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Breaking the Hedonic Treadmill

PLUS: Infinite Shelf is BACK!
May 12, 2023

The past two weeks have been banger-after-banger here at Future Commerce, futurists. 

I’ll catch you up: 

  • Stuck on a hedonic treadmill of buy-buy-consume-consume-more-more? Joy Howard of Early Majority is trying to break you free of that cycle. How? By using community as an antidote for commercialism. Listen to Future Commerce #303 wherever podcasts are found.

  • Salad robots might fix capitalism? While Economists worry about labor and capital; Sweetgreen is trying to usher in the knowledge economy with salad robots. Read our write-up about the future of automation and the creativity in The Senses.

  • We’re witnessing the birth of a new subculture. Graphic designers are taking aim at capitalism and app-driven online culture with clever mockups. This emergent Mockup Culture is a leading indicator of a new philosophy: metamodernism.

  • Dupe brands claim they weren’t the first, but they’re the best. While we work on the grand unified theorem of dupe brands, read up on how dupes and counterfeits are necessary stages on the way to creating a new category. Check out “The Genre Defense” over on The Senses.

And save the date for the return of Infinite Shelf! Ingrid is back for the third season of our highly-anticipated podcast. This season Ingrid is joined by the master of hot-takes and resident millennial-whisperer, Orchid Bertelsen. Orchid is a fount of knowledge and a killer guest host for our hottest, most wild season of Infinite Shelf ever.

May 30, 2023 on Apple and Spotify (and everywhere else).

— Phillip

Podcasts are the Future of Commerce. Like, duh. We knew this. But a new study has also discovered that that most consumers say podcast hosts are the most influential figures when it comes to their purchasing choices. According to Magna and Vox Media, podcasters are more influential than influencers.

Tinder but for Meetings. Two former Loom employees debuted a new meeting canceling app, called Cala. Users can swipe left on meetings if they feel like they are gratuitous, and if everyone else invited also swipes left, the meeting gets canceled.

Our Take: This is a clear example of mockup culture in action, driving actual product creation.

More Sights & Sounds. Bad news for FC co-founder Phillip; according to a recent study, 43 is the average age when Americans stop feeling like they are young. Lyft is ending its shared ride service because its unpopular, and “takes people out of their way.” Seattle’s night life is definitely not booming. When thrift shops are messy it signals to some people that there might be a hidden deal if they dig for it. A new multiplayer first-person shooter game called Retail Royale was released last week, and the setting is IKEA. The Adobe Digital Price Index has revealed that online prices have declined for eight consecutive months and grocery price hikes have slowed for seven straight months, signalling slowing inflation and economic cooling.

Breanna Stewart poses in her Puma collection.

Ruby Slippers. Breanna Stewart and Puma are releasing a second signature sneaker, nicknamed “Ruby” after the WNBA star’s daughter. Puma’s “Stewie 2” releases May 19th, the same day as the WNBA star’s debut with the New York Liberty.

The Rebound. Victoria’s Secret has been hard at work to rebuild its image for the past 5 years, after facing the realities of its exclusion of many types of women as well as its ties to Jeffrey Epstein. This year for the first time since 2018, the company has announced the reinvention of its annual fashion show as a a feature-length documentary film, premiering in September. Meanwhile, Adidas has decided to sell some of its remaining Yeezy stock and donate the proceeds to charity. Following this announcement, shares went up 2%.

Red Bread. Burger King is promoting the upcoming movie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, with a limited-time celebratory Whopper featuring a red bun with black sesame seeds. It’s giving “early 2000’s food coloring exploration” and makes us feel like there should be some green ketchup involved.

Primed for Success. WWE Superstar Logan Paul has reported that his brand, Prime Hydration, made over $250 million in retail sales during its first year of business, which would put it well ahead of Olipop and other DTC darlings. The growth of Prime follows frenzied stockouts and viral TikToks that spurred a resale market for the highly-sought-after brand.

Courtesy Caryn Marjorie

AI GF. A twenty-three year old Snapchat influencer named Caryn Marjorie (and a team of developers) made an AI version of herself to become a virtual girlfriend for hire. For a dollar per minute, AI Caryn will chat with you about a myriad of topics. Everything old is new again, including fake internet girlfriends and 1-900 pay-per-minute business models.

Your Own Personal Beastsus. A new Mr. Beast philanthropist video just dropped on YouTube and some aren’t too pleased with it. One writer calls the video where Mr. Beast helps “1,000 Deaf People Hear” nothing more than inspiration porn, citing that it doesn’t really bring awareness to deafness as much as it it makes Mr. Beast seem like a modern day hero.

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