Episode 57
January 15, 2018

Mine Bitcoin with Kodak for Fun and Profit

"Bitcoin isn't so much a currency as it is a commodity". 2018 is shaping up to be the year of Cryptocurrency - so we dive in a bit thanks to some news from CES 2018. Why should you care as a retailer? Plus: a preview of NRF's The Big Show 2018.

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This week, Brian and Phillip get bullish on VR, talk hype in cryptocurrency, and wish for a facial recognition burger ordering system. Listen in for a recap of CES 2018 and all the interesting news in retail tech.

Future Commerce Tells the Future:

Predictions we made in December have already come true: 10 days in:

  • Phillip is Eating a hat with Costco ketchup, because:
  • Brian predicted VR fitness, and BlackBox VR made it so.
  • Choice quotes:
  • "All the nerds are going to be the fit ones now."
  • "We're going to have a super race of Crypto Bros."

Phillip predicted that companies would start using personal attributes to tailor products to you. Two new strange developments to report on that prediction:


  • Either we're idiots or wise pundits depending on when you listened to our episode discussing Bitcoin
  • Worth watching: Seth Meyers Bitcoin commercial
  • Bitcoin reminds us of the early dotcoms. The local news coverage of the "world wide web" is very similar to the reporting happening on cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin in the news:

By no means our last words on bitcoin:

  • If bitcoin is the AOL of cryptocurrency, then we are only at the very beginning of this conversation.
  • Note to merchants: using bitcoin on your website is an antiquated understanding of cryptocurrency.
  • Bitcoin is now a commodified investment similar to oil.
  • It uses up a ton of energy. As much as Denmark.
  • If Visa was on the blockchain, it would take the equivalent of 5000 nuclear reactors to meet its needs.
  • Our favorite bitcoin tweet of the week comes from Petter Brannen, author of The Ends of the World.
  • Remember: cryptocurrency has nothing to do with buying and selling goods right now.

Will Amazon buy Target?

  • NOPE - But Brian says they probably will continue to buy companies like body labs to acquire tech or patent that will take too long to develop on their own.
  • But there might be a logical progression to this idea:
  • Target did just acquire shipt.
  • Then they announced they were rolling out $99 year same day delivery.
  • This leads to a logical end: Target and Walmart can truly compete with Amazon. They could probably beat Amazon. So Amazon may have incentive to buy Target - but they won't do it.
  • Target having $99 same day delivery shipping is compelling. It's an interesting turn of events.


  • Intel CEO gave keynote. Despite spectre meltdown, and seemingly being out of touch, almost every computing device you use is powered by Intel in some degree.
  • They made a bunch of cool announcements in transportation, including a vertical takeoff and landing device at the show.
  • Quote of the episode: "Dear 1950s, you're version of the future is finally here."
  • Pizza Hut announced self driving pizza delivery cars.
  • This gets back to Phil's supply chain theory: property doesn't have to be a physical brick and mortar  place anymore.
  • CVS doesn't have to be just a building with pharmaceuticals. CVS can actually be a fleet of vehicles always wandering around, omnipresent, you just have to hail it like an uber and it will be there in a minute to deliver your order.
  • We're very bullish on AR and VR techs with a context that makes sense for retail. 2018? Probably not. But more of it will keep coming.

Why we talk about seemingly tangential tech:

  • It's important for retailers to know what's happening in these tech spaces.
  • Consumer product technology adoption will create consumer demand for good experiences in your retail spaces. That doesn't have to be just digital commerce.
  • No one is safe in brick and mortar. The element of experiential retail will follow even into the retail experience.
  • This is why we talk about CES, bitcoin, and all of these things.
  • We want you to know them to avoid being blindsided by your customers.
  • Technology affects commerce. You don't have to be an early adopter.
  • You can bide your time on a lot of this technology.
  • But they come fast. Voice is hear, even though it was a far tech a year and a half ago.
  • The rate of adoption is faster and faster. Know what these developments are and how they apply to you.

Brian's tangential segue into toys and tech:

  • Sphero mini is an app enabled toy for kids to learn how to code.
  • Earlier Sphero released a Lightning McQueen toy that shows the future for what's next with toys.
  • Toy tech and robotics are getting to the point where we can tell even more engaging stories There's even an updated Teddy Ruxpin (although, Teddy Ruxpin is, and always will be terrifying).

More on voice and recognition:

  • Apple slept on Siri in a big way.
  • Amazon realized they've been sleeping for a year on Echo, and CES proved they've woken up.
  • Everything has alexa built into it now.
  • And it's not because amazon is so smart developing this tech, but that they've opened it up for others to develop.
  • Facial recognition for burgers is a thing. Caliburger's kiosks can now repeat and order based off facial recognition.
  • Phillip wants a facial recognition burger chain to look at his face and place an order based off what it sees.

We'll be at NRF next week!

Download MP3 (51.8 MB)

Brian: [00:01:04] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge and next generation commerce. I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:11] And I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:11] And today, we've got a fun show ahead. Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:01:17] Fun show. 2018 represent.

Brian: [00:01:20] First show of 2018. Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:01:22] Yeah. Yeah. So. Wow. OK, so a lot's happened. First of all, welcome back. I hope everyone had a great holiday. Great vacation. Whatever it is you did at the end of 2017. It doesn't matter. Doesn't count anymore because in 2018 it's the year of Bitcoin and no one saw it coming. So there you go. That's the world we all live in now. And Warren Buffet says it'll end badly, but I'm not sure how. And so basically...

Brian: [00:01:53] {laughter} Well Kodak doesn't think so.

Phillip: [00:01:54] Oh my word. That's. Yeah, that'll. Yeah. We'll talk about that a bit. Holy cow. But we couldn't start this episode, the first one of 2018 without talking about... Tooting our own horn... Talking about predictions that we may made...

Brian: [00:02:07] In December. Two weeks ago.

Phillip: [00:02:11] ...that have already come true. And what is it... That's gonna be a record, right? Ten days into into 2018. And we're already nailing predictions, which I think follows your Peter Teil advice, which was make your one year predictions, your ten day predictions, and now...

Brian: [00:02:28] {laughter} Just make that smaller and smaller.

Phillip: [00:02:31] Yeah, we're gonna compress the time moving forward.

Brian: [00:02:32] In the next episode to come back and be like make your ten day goals, your one day goal.

Phillip: [00:02:38] {laughter} Make your one day goal, your five second goal. Okay. So we've already nailed a bunch of things, and there's a bunch of stuff that we hadn't even considered, which I thought we would call out because it would be kind of fun here at the top of the show. So, OK, first of all, when you said anything regarding, I think you said it a few episodes ago, anything regarding people going to the gym with virtual reality, I silently laughed to myself and said that's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Brian: [00:03:05] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:03:05] And then it existed in real life. And now I'm having to order a lot of ketchup from Costco.com to eat my hat with. So tell me about this virtual reality boxing gym or whatever the heck it is.

Brian: [00:03:17] Oh Black Box VR. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:03:19] On my word.

Brian: [00:03:19] Level up your life. So actually I made this prediction in our Future Commerce Insiders Episode 2, which is an episode about body data. If you were subscribed to FC Insiders, you would have read it and would have heard about what we're about to talk about before it existed. Well, maybe not before it existed, but...

Phillip: [00:03:44] You would have found out about it before now.

Brian: [00:03:46] True. Yeah. So essentially Black Box VR... Level up Your Life. You go in, you go into VR, you'll work out, your body is your controller, you'll have fun, maybe play some games, do some races. And so all the nerds are going to be the fit ones now. That's the outcome here. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:04:09] {laughter} They're creating a super race of crypto bros that are all wearing virtual reality goggles and getting shredded abs.

Brian: [00:04:17] Oh yeah, there's another one that came out. I need to go look up the name of this one. This is really good. It's a device where you fly, you actually get on this thing and it works out your abs while you fly. So go fly in VR, and come out with abs.

Phillip: [00:04:35] Oh, you're flying. OK. I mean, I thought when we talked about this that you meant get in an airplane, and it works out your abs. But what you're actually saying is you're pretending like you're flying.

Brian: [00:04:47] Yes.

Phillip: [00:04:47] Oh, man.

Brian: [00:04:48] Yes.

Phillip: [00:04:49] And it's a so core body workout.

Brian: [00:04:51] It's a core body workout. Exactly. You're planking and...

Phillip: [00:04:54] You're planking the whole time.

Brian: [00:04:56] And that's the only way you can fly. You can't fly otherwise. You have to plank.

Phillip: [00:05:00] We are stretching the limits of what the commerce part of our show even means at this point.

Brian: [00:05:05] Well maybe we are.

Phillip: [00:05:05] I can't not talk about this.

Brian: [00:05:07] I know. Yes, it is. It's tangental, no doubt about it.

Phillip: [00:05:11] If you've ever wanted to see... So go to Blackbox-VR.com if you've ever wanted to see, you know, a a very muscle bound person wearing an HTC Vive headset. That's the place you want to be is Black Box VR website. So anyway, I'd never thought that that would actually happen. However, the things that I said would happen.... Just continues to blow my mind, so I talked about using personal attributes or your personal health to tailor products to you and I, we're seeing an extension of that in the quantified self in two very weird ways. So the first is on January 1st, it was way too early in the year for this news article to come out over on Ars Technica. There was an article about an ingestible pill that can track your fart development in real time on your phone. And so that really just kind of frames 2017, I think, for me. But it's a proof of concept at the moment, but it's, you know, potentially productized. And there's an editorial from a University of Nebraska-Lincoln that talks about the potential for data gathering. It could be used in medical trials and that sort of thing. That's a very interesting. Probably not a consumer product yet, but a very interesting... You know... Apparatus?

Brian: [00:06:45] Certainly plays into body data. I'd never thought I would be talking about that part of body data, but it makes complete sense. And so, you know, this is going to help you make better purchasing decisions about what you should and shouldn't eat.

Phillip: [00:06:58] You know, we'll be geofencing Target's lentil bean section to say, "Remember  what happened last time that you had Taco Night? Taco Tuesday, not a good idea." So anyway, I find it sort of interesting and sort of in-line with what we're talking about with the tailored vitamins or supplement regimen, gut tracking, which Gut flora is, I think, a probiotic company. Very interesting. Also, IKEA wants you to pee on their ad. So I remember I talked about ad tech leading the way. It's not quite how I envisioned it. AD Week with an article that shows the potential of... So at IKEA actually has a literal magazine ad that is a picture of a baby crib. And there is a section of the ad which has some sort of photo luminescent ink on it that if you are pregnant, and the hormone ACG appears in your urine, and you pee on this ad, it will turn a certain color. And if you bring the pee laden ad into IKEA, they will give you a discount on the crib pictured in the ad.. So there you go.

Brian: [00:08:22] More body data. See?

Phillip: [00:08:23] Oh, my gosh. And I think that's it for a Future Commerce episode 57.

Brian: [00:08:33] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:08:33] I don't know how we could possibly ever top this.

Brian: [00:08:37] Can we ever come back from this? That's the real question.

Phillip: [00:08:40] I don't think so. I think that we've definitely hit a new low, both as a society and as a podcast simultaneously. Yeah, not quite as low as Bitcoin at this point, but...

Brian: [00:08:52] Oh!

Phillip: [00:08:52] So, yeah. Under the things we didn't see coming, definitely Bitcoin's sort of roller coaster ride... We could not go without mentioning...

Brian: [00:09:00] Wait. You said we didn't see that coming?

Phillip: [00:09:02] Well we basically... So it's funny because depending on when you listened to the episode that we admitted that we knew nothing about cryptocurrency, we could have seemed like the biggest idiots. Or now if you listen to it, we're smart, and what is it...skeptical pundits. So...

Brian: [00:09:22] Right. Yes.

Phillip: [00:09:23] Yes.

Brian: [00:09:23] Yes. It's like that Seth Meyers, fake commercial for Bitcoin. Did you see that?

Phillip: [00:09:28] I did not, but I keep hearing about it. I definitely need to check that out.

Brian: [00:09:31] Oh my gosh. It's worth the watch, listeners. Go watch that.

Phillip: [00:09:34] Yeah. Interesting. If you're a merchant, and you're wondering if you should be accepting Bitcoin, you know, I think the long and short of it, spending the last few weeks hearing mainstream media, you know, pulling up coinbase.com and showing you how to purchase Ripple. And seeing that sort of thing on the local news is blowing my mind right now. It reminds me very heavily of the early dot coms and how, you know, the local news sort of covering what the worldwide web was and how to get online with your browser and how you can go in through your AOL that you might already have. And that sort of conversation is happening around cryptocurrency right now. And so we're probably going to... It's probably here to stay. I still don't know much about it other than it's more mainstream now than it was four episodes ago, which is insane. And Warren Buffett says it's going to end badly, so... Well, I don't know. I guess...

Brian: [00:10:35] And so it will. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:10:35] Yeah. So we'll see. Hysteria does kind of mirror a bunch of things that we've seen in the past, especially with the dot coms.

Brian: [00:10:44] Yes.

Phillip: [00:10:44] I mean, you know, I've linked up a couple articles here. I don't want to do all the punditry, but there're a bunch of businesses that are even rebranding the Blockchain companies that make no sense to do so.

Brian: [00:10:57] {cough} Kodak

Phillip: [00:10:57] Yeah Kodak. {laughter} We'll get there, I guess. But, you know, the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation is now rebranding as the Long Blockchain Corporation... Article out of Reuters about that. And a DJ... I think... Who is the DJ behind... Oh, I forget. It wasn't DJ Khaled. It was some... DJ Khaled is repping for WeightWatchers now. So it's not DJ Khaled. It was someone else who has invested in the cigar company called Rich Cigars. That's actually a South Florida company. Rich Cigars actually decided that they don't want to do cigars anymore. And now they're a Bitcoin Blockchain company.

Brian: [00:11:48] Yeah, it's funny. Who's invested in Blockchain, too? Like now it's like... People were like, "Wait a minute, you're one of the most conservative people that I know. And you've invested in Blockchain?"

Phillip: [00:12:01] Yup.

Brian: [00:12:03] It's interesting. It is interesting. I think your comparison to the Internet bubble, the tech bubble of the late 90s is really apt. It feels similar, although I was pretty young then. So, you know.

Phillip: [00:12:24] Yeah, I mean, I wasn't old. You know, I'm certain that we have a listening audience that could indentify more than we could. But I will say this. It's likely to be a conversation that we'll be having for a long time. And if Bitcoin is the AOL of cryptocurrency, then that means that we're at the very beginning of a long maturity curve of something that might actually be transformational.

Brian: [00:12:55] Yes. I agree.

Phillip: [00:12:56] And so, yeah, it's interesting.

Brian: [00:12:58] I totally agree with you. I think that Blockchain and Bitcoin have a ton of application. However, I think there's a lot of hysteria about it right now. It's just gonna take some time before it actually starts to become more useful than anything but mob transactions.

Phillip: [00:13:15] Yeah. {laughter} So if you're listening to if you're listening to Future Commerce and you're a retailer and you're thinking, should I be accepting Bitcoin on my web site, that's not how it works anymore. And I would argue that Bitcoin on your website is an antiquated way of thinking about Bitcoin. I would argue that it's more of a commodity at this point like oil.

Brian: [00:13:41] Yes.

Phillip: [00:13:41] And we'll be thinking about it more like that. And that there's other technology or other means of transacting.

Brian: [00:13:50] As all of these other cryptocurrencies start to mature, we're really going to start to see like where different ones fit in, what their specialty is, what they actually do for us, as opposed to just being something you you buy and then watch go up.

Phillip: [00:14:05] Right. Which is basically what it is right now.

Brian: [00:14:08] Exactly. Exactly.

Phillip: [00:14:09] Yeah.

Brian: [00:14:10] You know, what's also interesting about Bitcoin is it's using up a lot of energy, amount of energy.

Phillip: [00:14:17] Oh my gosh.

Brian: [00:14:17] A crazy amount of energy. Like it's insane. As much as the entire country of Denmark.

Phillip: [00:14:22] It's in aggregate. Yeah.

Brian: [00:14:24] In aggregate. Yes.

Phillip: [00:14:26] And this is due to it taking a lot of power and cooling and heat and all the rest to...

Brian: [00:14:36] Mine...

Phillip: [00:14:36] Mine.

Brian: [00:14:38] Everything.

Phillip: [00:14:38] Right.

Brian: [00:14:39] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:14:40] Yeah. Somebody said something to the effect of if you were to run Visa, this is how terribly inefficient the global distributed ledger is in Bitcoin. And if you were to run Visa, on like the actual what Visa does on a daily basis, on the Blockchain, on Bitcoin's Blockchain, it would take the equivalent of like five thousand nuclear reactors to power it because that's effectively the kind of energy scale that it would need. So it's terribly inefficient.

Brian: [00:15:12] So we're going to power Bitcoin by the sun.

Phillip: [00:15:15] Exactly. Which is actually, you know, it's really funny. My new favorite tweet of 2017 came in right at the end. I shared this with you earlier. Especially if you were to read this tweet with Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Brian: [00:15:35] Just do it. Just do it.

Phillip: [00:15:35] I can't do a Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Brian: [00:15:39] Imagine it in your head then.

Phillip: [00:15:41] Imagine in your head if... {laughter} Let's see. Hold on. I just have to look it up here. We'll tighten this up and post.

Brian: [00:15:53] I think you've sent it to me on Hangouts.

Phillip: [00:15:55] I know I was looking for it. That's why I was.. Here it is.

Brian: [00:15:58] Here it is.

Phillip: [00:15:58] Yeah. So imagine being a photon forged in the center of a star crossing 93 million miles of space, hitting a psyched leaf in a carboniferous jungle and being stored as chemical energy buried for 315 million years and then dug up and burned and released again as waste heat in a Bitcoin transaction.

Brian: [00:16:25] {laughter} I love Twitter.

Phillip: [00:16:29] And that comes from Peter Brennan, who wrote the book The Ends of the World Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and our quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions. The guy sounds like he knows what he's talking about. Very, very interesting stuff.

Brian: [00:16:46] Bitcoin, man. I may have said this before, but someday down the road, the Bitcoin bros are gonna be like, "Bitcoin, man." And it's just going to be this like insane amount of both melancholy...

Phillip: [00:17:03] Oh you think there will be a sober moment? I don't think so. What I think will actually happen is that, you know, we're seeing kind of crazy things happen. People are taking out home equity lines of credit and second mortgages to buy Bitcoin right now. And I think all it takes is for a few people to end up very badly hurt in what are effectively really, you know, really crazy Ponzi schemes and get rich quick schemes and uninformed investors when the deregulated market or unregulated market, and it's all going to change and governments will start to regulate it. And then the Bitcoin bros will say that we've squashed innovation and that we've... Like they'll have a reason to say that the bottom fell out of it is because, you know, we couldn't leave well enough alone. And I don't know. The Illuminati of the world are controlling us through their fiat currencies and...

Brian: [00:18:02] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:18:02] So there you go. Okay. And we actually talked about Bitcoin on the show for once. It was actually the right time to talk about it.

Brian: [00:18:14] It really was. You know what's interesting? You know why it's been I think we've kind of avoided to some degree? And I feel like we kind of have consciously avoided it a little bit.

Phillip: [00:18:25] Yeah, for sure.

Brian: [00:18:26] Because it actually wasn't that related to commerce, honestly.

Phillip: [00:18:32] No. No. And yeah, it definitely wasn't. And it wasn't in the public's daily conversation for sure. And it didn't really pertain to commerce. You're right.

Brian: [00:18:51] It does. Blockchain does pertain to commerce.

Phillip: [00:18:53] It can.

Brian: [00:18:55] Yeah it can.

Phillip: [00:18:55] For sure. But it's the way that we've dealt with cryptocurrency as a society has nothing to do with buying and selling goods.

Phillip: [00:19:04] Yeah. For sure. Well the fact is is that when people talk about Blockchain now, and this is the same argument that I had around artificial intelligence, they always talk about it in the application of how it will do all of the things that we're already doing in the world, but better or differently. But the actual realized effect from how it makes your life better to the end user, to the consumer is net neutral.

Brian: [00:19:34] Right.

Phillip: [00:19:35] So think about it like this. It's like, well, we can track food, you know, think about all the GMO foods that are out there, and we can track all the food. And you know exactly where all your food is being sourced from. You'll have the full audit trail like, well, we have that already in a lot of ways. Like, how do you think we can find out that spinach is what causes the E. coli outbreaks? We do have that better today than we've had in the past. And certainly it could be better. But, you know, saying that Blockchain is the only way to do that is a bit disingenuous. I think, again, it comes back down to government regulation requiring people to have to do this and to invest in it to make it happen. And the same goes for, you know, accounting. Well, think we can solve accounting and supply chain with Blockchain. Well you're just replacing one set of technologies with another. It's not transformative. Right?

Brian: [00:20:28] It could be transformative. It hasn't affected the end user, aside from this, this phenomenon called Bitcoin, so far.

Phillip: [00:20:37] Yeah, and one episode of Future Commerce.

Brian: [00:20:42] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:20:42] Exactly. Oh, gosh, I feel dirty now that we talked about Bitcoin.

Brian: [00:20:46] I know. Me, too. A little bit.

Phillip: [00:20:47] Okay. Let's clean up a little bit. So something even too far fetched for us... According to CNBC, an influential tech analyst, Gene Munster, is predicting that Amazon will buy Target in 2018.

Brian: [00:21:06] Yup. Nope.

Phillip: [00:21:06] Well there you go.

Brian: [00:21:06] Nope.

Phillip: [00:21:07] Nope.

Brian: [00:21:07] Nope.

Phillip: [00:21:10] Yeah that's...

Brian: [00:21:13] Is he the same guy that went so far as to say even maybe Costco? Is that the same guy?

Phillip: [00:21:17] I don't know.

Brian: [00:21:18] I heard Costco.

Phillip: [00:21:18] I don't know. But I love that you got so angry that they even mentioned that Costco could potentially. It's like I need my Costco hot dogs. They've been a dollar fifty for 30 years.

Brian: [00:21:28] 30 years. 30 years. Or whatever it is. The entirety of my life.

Phillip: [00:21:35] Exactly. {laughter} It's the only thing that's been consistent in my poor life. Yeah, that's an interesting prediction. And certainly not one that I think will ever come true. Do you think that Amazon's going to continue on on the purchasing spree?

Brian: [00:21:52] Purchasing spree? That's a really good question. So I think that they will continue to buy companies like Body Labs. Companies where they're going to acquire a piece of technology or set of patents or whatever it is that will take way too long for them to develop on their own.

Phillip: [00:22:11] Sure.

Brian: [00:22:12] And could we see another big purchase at some point? Well, I don't know. I think that Whole Foods was really... I mean, I thought it might happen. It was a really, you know, easy decision. It was an easy win for Amazon.

Phillip: [00:22:31] Sure.

Brian: [00:22:32] And there aren't as many of those out there as people would like to believe. Maybe like a Neiman Marcus or something like that.

Phillip: [00:22:43] Right. But they've just not done this to date.

Brian: [00:22:47] They haven't. That's a really great point. Like they don't do a ton of...

Phillip: [00:22:50] That's a Walmart thing.

Brian: [00:22:51] Exactly. Exactly right. There are a build not buy. That's definitely changed this past year.

Phillip: [00:23:02] There's some tech that they've acquired over time and maybe we'll see others.

Brian: [00:23:06] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:23:07] But not the household brand names that, you know, we're all shopping at right now.

Brian: [00:23:12] Maybe a couple more. Maybe a couple more. But it's not going to be...

Phillip: [00:23:16] Not Target.

Brian: [00:23:17] Yeah. Not Target. Not as crazy as some of these analysts been saying and I don't...

Phillip: [00:23:22] But this isn't so crazy. So I think that when you look at the logical progression, I think this stems from the fact that Target did just acquire Instacart. Is that correct?

Brian: [00:23:36] Not Instacart? Was it? No. I don't think it was Instacart. It was some other... Like it was a ship company, I forget who they were called.

Phillip: [00:23:45] I'm sorry. Yeah. Shipt.

Brian: [00:23:46] Shipt. That's right.

Phillip: [00:23:47] Yeah. Shipt with a T. And they announced this just before mid-December. So it was kind of in that lull when we had a bunch of episodes cued up. So I don't think we've talked about this, but Target basically announced, the day that they acquired Shipt, that they're rolling out $99 a year, same day delivery. And that in and of itself is... Yeah. So Shipt and Instacart, you know, are the two main players in this space. You know that leads you to a logical end of Target and Walmart are the only ones who can truly compete with Amazon in that space. In fact, they could probably beat Amazon up. You know, the Whole Foods thing is very compelling, but Target having $99 a year, same day shipping... That's way more compelling. Like way more compelling.

Brian: [00:24:51] Is it?

Phillip: [00:24:52] It is.

Brian: [00:24:52] Is it?

Phillip: [00:24:52] Their reach is so, so much higher.

Brian: [00:24:54] Yeah, but what else do you get for that $99?

Phillip: [00:24:58] I mean, you have more than just grocery, right?

Brian: [00:25:01] Yeah. I don't know, man. I get a lot from Prime.

Phillip: [00:25:04] It's an interesting turn of events, and I can see how you can mentally go there.

Brian: [00:25:10] Yeah. I don't know. I don't know.

Phillip: [00:25:13] Well anyway. Okay. You can tell that we don't know what we're talking about. We just talk about it anyway. It's interesting stuff. So that's kind of where it is. And Brian is dying to talk about CES. So I'm gonna...

Brian: [00:25:27] I don't know about dying to talk about it. Actually I don't want to spend a ton of time on it. I think there are things that happened at CES that are definitely influential. And we're gonna have more targeted time to talk about a lot of this. There's just so much to talk about. So Intel CEO gave a keynote. Of course, that's Brian Krzanich. He addressed the Meltdown and Spectre bugs. Of course, he had to. I doubt he was planning to do that when he originally wrote his speech.

Phillip: [00:26:14] Oh sure.

Brian: [00:26:15] I mean, this is the same Intel who just had all these problems, who also just tweeted and then retweeted and commented on how is VR reinventing your shopping experience?

Phillip: [00:26:30] Yeah.

Brian: [00:26:30] With a picture of a woman looking into a VR headset that was branded DOR.

Phillip: [00:26:40] Right. And it was like the oldest virtual reality headset you've ever seen.

Brian: [00:26:44] Yes totally.

Phillip: [00:26:45] It's not a current generation headset by any means.

Brian: [00:28:35] In short, it's funny for being as in touch as Intel is, and cutting edge as they are, sometimes it feels like they're a little behind.

Phillip: [00:28:45] For sure.

Brian: [00:28:46] That's unfair of me to say probably. But out of touch maybe is the right words to say here.

Phillip: [00:28:57] But at the same time, they they are the... Most everything that you see, every computing device that you use that's not an Apple or an Android device, you know, is probably powered by Intel to some degree.

Brian: [00:29:13] Yeah, maybe it's because we're so far down the commerce line that by the time it gets to us, I think it's just it's it feels a little bit maybe cheesy on the other end or a little bit disingenuous. That Intel is the one that's actually creating the content around something related to commerce is, you know, it just feels maybe a little bit of a stretch. That said, Intel had some crazy cool announcements at the show with large advances in transportation and drones and delivery and self-driving cars and all kinds of really cool stuff. So, you know, they're definitely out there on the forefront pushing forward. I think my criticism of them is probably a little bit harsh there.

Phillip: [00:29:59] No it's kind of fun. It's kind of fun.

Brian: [00:30:01] I mean, they did introduce a vertical takeoff vehicle at the show.

Phillip: [00:30:09] That's one of those VTOL, the electric vertical take off?

Brian: [00:30:16] Correct. The VoloCopter.

Phillip: [00:30:18] Those things are... The Volocopter. {laughter}

Brian: [00:30:23] Hey, dear 1950's, your vision of the future is finally here.

Phillip: [00:30:28] Yeah, precisely. I don't know. OK, so blahblahblah, the drones and all the other stuff. Let's talk about self-driving pizza trucks.

Brian: [00:30:41] That's the most important thing to talk about. Pizza Hut. Thank you.

Phillip: [00:30:45] You know, it's funny. I think one of our very first episodes we talked about the 7-Eleven drone delivery.

Brian: [00:30:54] Oh, yeah, definitely. That was early on.

Phillip: [00:30:57] Yeah. And I feel like that's an advancement in tech that has, you know, definitely not been talked about for some time. I.

Brian: [00:31:08] Well, clearly it got Pizza Hut excited.

Phillip: [00:31:12] Yeah. Yeah. So this comes back to my supply chain theory, my brick and mortar retail theory, which is that property doesn't have to be a physical place with bricks and mortar. At some point in the future, when you have self-driving cars, it becomes a more fluid concept of CVS is no longer just a building with pharmaceuticals and all the rest, or as a convenient store. It's CVS is actually a fleet of vehicles that are always sort of wandering around and always sort of omnipresent. They're there when you need them. Everywhere you happen to be. You just have to, you know, hail it like you hail an Uber. It will be to you in one minute, and then you can just grab what you need.

Brian: [00:32:07] You're driving along, and it's like an airplane refuel where they...

Phillip: [00:32:11] Yeah. Precisely.

Brian: [00:32:12] The two cars sort of dock up next to each other.

Phillip: [00:32:16] They absolutely could.

Brian: [00:32:17] They'd be self driven. And then, you know, some robotic arm hands you your Taco Bell bag through your window.

Phillip: [00:32:23] Yeah. All powered by the Blockchain.

Brian: [00:32:25] Yes.

Phillip: [00:32:25] Thank you. Thank you, Blockchain. So we also saw at CES a lot of talk about augmented reality, virtual reality and haptics.

Brian: [00:32:34] All kinds of talk. Yeah. And I actually I think we had HaptX, the company, on just an episode ago. And actually I like a lot of what they're doing a little better than what I saw from CES. So far at least. I haven't sorted through everything. There is so much.

Phillip: [00:32:53] For sure.

Brian: [00:32:54] But there was a full body suit that was pretty interesting. There was a haptic technology that you could just mount onto your existing screens, or something to that effect, and it would actually blow away in your face. And you could feel heat. So you could have a more immersive gaming experience. That was pretty fun. You know, and some other gloves and things like that or controllers. They didn't look like they were like realistic. Looking more like a mockup. It was representation type haptic.

Phillip: [00:33:40] I see.

Brian: [00:33:40] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:41] I see. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I find that really interesting as well. There is some conversation around AR and VR actually being... There's so much focus on, you know, creating ecosystems in that space now, especially in gaming that they're starting to... I guess you're starting to see some commonality in user experience design for VR in AR, which is a really interesting thing to have developed so quickly. And I think it brings us closer to actual commerce experiences, especially in AR, that are beyond just the assistive technology to have commerce, you know, live in its own context in those spaces. So I'm feeling very bullish on those technologies, having a context that makes sense for retail. But to say that, you know, that it's going to happen in 2018 is probably a big stretch for me.

Brian: [00:34:57] I still agree with you. We're gonna start to see some more AR experiences. Is everyone going to be walking around with their phone out by the end of 2018? Probably not.

Phillip: [00:35:07] No.

Brian: [00:35:07] I did see... This is cool. A headset that you could put your phone in to that allowed for a AR experiences in glasses like VR, but I didn't imagine that you'd be able to insert your phone into a device that would enable AR experiences.

Phillip: [00:35:26] Yeah.

Brian: [00:35:26] Pretty cool. Again, I don't think we're be walking around with these. But it's all steps towards this. And, you know, a guest that will not be named might be right. You know, maybe in three to five years, we'll see people walking around with headsets on, but still a ways out to be fully confident in that.

Phillip: [00:35:52] Yeah, that's probably interesting. I really just always come back to the reason why this podcast exists. And I think it's really important for retailers to know what's happening in these spaces because consumer product technology adoption will create consumer demand to have those good experiences with you in your retail experiences. That doesn't have to be just digital commerce. I know that's what we talk about primarily on the show. But, you know, the fact that no one is safe in brick and mortar right now... I mean, Westfield was just purchased.

Brian: [00:36:44] Whoa. Let's talk about that.

Phillip: [00:36:46] Yeah, sure. Yeah. I'm just touching on it as a "In news you didn't think you would hear..." It's one of those things where the element of experience or an experiencial retail will follow even into the in-store experience. And so there's something we need to be aware of is what is happening in all of these areas. I'm trying to bring context to why we talk about CES, why we talk about Bitcoin, why do we talk about all of these things that are, yes, tangential, but they have the potential to blindside you when a customer is starting to demand something from you that you've never even heard of.

Brian: [00:37:28] Yes. Again, that's actually and we've never really said that on the show before, because we do cover a lot of tangential technology and ideas.

Phillip: [00:37:38] Sure.

Brian: [00:37:38] And I think it's because the intention behind that is, you go back and look ten years in the past and retailers that weren't thinking about phones missed the boat.

Phillip: [00:37:56] Right.

Brian: [00:37:56] Technology affects commerce in big ways. In fact, a lot of what's done in technology ultimately comes around and people start to make money on it when it actually gets to commerce. And so...

Phillip: [00:38:10] Yeah, sure. You don't have to be an early adopter. You can certainly, you know, bide your time on a lot of this technology. But I'll tell you what, we talked about voice on this show a year and a half ago, conversational, as if it was a far future technology. And it is not. Voice is de facto. It's here. It is a technology that people are using every single day. If you have a smartphone, you likely are using your Google assistant or Siri or you're doing something that engages you via your voice. And consumers are starting to expect to be able to purchase from you in the same way. So it's faster and faster and faster, the rate of adoption of these types of technologies. So we could be a year and a half away from people realistically wanting to have an AR experience in your store.

Brian: [00:39:06] Or at home.

Phillip: [00:39:07] Right. And that's where we are. So it's important that you as a retailer know what these are and how they apply to you.

Brian: [00:39:14] Yes. Great tangential. So now I'm going to get super tangetial. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:39:21] That's the word of the day. Tangetial.

Brian: [00:39:23] We just caveated ourselves in to being able to talk about whatever we want to talk about.

Phillip: [00:39:28] Exactly. Hey you need to know this, and now we're just going to talk about it.

Brian: [00:39:31] Another company that showed up in Forest, and it's a company out of keeping my on for a while. And I have been talking about an idea that I've had for a long time. I've been talking about it sort of behind closed doors, not on the show. The company is Sphero. Phillip is laughing because he had some great jokes about...

Phillip: [00:39:57] Yeah I have some thoughts about this.

Brian: [00:39:58] Sphero made some cool announcements. One of the things that was pretty interesting is the Sphero Mini, which you can set up some cool games and learn how to code with. Pretty exciting. Back when Sphero released their Lightning McQueen... So this would have been last year, about mid year, maybe before that. I saw that Lightning McQueen, and my mind was just like started two to run in a spiral towards what's next with toys. And I realized that toys technology and really robotics, if you will, it's getting to the point now where we could actually tell stories with toys and it would actually be really engaging, kind of like watching a movie almost. You know, our first steps towards Westworld, of course. No, not really. But there's gonna be a lot of advances in toys coming up. There was an updated Teddy Rex, and that was just kind of interesting along these lines. But storytelling through toys, which got me thinking, why aren't we telling stories through everything in our daily lives? And as we've got phones, we've got these devices that we can use to interact with other things and with Amazon's recent release of near-field technology kit, everything can be voice activated.

Phillip: [00:41:34] Wow.

Brian: [00:41:35] And so, I'm actually going to talk about voice activation throughout the world in my next Future Commerce Insiders article and talk about what that will look like, because there's a lot of things to consider that you'll have to sign up for our FC Insiders newsletter to hear more about. I'm really excited about talking about that.

Phillip: [00:42:02] Yeah I am, too.

Brian: [00:42:02] And the application for that is just gigantic. And so I'm looking forward to writing that.

Phillip: [00:42:11] Yeah. And I'm looking forward to hearing about it. On the face of it, some of that stuff is like, man, we've talked about that. What more is there to even say? And then like your first thought that you pitched to me, I was like, yep, I need to hear that. That's great. Like, that blew my mind. So I'm really looking forward to that as well. But yeah, you're right. It's funny because, you know, you have the Apple devices of the world had this technology first and they slept on it, right?

Brian: [00:42:46] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:42:48] They slept on Siri in a big, big way. And then now I'm starting to get the sense that Amazon's realized that they've been sleeping for about a year on Echo and the Alexa devices. And I think they're finally kind of waking up to they got to put a little bit more out there as far as the R&D kits for their larger dev community to build this into more things. So you look at CES now. And everything has Alexa built into it. Like everything. You know, your fridge. The sound bar that you buy for your television, friggin TVs have it. You know, everything has Alexa in 2018.

Brian: [00:43:36] Oh, yeah. TV is what people are using voice search most on.

Phillip: [00:43:39] Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that's another interesting one is the pervasiveness of voice for things that are outside the commerce context, but they're assistive as well. So, you know, I got a Harmony Hub for Christmas.

Brian: [00:43:55] Sweet.

Phillip: [00:43:55] It's cool, right? But I was looking at it like the remote control, that it's it's my Harmony remote control. No, no, no. You can change everything with the app. OK, well, I can use the app on my phone. Well, that's kind of cool. I can use an app on my phone to change stuff on my home theater system. Well, what else can it do? Oh, it can hook up to Alexa so I can control my TV with my voice. So now I don't have to use the remote control from Comcast to do it.

Brian: [00:44:25] Thank goodness.

Phillip: [00:44:25] Right. Yeah. Instead of having to speak into the remote control or find the remote control or anything like that. Now I just talked to my Alexa like I do for everything else. And so I find this ecosystem that's developing is not because Amazon is so smart in that they're developing all this technology. It's because they've opened it up very rapidly, but very wisely for people to build really engaging products on top of it...

Brian: [00:44:58] Which was smart.

Phillip: [00:44:58] Which is what Apple never did, and Apple only did 18 months ago. And we've seen such a sort of a lackluster offering from them and all of their partners to date on it. So it's very interesting.

Brian: [00:45:15] Yeah, absolutely. That's a good way to leave it. Poor Apple.

Phillip: [00:45:22] I'm all for speaking out out loud what I want. But if I can just get a burger by just someone...

Brian: [00:45:32] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:45:32] You like that segue. If I could just look at McDonald's and they know what burger I want. McDonald's is terrible. That's not the one I want. Oh, I don't know what a better burger chain could possibly be.

Brian: [00:45:50] Shake Shack?

Phillip: [00:45:50] Shake Shack. Exactly. If I go to In and Out and they know I want my double, double animal style, I don't even know what the heck that means. I've heard people say it, and I'm now mocking it. But if they know by my face the kind of burger that I want, then that's what I need. And so actually, that's the thing. Facial recognition burger is...

Brian: [00:46:10] {laughter}

Phillip: [00:46:10] We actually had this on our Insiders email list a couple weeks ago. It was an article out on the Verge. It's the Cali group.

Brian: [00:46:21] CaliBurger.

Phillip: [00:46:22] Yeah CaliBurger. And so they've created... They're using NEC's NeoFace facial recognition technology in their order kiosks to repeat an order that you might have placed in the past by recognizing your face. But what I want is for them to take the shape of my face and say, yeah, this guy needs a triple. That's what I'm hoping.

Brian: [00:46:45] Oh, man. Oh. Oh, man. I've got so much more to talk about. What you just said spurred something in my mind that I'm not going to talk about. But so much ahead. There's so much ahead.

Phillip: [00:46:56] There is. There's a lot. A lot ahead. But, you know, mostly just, you know, burgers and facial recognition. It's funny.

Brian: [00:47:04] Face Burger.

Phillip: [00:47:04] Have you seen an iPhone 10 in person? Have you seen it in action?

Brian: [00:47:09] Yeah. I haven't really used it. I mean, I've, you know, touched it and kind of flipped the screen on and but I haven't really like used it used it.

Phillip: [00:47:19] Yeah. I'm really impressed with Animoji. I'm really impressed with the facial unlock feature. I don't have one. My sister in law had one, and they were here for the Christmas holidays. It was just... It really is magical. So I don't want to end with "Poor Apple." They are making some amazing stuff.

Brian: [00:47:38] I being a little bit facetious when I said that.

Phillip: [00:47:43] Yeah. I don't know, man. We kind of blew through a million things. I'm so excited for 2018. We're gonna be at NRF next week. And so if you're listening to this around the time of NRF, and you can find us, we'll be in the podcast booth. Podcasting live.

Brian: [00:48:01] Tuesday.

Phillip: [00:48:02] Yeah. Tuesday. 3-5. So we've got two one hour segments back to back. We'll be crushing it from there. We'll be walking the show floor.

Brian: [00:48:12] We're going to have an amazing guest on. I'm really excited about this.

Phillip: [00:48:14] Yeah. Yeah. Don't let the cat out of the bag, yet. I'm really excited for that. I put it out to the Insiders list last week. But the Innovation Lab that they are going to have onsite looks amazing, truly amazing, really exciting.

Brian: [00:48:34] Really cool stuff.

Phillip: [00:48:35] I feel like the shop.org Innovation Lab was a little bit lackluster.

Brian: [00:48:40] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:48:40] But this, at least in discription alone, sounds really, really cool. So I actually I just wanted to throw out a few real quick that I'm hoping to get some time with. I just want to, you know, check them out.

Brian: [00:48:55] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Do it.

Phillip: [00:48:56] Yeah. Well personally, I've mentioned them before. I like Bond. I've seen them before. They're the handwritten cards. We've actually used them ourselves for Future Commerce to write thank you notes, which is kind of cool. But here's the list right here. Sorry, I'm stalling, I was buying time. Starship robotics. Have you ever heard of this company?

Brian: [00:49:25] Yeah. Pretty cool.

Phillip: [00:49:27] Starship.xyz. They're building networked robots that will that sort of... Basically it's sort of democratizing that Amazon delivery technology that could be used in business, be used in warehouse and fulfillment really. It looks really cool. Another robotics company called Locus, which I was really impressed with, locusrobotics.com in a similar sort of a vein there. But it's, you know, focused almost entirely on warehouse and sort of wayfinding and pathfinding. So, you know, all those sorts of technologies that you saw, that Amazon had and built themselves. That's a thing that warehouses and 3PLs will be definitely taking advantage of that. And one more in the logistics spaces. Optoro. They have what they're calling a reverse logistics platform. It's for retailers to process, manage, and disposition, and sell their returned and excess inventory, which I find just fascinating. Very, very cool. So and then just a few more off the top of my head here tangibly is basically they're... It's hard to explain, but basically it's body data and fit comparison for static imagery. So it's sort of like Body Labs...

Brian: [00:51:04] Really cool.

Phillip: [00:51:05] Yeah, that looks really cool. That's Tangible and DeepMagic AI, a couple of AI companies. So it is a shopping AI. Sorry, I'm losing my voice a little bit here, so bear with me. But it is actually creating content and content format, sort of like a... I don't know how to say. It's kind of like a creating a store design or adaptive store design and maybe a rapid store digital commerce like experience like A/B testing tool that, you know, is basically out AI powered. They also have kiosks and some other things which is really, really cool. So I was really impressed by their site. I want to check them out. It's deep magic. And another one called Face Note. Facenote.me. And that's a customer powered facial recognition. AI powered customer recognition for CRM. So rather than the beacon panacea that we were promised a few years ago with people in a geofencing your store and walking in with a smart phone. This is, you know, actual facial recognition for customer recognition in the store.

Brian: [00:52:23] And so I got to cut it. Did you see Kimetric? This is the one that got me crazy. This is crazy. So customers can walk into a store, Kimetric uses facial features and skeletal data to identify different profiles and states of mind. So it can do age, gender and size, moods and an eye tracking, clothing recognition, product detection, and it can help determine what the conversion funnel of your in-store experience is like.

Phillip: [00:52:56] That's freaking awesome.

Brian: [00:52:57] That's like Minority Report right there.

Phillip: [00:53:00] So the NRF Innovation Lab is gonna be off the chain.

Brian: [00:53:03] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:53:03] So we're likely to be walking that. It's the biggest show in retail. Truly. And they call it The Big Show. And so we'll be there. We're hoping to get a bunch man on the street interviews, and we'll have a lot to talk about. So you can expect one or more episodes recapping NRF very shortly, probably, you know, as early as first week of February. So really looking forward to that. We've got a lot of travel coming up pretty soon. We got a bunch of events happening all over the country. And so we'll be leaking those out to you. We'll be on our FC insiders mailing list.

Brian: [00:53:40] Oh yeah. Lots of reasons to sign up. You did not hear us to plug that at the beginning of the show, but we plug it throughout because there's so much cool stuff coming out.

Phillip: [00:53:51] So much so that I'm losing my voice.

Brian: [00:53:56] You're losing the voice because you're quite the worker this week. You've been killing it.

Phillip: [00:54:03] Oh my word. Yeah. Hopefully I can...

Brian: [00:54:05] You're Winkle-ing it.

Phillip: [00:54:10] He's trying to make Winkle happen.

Brian: [00:54:13] No I'm not. I'm not really trying to make it happen.

Phillip: [00:54:15] You want to close this out?

Brian: [00:54:16] Sure. Sure. All right. Thanks for listening. As always, we want you to give us your feedback about today's show. So please leave us any amount of feedback you can. Either Disqus comment box on our site, FutureCommerce.fm Or on LinkedIn or on Twitter or wherever you want to leave some feedback for us. If you subscribe on iTunes, as always, we'd love a five star review. You can always subscribe to listen to Future Commerce on iTunes and Google Play or listen right from your Amazon Echo with the phrase "Alexa, play Future Commerce podcast," or go to FutureCommerce.fm

Phillip: [00:54:53] Go there.

Brian: [00:54:54] Yes, with that... Retail tech is moving fast.

Phillip: [00:55:00] But Future Commerce is moving faster.

Brian: [00:55:01] Thank you.

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