Oculus wins Christmas, QCommerce, and Lickable TVs

The Senses’ last call of 2021, King of the Hill(iverse), and other things that are probably nothing.
December 31, 2021

This is our last edition of The Senses for 2021, and we’re recounting what an amazing year we’ve had at Future Commerce.  This year our team at Future Commerce grew to eleven people, all from outside the traditional eCommerce and DTC ecosystem. In 2021 we launched a new podcast, Infinite Shelf, we grew our audience by 30%, and we sent over 100 editions of our emails to you, our community. We made headlines with Nine by Nine. We tweaked and relaunched our core brand. We delivered over 30,000 words of written content and over 100 hours of audio.

Our growth is challenging us to take risks and grow to the next level. We’re going to push the boundaries and begin the process of a capital raise, and hire some key team members. This includes a production and an editorial staff. You’ll see some exciting announcements in the months to come, beginning with the launch of a new “build in public” series, VISIONS, which will have a weekly podcast and companion Twitch stream where we will build our next omnibus report, Vision, in public with members of our Expert Network.

Some other changes you can expect — starting in January 2022, The Senses will move to twice/week on Wednesday and Friday. Insiders will refocus to become fewer, better, pieces. And as always, Infinite Shelf and Future Commerce will be in your podcast players twice per week, fifty-two times in 2022.

From all of us at Future Commerce to all of you, thank you. We firmly believe that Commerce can change the future. 

For the risk-takers, 

Future Commerce

(Phillip, Brian, Erin, Jesse, Kaylee, Nicolette, Callen, Chris, JT, Kristen, and Ingrid)

King of the Hill(iverse). As foretold in our 2021 piece on The Pygmalion Effect, (#108, The Idolatry of the Algorithm), Facebook’s parent company, Meta, has willed the ‘verse into existence. This Christmas Day, Oculus became the most-downloaded app on Apple and Google’s app stores. 

Caught a voib. TikTok is now the largest web domain according to cloud CDN provider, Cloudflare. The addictive social app is changing everything: memes, music, trends, DIY, food, and fashion. And now, it toppled Google after 15 years of being the most-trafficked site on the internet.

Editor’s note: This stat is significant, though misleading. Tiktok lacks the kind of optimization that Google has, often requiring significant data. In internet-terms, Tiktok is bandwidth wasteful by default, likely skewing the figure. 

For more on our view of Tiktok and the C.A.R.L.Y. (Can't Afford Real Life Yet) psychographic, read our seminal piece about it over here

Probably nothing. 2021 was the year of the fungi…ble token. Twitter user GTMcknight has provided a running list of enterprise-sized companies, media conglomerates, CPG brands, and DTCs who have delivered in the web3 space in some way in 2021. It’s worth bookmarking as this list seems to grow daily. Missing from the list: Olive Garden, whose parent company, Darden, sent a cease-and-desist to Opensea to delist the fan-created NFT project. 

Hatejacking, Adorkable, and QCommerce. No, not that Q. Ben Schott gave us the lingua franca of DTC with his seminal pieces on “blanding” and “adorkables”. Now, Ben provides a roundup of his best pieces of 2021. In our opinion, it’s worth signing into LinkedIn for, and if only to promptly sign out again.

The History of Nickelodeon's Hey Dude - Retro TV Review - YouTube

It’s giving… boring? Crocs shares are down 21% in the past 30 days, despite the two-point-five-billion-dollars (read like Doctor Evil, replete with a pinky-to-the-mouth) acquisition of Hey Dude, that is decidedly normal-looking. Some might even say boring. Hey Dude reportedly does over $500M in annual sales volume, with $50M of that being online revenue, according to Pipecandy, making them the largest footwear brand you’ve never heard of. 

Editor’s note: A bit of napkin math suggests that the valuation of Hey Dude puts it in the 8X EBIDTA range, something that could not have happened for a footwear brand in the era prior to Covid. The liquidity environment, and the run-up of valuations make this an excellent time to exit.

Reminds us of a similar footwear acquisition from a prior era, The Greats, which was acquired by Steve Madden in 2019 for an undisclosed amount. At the time of exit, Greats had raised $1.5M and had $13M in online sales in the 12 months ending at the acquisition date. One has to wonder how Greats had such cultural capital amongst the coastal and Twitter elites, and Hey Dude is relatively unknown by comparison.

They’re just admitting it. Even before pandemic-times, productivity suffered in the week between Christmas and New Years. Now a bevy of corporations are making it official, Patagonia being the most recent, joining others such as Adobe, Monsanto, and GM.

On Dasher, On Blitzen. This joke would have been funnier last week if we’re honest. Doordash CEO, Tony Xu, announced a new initiative that all company employees, including himself, would be participating in delivering for the service at least once per week, sources say. Employees are unhappy about the change, sparking a Twitter meme that is just :mwah: chef kiss. 

A brewery, but make it Trading Places. Twitter user Jess Ferringer posted about a Pittsburgh restaurant, whose drink menu prices change according to supply and demand. It sounds fun, though the FTC probably has… thoughts. Is this Late Capitalism? Or is it a clever workaround for supply-chain challenged SMBs? 

Clickwrap for Protein Powder. Don’t tell Shoshana Zuboff, but Vital Proteins apparently has a clickwrap T&C agreement for when you open a package. The agreement, as posted by Twitter user Paul Gowder, includes an Arbitration Agreement, and a Limitation of Liability, which limits a potential consumer from being able to hold the brand “liable for any indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages”. Hope the gainz were worth it bruh.

In poor taste. Because lick-able TV screens with flavor samples are definitely what we need in the middle of a pandemic surge. Uh. Yuck. Or yum. I can’t decide.

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