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Episode 231
November 19, 2021

"The Internet Has So Much More Potential"

Ecom news of this week: Constitution DAO, Casper sold into private equity, the Pygmalion effect, fractional ownership, the Gucci and Balenciaga collab and more. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

Smart Contracts are the New Covenants 

  • “All this stuff is stuff that's been out that we've been talking about for quite some time, but it's actually finding its way into the mainstream now and that's really exciting.” -Brian 
  • The future is fractional ownership and we are seeing it happen right now with an autonomous organization potentially fractionally owning the governance of us all being able to acquire a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • “There's an ecom brain drain risk here in that these sexier, open source projects today are effectively of this variety where  folks are putting in many months of effort, a person months of effort, I should say, for what to what end.” -Phillip
  • “Curation doesn't necessarily mean marketplace.” - Brian
  • This is what a lot of brand collabs feel like according to Phillip:

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: [00:01:22] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:28] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:29] We have an insane show for you today. We're going to cover everything that we haven't that you might have missed over the past few weeks of Future Commerce. But we're going to cover all kinds of news here and how that sort of relates back to the things you should care about. We are in the last final days here leading up to Black Friday/Cyber Monday. I'm sure you need a little bit of distraction. We're here to provide it for you. But first, Brian, we launched a new show a couple of weeks ago and folks might have missed it. Tell us about Infinite Shelf.

Brian: [00:02:02] Yeah. Infinite Shelf is like the coolest show on commerce out there. I'm like, really jealous. It's hosted by Ingrid Milman Cordy, who if you've been listening to Future Commerce for any amount of time, you definitely heard Ingrid on Future Commerce. She has her own show now that's a part of the Future Commerce fam, and Infinite Shelf is a show about the blending of the old and the new in the real world. It's about, dare I say, omnichannel, but it's about what happens when you take all these crazy things we talk about on Future Commerce and you have them stack up and intersect with all of the incredible things that have been done in the past. What happens when you do that in the real world? It's very, very human centric and comes at it from a human angle. And I love that about Ingrid. She is so great at taking the coolest things and making them so relatable...

Phillip: [00:03:07] Love her, and she's one of the smartest people I know. Someone had asked, we sat down for an interview, Ingrid and I, and the announcement for Infinite Shelf was over on Retail Dive this week. And, you know, in that conversation, they had asked why? Where were you inspired for the name Infinite Shelf? And it just sort of it happened in the moment. But, you know, Ingrid had said, "Well, the shelf is where people connect." It's the employees. Products get onto the shelf and products are what bring customers to the store, right? And products are they get to the shelf via, you know, all sorts of labor and toil that a lot of people in the human experience of working in brands put time and energy and blood, sweat and tears to get it onto the shelf in the first place. In many ways, the shelf is the place where we connect and whether it's online or offline, that shelf is the place where we have human connection. So anyway, Infinite Shelf. It's so awesome. You can find it everywhere, wherever podcasts are found.

Brian: [00:04:22] I just I was thinking about what you're saying and like how Ingrid is one of the smartest people you know. And I was like thinking about if I was going to have an eCom dinner, which I've had many, you know, if I had to put myself on the spot...

Phillip: [00:04:37] If you were going to have a dinner.

Brian: [00:04:38] If I had to put you on the spot, who are the top five people you would have at that dinner? Ingrid, it's definitely there.

Phillip: [00:04:46] I mean, we could play this game, right?

Brian: [00:04:48] Yeah. It would be a fun game.

Phillip: [00:04:48] There's Muhammad Ali, right? Yeah, for sure.

Brian: [00:04:53] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:04:55] It's Nelson Mandela.

Brian: [00:04:58] Yeah, I mean, you're going like way bigger than I was thinking.

Phillip: [00:05:01] And then Ingrid Milman Cordy.

Brian: [00:05:02] Yeah, totally.

Phillip: [00:05:03] She's in that top five. Top five. {laughter} We're not in the top four million. All right. Have we built it up enough?

Brian: [00:05:12] Speaking of dinners... How was that transition? It was a transition.

Phillip: [00:05:16] I know I was just going to close the loop and say, Go subscribe to Infinite Shelf. All right. Speaking of dinners, we're going to have a dinner. The first of many in the coming year. We have we're taking the show on the road. And actually, I had two amazing dinners in the last month in LA. You had one in Seattle. We're going to put one on at Art Basel in Miami and if you are in and around in the next two weeks, Art Basel takes place in South, well in Miami Beach from December 2nd through 4th. I happen to be local. If you're around, we'd love to meet up somewhere in and around Art Basel. Our dinner is at capacity already. But we did invite everybody who is a subscriber to Future Commerce Insiders. So if you are a Future Commerce Insider, you'll be invited to other such events. And we strive to make it first come, first serve and had a lot of folks try to jump at it. So we're going to make more room. Aren't we, Brian? We're going to do it.

Brian: [00:06:22] We very well may have to have an overflow dinner here.

Phillip: [00:06:25] We're going to have to do it.

Brian: [00:06:26] We might have to have like a second dinner.

Phillip: [00:06:28] I'm already full from all the future dinners. I've factored in, just like the markets have, I factored in all the future dinners that I'm going to have.

Brian: [00:06:38] Dinner inflation? {laughter}

Phillip: [00:06:40] It's very frothy right now. I feel very frothy. I'm looking out over an infinite time horizon of all the future dinners I'm going to have, and I'm starting to, I'm doing all the pre workout now. Speaking of workout, just as we continue to catch you up on things, we announced Infinite Shelf and the launch of Infinite Shelf at our Nine by Nine Experience. And that was a first of its kind live event that we had just a week and a half ago. It feels like forever ago now, but the Nine by Nine Experience was a different kind of webinar. It was a sensory overload. We revised our Nine by Nine report. We updated it with a lot more data and graphs. So if you're looking for more visuals and that sort of a report, go download the updated version. But we also have Nine by Nine Experiences over on our YouTube channel. We'll link it up here in the show notes. We opened with a musical piece that I composed along with Spectral Wolf, which is myself and Chris Harry, who's our longtime producer here. And it's data laden music and art, and it's sort of set the tone for what I think might be a completely new path for Future Commerce. We're going to finally do the things we've been dreaming of doing. So next year is going to be huge. We're going to lead with a lot of art. Do you want to tease anything, Brian?

Brian: [00:08:05] No, I don't want to tease anything other than...

Phillip: [00:08:08] Are you teased already. I've tosen everybody.

Brian: [00:08:12] The teasing may be... So I don't know if you've been following Future Commerce for a while you know, we put out an annual vision report. That report may morph into something even cooler than it already is.

Phillip: [00:08:23] More experiential.

Brian: [00:08:25] More experience experiential and art focused. It's already pretty, pretty dope. So, yeah, I mean, check out last year's report if you haven't and then just think, "Wow, like this is going to be a lot, lot more than it is already."

Phillip: [00:08:41] Yeah. And you would know about all of these things again, if you were subscribed to Future Commerce Insiders, go to and you would find out about all of these awesome things that we're doing. We just collabed, for instance, you would have known that last week we collaborated with our very frequent collaborator these days, Alex Greifeld of No Best Practices, and she wrote an amazing piece called Dork Mode: How to Differentiate Your Brand in a Sea of Sameness and dork mode is sort of a send up of dark mode. {laughter} What if brands had the ability for you to kind of inject a little fun and flip the switch and make something a little more standout and a little less cookie cutter? And gosh, in a world of two plus million Shopify sites, I'm aching for a little bit like off the beaten path design.

Brian: [00:09:36] The internet has so much more potential.

Phillip: [00:09:40] {laughter} That should be our new tagline. Hold on, I'm writing that down. You know what? Actually, we had this meeting a few weeks ago with one of our friends over at Yotpo. And we were describing what Future Commerce is, and she said to us, "So Future Commerce is like, it's for the risk takers." And I was like, "Oh, my gosh, you just blew my mind." It's for the risk takers. That's what we do. We create content for the risk takers. That's amazing. I love that it's for the risk takers, Brian. And she goes, "I just read your About page." {laughter}

Brian: [00:10:20] {laughter} Whoops.

Phillip: [00:10:21] "It's on your About page." I was like, "Oh, that's really good copy."

Brian: [00:10:25] It's so good. It's true. It's like if you do everything that we talk about on this show and we go experiment with it all, you're definitely a risk taker.

Phillip: [00:10:35] I just had an ADD moment. What was the thing I was supposed to write down?

Brian: [00:10:40] "The internet has so much more potential."

Phillip: [00:10:42] Yeah.

Brian: [00:10:43] Is that what I said? We're going to have to go back and check if that's even what I said.

Phillip: [00:10:45] Kaylee, help us put it in the internet. Actually, that is the title of the show, Kaylee. If you're listening, whatever the thing is that I just forgot that Brian said that I geeked out over and then my brain promptly forgot it. That's a show title. Ok, news...

Brian: [00:11:02] Wait, wait, wait. We've done so many cool collabs.

Phillip: [00:11:06] I know. But who wants to hear us be self-referential for the whole show? We're both scratching our heads at the moment. I see us doing it.

Brian: [00:11:13] I know. Fine. Fine.

Phillip: [00:11:13] I mean, I'm going to do a little choose your own adventure. You hate choose your own adventure. Now that I'm thinking about that.

Brian: [00:11:19] I don't like it for a fiction story. It's fine for like nonfiction.

Phillip: [00:11:23] Ok, so we're firmly nonfiction. Actually, I don't know if you read this a certain way, the list of things that we could cover today. It definitely sounds like fiction.

Brian: [00:11:31] You know what's really funny though? The list that we're going to cover today, not that different from like two years ago.

Phillip: [00:11:36] It's true. Actually, it's not even two years ago, Brian. Four years ago. The show note template that I pulled today was from episode 30, and there were so many things on there. It was like there was a whole mess of things. There was a... It doesn't matter. There is a lot of stuff that was like this could be news stories from today. You said something really insightful.

Brian: [00:12:00] Yeah, go. Yeah, go ahead. I'll let you talk.

Phillip: [00:12:02] I'll let you say the insightful thing rather than quote you on it.

Brian: [00:12:05]  [00:12:07]I think it was in a predictions episode, maybe like two or three years ago. I said something to the effect of, "I think all of the pieces are on the table right now. We're just going to be like blowing them out and figuring out how to monetize them and use them over the next few years." And that's what we've been doing. I feel like Web3, and now we're back to the Metaverse. And like all this stuff is like stuff that's been out that we've been talking about for quite some time, but it's actually finding its way into the mainstream now. And that's exciting. That's really exciting. [00:12:46]

Phillip: [00:12:46] It is. And what's funny is it was Episode 35, by the way. I pulled it up while you were talking. There were the top stories on Episode 35 was "Volvo says Electric as its future." You could contrast that today with Lucid Air being named as Motor Trend's car of the year.

Brian: [00:13:07] Yup.

Phillip: [00:13:08] AI stock price sentiment analysis was a vice story for Motherboard about algorithmic trading. That's certainly something that we see happening, even maybe manipulating ETH prices. A lot of things happening in that space right now, too in NFT markets.

Brian: [00:13:29] It's more likely than Wall Street.

Phillip: [00:13:32] It's happening on Wall Street too. Toyota launched a blockchain just four years ago. It's crazy. I wonder how that's going for them. Anyway. Yeah, it's like we wind up covering a lot of the same things. Here's an interesting... This is interesting. There's so much. We covered this when we talked about Groceryshop a couple of months ago when we were at the Groceryshop expo. There's so much of commerce that doesn't get covered in our show, like it wasn't part of the original charter. When you go back and look at remember when McKinsey put that report out last year that said, we had 10 years of advancement in...

Brian: [00:14:14] Yeah. It turned out to be garbage.

Phillip: [00:14:18] Yeah, it's a gerrymandered number. And first of all, this is what I love about data that gets oft cited. Mckinsey was just republishing Bank of America data that they had partnered with to get like sole publish rights on. And then everyone went and they quoted this McKinsey deck, which was basically a slide, but that was like a paid report. And I love that. It's like we all basically parrot this one line from a report that one person paid for and then put it on the internet. And now we're all... It's all gospel truth. This Bank of America number, apparently, and here I go repeating hearsay. {laughter} According to Jason Goldberg, Retail Geek, this is his fault. It's a gerrymandered number. Effectively, it's like that number included for the first time digital auto sales and digital grocery. To say that this advancement of, you know, 10 years of growth in the space of nine weeks for eCommerce. Well, it included a lot of activity that never had been included in eCommerce growth numbers before and then basically has never been included in eCommerce numbers growth since. It just made for really great graph. But shouldn't our show cover more of that? Commerce really is about all of those things. The way that we engage in commerce like people buy cars, people buy groceries.

Brian: [00:15:47] Yeah, it should be in the numbers.

Phillip: [00:15:48] It's not just about eCommerce. It's not just about eCommerce, DTC...

Brian: [00:15:51] And digitally enabled commerce.

Phillip: [00:15:53] Right.

Brian: [00:15:53] Yeah. Like how car sales not in there? That doesn't make any sense.

Phillip: [00:15:57] This is how I'm justifying how we're all going to buy the Constitution. Brian, I'm going to buy the Constitution.

Brian: [00:16:06] Didn't you already by the Constitution?

Phillip: [00:16:07] I bought...

Brian: [00:16:09] You bought a share in the group effort...

Phillip: [00:16:11] In the DAO...

Brian: [00:16:12] Yes, in the DAO...

Phillip: [00:16:15] Yes to go bid at Sotheby's for one of 11 original copies of the Constitution. We had not too long ago, we had Rally on the show and they were fractionalizing a copy of the Declaration of Independence that they had acquired.

Brian: [00:16:30] They didn't announce it on the show, but it was basically, I think we had them on the show...

Phillip: [00:16:34] It was contemporaneous. The day off.

Brian: [00:16:35] The first day. Yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:36] Yeah, the day of.

Brian: [00:16:37] Yes.

Phillip: [00:16:38] And we had in this very year in our Vision report earlier this year, we called this like the beginning of the era. This is the age of fractional ownership. And we called that, you know, a year ago, as we were starting to put together a vision back in November of last year, actually October. I think you and I sat down in this very room I'm recording in right now after I took you on a really hectic swamp run...

Brian: [00:17:04] Oh man. That was the toughest run.

Phillip: [00:17:05] And then we sat down and we said, "What's the future?" And it was like, "Fractional ownership," and then we found all of this evidence that supported that. There's a group of a lot of people right now who are, you know, coming together as an autonomous organization to potentially fractionally own the governance of what happens if we all acquire a copy of the Constitution of the United States of America. We the people, Brian.

Brian: [00:17:36] We the people. Now "We the DAO." {laughter} Yeah, the I think what's really interesting and sometimes I'll lose track of what we talk about on air and off air because you've been like on the group buy train, not just for like huge purchases like this, but for everyday purchases even. You're like, "Why don't we see kind of like a Klarna for split purchases?" Why don't we see some financial tech, some fintech that allows us to make group buys a more palatable and consumer focused type technology. And I don't think a DAO is quite there yet, although it's getting a lot of traction. Packy McCormick was on the news recently...

Phillip: [00:18:32] On Squawk Box this morning.

Brian: [00:18:34] If Packy on Squawk Box, I think we've actually it's starting to hit the mainstream.

Phillip: [00:18:40] It is. Well, ok. Just for those who are not aware., that's D A O for the uninitiated, that's a Decentralized Autonomous Organization. It is basically the LLC of Web3, loosely organized, folks who own some sort of representation, usually in the form of a token and your number of tokens you hold in the organization is basically shares you hold in the organization. And again, like the LLC. LLC, by the way, an American invention. And DAO, I believe, also could be credited to be, you know, maybe if we acquire the Constitution through DAO could be a new American...

Brian: [00:19:24] By the way, it's not the actual original constitution.

Phillip: [00:19:28] No, it's a copy. One of the 11 contemporaneous copies of the Constitution of the United States of America, but the only one, the only one that was in private ownership. So what has happened is last Thursday, at the time of this recording, we're recording on November 16th, 2021. So last Thursday, November 12th or 11th, someone on the internet realized that one of these copies of the Constitution was going up to auction at Sotheby's and is estimated to go for around 20 million. And an internet joke in the space of six hours turned into a fully formed DAO that is attempting through the people token to acquire, is taking donations right now through Juice Box, which is a crowdfunding platform for DAOs effectively to organize and appoint their funds toward a singular effort. The token is being issued to people who make such donations. I donated 1776, .1776 ETH, which gives me a 17,760 tokens, I believe something to that effect.

Brian: [00:20:49] I feel like you need to start singing Hamilton right now. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:20:54] {laughter} Hey, I was in the room when it happened, Brian. To date, they've already raised $6 million. I do think this is a purchase modality that is one that's like underserved. It does exist. You said there should be some fintech. Amex has a split it function where you can split a purchase with other folks. Certainly, Venmo has the ability to kind of split a purchase.

Brian: [00:21:17] I think Venmo is how I've done that in the past. It's like, OK, yeah, I'll just Venmo you. And I think there's even like a way to like split, split it out. And actually, I want to say, like, Uber has a way to do this. Potentially.

Phillip: [00:21:32] That's correct.

Brian: [00:21:32] Maybe we have talked about this on air. I feel bad now.

Phillip: [00:21:35] No, it's fine. I think it bears repeating. This is an underserved mode of purchase. I think sharing purchases is something that has become sort of fallen out of favor, but communities do this a lot. And if we were to see more local communities find ways... We have governance organizations all the time for group purchasing, I live in one. It's called a homeowners association.

Brian: [00:21:58] Right.

Phillip: [00:21:59] And the way that we direct funds is through governance, right? We have a board of directors who are elected and represent the people. Like these are all... It's funny that the Gen Zers of the world are going to basically reinvent all of the same hierarchical structures that exist in the real world, but on the internet. And that's fine. I find this particularly charming. I can't wait to see what happens. I don't think they're going to get the 20 million in time because they've got two days left and they just hit six.

Brian: [00:22:30] Smart contracts are the new covenants.

Phillip: [00:22:34] I like that. I like that. Write that down. Also, Kaylee...

Brian: [00:22:40] Another show title. Yes. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:22:41] Yes, it's a potential show title, and this represents such an interesting challenge. You and I hire people in our roles, in our full time jobs like hiring people is a challenge. Getting down to brass tacks, like what does all this mean for eCommerce? This is exciting stuff and effectively to see things like this sort of evolving give use cases in the world for us to have these like really interesting evolutions of technology or the technology and tooling rises to meet new purchasing paradigms. So this is a form of commerce. The problem that I have is, what aren't we working on? What aren't we solving while we're busy over here trying to buy the Constitution?

Brian: [00:23:29] I mean, what about health care? I mean, you just brought up hiring people.

Phillip: [00:23:33] Group buys. Yeah.

Brian: [00:23:33] Oh my gosh. Like, think about that. Imagine being able to fractionalize the cost of health care.

Phillip: [00:23:41] You literally just reinvented insurance, buddy.

Brian: [00:23:44] I did. I did. I was just thinking about that.

Phillip: [00:23:46] A DAO for insurance. Why not?

Brian: [00:23:47]  [00:23:47]A DAO for insurance. Yes. Or like for contractors out there that are like struggling to find a way to buy insurance or they can't get it through like their employer because health care is so tied to employer, it's like, "Oh, wow, what if we had some kind of a smart contract where if you contract it with this person, you also contributed towards their fractionalized health care costs or whatever?" There's so many things out there that this could be applied towards. And yes, buying the Constitution is a necessary step towards these much more lofty goals. [00:24:22]

Phillip: [00:24:23] {laughter} I don't know if it's... Necessary might be a strong word.

Brian: [00:24:27] I think the necessity here is so it's a bit of a stunt that represents something that's a very popular and visible. That's necessary to bring this into the mainstream.

Phillip: [00:24:41] Oh yeah. It is. It really, I think you're right. We've coined the phrase on this podcast only because it was something that happened during our first year of podcasting was Pokémon Go. Pokémon Go sort of gave us all an understanding of what, you know, an AR experience could be and that the real world...

Brian: [00:25:03] Hold on. We didn't coin "Pokémon Go." Just for everyone... {laughter}

Phillip: [00:25:06] No. We have used Pokémon Go as a verb.

Brian: [00:25:10] As a verb. Yes, "We Pokémon Go'd it."

Phillip: [00:25:13] Yeah, [00:25:13] this is the Pokémon Go moment. It's the coming out. We will have a collective understanding in consumer culture of what is possible with Web3 should this happen. I don't think it's going to happen. I don't, but I don't know. [00:25:31]

Brian: [00:25:31] But even if it doesn't happen, it doesn't have to happen. That's not the point.

Phillip: [00:25:34] I'm going to get my ETH back.

Brian: [00:25:36] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:25:36] And I'm going to go buy NFTs that are worthless and illiquid. Ok, so...

Brian: [00:25:40] No. But actually, I think you're bringing up something really interesting and this gets back to something we talked about at the beginning of the show.

Phillip: [00:25:45] Everyone has tuned out by now. This is like the eCommerce podcast where we've lost our minds.

Brian: [00:25:50] No, we haven't.

Phillip: [00:25:51] I thought we'd move on quickly.

Brian: [00:25:52] This is about purchasing. What is the transaction, anyway, Phillip?

Phillip: [00:25:55] It's a transfer of identity. It's identity transfership, Brian. That's what you taught me.

Brian: [00:25:59] That's right. It's exactly right. So this is all related. And also extremely relevant. If you don't think what we're talking about is relevant to you, merchants, you're wrong. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:26:12] Well, that's one of the things I have a problem with. Language is important. How many merchants do we have today? This is the other problem I have with the current culture in eCommerce. There are very few merchants left right? Like what we have is we have some marketers for sure, right?

Brian: [00:26:25] Yes.

Phillip: [00:26:35] We have very few developers. I think developers, eCommerce is largely solved, developers wouldn't say that they focus on eCommerce as an area of expertise as much anymore. It sort of coalesced into Big Tech organizations like Shopify, like, "Oh, I work for Shopify. I'm not an eCommerce developer," right?

Brian: [00:26:55] You're like a Shopify person.

Phillip: [00:26:57] Right, there's like an e come brain drain risk here in that like sexier, you know, open source projects today are effectively of this variety where folks are putting in man months of effort, person months of effort, I should say, to what end? Hopefully it all is driving toward something that is useful and novel and we'll all benefit from in the future. Or it could be like Casper and be much ado about nothing.

Brian: [00:27:33] Man, you are just flying through these things. Casper's had a riff. I mean...

Phillip: [00:27:39] Had a rough go.

Brian: [00:27:40] I said I wasn't going to use this joke, but they went to the mattresses and they lost. {laughter} They lost to Purple.

Phillip: [00:27:49] Don't sleep on Casper.

Brian: [00:27:51] No, do you sleep on Casper.

Phillip: [00:27:54] Yeah, I've never been one to be deep in the numbers, and I'm poorer for that, for sure. I think I remember when Casper jumped the shark for me... I want to know when Casper jumped the shark for you. Casper jumped the shark for me a few years ago, and I think we had mentioned it on the show. They launched CBD gummies and they said, "We're a company about relaxation. We're all about rest," right?

Brian: [00:28:23] The sleep community.

Phillip: [00:28:28] That's when I thought, "They've lost it."

Brian: [00:28:31] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:28:31] This has been well covered in the media. I thought it was worth bringing up here. Casper sold into private equity to the tune of I think it was 380 million.

Brian: [00:28:44] I think it was 308.

Phillip: [00:28:47] Ok.

Brian: [00:28:48] Somewhere in that range, somewhere around there.

Phillip: [00:28:49] I had a little dyslexia with the number there.

Brian: [00:28:50] Either way, bad number.

Phillip: [00:28:53] Yeah. I mean, that's a far cry from their IPO valuation, which was originally priced at twelve dollars a share, which valued it somewhere around 575 million. And then in private markets prior had been valued at 1.1 Billion, just getting marked down and hammered over and over. It's a shame. I can't think of many more. It's funny because so many of the truisms or a lot of the truisms that we hear around omnichannel come from case studies of companies like Casper and maybe Warby, which, you know, actually their first earnings showed that they had, they're still bleeding money left, right and center. They're still very much in loss territory quarter over quarter, but their revenue was up dramatically. But Casper was one of these companies that said, "Hey, wherever we have a store, our eCommerce sales are bolstered." And this idea of moving from DTC or just digitally native, you know, only online, pure play eCommerce into physical retail is like, "Oh, these brands can actually make the leap to omnichannel." So it's a shame to watch this happen to Caspar. It's a sad day.

Brian: [00:30:19] Yeah. I mean, I think Warby is sort of the, they figured it out a little bit better. And I think that they actually like their stores are what actually allowed them to grow and make money. But I think Caspar, well, it's possible...

Phillip: [00:30:38] I mean, make money. It depends on how you...

Brian: [00:30:43] But it's possible, Phillip, this gets back to something you wrote about with Melissa Lee, Casper was the sacrificial lamb, one of the sacrificial lambs of DTC.

Phillip: [00:30:56] Yeah, this might cement it as the sacrificial lamb. Bonobos maybe you could probably tell a story a little bit about that.

Brian: [00:31:07] A better story. Yeah, they sold their soul to Walmart. I think they did ok.

Phillip: [00:31:12] And it's a label that you'll find in Nordstrom today, too. Bonobos is still very much around. Casper is going to still be around. Casper is sold everywhere, too. It's in Costco. It's in Target.

Brian: [00:31:22] You sleep on a Casper, right?

Phillip: [00:31:24] I do sleep on a Casper.

Brian: [00:31:26] Yeah, we talked about this in our mattress episode.

Phillip: [00:31:29] You slept on like 12 Casper's.

Brian: [00:31:32] I slept on one Casper, but then I slept on like 12 similar mattresses.

Phillip: [00:31:37] Yeah, just to let you know, like you said, "Warby is making money." You know, Warby, just for comparison, had 32 percent. They just had their first public earnings, so it's top of mind for me. But sales rose 32% last quarter, but they also had a loss of 91 million or a dollar forty five a share. They're not making money yet.

Brian: [00:32:10] No, they're not making money. We have definitely loss, but I think their stores helped them to get to the growth that they needed to get to like the scale. They couldn't scale online only. I think that's what Casper ran into, as well as they just couldn't scale. People still love shopping in-store, and if you want to hear more about this, go listen to Infinite Shelf.

Phillip: [00:32:34] Yeah, this is true. This is true. Ingrid, in coming episodes too, is going to cover a lot of ground there.

Phillip: [00:36:02] It kind of comes back to you look at the other IPOs. So many IPOs recently, which now is finally going to give us some public data around, you know, the viability of some of these companies. But you know, Allbirds public most recently. On Running also went public in the last three or four...

Brian: [00:36:24] No, I don't think On did. Did On?

Phillip: [00:36:27] Absolutely, they did. Roger Federer's running brand. Its ticker is ONON.

Brian: [00:36:35] Oh I missed it.

Phillip: [00:36:37] Hilariously overvalued. If you follow Post_Market on Twitter, some really great breakdowns there of how bullish shareholders are.

Brian: [00:36:47] Oh, look at that. Look at me paying attention. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:36:52] Yeah, just as a sense of how a direct to consumer is now, you know, finally providing some public data, Allbirds and its public stock debut showing, you know, really bullish signals as well. I mean, you're a lot of really... Anyway, I don't want to bang on it too much. Sucharita Kodali, who is often our predictions or sort of year end wrap up guest once a year joins us. She'll be on here in a couple of weeks time to talk about the future. But last year her prediction was for 2021 that we'll be hearing more and more about ESG, and ESG, by the way, Environmental, Social and Governance centered brands. But ESG are becoming more and more important to organizations and not just having goals, but actually like living that out as part of their culture. You can't say that there is a brand that's more indicative of that than Allbirds. So, yeah, anyway, their shares nearly doubled in their IPO a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, I've lost all interest in talking about this anymore. It's all crap that literally anyone could hear from anyone else. The future of commerce, I do believe, is very ESG centric. I do believe it is brand centric, but apparently not in the way that Casper set out to do it.

Brian: [00:38:38] It's also going to have to be a supply chain centric. So all this stuff like it has to get built still.

Phillip: [00:38:46] Well that's the thing, right? That's the thing, right? Like [00:38:48] if Allbirds' business is centered around material and textile innovation, could Casper have said the same? It was a very indefensible business, given the way that foam mattresses and delivered to the door foam mattress companies were easily replicated. It came down to brand. And I think actually that this leads back to eCom brain drain. Really, the brainpower and the equity of a brand has to come back down to assets that it has and defensible assets. And those are technology investments either in code and online capabilities, or in supply chain right, or in the actual creation of its product. And it's in the material science or the utility in the thing that they've created. If you don't have that, you can have brand, but if you don't have that, then what do you have? [00:39:49]

Brian: [00:39:49] Nothing. You have nothing.

Phillip: [00:39:50] Not much of anything.

Brian: [00:39:51] That's kind of the Amazon playbook. Although their playbook was more like build supply chain, invest in technology, and copy product, or at least according to Allbirds. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:40:04] {laughter} Nice. Speaking of marketplaces, while we're rattling off a bunch of numbers and everyone's heads are spinning, Faire today announced a Series G at 400 million. I think that's by my tally, a little over a billion dollars that Faire has raised in about four and a half years. The last three rounds in the last 13 months, this 400 million comes from a number of investors. Their prior round, I think, was 260 led by Sequoia. You have to believe that they're nearing exit territory as well. Faire should have come up on our Nine by Nine criteria. I'm going to try to pull up the data here. It didn't make the cut for us, but it's a true marketplace. But it is not a niche marketplace, which I think is one of the reasons why maybe we...

Brian: [00:41:03] Well, it's kind of nation that it's B2B. That's the angle. That's the angle. I think we did talk about it. I think we did kind of disqualified it for that reason. But I think it's obviously marketplaces in general are still quite an important thing. It's it's funny, though, like I think there was a little bit of a slow burn on some of those and they're picking up more steam over time. And you know, I was reading an article the other day about how curation is sort of like the cure all for the world that we're in and I actually think there's some truth to that. Curation...

Phillip: [00:41:50] Is this the Andrea Hernandez piece?

Brian: [00:41:53] It was. Yeah, that was the piece.

Phillip: [00:41:54] Snaxshot, by the way. Let's just give the love where it's due.

Brian: [00:41:59] Nice. Yes. Now that was a great article. It was a wild article. But curation is...

Phillip: [00:42:07] Longtime subscriber of Future Commerce, by the way. Supporter. I'm sorry, I will stop interrupting. Go right ahead. Go back.

Brian: [00:42:15] No, but curation doesn't necessarily mean marketplace. I think what we were talking about on the Nine by Nine was curation as a go to market. And I think Faire is a lot more of like you curate from us. We supply curators.

Phillip: [00:42:36] Oh, sure. Sure. Sure, sure.

Brian: [00:42:37] Yeah, yeah.

Phillip: [00:42:38] I understand the premise behind Faire. Anyway, it's just interesting. Faire, theoretically, would be supplying products to other retailers on online, other online and maybe offline retailers. What I find interesting is if their business is growing and there's such bullish signals that's really pointing toward... And if you look at the kinds of products that they carry, they sort of lean more toward what I would say is like the grown up Etsy brand. It's like the next level that you get to when you're trying to diversify channels away from Etsy. If you run an Etsy marketplace. It's curio, and it's mostly like high quality, bespoke, almost handcrafted sort of products. I see them as higher end... Anyway, what's interesting about that is who buys the stuff and where?

Brian: [00:43:41] Right. Right. That's a good point.

Phillip: [00:43:45] Who's buying this?

Brian: [00:43:46] Yes. It's not the brands you see on Twitter.

Phillip: [00:43:51] No, because they're all branded manufacturers, the direct to consumer set.

Brian: [00:43:56] Right. So who are all these are retailers? Right.

Phillip: [00:43:59] They're retailers.

Brian: [00:44:00] Are they your local like retail shop?

Phillip: [00:44:04] I'm sure. For sure.

Brian: [00:44:05] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:44:06] Definitely.

Brian: [00:44:06] I think that's what's going on is it's a bunch of local retailers that are filling their stores with stuff from places like Faire, which is cool. It is cool. And there's a lot of that. Like small-town retail, every town of a certain size has those shops that are like a curated feel to them. And I'm assuming that Faire is part of their curation.

Phillip: [00:44:33] I wrote a piece not so long ago about those sort of you go to the mall and you walk by that shop that has the smells very strongly of incense and it has a crystal wizard and sort of pewter statues of angels and such.

Brian: [00:44:58] Are you saying that people that buy from Faire and sell resale, like they're like the next like Crystal Dragon store?

Phillip: [00:45:05] It's nicer than that and there's a lot of home decor. So let's not I don't want to pooh pooh it too much. What I'm saying is there's a lot of buying and for all of this conversation around lead time or a stock out supply chain issues, there are products to buy in this world. Go to Etsy. Someone will make something for you. Go shop at a re curate brand from our partners over at Recurate. There are secondhand products in this world to go buy that or, you know, very lightly loved that you could easily go buy and give a second life.

Brian: [00:45:47] That's a really good point. Actually, it's funny that you bring that up. Thredup just recently came out and said the same thing that we said recently, which was that supply chain issues are going to push people toward resale purchasing during a holiday, even which is crazy. Like we talked about this, gifting a used product. But I think it's actually it makes a lot of sense, which is why our partner Recurate makes a ton of sense. Buying from a brand that you love from their authorized retail, like branded experience feels a lot more premium than going to like Thredup and regifting, you know, gifting something from Thredup.

Phillip: [00:46:34] I mean, at the end of the day, if you want a thing, do you really care where it comes from?

Brian: [00:46:43] I don't know if I was... I think if I was shopping on a brand site, and I bought from their used store, I would be feel better about gifting that and giving them a receipt from that brand store than a gift receipt from, say, like a Thredup. So yes, I do care.

Phillip: [00:47:09] Oh gosh, ok. It's like, yeah. That was like layers and layers deep. I think there is definitely a, I don't know, gift receipts from Thredup. Probably not the strongest thing to be handing around. That's fine. I think a lot of this is... Thredup is probably the wrong example here. {laughter} There's a whole wealth of... There's TheRealReal. There's Depop. There's Poshmark. So many other... There's Grailed. There's millions of these higher end marketplace resale.

Brian: [00:47:42] That's true. Thredup is probably the wrong example. Grailed makes more sense. Absolutely. And I mean, if I could go get the Gucci Balenciaga collab from Grailed I would definitely give that. It wouldn't matter where I got it from. I wouldn't care where I got it.

Phillip: [00:47:59] Good luck. I mean, actually, Gucci Balenciaga will only be available on resale, so that's the only place you'll ever be able to get it.

Brian: [00:48:06] That's so true.

Phillip: [00:48:06] You're right. What do you like about this collab, by the way?

Brian: [00:48:09] I don't know, man.

Phillip: [00:48:09] I'm curious.

Phillip: [00:48:12] Do you like that looks like it was in the movie Dune?

Brian: [00:48:16] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:48:16] It's like it definitely has some like, you know, post-punk...

Brian: [00:48:22] You heard you heard me tip my hand a little bit here. Like, I think that we're going to see a lot more like chunky come into. It's like sleek, like late nineties, like trench coats and black and you know and like tech.

Phillip: [00:48:40] The Matrix. Well, The Matrix is coming back out.

Brian: [00:48:43] Exactly.

Phillip: [00:48:44] There's a new Matrix movie coming out.

Brian: [00:48:46] Right. Exactly. I think that that's like very indicative of where we're going to sit with design coming up here. But what do I know? I'm no designer.

Phillip: [00:48:56] Yeah. Yeah, there's a whole... Yeah, the collection you'll have to see, it's pretty awesome. The real standout for me is a Gucci bag by Balenciaga that has graffiti on the side that says, "This is not a Gucci bag." It's funny, because I don't know, did you ever read the Bobby Hundreds book "This is Not a T-Shirt?"

Brian: [00:49:31] I didn't. I didn't read it.

Phillip: [00:49:32] Oh, it's so good. Bobby Hundreds is one of the Founders of The Hundreds, which was a like an early streetwear brand, late nineties, early 2000s zine culture, like when skaters were real skaters and you couldn't really find... There was no resale marketplace for Nike's. Like you had to actually go to Japan to find the cool stuff. It's a great read. Just seeing "This is not a Gucci bag" in what looks like graffiti is giving me some feels right now. It's crazy. We often say like, "This is not for you."

Brian: [00:50:17] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:50:18] This feels very, this is definitely for a lot of people.

Brian: [00:50:22] You think?

Phillip: [00:50:24] Oh, yeah.

Brian: [00:50:24] Well, the price tag doesn't say "It's for a lot of people."

Phillip: [00:50:28] I don't think that the price... I mean, I don't think ownership is the thing that...

Brian: [00:50:38] You think we just do a group buy and then everyone...

Phillip: [00:50:41] Yeah let's do a group buy. Let's form a DAO.

Brian: [00:50:43] Make is the sisterhood of the traveling... Of the Gucci Balenciaga bag... Just pass it around and take a turn with it once a week. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:50:49] {laughter} Let me say it this way. Actually I am getting something out of the fact that this exists in the world, just looking at it and thinking about it and seeing the ads for it and watching other people react to it is actually a really intense form of gratification.

Brian: [00:51:08] It's art. It's actual art.

Phillip: [00:51:11] It is art.

Brian: [00:51:11] Yeah, I see that. I absolutely agree with that.

Phillip: [00:51:14] And I don't have to own it, and I would never wear it if I did, to get something out of it.

Brian: [00:51:22] You wouldn't wear this bag?

Phillip: [00:51:25] Oh I would carry this bag. Oh yeah.

Brian: [00:51:29] You wouldn't wear that trench coat?

Phillip: [00:51:32] No, never. Are you kidding me? It's not really my thing. Anyway, I'm watching people freak out about it, too.

Brian: [00:51:44] It's part of the experience.

Phillip: [00:51:45] It's part of the experience I kind of love. I love it so much.

Brian: [00:51:48] I think it's super interesting. You know, we've talked about the K-shaped recovery and now we've talked about the eCom brain drain. We've talked about how we had a massive influx of entrepreneurship into the world to serve a growing wealth divide, a more powerful upper class. And so it's interesting to me that just seeing the ad campaign you feel like is participatory given that maybe that's like how we see...

Phillip: [00:52:34] One hundred percent.

Brian: [00:52:35] Yeah, this is like the trickle down effect. Not saying trickle down economics, but like if anyone is going to benefit from all these experiences that we're creating for the more wealthy class, is it through the art that gets distributed in a digital way, through a digital channel? And [00:53:00] this gets back to something that I hope to answer with Alex Greifeld soon, which is do all digital experiences natively trend down market? We talked a little bit about this last time around, but I think that's kind of what I'm seeing right here. This is clearly an experience that's built for someone that has a lot of money, but a lot of people are actually getting something out of it simply by it existing. That blows my mind a little bit. [00:53:35]

Phillip: [00:53:36] I'm slacking you my favorite Venn diagram of all time, which is basically it's if you can imagine... {laughter} I'm going to verbally describe this, and then we're going to find a way to put this into... If you go look at this episode of the podcast on, this will be in the show notes, I promise. But it is a Venn diagram, a traditional one at the top that says "Art, I like" and "Art my friends like," which have this really strong overlap. There's outside of those two things is is a lone circle that says, "Art that makes money." And then this like weird like lake moat around all three of those circles that says "Art that I make," which doesn't touch any of the other three. And I feel like that's what a lot of brand collabs actually feel like is art that's not really meant for anybody. I mean, it's even arguable whether it's art or not.

Brian: [00:54:35] Oooh. I don't know. I don't know.

Phillip: [00:54:38] I'm serious. A lot of a lot of collabs feel like money grabs and more of in the same, I'm going to be critical of you and me and maybe other organizations we've worked for, but we don't do we bring something into the world because it needs to exist? Or do we bring something into the world because we have to hit a sales plan?

Brian: [00:55:00] Right. Everyone just makes things for sales plans. I mean, most, but you could argue that most of art is made due to a sales plan. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:55:08] Well, I mean, I have no way of quantifying whether that's true or not. I would say there's a term "starving artist" for a reason.

Brian: [00:55:20] Yes. Starving artist is a real thing. But art that gets popularized and like spread around is almost always due to a sales target.

Phillip: [00:55:30] Deep depression.

Brian: [00:55:32] Deep depression.

Phillip: [00:55:35] The most celebrated artists were geniuses and tortured.

Brian: [00:55:39] The big question I have about this diagram is where do bad art friends fit into this?

Phillip: [00:55:45] Oh the bad art friend? Did you read that whole saga?

Brian: [00:55:50] Oh my gosh.

Phillip: [00:55:52] Ok. We'll have to have a separate podcast about that.

Brian: [00:55:54] I feel like that deserves its own podcast.

Phillip: [00:55:58] We talked a lot about the second hand economy, and we have friends at Recurate that could probably help you out with that if you haven't already heard of them. Go check them out. We really love what they're doing. We actually did a podcast with Adam not so long ago. But if you want to hear more about what Recurate is all about, we have that up on the website. But yeah, Future Commerce is a proud partner of Recurate. And hopefully if you can't find that present that special gift for that someone you love, if you're not going to buy... What did they say, "Bring home Lexus for the holidays?" If you're not going to do that, maybe Recurate has an automobile partner. {laughter} Automobile resale market powered by Recurate.

Brian: [00:56:47] Oh my gosh. Lucid...

Phillip: [00:56:51] Lucid Air.

Brian: [00:56:51] Second hand market powered by Recurate.

Phillip: [00:56:56] Second hand Air.

Brian: [00:56:56] I don't know about that.

Phillip: [00:56:56] Wow we brought it full circle. Last thoughts, Brian Lange.

Brian: [00:57:01] I heard the funniest thing that I heard this whole past week was Seth Rogan's podcast.

Phillip: [00:57:10] Oh you've been going on about this. Yeah, yeah. What was it?

Brian: [00:57:13] The funniest thing on the whole podcast was actually a podcast. It was a an advertisement read by Seth Rogen, and it was for Lacroix. And the very end of the Lacroix ad Seth in the most sarcastic way that he could get away with on a commercial without having it pulled, said, "Join the Lacroix community today."

Phillip: [00:57:41] And he's like giggling.

Brian: [00:57:44] Yeah, he's giggling, you know, in just the subtlest possible way, and I died because I feel like that related back to something you wrote about in The Senses recently about what communities have become. And so get out there and join the Lacroix community. That was unpaid for. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:58:06] We just did some research at Rightpoint, and we polled a thousand mobile shoppers, people who shop from branded apps on their phone. By the way. It takes a lot of work to find a thousand people in that sort of survey to get survey completes. That's a whole other aside. Surprisingly, when you put like the 30 reasons why people might shop at a given store, like all of the reasons why someone might frequent a brand, the number one reason, number one, was convenience. Right? Because it's convenient. It's the easiest thing to do. That's why I shop at Amazon. It's just it's the easiest thing to do. Number 30 dead last with like less than one percent of the vote was to join in a community of other people who shop at that brand.

Brian: [00:59:07] {laughter} Oh my gosh. I think your point was so well made in The Senses. And if you don't subscribe, I'm going to I guess I'm plugging us again, but you've got to do it.

Phillip: [00:59:18] No, it's a great way to end in the show here.

Brian: [00:59:19] Yeah, yeah. But like your point about how products have built this entire layer of things around them that all lead to community. We've maybe overdone it. I think what actually is better is to think about what your role in the world is and how you can empower people. That's a different, totally different story. For Lacroix, that means having a refreshing beverage.

Phillip: [00:59:51] Where you could be mutually refreshed with other people.

Brian: [00:59:54] Yes.

Phillip: [00:59:55] There's a show title.

Brian: [00:59:56] There it is. There's the show title we were looking for.

Phillip: [00:59:58] No, please don't. {laughter} Wow.

Brian: [01:00:02] All right. That's how we should leave this show. I feel like.

Phillip: [01:00:05] Oh gosh. Such a terrible way to end. Yeah, subscribe. Subscribe to The Senses. Hey, we send two pieces of valuable information straight to your inbox once every week, twice every week, I should say. Every week we send a thoughtful essay, something that is worth your time and is insightful, something that will help you think differently about commerce in the world around you. We call that Insiders and we call that a community of people. But it could also just be a way for you to get smarter. And remember Future Commerce is for the risk takers. So if you want to get smarter and take better risks and manage your way through the present challenges, go read Insiders in your inbox every Tuesday. Sometimes Wednesday. Brian and I sometimes take a little longer to put a little polish on it. Every Friday, we launch The Senses, which is a sensory explosion of current news. It's our newsletter and a little editorial about the things that tie it all together. It's the brands that we know and love and stories that make us connected to the human experience of what it means to be involved in commerce. We call that The Senses, and we've got a million other things that we've mentioned in this show that we're putting together. But if you wanted to get all of that, and if you want to support the show in any way whatsoever and keep the good vibes rolling, it takes you no time at all, and I promise it's no sweat off your back to go leave us a five star review over on iTunes. It helps get the show in front of other people and subscribe while you're at it. That's it. Hey. Brian, it's another good show.

Brian: [01:01:50] Another good one. Another good one. We end now was saying Future Commerce is for the risk takers. Is that our out line?

Phillip: [01:01:56] That's a great hit. I like it.

Brian: [01:01:58] Yeah. Yes, go take some risks. Is that our tagline now? Go take some risks. Go take some good risks. Smart risks.

Phillip: [01:02:04] We're workshopping it. I like it. We'll keep working on it. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce. How's that?

Brian: [01:02:11] Even better.

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