Lunya’s Bankruptcy Breakdown

ON THE POD: Faux Out of Home, Blimp Commerce, and Salesforce’s Michael Affronti
August 4, 2023

Welcome to Friday, futurists!

I’ve been thinking — what does it mean to be a futurist? Well, firstly you have the uncanny ability to see around the next corner. You’re discerning in taste. Like, obviously. 

You also shoot side-glances at hype, fads, and fashion in commerce trends. Because you’ve been around the block once (maybe even twice), you know better than to board the hype train unknowingly.

So when my friend and co-host of the Infinite Shelf podcast, Orchid Bertelsen, sent me this TikTok breakdown of the Lunya Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, I just had to share it with you.

Devon Rule’s channel is dedicated to breaking down the shortcomings of the DTC model, sustainability, fashion resale, and rental. Devon’s critique of DTC is fair and even-keeled.

I learned a good deal from the breakdown, and I know you will, too. You can watch the video here.

— Phillip

P.S. We’re returning to Art Basel for the third year. Join us as we elevate commerce to become our Muse. Save the date — December 6-8, 2023.

P.P.S. The perineum is one of the most overlooked sources of body data,” is a phrase I never thought I’d utter on the podcast. But alas, here we are. Check out Episode #314: Blimp Commerce wherever podcasts are found.

Chat Through the Complexities. Profitero has launched a generative AI-powered commerce analytics software called Ask Profitero, which enables ​​CPG marketers to open simple text queries about complex commerce data.

Our Take: The “untraining” of AI is in full swing, and it comes at an opportune time as new business models and data-to-chat concierge offerings begin to emerge in new industry verticals.

Sites like Reddit and Quora have begun to squeeze language models, issuing cease-and-desists, in an effort to create products of their own. This reframes them into a new type of publisher; and the regression of products like ChatGPT has begun.

A paper claiming that OpenAI is intentionally throttling the service to avoid heavy compute fees was published in July alongside allegations that the removal of context from publishers has created a markedly worse experience. 

Profitero’s offering follows other offerings — like Ask Skift, an LLM for the travel industry — and could prove valuable for paying customers to tap into insights and data that otherwise would never be found on the open web.

This new model also provides a venue for the SaaS industry to create specific context for service companies to launch subscription self-service models, while giving employees a place to safely share customer and industry data; a growing concern amongst companies like Apple.

Ad Sales on the Rebound? 2023 has been an unstable year so far in media and tech, but recent reports by Axios cite optimism about the remainder of the year, specifically in business investments in the ad market, based on second-quarter increases of 7.7%.

More Sights & Sounds. Apple is in its third consecutive quarter of iPhone sales that have fallen below analysts estimates, though numbers in Apple services continue to show strength. Meanwhile, Amazon’s quarterly profits exceeded expectations.

Legacy Media Nears Disney Extinction. Interest in DVDs has been slowly declining for years, and Disney has announced it will discontinue sales of DVDs in Australia and New Zealand following the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 3. The company has already taken this action in Latin American and Asian markets. For now, sales in the U.S. will continue.

“My Job is Just…. Ketchup” A week and a half after the Barbie movie’s release date on July 21st, Heinz UK took to Twitter, erm X, asking if the company should make pink “Barbiecue” sauce and pink tomato “Kenchup.” No one really said yes — in fact, one user commented, “That ship has sailed folks.”

Dollar General’s Just Walk Out. DG has set up camp in the mountains with a 24-hour store that’s a walk-in-and-out experience with no checkout lanes. Users swipe their credit cards before entering, grab their items, and leave.

Shared Interest. Worldcoin plans to continue expanding operations into as many parts of the world as it can. Many people are getting scanned to gain the free 25 Worldcoin tokens offered for those who sign up. Worldcoin also wants governments and companies to incorporate its ID system. No word yet on whether the human perineum will be part of their biometric model.

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