case this week is cows. And then The Senses, which comes out every Friday, which talks about brands and the products they create and how they interact with us in the physical world around us. And that's called The Senses. Comes out every Friday. Every bit of this can be found at If you want to support the show and everything we do, you can do that by... Takes no time at all. Give us a five star over at Apple Podcasts and tell your friends to check out Future Commerce. That's it. Thank you for listening and we'll see you next time.

Brian: [01:15:35] See you next time.

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