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Alexa, Can You Spare a Square?

Robots can now bring you a new roll of TP
October 1, 2021

Conversational Commerce / My First Robot. Amazon has introduced a household robot, called “Astro” to keep an eye on our homes, and we are all realizing that we’re slowly but surely becoming some weird version of George Jetson. The interesting implications are the sales model: as with prior releases like Alexa Frames and Alexa Ring, you have to apply to be able to pre-purchase the item. The pre-sales model comes with a hefty price tag: $999. “Alexa, can you bring me a spare roll of TP?”

The Age of Fractional Ownership / They Did the Math (The Monster Math) This piece does the math (the monster math) on the psychological effects surrounding both multi-level marketing and non-fungible token hype cycles. It dives into the Mere-Exposure Effect, Recency Bias and Consistency Bias surrounding NFTs, and how these are also realized in MLMs. If you’ve seen LuLaRich on Amazon Prime, this is a must-read. 

Boundaries / “The Butthole Asymptote” Limits are meant to be broken. Unless that limit is on being able to purchase toilet paper. Due to supply chain challenges, and continued spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, retailers have reinstituted limits on purchasing cleaning supplies and toilet paper to discourage hoarding. Prediction: Dwight Schrute’s 2-ply toilet paper separator might soon be in high demand.

Bonus reading: if anyone has a spare ship lying about, Costco might want to rent it from you

DTC Comes of Age / Warby Parker Pops on Debut The Warby Parker direct listing is one for the books, cementing it as one of the most successful DTC exits of the post-DTC era. Two seminal reads: one on the breakdown of the S-1 and revision from Theta Equity and another from 2PM (gated) on what the stellar debut means, and what’s next.

Editor’s note: we cover what the next era of DTC means for brands smaller than Warby, and how difficult it will be to replicate the eyewear giant’s success in our most recent report, Nine by Nine: 81 Brands Changing Our World.

Maximalism / Sweatsuit pitmasters. Arby’s is dropping “Smoked Sweats” in a couple of days. Not just any smoked sweats—“The finest hickory smoked sweatpants available,” according to their website. Because, who wouldn’t want clothes the color of BBQ sauce that smell like campfire?

Audience-First / 8 Mile Meal. Eminem has opened up a new restaurant in Detroit called “Mom’s Spaghetti.” And to the delight of opening day customers, he was there serving it to them personally, looking calm and ready.

Dadaism / What is art worth? It’s not often that the artist who created the art piece is the one behind the heist, but that’s just what a Danish museum is alleging. Jens Haaning was paid $84,000 to create two works of modern art titled “Take the Money and Run,” which explore our relationship with work. When he delivered two blank framed canvases, the museum was not happy. Haaning said, “It is a breach of contract, and breach of contract is part of the work…. The work is that I have taken their money.”

Editor’s note: brands and creators making social commentary in the form of art has been covered in-depth within the pages of FC content. Read more in our pieces about Rep Sneakers and Artist Provenance, Collectorship and the Value of Art, and our seminal piece about Dadaism and Maximalism expressions and Brands as social commentary.

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