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Episode 235
December 24, 2021

"Pour Some Out for Old Yeller"

Welcome to our recap of our best podcast of the year! Today, Phillip and Brian go over some of their favorite moments and interviews since January 2021. Tune in now!

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this episode sponsored by

"This is Not Van Gogh"

  • Today we're reviewing the best of the podcast in 2021, but instead of 
  • Branded resale enables you to have a better understanding of how things are being bought and sold and how your brand is having a life after you’re done
  • “The most sustainable product in the world is the one that already exists.” -Adam
  • “Brands are actually a new kind of canvas. They are a piece of art to some degree.” -Phillip
  • We live in a world full of existential crises, but it's kind of fun. Sometimes other people won't agree with you that something should exist until they do.
  • It’s easier to start carbon counting when you're small and your needs are small and you have a less complicated business. It's much harder to do it later on, and that's true of everything.

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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: [00:00:14] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce, I'm Phillip, and Brian's sipping whiskey as I'm trying to do an intro.

Brian: [00:01:40] {laughter} And I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:42] This episode is brought to you by Bubbly. {can opening} That was a real sound, analog {laughter}, on my side. On the sober train. Hey, speaking of the sober train, we had an event last last week. You teamed up with the team from Spirited Away. Tell us about that event. I wasn't there, and I'm super jealous of our own event that we hosted in New York.

Brian: [00:02:10] Yeah, I was like, having FOMO for you. FOMO that your friends are missing out. Is that a thing?

Phillip: [00:02:16] {laughter} Friends are missing out.

Brian: [00:02:18] {laughter} Yeah, it was like the perfect event for you to be at. It was the grand opening the pre-launch party for the new Spirited Away shop in Nolita. Spirited Away is one of the coolest bottle shops, nonalcoholic bottle shops in New York City. I think it might have been the first one of the first.

Phillip: [00:02:41] The first I think. That's what I hear.

Brian: [00:02:41] There's a few now. There are like four or five now, but it is a really cool space and a really cool neighborhood. Douglas Waters is super cool. He's the Founder, and it was a super fun event. It was co-sponsored. So it was Future Commerce x Spirited Away x Repeat x Curious Elixirs. Curious Elixirs are an incredible cocktail, like mocktail in a can or a bottle. They provided drinks for everyone that night.

Phillip: [00:03:22] And I wish I was there.

Brian: [00:03:24] Really yummy.

Phillip: [00:03:26] So many friends of Future Commerce that were there too.

Brian: [00:03:29] It was a night, actually. A lot of people that were like friends on Twitter met for the first time in person at that event.

Phillip: [00:03:37] Nate Rosen was there, right? Mark Johnson.

Brian: [00:03:42] Mark Johnson was there. Jake Chat was there.

Phillip: [00:03:47] Gil Greenberg was there.

Brian: [00:03:49] Gil Greenberg was there.

Phillip: [00:03:49] A longtime friend and building a killer Shopify SaaS business, actually. Checkout promos doing some great post-purchase work there.

Brian: [00:03:59] A bunch of drink founders were there too, nonalcoholic beverage company founders were there. That was really cool. Raj Nijjer was there.

Phillip: [00:04:09] Oh Raj came? No way.

Brian: [00:04:11] Oh yeah, it was a fun event. A lot of people there. A lot of familiar faces.

Phillip: [00:04:15] That's so great. Ok, well, the next time we put one of these on, you know, we don't do the... I don't know why it took us years to start, but we're now on the event train. We have some events coming up. We'll be hosting one in Seattle tomorrow, but when you listen to this, it'll be a week ago last Thursday.

Brian: [00:04:36] Thursday is not even tomorrow. So you are like way off right now.

Phillip: [00:04:39] Well, and it is for me in 30 minutes, it'll be Thursday tomorrow. Ok. So anyway, getting back on, if you want to get out to one of these events, we'll be having some regional events. We might be locating something around South by Southwest. We might do something in Park City around Sundance in January just because I'm looking for an excuse to get there. We've got events coming in LA., New York, and Miami area. Stay tuned. Hey, subscribe to Future Commerce. That's the easiest way for you to get on the list to be invited to some of these regional events we're going to put on and guarantee you don't want to miss our events and dinners. Ok.

Brian: [00:05:21] That's no lie, by the way.

Phillip: [00:05:22] It's no lie. It's no lie.

Brian: [00:05:24] Talk about FOMO. I had FOMO for that Art Basel dinner. Oh my gosh, that I mean, I did pick the wine for that, so I definitely had FOMO.

Phillip: [00:05:34] Oh, there's some serious fun. Ok, well, it's not going to be FOMO, right? It's going to be a, you know, WAHO. We all hang out... {laughter}

Brian: [00:05:49] We all hang out. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:05:49] No one's missing out. We're all hanging out. This is terrible. Today we are recapping the best of the year, and unlike some recap shows which do a like five minutes of pitter patter and then just give you a complete, you know, 45 minute dump of completely uncontextualized clips, we're actually going to reminisce, we're going to walk down memory lane together. There might be some interviews that you missed out on. There might be some conversations that we had or some points of view that we had this year on the podcast that you might have missed out on.

Brian: [00:06:26] And if I know us, we are going to...

Phillip: [00:06:29] Going to way off script here. Yeah.

Brian: [00:06:32] We are going to add to whatever it was that we were talking about.

Phillip: [00:06:34] We are going to add our own context. We're probably going to pat our own backs a whole lot. It's going to be a fun ride. It's going to be... Buckle in. Here's what I'm going to say. I'm going to say now, five minutes into the show. The next 45 minutes are going to be great. And you're looking now at your podcast player. You're saying, "Oh no, this is a two hour long show, Phillip. You don't even know what you're in for." And I'm saying, "That's OK. We're all in this together."

Brian: [00:06:59] I'm sipping rye out of a glass with a dog on it.

Phillip: [00:07:05] Oh I called it whiskey. I'm sorry. With Old Yeller.

Brian: [00:07:07] With Old Yeller on it. I mean...

Phillip: [00:07:08] Pour some out for Old Yeller. Show title? I don't know. Ok, here we are. So let's start right at the beginning of this year, 2021. This episode was recorded in the mere days after January 6th, which feels like it was an eternity ago. It actually happened this year, just after the insurrection at the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. We had our friend and longtime contributor of the show, Danny Sepulveda, who's now the SVP of Policy at Media Math, but was the former Deputy Secretary of State.

Brian: [00:07:49] Actually no longer at Media Math. Sorry. Yeah. Slight correction there.

Phillip: [00:07:52] You know, at the time of this recording, he was the SVP of Policy. Whatever, I don't know what his title is now. I'm reading something, Brian, don't interrupt me.

Brian: [00:08:00] Sorry, I didn't want us to go by without having said something.

Phillip: [00:08:06] Ok, fine. But he was the former Dep Sec at State underneath John Kerry in the Obama administration for two terms, I believe. He was called the sort of like...

Brian: [00:08:25] The Ambassador to the Internet. That's what he was called.

Phillip: [00:08:28] Yeah, yeah. That was what he was called. He's an expert on network neutrality.

Brian: [00:08:33] He saved the internet from Putin. That was literally the title of...

Phillip: [00:08:35] Literally true. And so from Episode 191 January 15th, 2021, this is Danny Sepulveda. And let's check in and see what Danny had to say about how commerce and the world of digital commerce in particular might be impacted by the events there on January 6th. Let's take a listen.

Danny Sepulveda: [00:08:59] They will just takes some time. I mean, Tim Berners-Lee is a genius. And I think that what his ideas are rooted in is the first idea is that power over communications should lie at the edges of the network, that it shouldn't be the pipes that control what is distributed, how it's distributed and who talks to whom. And so he's taken that from in its initial premise being that the service providers and the services on the internet at the edge of the network would be the ones that drive and be free from control by the pipes that connect them to humans and has extended it out to the human. So I guess at the edge of the true final edge of the network is my voice right? And my data as an individual. And then the question becomes, can you create a mechanism by which I can have greater control over that asset? Because that is a monetizable asset in much the same way I have control over my money. Right? The challenge becomes one, we've become entrenched in the way that the internet is, like the kinds of the kinds of market actors that exist today. Trillion dollar companies have probably achieved escape velocity, so it's highly unlikely you're going to see, I mean, but you never know. But it's highly unlikely that you're going to see any new company catch in Amazon, Apple, Facebook anytime soon. Even Twitter, by comparison, is not an Apple, Amazon, Facebook. Neither is Snap. Neither is TikTok. Like they're all great big companies, and they do a lot of cool stuff. But they're not trillion dollar companies, right? So we have to deal with the world as it is. And creates a requirement for us to think about regulating the behavior of market actors and trying to constrain or ensure that the potential for abuse is as limited as possible. And so again, really those are negotiated out conversations. I think coming into this next Congress, you have David Cicilline, who's the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee with the authority and is thinking very creatively about what to do in this space. The governor of Rhode Island, who's now going to be Secretary of Commerce, and he are close. President Elect Biden is really putting together some of the most talented people I've ever seen, and it's not people who are new to this space. It's people who've been working on this stuff their whole adult lives. A lot of Obama administration alumni. And the Congress, I think that the President and his administration recognizes that they are in a co-equal branch of government system. It's not for them to dictate to the Congress how to update law, but to work with the Congress to update that law. And I think it's going to take working with both sides, particularly given that it's a 50/50 Senate.

Phillip: [00:12:08] And that law being Section 230 and and also touching on some of the challenges there. Secretary of State who was only nominee when this was recorded or wasn't even a nominee, I think actually theoretically at the time, I don't think it had actually happened, is Gina Raimondo, who is the former governor of Rhode Island. I'd love to get Secretary Raimondo on the show, actually.

Brian: [00:12:33] That would be cool.

Phillip: [00:12:34] That's something that we didn't get. We missed Wilbur Ross. That's ok. We'll get a Secretary of Commerce one of these days. Trying to make it happen. It's kind of interesting to listen back to this because it all felt very important at the time, and it's been the longest year in history.

Brian: [00:12:52] I mean, second longest year in history? {laughter}

Phillip: [00:12:56] Second longest year. {laughter} It's true. It's true. What do you think about this idea? About trillion dollar companies sort of being exceptions and having to regulate market actors like the President and de-platforming him or the Former President, and sort of, you know, taking away a platform from someone who has outsized control over the market. And we're actually seeing this now. There's Jack Dorsey stepped down from Twitter. And in the aftermath of that, we are seeing a lot of changes with how Twitter has decided they're going to deal with pseudonymous accounts. Parag Agrawal, who I think was a former CTO, is now the CEO of Twitter, has seems like a very different agenda than Jack, who I think was a proponent of free speech at all costs. De-platforming probably came with some great labor. Anyway.

Brian: [00:14:01] I do think it's interesting. There's two things that I think are interesting. First of all, somehow Microsoft always gets left off that list.

Phillip: [00:14:10] That trillion dollar company list. It's funny, right?

Brian: [00:14:13] Yeah, every time, like every time. And you know, it's really funny. They have a giant, probably one of the most used social networks in the world, which is LinkedIn. Yeah, it's just...

Phillip: [00:14:25] It gets so much hate.

Brian: [00:14:26] It gets so much hate. It gets so much hate. But it gets used a ton. Like the usage of LinkedIn is not lacking.

Phillip: [00:14:34] Yeah, the only thing you love more than Costco, I think, is LinkedIn. But I digress.

Brian: [00:14:38] No, no, no. Blasphemy, Sir. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:14:41] So, yes, go on. Yes, I know. Ok, fine. Yeah, yeah. Redmond, represent you. Love a Washington company. Yada yada.

Brian: [00:14:52] Yeah blah, blah blah. But it is interesting. The approach that Microsoft has taken has kept them pretty much mostly out of the news and has allowed them to focus on building a lot of products. A lot, a lot. That's one of Microsoft's sneaky things that they've done is that they've been so diversified. I actually would love to see some of these larger companies think about and look at that model and be like, "Wow, actually, there might be opportunity for us to go upend some of that." And I also think Microsoft's been through a lot of this before, and they figured out what products could be widely adopted and not have a high profile situation like this. They long had their very, very outspoken Founder step down. And the reason I say that is I just feel like there's probably a lot of lessons to be learned from the Microsoft story that a lot of these current billion or trillion dollars...

Phillip: [00:16:00] Trillion dollar companies.

Brian: [00:16:01] Trillion dollar companies could take a page out of their book.

Phillip: [00:16:04] Did LinkedIn de-platform Former President Trump? That's I guess the question. How does that impact commerce?

Brian: [00:16:10] It didn't need to.

Phillip: [00:16:13] Because literally, nobody cares.

Brian: [00:16:15] Because literally nobody cares. Yes.

Phillip: [00:16:18] I'm waiting for the day...

Brian: [00:16:21] That's what is going to happen is Trump's going to move to LinkedIn as his platform of choice.

Phillip: [00:16:27] I think he's got his own SPAC. He's got a media company he's founding right now. But you have to give it to the... My favorite meme. My favorite meme or one of my favorite memes is where have you ever seen the Captain America Hail Hydra meme? Where it's like him whispering into, you know, the other guy's ear and it's like, it's supposed to say in the movie, he says, "Hail hydra," right? But in the meme it says, {whispers} "I'd like to add you to my personal network on LinkedIn." "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. Thank you."

Brian: [00:17:05] {laughter} LinkedIn is Hydra. That's what you're saying.

Phillip: [00:17:10] We have like 14 clips. We can't take ten minutes for every one of them.

Brian: [00:17:13] The second thing that I thought was interesting...

Phillip: [00:17:18] {laughter} Brian, we do this every single time we do a wrap up, we spend like 30 minutes on the first one.

Brian: [00:17:23] Ok, I'll keep this brief.

Phillip: [00:17:24] Can you weave that into the next piece?

Brian: [00:17:27] No, I can't.

Phillip: [00:17:27] Oh my gosh.

Brian: [00:17:27] With Jack stepping down, what is your... This is a question. What is your line? What's your over under on Mark Zuckerberg's stepping down?

Phillip: [00:17:40] Oh no, that's not going to happen.

Brian: [00:17:42] How many years?

Phillip: [00:17:42] Oh, 10 or 15.

Brian: [00:17:46] Fifteen!

Phillip: [00:17:46] He just he just committed himself for another 10. This move to Meta and his need to make the Metaverse a reality and betting the company on it to kind of change the narrative. You know, he signed up for another 10. That's effectively what happened. Jack, I think sees so much opportunity in Square being a crypto company, or Block, sorry, they're called Block now.

Brian: [00:18:09] Block. Yes.

Phillip: [00:18:10] I think that that was fundamentally at odds with the thing that Twitter is going to have to do to be competitive. Like Twitter is effectively going to have to become a paid platform. And now already is it's a $3 a month subscription for premium services. They have a Bitcoin tip jar. The things that Twitter is going to have to do will become more and more at odds in the creator economy with the things that, you know, theoretically Square might be able to empower. So that's what I see there. It made perfect sense. Also, Twitter has to evolve as a product and having Jack was clearly, you know, a brilliant man. But just probably not... It was time. Ok, let's...

Brian: [00:18:58] Next one. Next clip. Let's go. I'm done.

Phillip: [00:19:00] All right. So this is Episode 194. We had Adam Siegal, who is the Founder of Recurate, was on the show. We had set one of our strategic goals for the year was to partner with a company who... We typically partner with B2B, SaaS and we were looking for different types of partnerships this year that would embody some of the values that we behold. Also that would play into our Vision report. And if you remember Vision, one of the topics was the product eternal, and we covered Recurate in that particular section of the report as an up and coming example of the kind of thing that we believe should exist in that branded direct to consumer sites of branded manufacturers would be taking control of their own resale market as a means of controlling brand. And so this is from episode 194. Adam Siegal from Recurate. The name of this episode was The Most Sustainable Product is One That Already Exists. This is from February 14th. Check it out, Adam.

Adam Siegal: [00:20:08] There really hasn't been significant growth in the branded eCommerce space because they're all using a similar model, which is that they take back every item. And so to my point, earlier, it's expensive. It's expensive to do that. All of these brands are leaders, pure, genuine leaders. They care about sustainability, they care about circularity. They have high quality, long lasting products. And that's just a part of who they are as a brand. And so for that reason, they were willing to pay the price. But I do think that for it to get beyond that initial class of brands, there really needs to be a new model that is more cost effective and more scalable for that reason.

Phillip: [00:21:04] And just one more clip too. Adam had this really great point around discounting and how resale actually helps premium brands avoid having to discount to bring customers in. Here's Adam.

Adam Siegal: [00:21:17] Our hope is that this might minimize discounting of new products because you have products on your website at multiple price points, so discounting becomes less relevant. And also, it tightens buys as well. Because you can more closely understand the demand for products both new and secondhand and thirdhand and fourthhand products, and how those products that you do buy new or sell new, then go into the resale stream. And so for all those reasons our hope is that it affects more than just the resale market itself, but the broader buying patterns of retailers and brands.

Phillip: [00:22:05] That's oh, you had a little guffaw at the end that we cut off. Brian. Brian, could you guffaw and react to that again? This is like right up your alley.

Brian: [00:22:13] It really, really is. Everything about this just brings me joy. If I was going to Marie Kondo last year's podcast, this would be part of the thing that brings me joy. I would keep this.

Phillip: [00:22:28] {laughter}

Brian: [00:22:29] Yeah. I mean, I don't think I need to elaborate too much on it. Adam was pretty eloquent there. Branded resale that enables you to one, have a better understanding of how things are being bought and sold and how your brand is having a life after you're done. And then also like giving people an option to buy secondhand and be renewable and save money without giving them a discount, which is something that we all would be probably safe to avoid as much as possible. Not to say that discounts don't work. They do. I'm not saying we shouldn't discount. But this just I think it highlights how much resale actually happens in America that has not been tracked. It highlights that there are...

Phillip: [00:23:27] Yeah, we're just starting to quantify resale. People have resold things for all of eternity.

Brian: [00:23:33] Exactly. Correct. Yeah. People have been reselling things forever. This gives people a fair market and also just ensures that things don't get thrown away. If you have a quality product, there's no reason it should ever land in the trash. And so everything in me says, "This is the right thing to do." This is good for your brand. This is good for the environment. This is good for your customers." Like I am all in on branded resale.

Phillip: [00:24:06] I love how hype you get. Recurate is now an official partner of ours and the pull quote that just blows my mind from Adam was, "Hey, the most sustainable product in the world is the one that already exists." And how can you argue with that? Really interesting add on to this too. Recurate really kind of brings back around... So when you think about the way that marketplaces have evolved in resale, it's aggregated demand around a certain product verticals, right? With ThredUp, it's sort of like thrift. With The RealReal you're getting luxury. Poshmark, you might be able to find some vintage, right? There's sort of these concentrations in resale. All of them, especially in the luxury market, have been able to aggregate talent in authentication. And I've actually it kind of blew my mind. There was this piece in an article I read on AfroTech that basically covered, it was a profile piece of a sneaker authenticator, a man named Raymond Jones, who works for Stock X. And they're talking about like, this is actually the services economy. This is an extension of the services economy of we've wrapped it up into a marketplace model. But it depends, like the whole model depends on trust. It depends on trust, and you only it only works if you trust it. And who do you trust most to authenticate that the goods that are being sold are real and genuine? Well maybe the brand actually and not necessarily a resale marketplace agency. That's effectively where I think that this all could be headed recreate powers that. Very proud to have them as partners now. And so, yeah, one of our favorite shows of the year.

Brian: [00:26:24] Well, you know, what's really interesting is we had an incredible run of shows right around then. The next clip we're going to pull is from the very next episode, from Episode 195. This one was titled "Adorkable Brands, Blands and CARLY, featuring Ben Schott from Bloomberg. And I felt really lucky that I got to interview Ben. I felt really bad. Again I had fear of friends missing out with the missing this one. But Ben wrote kind of like a landmark piece right at the beginning of the year, I believe it was, and it was all about what he called adorkable brands, which actually I felt like was very much in line with a piece that you wrote on CARLY.

Phillip: [00:27:16] He mentions CARLY in the article, which is the thing that actually got this on my radar when it dropped and then everybody started citing adorkable and blands, right? He was the one who wrote The Blanding.

Brian: [00:27:32] Yes, he did.

Phillip: [00:27:32] So he sort of got on the direct to consumer map on Twitter around that. Should we listen to the clip?

Brian: [00:27:39] Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:27:40] All right. Here's Ben Scott of Bloomberg from Episode 195 on February 19, 2021, Adorkable Brands.

Ben Schott: [00:27:46] I do wonder what these adorkable brands are actually run by Gen Z, or whether they're like, "Hang on a sec. We know the Gen Z tricks and we're going to get venture capital in there." I don't know how many are actually created by the generation that are meant to appeal to, which is what music and art normally is. Now, obviously, big record companies come along and discover them? But you know, Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten, these were real people. They live their life. You know, they weren't faking it. And I wonder how many adorkable is really are faking it.

Brian: [00:29:49] Whoa.

Phillip: [00:31:17] That was another perfectly cut clips just to get the Brian reaction that was.

Brian: [00:31:29] I feel like my reaction now is just the same as it was then. Whoa.

Phillip: [00:31:35] Yeah, whoa. Like the brother, Joey, from Blossom. "Whoa." Remember that?

Brian: [00:31:40] Yeah. No I don't.

Phillip: [00:31:43] No, you don't remember that. {laughter}

Brian: [00:31:45] How old are you feeling, Phillip?

Phillip: [00:31:49] Mayim Bialik is now host of Jeopardy. Who would have seen that coming? That's crazy. Blossom is the Jeopardy host. Rest in peace, Alex Trebek. That's another 2021 thing that's happened. There's actually another quote from Ben that I wanted to sneak in here about, well, actually I'll just let him tell it.

Brian: [00:32:08] Do it.

Ben Schott: [00:32:09] Home is where the hard drive is. That's going to be the kind of Gen-Z future forward look of life. And that means you could go anywhere, do anything, and it totally changes your attitude towards saving, towards money. And if you've lived through a COVID or you've lived through another recession, you're like, "You know, why save? What am I saving for?" And therefore it's about experiences. It's about little products that give you a buzz. It's about makeup. It's about candy. It's about clothing that makes you feel good. That instant surge of gratification you get from consumption that then leaves you empty. But by that stage, it's time to consume again.

Phillip: [00:32:50] Well, now I'm all depressed. We should have stopped while we were ahead. That first clip was really great.

Brian: [00:32:55] I mean, that was actually depressing. No, I thought that first clip was just as depressing.

Phillip: [00:33:00] Well, I'd love for you to react to them, but I would say this. I think it's an incredibly cynical point of view. You know, we've written a lot of pieces. You in particular have written a lot of pieces about the meaning of art and the sort of value of art and maybe a new expression of artwork in this world, especially given that because we have never been at a time with more solo founders, solo creators creating goods that people can buy and distribute in mass than we are at this exact moment in history. Brands are actually a new kind of canvas. They are a piece of art to some degree. I mean, maybe. I'm kind of trying to convince myself by saying that and by basically saying that this art can be manufactured. The Targets of the world can co-opt the millennial direct to consumer aesthetic and profit most from it, I think, is actually that's how all art has worked for all the time.

Brian: [00:34:06] That's how it all works.

Phillip: [00:34:06] The real true artists are always unsung. And then we commercialize art and shove it down people's throat as much as they possibly can get their fill of. That's how it works.

Brian: [00:34:16] Most artists sell out. Let's put it that way. Think about it, if you think at the ones that have the most commercial success, they're backed by brands: Pepsi, Coke, whatever it is like.

Phillip: [00:34:28] I mean, now, but I mean come on.

Brian: [00:34:30] Even in the 90s, even in the 80s. You think that that was all just complete... It was driven by money.

Phillip: [00:34:41] Did the Beatles sell out?

Brian: [00:34:44] No. The Beatles didn't sell out.

Phillip: [00:34:44] I mean, now The Beatles are a brand.

Brian: [00:34:47] Fine. The 60s. You got me.

Phillip: [00:34:49] You had to go back to the sixties. No, there's always been sellouts. Now I'll give you that. But isn't that what we're all living and working for? God, I cannot wait to sell out, Brian. I want to sell out.

Brian: [00:35:05] {laughter} Oh my gosh.

Phillip: [00:35:06] We praise people that sell out, there's a guy on Twitter who routinely reminds you that he made nine figures selling out and people worship this guy. He made deodorant. This is not... It's not frickin Van Gogh.

Brian: [00:35:22] This is the example. This is the example you want to use.

Phillip: [00:35:29] The example I'm using is like, is that art? Is that a canvas on which he painted his Mona Lisa? Who cares? He made $100 million. Good for him. Now, he crafts tweets, says art. It's an art form. He's got performance art. It's tweeting. But you know, selling out is part of the thing. Isn't that why we all are here? Please. {laughter}

Brian: [00:35:52] Yeah, yeah. And I think, you know, and back to what Ben was saying, products, unless we're going like pre pre industrial revolution here, product creation is going to have some kind of some side of it that's like commercial. Is commercial, does that automatically mean that we should discount it as not good? But maybe that's not his point. Maybe his point was like, there are... Maybe that was his point, I'm reading it again.

Phillip: [00:36:12] That was his point. All right. All right. Let's downshift. Yeah.

Brian: [00:36:34] Well, just last last comments on Ben, I think Ben's incredible at recognizing trends, but those were a couple of pretty cynical quotes that we just pulled.

Phillip: [00:36:43] Yeah, but I think it's deserved. All right. Moving on. Brian, we were early to the NFT coverage.

Brian: [00:36:56] Yeah. Episode 196. Another in a row. 194, 195, 196. Killing it.

Phillip: [00:37:03] Those three episodes in a row, actually at the time, we didn't know it. They kind of... Yeah. Three.

Brian: [00:37:10] Strong.

Phillip: [00:37:10] Yeah, very strong run. Really had an amazing start to the top of the year. Part of this was fueled by, so this is from February 26, Episode 196. It was entitled "The Non-Fungible Podcast." There was news on the heels of the rise of Top Shot, NBA Top Shot that Dapper Labs, which was the company that was powering Top Shot, well still is powering Top Shot, had just raised a round. I think a Series B that got them a $2 billion valuation and it spurred us in February, I might add, to start talking about whether NFTs played into our Vision concept of the age of fractional ownership. And the NFT craze hadn't quite hit yet. We were really just talking about Top Shot, but what we started to do was kind of unpack what this could mean in the future. And when you think about we were talking about this in February, now in December, it sounds extremely salient like we knew what we were talking about. This was all at the time, us just kind of thinking aloud. And it's kind of impressive. If you ask me, this is Brian, you and me just kind of...

Brian: [00:38:27] There's our glad-handing right there.

Phillip: [00:38:28] Yeah, here it is from Episode 196. This is Brian and I talking about Meta mortgages? Question mark. Here's the clip.

Brian from The Past: [00:38:35] This is a really big deal, too, because we talk about fractional ownership, and it's like one of the challenges right now with the way that we do transactions in games and so on is like you're buying accounts. So someone will go build something in Minecraft and and then you go buy their account and you have access to it. Or there's other weird ways that we do transactions in digital spaces. And with this, I think what NFTs will allow for is for sort of shared ownership in a much easier to track way, a much more like transparent way. Because right now, it sometimes feels like a little bit of a backdoor sort of economy.

Phillip from The Past: [00:39:19] That was going to have... The spice must flow, Brian. It's going to happen anyway. It's going to...

Brian from The Past: [00:39:31] I love that you worked in a Dune reference. That was good.

Phillip from The Past: [00:39:33] It'll find a way from the supplier to the consumer. It will. It's just not terribly convenient right now. And the fact that NFTs are Blockchain enabled technology means that there's a chain of trust and a built in means of transfer of ownership. And I think that that's really interesting and novel. So when you think about, well, Animal Crossing today, there are a bunch of because Animal Crossing kind of came out right during COVID times last year, there were a lot of people who found really interesting ways to like hire people to go to certain islands, to go get pairs and it's like they would pay real money to get people to do tasks for them or to create certain, just create more opportunities for them, like in their off time while they were sleeping. There was all kinds of ways that these third party marketplaces, sort of cropped up that were just like web flow shops with Airtable behind it. That's like requesting people to do jobs for them. But think if Animal Crossing got some part of that value chain, what if they got something out of it? Because right now Animal Crossing, Nintendo is missing out on all of that upside, right? There's a marketplace that's existing outside of their control. And what I'm trying to say is that Nintendo will become a housing authority at some point.

Brian from The Past: [00:40:59] Absolutely.

Phillip from The Past: [00:40:59] And will levy taxes and Meta taxes for Meta properties in the Metaverse, and that's what can be powered by this kind of technology.

Brian from The Past: [00:41:06] But it won't look like taxes. It's going to look like something else, like there's going to be some currency and there will be an inflation rate.

Phillip from The Past: [00:41:13] I don't know, Brian.

Brian from The Past: [00:41:14] And the inflation rate will be steady and people will put their money into the game, and by the time they pull it back out again it will be worthless.

Phillip from The Past: [00:41:20] There's going to be a Federal Reserve. The Federal Bank of Animal Crossing. Exactly.

Brian from The Past: [00:41:26] They're going to get less money out than they put in. This is the future. It's going to be currencies that per large corporation.

Phillip: [00:41:37] Ok. Holy freaking crap, Brian. Ok, let me unpack why this is so... This happened. Ok, so it wasn't Animal Crossing, obviously, but there are two games in particular that caught the imagination. They're of a play to earn model, both of which did exactly what we're talking about now and both of which have thriving services economies that are powering them. So the first game is called Zed Run, which is basically a virtual horse racing game. You buy thoroughbred horses as in forms of NFTs, you can breed them. You can have generations of horses that work exactly like you might think that they would. The winning horses tend to sire desirable winning horses and there becomes an economy. Well, you have to have people that can actually take care of the horses and run them to earn money on them, and you have to sort of attend it. Well, they have stable keepers, virtual stable keepers that are earning a paid wage and they are playing to earn money. It's not just gambling. There's another one that I think is the more canonical example. Is called Axie Infinity. Axie Infinity today, it started out as a play to earn NFT based game. You have to buy the NFTs and create like a little Axie team to be able to play and compete. You play to earn, which means that as you play, you're earning Axie tokens. Those Axie tokens today, Brian, have a $5 billion market cap. In fact, there was a widely reported story in the summer, July or August timeframe, that in the Philippines, there are more people with Axie wallets than there are people with Visa credit cards. And it is becoming an outsized sort of economy. When you think about the tokenomics of all of the cryptocurrencies that exist. Five billion dollar liquidity or $5 billion of liquidity in market cap. When we talked about the Federal Bank of Animal Crossing, there is a literal example of a Federal Bank of Axie Infinity. It exists today and what's really impressive about it is that it took all of four months for that to become popular knowledge. In February, no one was talking about Axie Infinity.

Brian: [00:44:11] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:44:12] And we were talking about the concepts that powered the outcome of that.

Brian: [00:44:17] That is why they made our Nine by Nine report in the Metaverse.

Phillip: [00:44:22] Yeah. Correct.

Brian: [00:44:25] These are pieces of the Metaverse. And you know, as much as the term Metaverse has become a little bit, you know?

Phillip: [00:44:35] Mm hmm. Yeah.

Brian: [00:44:39] But as much as that's happened, the idea that there is sort of like a world within our world, worlds within our world is not wrong. It's not wrong. Like there are going to be digital sovereign nations.  And that's, I think, an inevitability. And that might be a ways off. But I actually believe that will happen.

Phillip: [00:45:07] Here's another salient quote from that same episode, Episode 196. I think this is me. Let's listen.

Phillip from The Past: [00:45:14] There's an interesting anticipation of an economic rebound that could cause runaway inflation, and I think that there's, so they're trying to... There's folks who are putting money into bonds and in silver and gold. So there's this interesting movement of capital that is anticipating more economic growth, which I find to be super interesting. There was a stat that 40 percent of all money in circulation right now after this next round of stimulus will have been created in the last 13 months. Yeah. Anyway.

Brian: [00:45:58] Fun times. That period there from194 - 196 we had a good time.

Phillip: [00:46:08] We were banging. Yeah. January, February was very good. Ok, so we have to scoot out a little bit, by the way. Just that on the inflation note, this is one of the challenges of having said something really great is that sometimes they're passing thoughts in the midst of a larger conversation. And I wish... We're going to have to figure out a way. Maybe it's just a higher cadence of podcasting. Maybe we need to increase the frequency of Future Commerce. But if we had double clicked into any one of these smaller points, I feel like we probably would have gotten a little deeper. So that is, you know, a thing that we are talking about, Brian, you and I this year, is how do we actually make more space to have more of these types of conversations and maybe build it in public? So those are things that we're going to commit to doing in 2022 and a greater way.

Brian: [00:46:59] I'm excited about this. We're going to have a lot of fun with this. One thing I do want to point out. We don't look back, usually past the year that we had. You mentioned the word inflation, and it reminded me of something that we had a whole episode in 2018. And I don't think we were off on this. I don't think we were too far ahead. It was titled "Leading Indicators of Unchecked Inflation." I actually think we were actually a couple of years out ahead of what will be looked at as one of the largest periods of inflation in American history.

Phillip: [00:47:42] Well, yeah. So yes, but I think the time in which we were talking about it was on the heels of the last giant stimulus in the form of tax cuts. And the idea was how does a massive stimulus in a time where the economy is already booming affect too much money chasing after too few goods? What we have now is true supply chain constraint. Not necessarily, you know, Portageddon, which is the thing that is continued to be trumpeted.

Brian: [00:48:21] Yeah, Portageddon was just...

Phillip: [00:48:26] We will have an expert. I'm working right now to try to get an expert on the show to talk about the situation at Long Beach and in Los Angeles, which, by the way, before it was all over the news in September, we were talking about that back in April. Again, Future Commerce routinely ahead. If you're listening, you already know, but you need to tell other people how far ahead we usually are. If you're seeing it from someone on Twitter, we've probably already been talking about it for months. But anyway, let's stop beating our own drum. Let's skip ahead a little bit. What do you say?

Brian: [00:49:00] Yeah, I think we've been in that February March range for a while.

Phillip: [00:49:04] Let's jump ahead.

Brian: [00:49:05] Yeah. Let's see. So jumping ahead? Well, ok. Here's one where I actually had true FOMO. Episode 202. This was not friends of fear of friends missing out. This was actually my own FOMO.

Phillip: [00:49:22] You actually did miss out.

Brian: [00:49:23] I did miss that. You weren't on this one. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:49:25] This one was called, "Well Made: You Need to Have a Reason Why Something Should Exist," Featuring Stephen Ango, which I like am super jealous that I wasn't on this episode. We need to get Stephen back as quickly as possible.

Phillip: [00:49:42] Yeah. And so, yeah, from Episode 202 in April 2021, this is Stephen. Let's play the clip.

Stephen Ango: [00:49:52] I am interested mostly in how do you build a soul? How do you create, give your company a soul, give your thing that you're doing is soul? And that's very hard. It's like trying to define why your things should exist is really kind of the exploration of the show overall, because maybe a lot of things shouldn't exist. {laughter} And so you kind of have to have a reason why to exist because otherwise maybe you would be better off working on somebody else's idea and helping them bring their vision to life. And I think that that's a question that because, for example, DTC has become so sexy as a thing, like lots of people want to be an entrepreneur in this area. Why? Because they feel that it would be cool to be thought of as an entrepreneur, a DTC entrepreneur or something like that. And that's not really a great reason to start a company because it's going to take years of your life to do, and it's going to be very painful. You need to have a reason that you are doing this for yourself, for the world, for the people who are working with you, for the partners that you have and well, maybe just a conduit to help people find what that reason might be.

Phillip: [00:51:23] By the way, we didn't set it up. Well Made is the name of his podcast, but Stephen is a Co-Founder at a company called Lumi.

Brian: [00:51:33] If you also read Future Commerce Insiders and you listen to the podcast, you will know immediately why I so feel like I missed out on this one episode. The prior year I brought a two part series on the existential brand, and I concluded part one by saying, "Don't be so tied to who you are or existence at all." Stephen is like on the exact same wavelength here. I really I just I love his thoughts. I love that episode. I listen to it in the whole time. I'm like, "Dang it, I wish I could have been there."

Phillip: [00:52:15] Brian, you're not just a an advocate for the existential crisis. You're its poster child, right?

Brian: [00:52:28] {laughter} I'll take that. I guess.

Phillip: [00:52:30] You can hear my cat screaming in the background in agreement with you.

Brian: [00:52:35] Your cat was like, "No."

Phillip: [00:52:36] She's asking, "Why do I exist? Why do I exist?" It's so funny because the reason why something should exist is so, so interesting to me. I'll give you one example. I never, ever knew that I needed or would appreciate a heavy metal water brand, but now that it exists in the world, I realize why it needed to exist. Liquid Death. I don't know why. There's something about a tall boy can of water that is just fun, and there's something about the world they've built around Liquid Death that is freaking fun. I don't know. And it's actually not all that expensive of water compared to the other types of water I could be buying that's sitting right next to it. It's cheaper than Topo Chico.

Brian: [00:53:41] Right.

Phillip: [00:53:42] It's cheaper than the Perrier or the San Pellegrino. It's kind of awesome.

Brian: [00:53:48] It's way more awesome to order at a bar or restaurant. You're like, "Oh, I'd like some Liquid Death, please."

Phillip: [00:53:55] Yeah. It's so much fun. Anyway, so the reason you know that existential, why should something exist? I love the idea of like having that existential question of why it should exist. Sometimes the other people won't agree with you that it should exist until they do. Freaking love it. Ok. This one, we were both present for. Episode 205. And this is, I think, right around the time that we published our Vision Report, where we covered one of the sections of Vision was the age of fractional ownership. We had Rob Petrozzo, who's the Chief Product Officer and a Co-Founder at Rally, which is a fractional ownership platform and marketplace. He came on the show to talk about fractional ownership and how they are taking collectibles and allowing folks to own a small piece of history, everything from the last, you know, they bought and sold the well The Declaration of Independence as a copy. It was a copy of The Declaration of Independence.

Brian: [00:55:08] An early copy.

Phillip: [00:55:09] An early copy. Yes, a contemporaneously created copy of The Declaration of Independence. And we opened that show with the Nick Cage quote of "I'm going to steal it. I'm going to steal the Declaration of Independence." That's my Nick Cage impression, by the way.

Brian: [00:55:27] There's a movie coming out, I think, literally titled Nick Cage that's that's like a fictional account of the...

Phillip: [00:55:34] I know I saw. I'm very hyped for that. Well, I'm excited for it. But yeah, Rob Petrozzo came on the show to talk about it. One of the things I found fascinating about this is not just that it exists, it's that there's a legal, there was a moment legally that allowed this to exist. There is a law we cover in depth. But Reg A+ Plus in particular was the thing that allowed some of these things to exist. We got Rob to kind of nerd out a little bit on how they actually made Rally come into being. This is Rob. Let's hear from him.

Rob Petrozzo: [00:56:13] So together with our legal team, we came up with a method of turning these individual assets, whether it's a classic car or The Declaration of Independence or a watch into small companies. So each asset has its own balance sheet, its own cap table, taxes, all the same things that a regulated small business would have, essentially. And we also found a way to submit each of these sort of individual assets to the SEC and scale that system really, really quickly without having to do them one by one. So we could basically spin up the equivalent of 30 or 40 small businesses. Each one's an asset with its own name. Submit those to the SEC in a batch and get back a qualified offering statement through Reg A+ that allows us to let non accredited investors invest in each one of those one by one.

Brian from The Past: [00:56:57] What's interesting about Rally is that I feel like this is a way to actually help write history now because we're actually going to be placing value on things that happened in the past. You know, in a more collective sense. So it's not just like individuals that had a certain asset class that could afford certain things that put value on what was important to people. It's now everyone can place importance on the past and give their voice to what was important to them and what made a difference to them. So we could actually see narratives change based off of how things are being valued on platforms like Rally. I think that's really fascinating.

Phillip: [00:57:42] So do I, Brian. {laughter} Well, past you when taken out of context is like really freaking brilliant, man.

Brian: [00:57:53] Dude, Past Me as smarter than Present Me. I feel like I want to place a value on Past Me right now.

Phillip: [00:58:01] Yeah, exactly.

Brian: [00:58:03] Past Me, actually. That was actually pretty good.

Phillip: [00:58:05] That's flipping funny. That's really funny, because that's literally what you just said, but you turned it around.

Brian: [00:58:11] Sorry.

Phillip: [00:58:11] Yeah, it was really... I loved it. What's great about your reaction here is think about how that plays out over time. One of the things that Rally does is because they break these things like The Declaration of Independence or the one that always comes to mind for me is they bought and like, they're creating a secondary market for things that never have had a secondary market before. One of those things that is a good example here is the wood floor that Kobe played his last game on from the Staples Center. They turned that like they bought it, and they held on to it for a little while and they turned that into a fractional auction like an IPO is what they call it on their platform. They have in their possession, Rob says in this actual podcast, which I would highly encourage you to go listen to because it's a great listen. Rob says they have in their possession one of the original Theranos machines, right?

Brian: [00:59:17] Oh man, I'm kind of in on that. I kind of want to buy a piece of that.

Phillip: [00:59:22] These are things... Rally has the capability of basically pricing it and letting retail investors come in and buy in at that fractional price, thereby valuing it in total based on the amount that they had purchased in fraction. That is how we get private market valuations of companies. We now have the same mechanism happening, right? We have the same mechanism happening for historical artifacts, for goods, for things that nobody ever would have been able to buy on the secondary market. So this is what's incredible about this is that just in the same way that corporations achieve a valuation by fractionalizing part of their ownership model and selling it at a specific price. I'm selling 10 percent of my business for a million dollars that values the total business at $10 million. Simple math. Rather than going to auction and hoping to achieve a certain value, this is effectively doing for goods what corporations have had the ability to do in private market valuation for years. It's brilliant, and it's a totally different way of thinking about fractional ownership than I had thought about it before he was on the show.

Brian: [01:00:40] Yeah, I agree, and I also just...

Phillip: [01:00:44] I just man-splained all of that. But that's fine.

Brian: [01:00:47] I feel bad for like speaking so much on the spot. I mean, one thing that is really clear in listening back to our old episodes is that you and I like to talk a lot. {laughter}

Phillip: [01:01:01] {laughter} It's not bad.

Brian: [01:01:02] It's not that bad.

Phillip: [01:01:03] It's actually when we went back to go pull... We had one person who was very controversial on the show this year, and I won't mention who it is. You could just go back and look. I felt like we had some really hardball questions for this person. And it turns out we didn't actually do much talking at all. This person took all the air and we didn't.

Brian: [01:01:28] That's true. That's very true.

Phillip: [01:01:28] Actually, we didn't hit the hard questions the way that I thought we did in my mind. Going back and listening, I was like, Hmm. We actually gave them a pass a little bit so anyway.

Brian: [01:01:39] Kind of generous, a little bit generous, maybe.

Phillip: [01:01:41] A little too generous. We need to probably... We'll fix that.

Brian: [01:01:44] According to Alex Greifeld, we need a little spice. Apparently her takes are a little too spicy for us, Alex. We need your spicy takes on here. I thought we were spicy, but I guess we're not.

Phillip: [01:01:58] One of my other favorite episodes of the year actually was now skips all the way to into August. One of my favorite episodes of the year was the other end of this strategic goal that we had set out for ourselves early in the year. I'm trying to shift gears and I hear you're going to drag me back.

Brian: [01:02:18] It's not dragging you back. I was just going to say we'd better make this the last one. We're coming up on an hour.

Phillip: [01:02:23] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So we had set the strategic goal early in 2021 to partner with more organizations that I said are aligned not just to the things that we are future casting through Vision or Nine by Nine, you know, which are these big, meaty, research and reports that we do these omnibus consumer research reports that we perform, but also maybe some companies that we believe are empowering retail and eCommerce businesses to help to change the world. I really believe that commerce can change the world because commerce touches everybody and people change the world, right? Companies don't change the world. People change the world. If commerce touches people, I think that we can have a big effect on how the world engages in making the world a better place. Ok. So one of my favorite people that are doing this is a company that was formed here in West Palm Beach that came out of a startup accelerator on which I sit on the board. A company called SustainaBase, and they came through the 1909 Accelerator here in West Palm Beach. I've gotten to know Gaida Zirkelbach, who is the Founder. I've gotten to know her very well, and we had her on the show. We formed a partnership with SustainaBase to help eCommerce businesses achieve carbon accounting. We've done this now for a few companies that we have some great relationships with, and I'd love for you to hear a little bit from Gaida about some of that journey and some of what sustainable is trying to achieve and what their platform can help companies to do. So let's hear it from Gaida now.

Gaida Zirkelbach: [01:04:11] When you're a relatively new company, you have a great opportunity to make this a part of the way you do business from the get go and you start with what you can do, as Holly said. And you can build your processes internally to already account for this and grow it as you grow. Whereas I think sometimes for larger organizations, it's going to be much harder, not only do you have a much larger impact on the environment, a much larger footprint to account for, but your systems have been going on your systems in place for a long time, and they may be more difficult to capture and smaller. They may not have the resources yet, but they have an opportunity to start doing it right and to build it the right way from the get go.

Phillip: [01:04:53] I didn't realize that the clip that we chose was right before a commercial break. So it has our music underneath it there.

Brian: [01:05:01] Fading out baby.

Phillip: [01:05:03] Yeah, the point there being that it's easier to start carbon accounting when you're small and your needs are small and you have a less complicated business. It's much harder to do it later on. And that's true of everything. That's how all of this works.

Brian: [01:05:23] What a good way to to end it. I feel like that's a fitting way to wrap up the year, even though we kind of wrapped in August.

Phillip: [01:05:32] Yeah. Not the whole year. I mean, as much as we could fit in to, you know, the big, I think, main themes and some of the things we super care about looking back at the year. And some of these, I honestly like some of the my favorite people that we talked to all year, and we talked to a lot of people. We didn't even touch on Step by Step.

Brian: [01:05:50] I know. I know. Some good ones there.

Phillip: [01:05:53] We've just had such an amazing year. And I have nothing but an immense amount of gratitude for our audience who continues to support the show and continues to grow over time. And so if you have just started listening to Future Commerce in the last couple of months, these are all new to you. Maybe over the holiday break go back and connect with one of these. I think listening in depth and in context would really kind of help you understand what Future Commerce is all about.

Brian: [01:06:27] You know, set some New Year's goals for yourself. Go decide to run a marathon and just listen to Future Commerce through all of your training and you may or may not come out on the other side kind of crazy because listening to us...

Phillip: [01:06:43] That's what's happened to both of us.

Brian: [01:06:45] Two hundred and however many episodes we're at now. How many episodes have we at now? 200 and what?

Phillip: [01:06:52] I am double checking, I should know this off the top of my head. You know, it's hard, actually. It's been so many years that we've been doing this now. 233 episodes numbered, but if you're counting Step by Step and Bonus.

Brian: [01:07:06] Step by Step and Bonus, yeah.

Phillip: [01:07:08] If you count in Step by Step miniseries and Bonus episodes, it is nearing 300 episodes of the podcast.

Brian: [01:07:16] Which is probably just the amount of time that it will take you to train for that marathon. So go train for a marathon.

Phillip: [01:07:23] Three hundred hours. Yeah, that's about right. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce. We have more episodes of the show. There's two hundred and thirty three of them for you to catch up on. You can find those at Hey, we put out a weekly essay, which is a little bit of a deep dive into all of these types of topics that we just touched on. Brian mentioned the existential brand, but we have deep explorations into everything from philosophy and psychology to just fun Top 10 lists of the brands that we trust. We're even getting into a little bit of sampling and reviews over on Insiders, and that's our weekly essay comes out every Tuesday. Sometimes Wednesday, and you can get that at, and if you subscribe, Insiders will come into your inbox once a week and so will The Senses. The Senses is our weekly newsletter, which is a wrap up of all the news of the week that impacts retail, eCommerce, and direct to consumer, and it's about how those things fit into your world. The brands that we know and trust and how they affect us and how they appeal to our senses and where we fit into the world as humans. It's a great read. There is a point of view that's wrapped up into all of that. It's not just a big link soup dump, but it is worth your time. You can get that also, shocker, at And if you go to, it'll all come into your email inbox. We respect your inbox, you'll get it twice a week and very infrequently much more than that. Thank you so much for listening. It's been an amazing year. We still have one or two more episodes here left in December coming up, and we'll have a couple of friends joining us to kind of wrap up the year in news, and then we'll have a predictions episode here at the end of the year that will forecast what we think is coming in 2022.

Brian: [01:09:19] Ah yeah. I mean, not like we haven't been doing that all year.

Phillip: [01:09:23] No, no, we kind of do. That's the whole freaking reason why we exist. And I'll leave you with this. Dear listener, {whisper} I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

Brian: [01:09:36] Hail Hydra? {laughter}

Phillip: [01:09:39] {whisper} Thanks. Thanks for listening.

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