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The Monkey’s Paw of Art x Commerce

PLUS: Our First VISIONS Product Drop
August 18, 2023

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Pictured: a limited-edition 18x24” art print. Commissioned for VISIONS by Alltrue Studios. Art by Chandler Reed (My Morning Jacket, Beach House).

Our very first product drop for VISIONS is here. 

Now shipping worldwide is a limited-run, hand-numbered art print by Future Commerce.

Designed by Chandler Reed, the artist celebrated for his work with My Morning Jacket and Beach House, this 18x24" art print is crafted on aqueous coated heavy stock, ensuring durability and a refined finish.

Just thirty numbered editions exist, and they’re ready to ship all over the globe for $49. Buy now

— Phillip

A Bonus Essay: The Monkey’s Paw of Art x Commerce. This week, the age of critique came to bear for trendy retailer KITH. Their imitation of a historic piece of art for a brand campaign has made us wonder — can art and commerce co-exist? Read the newest Insiders piece by Phillip Jackson.

P.S. The SaaS market is being upended by no-code copycat tooling; giving a new crop of software challengers fast-fashion-like dynamics. Read “SaaS Fashion” by Insiders contributor Alex Griefeld.

The Apes are Addicted. Signs have begun to appear at zoos across the U.S. and Canada warning visitors of showing Gorillas content from their smartphones. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago reportedly warned visitors not to show a male Gorilla selfies or TikTok videos due to the threat of attack if he is distracted. Similar signs have been posted in Toronto.

You Get What You Incent. Internet publisher CNet has come under fire for removing thousands of articles in an alleged attempt to game SEO. Recent changes in Google rankings have caused many publishers to revisit content and aggregate inbound links into higher-quality sources; but it is having the unintended effect of removing great swaths of content across the internet.

Matchmaking Renaissance. Everything old is new again, and the old adage now applies to matchmaking services. Once a profession in decline, career matchmakers are seeing a boost in interest for their services post-Covid.

Our Take: Human curation is a recurring theme in VISIONS: Volume IV.

Contributors Claire Spackman (Founder/ConsumerHaus) and Jared Watson (Marketing Professor/NYU Stern) shared their thoughts on the necessity (and durability) of human curation in Panel 1 at our VISIONS @ MoMA Symposium.

Click here to watch (ungated exclusively for this edition of Insiders).

Right in the Bullseye. Both sides of the culture wars are taking credit for dethroning “Tarjay” in Q2. In a rare point of agreement, right-wing protestors and LGBTQ+ shoppers expressed disdain for Target’s handling of pride month merchandising, leading to a larger-than-expected sales dip. Same-store sales slumped to 6% in Q2. The stock is presently off 22% for the year. 

Technical Debt in eCom SaaS. eCommerce Agency founder Xavier Armand has thoughts about eCom. This week, Xavier took to Twitter to declare that the eCom SaaS industry has a predictable turnover; rivals can challenge incumbents by merely offering an alternative. The implication is that incumbents become mired in technical debt, and the software falls into disrepair.

Our Take: The presumption in the post presumes that technical architecture is to blame for older incumbents’ products slowing to a standstill. If this were true, then it is the fickle nature of developers that is to blame for the lack of product velocity.

But the tooling for eCom remains largely unchanged for nearly five years — and a JAM/MEAN (or, gulp, even LAMP) stack in 2023 is still as viable as it has ever been. So what gives?

On the Future Commerce podcast annual predictions episode for 2023, we forecast the move away from the cloud back to dedicated hosting for development teams because of this complexity, and the distraction of lateral movements. Developer costs are eaten up by lateral moves to and from serverless hosting, which was spurred by a rising cost in cloud services; and is a form of lock-in. 

Bootstrapped software darlings 37Signals have been very vocal about their move away from the cloud.

If this trend continues, it hints not at the technical debt of an incumbent, but their disadvantage of being a first-mover in an industry that matured between a massive shift in the software-as-infrastructure industry.

Wake ‘N Drank.  L’eggo your sobriety with the new “brunch in a jar” offering from Eggo brand. Kellogg’s newest offering is a boozey “Appalachain Sippin’ Cream” in a stylish mason jar package. Pre-orders start at a pricey $25, but the hangover is totally free.

More Fiber Than You Can Shake a Stick At. Literally. Nestle Foods is under fire following a recall which suggests some Toll House cookie dough may contain wood shavings. 


The Milkshake Machine Ain’t the Only Thing Broken. McDonald's has quietly removed the term 'ESG' (environmental, social, and governance) from certain parts of its website, amid criticism of ESG initiatives from conservative policymakers in the U.S.

Climate Transparency in eCom? Dutch wallet manufacturer, Sacred, publishes a comprehensive list of its suppliers and its mandated code of conduct as part of its sustainability promise.

“Camera’s Off for Climate!” I’m old enough to remember the 2011 internet blackout protest for internet freedom. Now, you can stage your own daily WFH climate protest… by turning off your camera. The Mozilla Foundation unveiled new research that measured the carbon impact of having cameras on during those dreaded Zoom calls. According to the research, switching to audio-only on Zoom reduces the carbon impact by nearly 90%.

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