Hello fellow Futurists,
I generally don’t like flexes.
Most flexes feel like straight bragging, self-promotion, or self-aggrandizing. Here’s an obvious one:
No sleep hustle Michelin multi-national VC walk (flex of flexes!!) party party partaaayzz. Rinse repeat.
Bleah. Signaling everywhere.
Just about everyone in business and life signal, **including me** (ugh and I hate this). So to be clear - I’m not trying to pick on Alyssa, this tweet just happened to pop up while I was writing this.
A flex can be subtler than this one, but even then we can often spot them and while sometimes we are legitimately jealous, we also cringe a little.
The problem with this kind of flex is that it’s really not that impressive. A lot of people flex this way on the internet. Broad market flexing is EVERYWHERE. Shoes, vacations, restaurants, work locations, homes, accomplishments. It’s boring and therefore not awesome. And with these types of flexes, money can usually provide the same result. If there’s a billionaire who can out-flex the flex, it’s probably not a very good flex.
But there’s also flex that can be awesome. I’m calling it the “niche flex”. The niche flex feels like passion and story. It feels nerdy and unique.
FC friend and Dirt cofounder Daisy Alioto is straight royalty when it comes to the niche flex.
Ok, I’m interested. Click further and you’ll find Triumph36_’s tweet was a response to Daisy’s original tweet:
Bam. Flex. Daisy’s pic is subtle and niche. She’s got legit bragging rights on this shirt with a cool story and a classic motorcycle brand. Is it a brag? Yep. But this kind of flex feels fun and interesting.
The nerdier and more specific the better.
So yes, when I posted about the diversity of birds in my backyard yesterday, that was a niche flex. I get to listen to a chorus of birdsong every day, and it’s glorious.
Ok, maybe I’m simply justifying being a nerd. But as I wrote three years ago in FC Insiders #050: The Enthusiast Economy, there’s nerds in every category. And the nerdier you are about something, the more you respect the other super nerds in your category. Game respects game.
Flexes can be a great indicator of where your brand is at.
If your brand has the ability to be involved in a niche flex in some way, you’re probably on the right track. But if your brand feels like a broad market flex, you’re probably on the path to washing out.
This doesn’t mean only niche brands qualify for future success. Even if you have a ubiquitous brand, you can still build for possible niche flexes.
Allbirds - only broad market flex
Hoka - niche flex possible
Away - only broad market
Tumi - niche flex possible
Just seeing someone flex your product online is not enough of a signal to show that you have superfans. A better indicator of future success is when someone boasts about your product regarding something advanced, unique, or weird enough that other nerds in the industry respond.
Here at Future Commerce, we love to see a good niche flex. Tweet us your favs!
Swifties’ spending spree spurs spike. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve is pointing to Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour as the biggest boost to hotel revenues in Philadelphia since pre-pandemic times. Numbers show May as a banner month for guests in the city, which happened to be when her concerts hit town. Swifties to the tourism rescue?
Palm Paylot. Amazon One, the palm scanning tech for quick and secure payments is set to roll out in all Whole Foods Market stores by the end of this year. Sweet news to everyone who has ever forgotten their wallets at home.
Candy Corn Dunks. Nike is releasing a pair of Dunks this October known as the “Sweet Tooth” showcasing the Fall candy’s classic orange, yellow, and white gradient. We just need these wrapped in a cellophane bag with a mix of caramels and kettle corn. Turkey Trot? Turkey Hot! Or for some of you maybe Turkey Nawt?
Summer Smashups. Starbucks and BLACKPINK have partnered up for the coffee company’s first collaboration specifically designed for its Asia Pacific market, which includes a BLACKPINK-themed Frappuccino. Krispy Kreme and M&M’s have collabed on several new offerings, including a surprise doughnut filled with M&M's. And Burger King Brazil has launched a Barbie bacon cheeseburger that includes a special pink sauce.
A Glitch in the Starbucks Matrix. According to The Verge, the Starbucks app glitched and sent out notifications to users announcing “Your order is ready!” to people who had not placed an order. Peep the Tweet in the article from Brian Roemmele, FC friend and visionary who recently came on the podcast.
Get ready to Snorlax.Pokémon Sleep is available in the United States, and at long last Pokemon lovers everywhere can track all they ever wanted (and maybe didn’t want) to know about their sleeping habits. The app keeps audio records of your sleep, and for those who don’t want to sleep with their phone so close to them, a pokéball device called the Pokémon Go Plus+ is available, and is rumored to have a Pikachu living inside to sing you to sleep. Rest!