Join us for VISIONS Summit NYC  - June 11

We’re Bringing Techno-optimism Back

PLUS: Dronecore, The Richcession, and MEET US IN NYC
January 4, 2023

I’m writing this to you from the literal beach, soaking up some rays before the onslaught of trade show season. I hope you enjoyed time over the holidays for some relaxation.

I’ve curated a few links for you to kick off The Senses and hopefully set the tone for the year. But here’s my resolution, and my challenge to you, futurists: let’s regain our optimism.

I remember when I started in technology: we thought we could change the world. And, you know what? We did. From the first eCom site I built in MS Access and ASP Classic in 1998, I have been part of a movement that enabled three generations to experience an on-demand world, with the world’s knowledge at our fingertips.

Have there been downsides? You betcha. But we’ve enabled a new wave of entrepreneurship, lifted people out of poverty, and connected cultures across the world. What a privilege.

So here are three links that will brighten your next 361 days:

  • Begin the year with a 10-day meditation on The Power of Commerce. I have written a 10-part series to help you remember your role in the world of Commerce, and the power that it has in the world to connect people.

  • The Homogenization of Experiences is catching on, and we smell the beginning of a movement to change it. This blog by storied merchant Kevin Hillstrom outlines a phenomenon he calls “Digital Omnichannelism,” which purports that merchants have become the omnichannel outlet for technology companies. Read our original thesis on this phenomenon in The 2022 Visions Report.

  • 2023 Trends aren’t all that gloomy. Media planner at Publicis, Ci En L., has compiled over 100 trends reports for you to peruse, all in one Google Drive link. I am still going down the rabbit hole, but reports from GM, Ford, and Well + Beauty are all optimistic, but my favorite by far is an experiential rabbit hole by We Are Social, Future Forward. I will be thinking about Textured Discovery for days.

If you want to stand out, you have to zig when others zag. Zigging in a pessimist society means looking for the silver lining in an ominous retail and eCom storm cloud.

Pessimism is easy. We like doing hard things here at Future Commerce. We’re going to bring back techno-optimism. 

— Phillip

P.S. Come be optimistic with us, live and in person! For the NRF Big Show this year we’re bringing the FC crew to NYC for an Archetypes pop-up. Come experience The Journal with an immersive audio experience in curated spaces. We’re teaming up with Industry West at their SoHo showroom at 14 Crosby. 

Pop-Up hours: 11-4pm Jan 15-17, 2023.

P.P.S: For even more fun, join us for Archetypes After Hours with our friends from Thingtesting! RSVP here — space is limited.

Google, right now, probably.

Will THIS Kill Google? It seems like everyone is obsessed with figuring out what will finally kill Google. Last year it was TikTok. The latest attempt? Microsoft and OpenAI are working together to create a new search engine, ChatGPT-powered Bing, that is powered by natural language processing and machine learning technologies. This search engine promises to provide more accurate and comprehensive search results than Google, and is set to launch soon. That is, if people can admit that they finally used Bing for something.

That’s Pretty Fly. Fashion takes flight with its latest trend: Dronecore. In the space between Steampunk and the Matrix lives a subculture that’s devoted to our elevated future. Are we in? Don some dronecore garb at our NYC Archetypes Pop-Up.

Meta Meltdown. Meta’s bad news pile just keeps growing. Meta has been fined over $400 Million by the European Union for sending targeted ads to users based upon their browsing activity. But… isn’t that, like, their thing? Oh, it’s because they bullied users into opting in. Got it.

More Sights & Sounds. An attempt to host a party in the metaverse flopped, badly. Cash App’s new winter merch collection just dropped and its oh so special. They say kids buy the darnedest things, and one kid mistakenly drained his mom’s bank account on Roblox. Marc Lore, serial entrepreneur shared a few secrets to his success in his interview with Inc. One woman is teaching Gen Z and Millennials how to talk on the phone for a simple $480/hour. AI-generated videos with voiceovers are in our near future. Dee Hock, former CEO of Visa and credit card visionary, passed away at 93. And if you’re tired of real people, you can always “hire” a virtual person for about $14k/year in China. 

“I’m Not Dead Yet.” Another wave of the Retail-pocalypse is on the horizon, and this time it’s coming for department stores. To combat a coming contraction, many retailers are investing in digital strategies such as eCommerce and online advertising to stay afloat in this tough economy with “merely a flesh wound.”

The Richcession. If we’re hit by a recession in 2023, it might not be the lower and middle class taking a hit, but the upper class. With the rich slowing their spending as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, luxury businesses are at risk of suffering significantly more than other sectors. 

Photo Credit: @foodiemunster via Instagram 

Number Five Is Alive. (But not in the way you think). The future of fast food is here, and it’s in the form of a robotic quarter pounder with cheese. Robots are now serving up burgers at the first-ever fully automated McDonald's in Texas.

The Stars Are Not Aligned. Starbucks is devaluing its loyalty program… for the Trenta-th time. This time in the form of needing twice as many points for the same items. Starting February of 2023, you’ll need 100 stars for a free drip coffee, as opposed to the 50 points needed today. 

Miss Scarlet in the Library with the Lead-Filled Chocolate. A lawsuit has been brought against Hershey, alleging that their dark chocolate contains lead and cadmium. The complaint states that the company failed to properly disclose the presence of the toxic heavy metals in the chocolate. Unrelated: a genetic predisposition may cause Hershey’s to smell like vomit to some people.

Credit @Goodable on Twitter

Chat Lanes, Not Chatbots. In the sweetest and most humanizing news we’ve heard in a while, a Dutch supermarket chain, Jumbo, has introduced a special checkout lane for shoppers who may be feeling lonely, or who are just not in a hurry and would enjoy a conversation. I’m not chatting — sniff, sniff — you’re chatting. 

Future Criminals of America? Roblox apparently has a seedy criminal underbelly where kids are pulling a Danny Ocean on other kids. Instead of making their parents proud, 13-year-olds are making themselves proud by figuring out how to target, hack, and scam others in the world.

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