Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11
Episode 161
June 12, 2020

Pictures to Paint of a Better Future

Black lives matter. The retail and e-commerce industries can do better to "put up or shut up" when it comes to diversity. Brian & Phillip discuss how brands can leverage their voices and adopt more transparent practices to help build a better future for our communities.

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this episode sponsored by

Diversity and Transparency

  • It’s important to instill trust into diverse founders.
  • Transparency in businesses allows for a culture to be built that is proud to be shared.
  • Instagram account Pull Up or Shut Up has held brands accountable for their diversity numbers and has had many brands go transparent in their diversity numbers. 
  • “The culture of your business is built in your first five hires.” A brand’s culture is naturally built through the employees and their diverse backgrounds and perspectives. 
  • Aiding in diverse brand visibility like this Twitter feed of Black owned candle companies helps to bring unification.

Gradually, then Suddenly

  • Hemingway’s “Gradually, then suddenly” quote applies to commerce as well as civil rights.
  • Instead of government leadership and direction, the private sector has stepped forward to unite people in solving problems. 
  • It’s important to stay connected in your local and digital communities - commerce connects people. There is power in retail and merchant classes to effect change locally. This is also why it’s important to be diverse - because every person involved changes the culture. 
  • There is a massive importance in being hopeful and looking for positive change in the future. Using your own vision and your own intentionally created brand culture, you create the future you want to see through that culture, commerce, and technology. 

Brands Mentioned


Check Your Pulse

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

Phillip: [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce. I'm Phillip.Brian: [00:00:03] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:00:05] And wow. Gosh, we would be remiss if we didn't open the show right off the bat, sort of addressing the proverbial elephant in the room. Yeah, Brian, we're taking a stand today.

Brian: [00:00:22] Yeah. Black lives matter.

Phillip: [00:00:24] Yeah. Unequivocally. And with no suffix to that, Black lives matter and at Future Commerce we've been saying for many years now that humans are the most important thing at the center of all of our businesses, and people matter.

Brian: [00:00:40] Yes.

Phillip: [00:00:40] And our brothers and sisters in the Black community need our support right now. And we have used our own personal platforms for the last few weeks to help amplify those voices. But we cannot start a podcast today without coming out and saying that right off the top.

Brian: [00:00:59] It's been a crazy couple weeks, and I think that this is really important.

Phillip: [00:01:09] Yeah. And it's at a time where we are ourselves, we're getting ready to publish our Nine by Nine report. And there are brands on that... We have been rating on the Nine by Nine, and as we've been working on our Nine by Nine report for six months, that we've had to pull off in just the last week.

Brian: [00:01:35] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:01:37] Due to the stance on this very, what seems like common sense, issue to me.

Brian: [00:01:48] Yes.

Phillip: [00:01:48] Yeah, that there is a problem of systemic white supremacy in our country, and in every facet of our country, the United States, and brands are being asked by consumers to put up or shut up and to answer their calls to weigh into this very important moment in the culture. And we've speculated as to why we can talk about that here today, too. By the way, this is a no agenda show. We have no agenda other than to address this moment. But as we've been doing Nine by Nine, you know, we've been seeing brands fall down. I mean, goodness gracious, CrossFit CEO just dismissed.

Brian: [00:02:34] Yup.

Phillip: [00:02:36] You know, that might be on... And Reebok ended its support of CrossFit as a result of that really clumsy handling and just horrible way of handling this situation. And I don't know. I'm gonna paraphrase. But effectively, the CrossFit CEO, whose name I won't repeat here, doesn't deserve to be given a platform, if you ask me. But basically started an investor call saying, I don't mourn the death of George Floyd, which is like how could you possibly be so tone deaf in this day and age?

Brian: [00:03:13] Yes.

Phillip: [00:03:14] Gosh. But and then Ben and Jerry's somehow, Ben and Jerry both, being arrested for protesting in the streets and sort of leading the charge on how to add their voice to this conversation and fighting for human rights and civil rights. And so we're seeing it all across the board. And but anyway, Brian, I'm doing a lot of talking. This is not easy to talk about, especially given that you and I are white males.

Brian: [00:03:48] Yes, I think that you're absolutely right about that. And it's super important for us to talk about it. But I think that there's just. We're two white guys on a podcast. I mean, we've said this before many times. I think that our voice is that Black lives do matter. And that's what we want to continue to emphasize. I saw Sari Azout's Check Your Pulse Number 46 came out recently. I thought she had some really good thoughts in there...

Phillip: [00:04:31] What were a couple of them if you had to pick them out?

Brian: [00:04:33] I think that... She called out... I think this is really good... That we need to promote diverse founders. This is really, really important. And the reason for that is because what founders do... This is a quote from her article, from her newsletter. "What founders do is a function of who they are, not the other way around." And so, "By not promoting diverse founders, we're depriving our systems of leveraging technology to solve real problems." Because those founders come from those communities. And so I think that that's... We're under serving people, and we're not doing the best job that we can as a group of entrepreneurs. If we don't promote diverse founders. And she even goes on to say, and I thought this was really, really great. These aren't little problems that can be solved by giving a Black founder a 10K grant to start a D2C candle brand. These are the kinds of problems you can only really understand if you've been screwed by the system and the kind that you can only really solve if you believe that Black founders can return the fund." It's not just giving money. It's believing in them, believing in those founders.

Phillip: [00:05:53] This is so interesting because this is the crux of my Insider's post. And by the way, we're gonna be incredibly self-referential today. Apologies... Or sorry, not sorry. My Insider's essay for this Sunday is exactly that, which is it shouldn't be as hard as it is to have equal representation on a short list of brands that are changing the world. And it's unnecessarily hard to find non white, non male voices and brand founders and to find brand founders that bring diversity into the way that they're shaping their business, because they are ethnically diverse themselves. And I think that that's because the system is stacked in such a way and is systemically skewed to favor white founders and white executive leadership for all kinds of reasons that I'm unqualified to really talk about. And by the way, part of the reason we don't talk about these things in our culture is because most people don't feel qualified to talk about them. And if we can't have a clumsy conversation, so we get good at talking about this. If we can't have these kinds of conversations out in the open, then we'll never talk about it. I'd rather make some mistakes along the way and kind of work it out in the way I do everything else. Like nobody ever expected me to be perfect when talking about conversion rate optimization. It's a work in progress. Like, my understanding of that is moving over time, as I learned from other people around me and having conversations out in the open. Why can we not just... This is part of... This is part of this is to remove the stigma around... We've been fighting the stigma around talking about mental health in our tech communities for five years. We need to remove the stigma around talking about racial equality in our tech communities. And I think that's what Sari's getting at. There's this brilliant thread, by the way, on Twitter from Mabel, which is her Twitter handle is @villainandeve, which is basically like here's a thread of 40 black owned candle companies, just candle brands that are founded by black men and women. That's pretty cool.

Brian: [00:08:20] That is cool.

Phillip: [00:08:21] That's really cool. Especially being someone who is so hyped on candles. I freaking love candles.

Brian: [00:08:28] You are as about as hyped on candles as anyone that I know. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:08:33] {laughter} And still, I have a lot to learn around candles. And this gives me like a short list of next time I want to go buy a candle, I'll go buy these candles.

Brian: [00:08:44] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:08:44] There're so many cool ones, and we need more of this visibility. One other thing that I'll mention, too. Consumer expectation. I think consumers right now care very deeply where they're spending their money. And they would prefer to spend their money at businesses that are being transparent about the makeup of their organization from a leadership and foundation perspective. And there is an Instagram handle... Which is I don't endorse call-out culture or cancel culture in any way. But transparency is the foundation on which we will build a better future. So if we know where you stand today as a brand in your diversity numbers, then we can hold you accountable to improve it if you say you're going to improve it. And you would be surprised that there is this account called @pullupforchange or Pull Up or Shut Up. And this Instagram account is calling out beauty brands and saying, "What are your diversity numbers?" I'm shocked at the number of brands that have answered the challenge and have publicly published their diversity numbers. Everybody from Kylie to Unilever. It's insane.

Brian: [00:09:55] This is great because now this is the type of information that say a rating service, like Good On You, can go pick up and include in their aggregate ratings because they base that off of public information.

Phillip: [00:10:05] Yeah.

Brian: [00:10:07] And so just continued transparency is going to make it easier for people to make good decisions. My wife and I were up to like after 1:00 in the morning just talking about this very thing. One of our takeaways from this is just continued focus on thinking about how our spend affects... It's an extension of how we live. And, you know, I think I'm definitely going to continue to look for opportunities to be more careful with what I spend my money on. And it's something that I've thought about before, but I haven't done as much as I should. And I think this, for me, has definitely continued... I'm going to be looking for that data and having places like that to find that level of transparency is something that's going to be really important to shoppers, not just me, but shoppers ahead to know how labor is being treated, if there's diversity in the business, how they're promoting diversity and so on. I'm looking forward to a future where we can see how people are being treated in a much, much more transparent way. It's going to build better cultures, too. That's the other thing, is that when you're transparent about something, I think that really helps you build the culture that you are proud to share. Right? And so having more transparent metrics, or transparent business practices and statistics of your business, will allow you to become the business that you want to be.

Phillip: [00:11:58] I'm reminded of a quote that I heard that I've been like Googling while you were talking, trying to figure it out. I can't find the source of it, but it's like, "The culture of your business is built in your first five hires." There's this idea of like you set the tone and lay the groundwork for the culture of your business in your first five hires. And everybody that you hire after that maintains or shapes the culture from there. And so in early days in a business, and we all tend to hire people that look like us. That's why we have the problem we have and why we have such a lack of diversity in consumer brands. I don't know about everywhere because I don't know everything about everything. But I sense that that's a problem across the board, everywhere in the United States. But at least in consumer brands, we see a real lack of diversity, especially at the executive level. And I think that's because a lot of these brands have been created and sort of systemically stacked in such a way that they have maintained a culture that was built well before anybody else got there. And it takes a monumental effort. It doesn't matter if you have a diversity and inclusion board. I have a friend who runs DNI at Morgan Stanley, and she has a real tough time in trying to champion that inside their organization even as much as they wanted to do it. I know someone who listens to the show that does DNI at a big consumer health brand. I don't want to announce who they are because I want to get them in trouble or myself in trouble. But a big consumer health brand who also has told me that it is the goal of leadership in the business to create a more diverse culture. It just hasn't happened yet. They want to do it. They're on the road to doing it. But these things are hard to do when the engine keeps moving forward. It's like why this moment is so important is we need consumers to demand it, because that's how it's going to change, because it's not enough to want to change. It needs to happen on an accelerated timetable. Web Smith had written this amazing article, as he usually does in 2pm, about this idea of gradually and then suddenly. And I think, which is an Ernest Hemingway quote, "How do you go bankrupt? Well, gradually and then suddenly," I think that we have seen a gradual adoption of eCommerce and then a sudden adoption of eCommerce due to COVID.

Brian: [00:14:43] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:14:43] And I think that we've had a very gradual fight in the world of civil rights and now a sudden shift. And I think we've compressed in the last three months in the United States of America. We have compressed 15 years of change in the culture, in both digital adoption and channel shift and in civil rights. All of this being condensed into a three month period. And of course, that will bring upheaval. I just hope it sticks. Like, we can't move on from this moment and go back to normal. I don't want normal. I don't want to go back to normal. Do you want normal? I don't want normal. I'm tired like I...

Brian: [00:15:22] Well, what does normal even mean?

Phillip: [00:15:24] Well whatever the world was before.

Brian: [00:15:25] Yeah, I feel like... Right. I think that you're exactly right. In fact, it's interesting. There's so many other things that have compressed timelines as a result. Think about like even digital communication. Communication has changed super fast. There's so many things that have changed quickly.

Phillip: [00:15:46] All of our defaults have changed. I mean, we're camera on by default when we call people on video. This was a thing that they had talked about...

Brian: [00:15:53] It used to be aggressive. It used to be pretty aggressive.

Phillip: [00:15:55] Yeah, it used to be an aggressive thing to face time someone.

Brian: [00:15:58] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:15:59] But that's a new default.

Brian: [00:16:00] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:01] And I think that's an insane thing that could only have happened in this moment. Also, I believe that this public outcry for civil rights could only have happened in this moment when we were undistracted by everything else. We have no sports...

Brian: [00:16:17] I don't know. I don't know. That's true. I think that we were at a period where we were ready. I could be wrong about that. But, I mean, just a quick disagreement.

Phillip: [00:16:26] I appreciate the disagreement. I know that, like, there's not much to look forward to in the world right now. There's no travel coming up. I'm not going anywhere. I'm sitting at home, barely have... I can't even really... I could go get a haircut. But I'm scared of it. This is a magical time to be undistracted and motivated to say, "What what the heck else am I going to do? I'm going to go fight for someone else's rights. I'm going to go fight for someone else who doesn't have a voice." I feel like that's a magical moment in our society right now because we have nothing else to do. What else are you going to do? Thirty five million people out of work. Somehow The NASDAQ is flat on the year. That's crazy. We've lost all control of our economy, by the way. That's a whole other rant. And the stock market is not representative of anything other than... Oh, well, I mean, maybe that's representative of people having nothing to do. And they're sitting around and investing stimulus checks. And that's why Hertz is up at 890% bounce in the last three months. That makes no freakin sense, but OK.

Brian: [00:17:33] Yeah. Derek Thompson had a really interesting article about that. Basically it's the weirdest crash we've ever had. People's income actually rose due to stimulus and increased unemployment checks. And so even though we're going to really dangerous place as an economy, and we're definitely in a recession, there's actually been this weird, like actually income kind of rose. Personal income kind of rose during this time.

Phillip: [00:18:01] What a time to be alive.

Brian: [00:18:02] Yeah. What is time to be alive. It's nothing like it. It's really interesting, too, because I think that... This actually gets back the article that I just wrote. It's also a very bleak time to be alive in that we've just been through a series of major events of crisis at a very, very large scale and things that impacted people across the US, let alone the world. Right? And so right now, I think we're in a period where maybe we used to... Like back in the 90s, I think a lot of the problems that we had, and we had problems, many, many big problems, but it felt like we could fix them. And I feel like right now we're in a period where it's like... We didn't fix them. We still have these big problems. And now the future is like, OK, are we going to be able to fix these finally? And people just... I feel like right now we're in a position where there's a lot of hesitation about what's next. And that's why we have this show, actually.

Phillip: [00:19:23] Yeah. Yeah. Well, I want to advocate for the personhood of the consumer to a brand.

Brian: [00:19:32] Yeah. Yes. Exactly.

Phillip: [00:19:33] That's the power of the platform that we have is that it's not a sale to a customer. There's a person in the middle. And the personhood of the employee is something that we've also spent a lot of time talking about. People should be employed and treated fairly. And you should treat your customers with dignity and respect. That's a thing that, you know, very idealistic brands have come under fire about, most recently at Reformation, being one of the most recent ones to have a public falling out with an article in Glossy recently and not living up to their own standards and ideals. And I think that, but they are one in a long line of brands that are coming under fire and people are looking for reasons to call you out and call you a hypocrite. It's a really tough cross to bear in that regard, like being incredibly principled. But I think you and I had mentioned before at some point that, oh, yeah, it was when we're talking about Outdoor Voices like right at the beginning of COVID, which at the time seemed like a really important thing to be talking about and seems terribly unimportant now. An upheaval in a brand is something that is worth talking about for all kinds of reasons. But it was right at the beginning of all this. And who knew how long this would stretch on? But when we talked about, it was like, OK, well, brands aren't really doing much of anything, or the executive leadership in the United States at an executive branch in our government isn't doing much of anything to stave off this virus and the transmission of this virus. We weren't really putting... There wasn't much leadership at the time in that place. And what we saw was a lot of corporate leadership and a lot of executive leadership in businesses saying, "OK, well, the national and local level aren't really doing much to give us guidelines. So we're going to implement our own." And there were a lot of brands stepping up. I mean, direct to consumer brands were some of the first to say, "Hey, we're shutting down our stores." Neighborhood goods, you know, "Hey, we're shutting down our three locations, and we're gonna pay all of our employees full salary while we're shut down." And they sort of drew the line in the sand and set the bar of like this is how you should behave. And we need that from a brand level. We need that in an eCommerce level.

Brian: [00:22:02] I think you you brought up something really important here, which is unification of America and the process of coming together to solve these problems. I think we have an opportunity as brands to speak into this. And I think that we are. I think that there are a lot of brands out there that are doing a very good job of being thoughtful and speaking with dignity. And this is good. This is really good. I think looking back, perhaps a lot of brands learned from the complaints around the messages around COVID. Like, we criticized that. There was a lot of trust washing. And that's not to say there's not some trust washing going on right now, because there definitely is. But I think, you know, I think to your point, we do need leadership. Perhaps it can come from the private sector. And that's the place where we can say that we can be proud to be Americans together as a result of a private leadership. That would be unprecedented.

Phillip: [00:23:15] Proud to be Americans as far as the track on which the corporate... Like corporations in the last year have taken a stand in a few different ways. Like the Business Roundtable redefining what it means to be meaningful and to drive value is not no longer just to shareholders, but to stakeholders, which includes employees. And I think that that's a really bold first step. But I'm not very proud to be an American, just quite frankly, with the leadership that we have in the Trump administration. And it doesn't feel like we're unifying our country right now.

Brian: [00:23:57] Yes.

Phillip: [00:23:57] I don't think you have to be a Republican or a Democrat to say that it's an important thing that we unite people in our country, and not divide them.

Brian: [00:24:09] I think pretty much everyone's come out and said that.

Phillip: [00:24:13] Which is a thing that I think a lot of people were very sort of soft on as the economy was humming along for a few years of this presidency. So, you know, the next five months, gosh, is going to be a really interesting time in our space, because I think a lot of folks are going to be eager to see what happens with the general election and the change over here in the United States. But, you know, there's been a lot that's happened to repatriate jobs back to America and to bring manufacturing back to America. I can't say that those things are...that that's bad from a globalization perspective. And like commerce and having like a global community, we are less connected than ever before in what's happening in the rest of the world and American isolationism...I don't want...I don't think that that's good on the whole for us in society.

Brian: [00:25:08] I think it's such a balance. We don't want to be isolated. Also like bringing manufacturing back to the US... I love to see local communities lifted up through that as well. So it's such a balance.

Phillip: [00:25:20] I know there's this really weird dichotomy there. And because, you know, not everything is black and white. I think it's very, very difficult. Sorry... That's probably an outdated term. Someone please tell me what I'm supposed to be saying there. Really interesting conversations, by the way, happening in the open source tech space around redefining language of technology terms like Whitelist/Blacklist, Master/Slave... There's a lot of these really interesting conversations happening there that I'm fascinated by, and I'm looking to try to figure out how I adapt my language, because I think those are important things to be mindful of. But not everything is really cut and dry, I should say, in that, we do need onshore manufacture. In fact, a number of brands that are rated on our Nine by Nine, coming next week, are lauded because of their living wage that they're paying to folks in metro areas that work right here in the United States. And we've awarded them for that. And we've applauded them for that. We've talked about them a lot in that they're doing things in a way that we think are more equitable for their local community. That's such an important piece to this. So I think that there is this really interesting balance.

Brian: [00:26:37] Yeah, if you read Obama's recent essay, that's a huge part of what he was talking about, actually, was working in your local community and being part of your local community and being connected to people in your local community. I think it's so important right now in terms of change that we are all taking part as best we can in the places that we live, as well as nationally. And in digitally connected communities.

Phillip: [00:27:14] In the present crisis, in the present terms of what we're talking about from policing and local governments, it starts at the local level. And I have to believe that commerce plays a gigantic role in lending its voice to what happens in our local communities. Business owners need to be speaking up and be more participatory in the communities that they're already involved in at the civic level, because we have a huge voice in the world. Commerce is a huge part of what connects all people. It's our thesis, right? It's on our About page is that commerce connects people. And if we as in the retail and merchant class speak up in our local communities, I think we can make a difference. Just to give you a one example, there is Rodney Mayo, who is the owner of the Subculture group, which is a series of restaurants and nightclubs and bars that are under a brand management restaurant group here in West Palm Beach, spoke out against the mayor of downtown West Palm in that the mayor was unnecessarily trying to prevent them from having a Black Lives Matter rally to bring police and protesters together. They were gonna have a barbecue and they kept raising the stakes. Every day it was another requirement. Every day it was another permit. Every day. So they moved the event to Lake Park because Lake Park welcomed them with open arms. And you know what? They forced the mayor to apologize and go on record and talk about this. We have power in the retail and merchant class to effect change on the local level. And I guess a lot of people are going to remember that when the mayor comes back up for reelection. A lot. So, yeah, it starts at the local level. Sorry, I cut you off in that whole tangent.

Brian: [00:29:18] No, no, no. That was great. It was a great tangent. It led me to lots of thoughts, which is awesome. I think that actually, and this just to take this a step further, national brands should be empowering local leaders of their local stores to be able to take part in the community as well. And I think this gets back to something we've talked about a lot, which is giving your people the space and permission to be able to act independently with all of the talents that they have and not just the things that that you sort of need from them, but allow them to find space beyond those things. And we've talked about this at like a store associate level more, but also store managers... Give them additional space, too. It's really good.

Phillip: [00:30:21] There was a a story that I told in a keynote at a conference that I spoke at, I believe it was 2019, about a year ago, about Ben Chesnut, who's co-founder at MailChimp. And he was doing a tour around their building there in Atlanta at Ponce City Market. And so I was on this tour just kind of walking around with some folks in the partnership space. And then Chesnut comes walking by with a group of new hires and stopped and greeted us, said hi, we shook his hand. And he had said sort of in passing, "Oh, here's a group of 15 new hires. We have like 10 to 15 people start every single Monday at MailChimp, 10-15 brand new people start at MailChimp in one of our two offices." They have seven or eight hundred people that work at Ponce City Market in Atlanta in that one location. And somebody sort of chirped up and said, "How do you maintain the culture at MailChimp?" Because MailChimp has a really interesting business culture.

Brian: [00:31:43] Right.

Phillip: [00:31:44] How do you maintain the culture of MailChimp when you add 10 to 15 people every week? And he's like, "You don't. The second you try to control the culture, you've lost it. Every new person doesn't have to earn a seat at the table. Every person that comes into this organization will shape the future of the culture of this company. You have to be open to that and you've to give them a seat at the table."

Brian: [00:32:06] That's why diverse voices are so important.

Phillip: [00:32:08] Yeah. And it sounds so common sense. It seems very common sense, but apparently it's not. We need to do better. And, you know, I think we've also in our Nine by Nine... Just kind of wrapping up... In our Nine by Nine, we took stock early on and we'd set a goal for ourselves of female founder inclusivity. We were striving to have equal representation. And, you know, 40 to 50 percent would be a really great mark to hit. And I think we hit that. We wound up at about 40% female founder and/or female executive leadership in the brands that are rated on our Nine by Nine report. Very first one. But gosh, it's kind of sad when you look at the 20 to 25 percent of the two hundred eighty seven brands that we scored and rated and the brands that came out through our qualitative it's, you know, 20 to 25 percent persons of color. And it's really, really difficult to find brands that get the kind of attention and earn media and venture backing and private equity backing and get to the national level that have that have black, indigenous, or persons of color in their executive leadership or founding teams. So the problem exists across the board.

Brian: [00:33:34] I feel like this episode is really just a recap of Sari's newsletter.

Phillip: [00:33:39] Yeah, it really is. Oh, and Sari, having been on the show in the past, is just very, very brilliant and has spoken more to this than I think we ever can. I mean, go subscribe to Check Your Pulse.

Brian: [00:33:55] Yes.

Phillip: [00:33:55] It's a great newsletter. It's on Sub Stack, and I can't recommend highly enough. I like her... She did say something I thought was interesting. And it was a quote from Scot Galloway, I believe...

Brian: [00:34:10] Yes.

Phillip: [00:34:10] Who she mentions. That one of the things that are lacking right now is civil discourse, like civil debate, about these topics. And like we can't really just have a reasoned discussion. Everybody has to scream. And you have to buy into the entirety of a philosophy or a point of view or else you're not allowed to have a seat at the table to have a discussion. I think that maybe on social media, it plays out that way. But I don't know that that's how it plays out inside of businesses and in interpersonal relationships and even in families where people definitely don't agree on everything. I know that from experience. So I have some hope that, outside of social media, that there are hard conversations being had and Sari brought that to light. I thought that was really interesting that maybe there's some hope there if we can just get one on one and actually have conversations with people.

Brian: [00:35:05] I love that. I think that is very much, that line of thinking is very much in the frame of this show, which is that you need to envision a future that you can be proud of. We need to have hope in order to live out hope. And so as we continue with this show, we're going to continue to look for pictures to paint of a better future, because I think there is some truth to self-fulfilling prophecy.

Phillip: [00:35:33] That's a show title, by the way. Pictures to Paint of a Better Future. I'm all over that.

Brian: [00:35:38] Yeah. Yeah. Because if you do paint a picture... If you don't have a vision, you can't get to where you need to go.

Phillip: [00:35:48] Yeah.

Brian: [00:35:48] And so if you're always talking about the negative, and don't get me wrong, we need to call out the negative and we need to also like cover what could happen if we went down... We've talked about this quite a bit on the show, like what the dark future looks like. And I think that's important, too. But we also, and overwhelmingly, need to paint pictures of a future that we want. A future that's a good future.

Phillip: [00:36:18] We've talked to you know, it's funny because we didn't get to that in this episode. But you're making a point that I think we could spend a lot of time on some other time, which is how much of our pop culture has focused on dystopic versions of the future and how we've lost sight of having a rosy or positive outlook on... Rosy is probably not the word. Like a positive outlook of the future. You know, the Walt Disney vision of the future is gone. I wrote about that in "Have We Stopped Dreaming of the Future?" And this idea that we push our boundaries and we overcome things as like a humanity and that we have a global human race... This idea of togetherness and acceptance and connectedness gave way to Terminator Judgment Day. And, you know, we will eventually all see our doom. And I wonder if some of that's not self-fulfilling prophecy in that we have a whole generation of people that are coming into adulthood, or millennials that are, you know, now in their later stages of life and in peak consumption years and are starting to take place in local governments and like starting their own companies and coming into executive leadership at companies. And their version of the future that they've been fed for 30 years is not a beautiful one. And I think there is a real case to be made of we need to change our perspective and realize the present. But remember that we can shape the future, which is one of our tag lines. We can make the future be what... We have the power. It's like we're not on rails to this dark future. We have the power to shape the future.

Brian: [00:38:21] Totally. Like actually self referential, but looking back to our 2020 Vision report, our Vision report for 2020. We included that proverb about if you don't have a vision you're going to perish. Gonna go to ruin.

Phillip: [00:38:40] Yeah. People perish for lack of vision. We need vision. And if we don't vision cast and... I'm sorry Space Force ain't doing it for me. Although I was very happy when I watched the Tesla or the Falcon X ,the launch of the Falcon X whatever.

Brian: [00:39:04] Exactly. Yes.

Phillip: [00:39:05] SpaceX. Crying out loud.

Brian: [00:39:07] Yes. Space X Falcon launch. So, so exciting to see that we could still do that.

Phillip: [00:39:17] Yeah. But that's like the rare exception. And honestly, like it comes with a lot of Elon baggage.

Brian: [00:39:24] Yes.

Phillip: [00:39:24] But I think that there's...

Brian: [00:39:27] Actually you just brought up something really important. And actually, this gets back to my response to Marc Andreessen's Let's Build. Let's not build a future using a culture that's not a culture that we want in the future. This is so important. If we're going to the vision cast, and we're gonna look to a future with flying cars, let's not sacrifice people, people's lives to get to that future. Let's actually think about the culture we want. And then use technology to achieve that culture.

Phillip: [00:40:11] Yeah, I mean, I feel like I'm living in the Jetsons right now anyway. I use my video screen to call people. I have robot vacuums. But anyway, we're coming up on time.

Brian: [00:40:26] Does your robot vacuum talk?

Phillip: [00:40:30] Not yet. But I talk to my Amazon device, which talks to a robot vacuum. So we're almost there.

Brian: [00:40:36] Right.

Phillip: [00:40:36] We're closing in on it. Let's make the future that we want, like we can all do that. And I feel like we have a bigger voice than we give ourselves credit for. And let's use that voice to make the change in the world that we want to see. And just unequivocally, Black Lives Matter. We love you guys. And thanks for listening to Future Commerce.

Brian: [00:40:56] Go shape a future together.

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