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October 28, 2022

Dirtbag Mode

We’ve been through Brian Goes Bougie together, but can we handle Phillip Goes Dirtbag? Also the guys talk about brands they are loving right now, their hot takes on Mr Beast, and a bit of a musing on the Age of Contentment. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

One to Rock, One to Stock

  • How many Liquid Death x Martha Steward collab candles does Phillip need in order to proove he’s not pushing bougie? Brian thinks five is not enough, but Phillip disagrees
  • Liquid Death is probably one of the most successful direct to consumer brands in history, but they don’t sell direct to consumer anymore
  • “As the whole of the markets moved up, spaces has been made for more subculture brands to have mass appeal.” - Phillip
  • Brian shares about his experience that was a little bit like high school run club extended to much older people, but more matchy matchy
  • The brands that have survived over the past couple of years swung hard and found a deeper level of resonance with their customer
  • What will the future of MrBeast look like and can he move forward from the personal brand he’s definitely built, to an engine that runs at the next level?
  • We vascilate between wanting more and wanting less because we keep hoping the other will bring us happiness
  • Without the decision to be content, the cycle of buying, selling for credit to buy more, and then repeating just perpetuates itself and doesn’t get us closer to the happiness we seek

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Phillip: [00:01:21] Welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next generation of commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:26] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:27] Brian "Clampless" Lange has no clamp. He's having to speak right into the very tip of the microphone as it balances precariously on his desk. If you're watching on our YouTube channel, that's YouTube.com/FutureCommercePodcast, then you'll see it.

Brian: [00:01:45] Precarious. That's my middle name right there. Precarious.

Phillip: [00:01:50] We're going to link up the video version in the show notes. I am going to show off some stuff today. We're going to talk about a bunch of things. First Phillip and Brian episode in just a little while. We've been deep, deep in a bunch of content. We've got another season of Step by Step coming next week. Get ready, get hyped, but we're going to get into the weeds a little bit today. We're going to talk about some brands we love and what they're doing right now that is changing the way that we think of this era and sort of the direct nature and the relationship we have with brands. So we're going to talk about that. I've got some hot takes on MrBeast, and we might wrap up with a very classic Phillip and Brian musing on the age of contentment.

Brian: [00:02:34] We should reverse the order a little bit. I just realized the... 

Phillip: [00:02:38] No. No, no, no, no. 

Brian: [00:02:39] The brands I love... Let's do MrBeast before brands I love.

Phillip: [00:02:42] No. If you frontload the deep philosophical stuff, everybody just skips it.

Brian: [00:02:47] No, I don't want to frontload that. I want to keep it for the end. I just want to flip. MrBeast and brands I love.

Phillip: [00:02:53] Something you could have brought up in our pre-show.

Brian: [00:02:56] It just came to me, just came to me. The transition will be better.

Phillip: [00:03:00] So before we get there, you can find more episodes of this podcast and everything that we do at Future Commerce. We have five podcasts these days, five, if you count our forthcoming Archetypes podcast, which we'll get into at a later time. We have five podcasts. You can get them all at FutureCommerce.fm, and we have a weekly newsletter and a research and insights-based newsletter. That's The Senses and Insiders and you can get both of them, all of them, everything, the above and exclusive invites to things like our salon dinners and our meet-ups and happy hours and maybe a discount to our upcoming Archetypes event at Art Basel, all of it at FutureCommerce.fm/Subscribe. Okay. We did the business. We got the business out of the way. Brian, we don't do bougie anymore. We got rid of Brian goes bougie before it even started. I told you in our last episode...

Brian: [00:03:59] I only went bougie for like two seconds.

Phillip: [00:04:02] But I need you to be bougie because I am now... Phillip went dirtbag. I'm totally dirtbag.

Brian: [00:04:09] You didn't go dirtbag. It's the opposite. You're still bougie.

Phillip: [00:04:11] What are you talking about? No.

Brian: [00:04:13] Okay. How many Liquid Death candles did you buy?

Phillip: [00:04:16] That was before.

Brian: [00:04:17] ...you went dirtbag?

Phillip: [00:04:18] That was before I went dirtbag.

Brian: [00:04:20] Okay. I won't spoil any more surprises... 

Phillip: [00:04:23] I've got surprises coming. 

Brian: [00:04:23] But you did buy a bunch of other stuff that I would classify as pushing into bougie.

Phillip: [00:04:28] It's not. It's not. I mean, if you consider I'm going to hold it up for the video feed I did get my Liquid Death Martha Stewart collab candle came in just in time for the holidays, and I got five of these.

Brian: [00:04:42] Christmas miracle right there.

Phillip: [00:04:43] You know what to say, one to rock, one to stock, and three...

Speaker3: [00:04:47] And three to keep on burning.

Phillip: [00:04:49] Three to shock your friends and family when you give them away as Christmas presents. I'm hitting the microphone here. I'm going to unbox this while we're sitting on...

Brian: [00:04:57] It's unboxed week, isn't it?

Phillip: [00:04:59] Yeah, we're going to unbox it. So one of the things that I did want to talk about and sort of brands we love is Liquid Death has been on sort of this media frenzy lately in that they just... Well, they've got a few items of news. I want to know who's doing their PR. They're doing an amazing job right now, but they're really hitting that cadence. They have merch drops 2 to 3 times a week at this point. Collabs are coming all the time. They're really in that sweet spot in that cadence of like everything feels new, they feel like they just can't miss. They're getting ready to release a whole lot of iced teas.

Brian: [00:05:33] They must have a lot of freedom. {with enthusiasm} Iced teas? Iced teas?

Phillip: [00:05:37] Yeah. You didn't know about that?

Brian: [00:05:39] I'll have to get my wife on that. She loves iced tea.

Phillip: [00:05:42] Yeah. I'm having a little bit of a problem in my house. First of all, I'm dirtbag now, so I'm just drinking water out of the tap.

Brian: [00:05:49] That's pretty dirtbag. I like that.

Phillip: [00:05:53] Straight out of the tap. I put my mouth...

Brian: [00:05:55] Yeah. You just stick your... Do you have one of those hoses? Can you pull the hose out and then drink out of that?

Phillip: [00:05:59] Hot take. Hot take.

Brian: [00:05:59] What?

Phillip: [00:06:01] Someone needs to create a hose-water-flavored bottled water because I would absolutely drink that.

Brian: [00:06:08] It's actually pretty good. I'm in on that.

Phillip: [00:06:09] I love hose water. All right. {laughter} Here's the candle for people that haven't seen it yet. This is the Liquid Death Candle. It's a collab with Martha Stewart and if you can see...

Brian: [00:06:21] Her dismembered...

Phillip: [00:06:22] If you can see it is a dismembered hand that is holding a Liquid Death can, not to size, not quite the size, almost a size. Actually, that's really close. 

Brian: [00:06:29] It's probably like Martha Stewart-sized.

Phillip: [00:06:32] 7/8 scale, something like that. It's got two wicks. This is the thing that really got me. There's one wick on the wrist that sort of you burn it down and then the other wick is coming out of the top.

Brian: [00:06:43] Burn at your own peril on the wrist. Don't burn at the same time. I mean if you burn it at the same time, it's not going to work out.

Phillip: [00:06:48] It is an unscented candle. Keep away from children, of course. And for many reasons, it's actually quite a terrifying little trinket here.

Brian: [00:07:01] I feel like they're running like the old school, like 90s almost skate brands playbook.

Phillip: [00:07:10] So this is what I wanted to talk about. If you want to hear a little bit about the actual founder's story and how the brand came to be, you could actually we'll try to link it up in the show notes. There is an interview on This Week in Startups. Molly Wood at the end of one of the episodes in the last week or two, actually did an interview with the CEO, Mike. Mike from Liquid Death. His name will come up in a second. Mike Cessario. You see how I was busking there? That's professional podcast material right there for you. Three hundred episodes. Getting good at this eventually. But they were talking about the most recent fundraise and how they sold $100 Million of water and merch last year and pushing towards that it's probably one of the more successful direct to consumer brands in history, but they don't sell direct to consumer anymore. And he was talking about a lot of the challenges and logistical challenges of trying to be a water brand and selling them online. They don't even do that anymore. And so this new era of... Merch has kind of been at the core for a long time for them, but they've really doubled down on it. I got an email the other day which I will read to you because it's just worth talking about in brands we love, and then we'll link this back to some Visions content because I think it's worth kind of linking into why Future Commerce would care about such a thing. I got this email in my inbox from Liquid Death the other day that says, "Do you want to obtain never-ending oneness with the universe so deep that your roommate will need three rolls of toilet paper just to clean up the mess afterwards? Introducing Liquid Death's new meditation services available as a ten-hour stream on YouTube or a one-hour album on Spotify and pair it with our new limited edition Yoga Mat The Chakra Exploder 5000.

Brian: [00:09:13] Literally they are just going to keep making products that are amazing.

Phillip: [00:09:24] We talked about this in the pre-show. I think it's worth bringing up here. You said this is the new skater culture.

Brian: [00:09:30] I wouldn't say it was new skater culture. I said they're running the skate brand playbook, which is different. I don't think this is skater culture necessarily specifically, but the playbook of real strong content and bringing in cultural icons like Martha Stewart and doing it really fun ways... I don't know, it just feels like they're hitting on like a lot of the sort of maximalist notes of some of those brands. And they're doing it in a really fun way. If you haven't been to the Liquid Death website, you need to go. It is as maximalist as it comes.

Phillip: [00:10:17] But there's another... So I think that what has happened is Vans as a brand started executing sort of a licensed model playbook about six, seven years ago. If you walk into a Vans store today, go into any retail Vans store. It's incredibly commercial. I mean, it's a store, number one, but it is not skate culture. It's something else. It's sort of mass consumer culture. They have a ton of licenses. It is not uncommon to see a David Bowie shoe, a Nightmare Before Christmas shoe, and a ton of Disney sort of licensed branded apparel. You're going to find something that is licensed that is half the inventory in the store.

Brian: [00:11:04] It's not like Warped Tour anymore.

Phillip: [00:11:07] Oh, no. You're probably not going to hear death metal when you walk in. It's going to be really hard to find the actual skater, the soul of the skater in skate culture in a vans store. And I think Liquid Death is what happens when a brand like Vans abdicates the youth and the youth subculture that it used to inherit and becomes mass.

Brian: [00:11:34] Well, let me make a counterpoint to this real quick, because I do think that there is a little bit of a youth appeal. But I actually think that Liquid Death is mostly purchased by people in their twenties and thirties.

Phillip: [00:11:51] Yeah, it's an $18 case of 12 pack of water.

Brian: [00:11:55] Yeah. Maybe even forties. {laughter} I think it's a great throwback that there's a lot of nostalgia that's being pulled on and it also I think a lot of people that are in their youth aren't necessarily pulling back from alcohol, that maybe people in their thirties and forties are right now. We learned our lessons, or maybe not me, but you.

Phillip: [00:12:21] You haven't. I have definitely learned my lessons. So I like that. I think that there's space in the world for a brand like this to come in and fill in the gap that's been left behind by other brands that have also sort of ascended into a little bit more of a family friendly brand. I think Vans has moved up. Vans moved into the area where Adidas and Nike used to be. Adidas and Nike are certainly more luxury drop model, high end, elevated, very expensive brands now. Of course, they run the gamut, but they are pushing into aspirational.

Brian: [00:13:00] I feel like Nike and Adidas did a really good job of spanning the whole gamut.

Phillip: [00:13:07] Yeah. The most visible releases from both of them are celebrity collaborations, the J Balvin Jordan 2 from about a month ago is a $300 retail sneaker. That is unheard of that's pushing into luxury sneaker territory without the luxury name. So Nike is up where maybe Gucci used to be. Gucci is now in its own echelon. They're not easily stratified, but I feel like [00:13:41] as the whole of the markets moved up, spaces has been made for more subculture brands to have mass appeal. [00:13:51] And that's where that brings us to the next brand we love, because I think that's what's happening with Tracksmith, too, and I've wax poetic about Tracksmith for years, but you had an interesting experience with a group of folks at a local half marathon that I wanted to hear your perspective on before we talk.

Brian: [00:14:11] No. Okay.

Phillip: [00:14:12] I'm wearing a Tracksmith shirt, by the way.

Brian: [00:14:13] I'm saying this with with all the love in my heart for Tracksmith. And I love Matt Taylor and I love, I love the brand. But I was in a half marathon and there was a group of people that showed up in exactly matching Tracksmith shirts and shorts. It was like very, very obvious. They were all very, very chummy and all took their picture together. And it did feel a little bit like high school run club extended to much older people, but more matchy matchy. It did feel a little like kind of clubby. And maybe that's the point. Maybe that's the point. Maybe you're all supposed to go run in your exactly matching Tracksmith suits, and it becomes a little bit of a club you've got to get into. Then there was a whole bunch of others that were kind of standing next to them, kind of like looking at them like, "Oh, okay. Cool." And they were all very fast. That's the other thing. They were all very, very, very fast. Felt like maybe, maybe even out of towners came in for the race.

Phillip: [00:15:28] Oh, how dare they. {laughter}

Brian: [00:15:30] {laughter} You know I'm from Seattle. We're not so friendly to out-of-towners. No, but I don't know. It didn't tarnish the brand for me in any way. But anyone can turn anything into something that's not cool.

Phillip: [00:15:42] Potentially. Yeah. Oh, for sure. When we had Matt Taylor on the show a few years ago, my wife's been watching a lot of Doctor Who lately, so Matt Smith is on the brain. Matt Taylor was on the show some ages ago and we sort of characterize them as, I think the actual show title was Unapologetically Premium. That has sort of been their air for years. I certainly identify with it. I think the thing that is speaking to me is, just looking back on the last six months, they have put out a podcast series with Malcolm Gladwell.

Brian: [00:16:19] It's so good. The voiceover videos are so good.

Phillip: [00:16:24] Yeah. Yeah. Well, and Malcolm Gladwell is sort of famously a collegiate runner.

Brian: [00:16:30] Still runs. Loves to run.

Phillip: [00:16:32] Yeah, really well positioned there. They've been a bit of a world tour across all the marathon majors, which is a little bit of a new thing for them. They used to set up residency. Of course, they're on Newbury Street, so they're right there at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, but just natively in Newbury Street in Boston, Mass. But they've set up shop for a few years now at the New York Marathon with a pop up. But I believe that they've been in London, Chicago, and Berlin for those marathons recently, too. So they're getting out there. And then just this past week, they did a drop of their brand new Elliott running shoe, which is a custom shoe. And this follows multiple collabs that they've done in the last six months, one of which was with Puma in a limited edition collab, and then...

Brian: [00:17:19] J.Crew.

Phillip: [00:17:20] J.Crew, which is also sort of the premium elevated apparel line.

Brian: [00:17:29] I feel like they elevated J.Crew.

Phillip: [00:17:32] Say what you will.

Brian: [00:17:33] Yeah they definitely elevated J.Crew.

Phillip: [00:17:35] I was never... I'll tell you this. In the era when J.Crew was big so was I. I could not fit J.Crew apparel when J.Crew was in style and now I don't care to wear J.Crew, I guess.

Brian: [00:17:50] Is it back. Is it not? I don't know. Either way.

Phillip: [00:17:53] Yeah I think J.Crew's back. That's what I hear.

Brian: [00:17:53] I don't know. I do wear a lot of J.Crew actually.

Phillip: [00:17:58] Brian does go bougie.

Brian: [00:17:59] It's not that bougie. It's really not.

Phillip: [00:18:02] You know what? It's more than the dirtbag that I am now.

Brian: [00:18:04] No, no, no, not... It's not.

Phillip: [00:18:09] Are we talking J.Crew outlet?

Brian: [00:18:11] No, I wear both. I wear J.Crew Outlet and J.Crew regular. I wear both.

Phillip: [00:18:15] I'm just asking questions, Brian. You don't have to get all offended about it.

Brian: [00:18:19] I'm not offended. I do wear both, honestly. Do I wear them when they first drop the clothes? No, I buy everything at J.Crew on sale. And this is how I know that J.Crew is not premium. They have some really good sales. If you have sales as good as J.Crew, you're not premium. Sorry.

Phillip: [00:18:41] All right. We've spent 18 minutes waxing poetic, but I do think...

Brian: [00:18:44] But the shoe looks good. I like the shoe. the Tracksmith shoe is a pretty looking shoe. 

Phillip: [00:18:52] Pretty looking shoe. I've ordered it. I ordered two sizes.

Brian: [00:18:57] You bracketed.

Phillip: [00:18:58] I did the bracketing. I bracketed my shoes. One of them will go back. You know they say one to rack, one to stock. That's the joke I made with the Liquid Death candles. Maybe that's sort of a theme. Maybe I'm the stocker-upper.

Brian: [00:19:14] You a stocker. No, I'm the stocker. Get out of here. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:19:19] Yeah. So really, I feel like the brands that are surviving right now, we're seeing a lot of these sort of like pseudo celebratory acqui-hire announcements that are coming through a lot of brands that are sort of being challenged to meet the needs of their fundraising goals in a very challenging fundraising environment. And so you see a lot of both the apparel and the CPG side of the direct to consumer movement all sort of having challenging times and potential exits, but probably not at the scale that would have been hoped had the world gone a different direction in the last year or so, had the eCommerce world gone in a different direction. So what we're seeing now is brands that stand out really stand out, and they're finding that emotional resonance and that kind of is what brings us back to the Visions report from earlier this year. And these are brands that have not kept up with the Joneses because they're the ones that are going their own path and they have no contemporaries. Tracksmith doesn't look like or behave like any other running apparel brand because they are unapologetically who they are.

Brian: [00:20:33] I agree. 

Phillip: [00:20:34] And I think the same could be said of Liquid Death. I think the same could be said of...

Brian: [00:20:39] Not J.Crew. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:20:43] {laughter} Exactly. Fill in the blank here. Yeah, I think [00:20:45] the brands that survive... [00:20:47]

Brian: [00:20:47]  [00:20:47]They swung hard. They swung hard. [00:20:49]

Phillip: [00:20:49]  [00:20:49]Yeah. Swung really hard and found a deeper level of resonance with their consumer. [00:20:56] I remember getting a Tracksmith email was very few and far between once upon a time. Getting a Tracksmith catalog was very few and far between once upon a time. They only put out content they were extraordinarily proud of. They did things very slowly and methodically. And I think that that is very tough to do.

Brian: [00:21:18] Do you think that's still true, though?

Phillip: [00:21:19] Here's my take. They have the same exact ethos, but they have the customer base, the profitability and the velocity within the brand to be able to have that same high standard for themselves in everything that they do. So they can do it more often. That's what I believe.

Brian: [00:23:09] Yeah, I think you're right about that. Also, if you go read about the shoe, it was something that was actually pretty high on their priority list. And they spent a lot of time working on that shoe.

Phillip: [00:23:22] Years. 

Brian: [00:23:22] Yep. Years, like four years I think it was working on that shoe to get it right, get it the way they wanted it. And so I'm really interested to see what your experience is on it. And if it was worth, what, 270 bucks, wasn't it? Something like that? 

Phillip: [00:23:37] It was an expensive shoe. I don't know.

Brian: [00:23:42] I might be misquoting that. Maybe it was $180.

Phillip: [00:23:45] They were $198 apiece.

Brian: [00:23:49] There you go.

Phillip: [00:23:49] So $423 all in. One of those is going back. If you're my wife and you're listening to this, one of those is going back.

Brian: [00:23:57] You promise.

Phillip: [00:23:59] Yeah, for sure. Yeah. Cross my heart. Hope to die. {laughter}

Brian: [00:24:02] One of them's not going to fit, so it better go back.

Phillip: [00:24:06] Yeah, one of them's not going to fit or one's going to require a thicker sock. We're going to figure this out. Speaking of not fitting. I have a hot take on MrBeast.

Brian: [00:24:19] I probably do, too. Go ahead.

Phillip: [00:24:23] This is a silly question. Do you know who MrBeast is?

Brian: [00:24:29] Yeah. Jimmy Donaldson.

Phillip: [00:24:31] Yeah.

Brian: [00:24:31] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:24:32] Do your kids watch MrBeast?

Speaker3: [00:24:34] No.

Phillip: [00:24:35] So he comes up in YouTube shorts on YouTube Kids. I think he has some content and gaming content that certainly can be found around the world and still in that same vein that made him sort of a famous YouTube creator. Man, the love that the eCommerce crew on Twitter likes to pour on to this gentleman is unreal, but he's kind of everywhere at the moment. And I don't know if that's working to his advantage.

Brian: [00:25:08] He's only 24 years old. Right?

Phillip: [00:25:12] Yeah. He's 24.

Brian: [00:25:14] Yeah, he's 24 years old.

Phillip: [00:25:16] What were you like at 24?

Brian: [00:25:20] Hard-working. I was a young parent. I was raising my first child.

Phillip: [00:25:29] Wow. I was not doing that at 24. Yeah, I think it's really interesting the amount of things that his enterprise puts out. There's like a constant... It used to be these big stunts and these giant, very expensive productions that result in massive YouTube.

Brian: [00:25:56] Yeah, there was a TechCrunch article... He said he's trying to raise $150 million right now on a $1.5 billion valuation. And the TechCrunch article is like, "Yeah, there's going to be people ready to put money into him. But his problem is that his stunts just have to get bigger and bigger and he's even admitted that his margins are super thin.

Phillip: [00:26:19] And costs get away from him really fast. He's been on Logan Paul's podcast a couple of times. I do not, I just want to make it clear, I do not listen to Logan Paul's podcast. I don't watch it.

Brian: [00:26:29] Oh you don't? Doesn't everyone?

Phillip: [00:26:30] It just comes up on comes up on YouTube shorts all the time. And because I uninstalled TikTok because I don't want to be part of a Chinese psyop, here I am on YouTube shorts having a very bad experience with YouTube shorts all the time.

Brian: [00:26:45] Well, we should probably talk about that in a second. TikTok.

Phillip: [00:26:47] We should. When you're listening to this, it'll probably be the end of TikTok as we know it.

Brian: [00:26:52] Or it'll be back on. Who knows? Everyone will be like, "Yeah, it's still fun." I have a pseudo, like a slightly different take on this.

Phillip: [00:27:03] Well, I haven't even give you any of my take yet.

Brian: [00:27:05] Oh, well, what's your take? Oh, I thought you had given me your take, which was it feels a little overhyped.

Phillip: [00:27:11] It's a little overhyped. But I think the actual challenge that I have with MrBeast and this idea of celebrity or quasi-celebrity because he's certainly famous, but he's not famous famous.

Brian: [00:27:28] No, he's not. That's correct. 

Phillip: [00:27:28] He's not TV show famous. He's not movie star famous. He's not even reality primetime television famous. He's YouTube famous. And I think that that's a different echelon of famous in this world that I feel like is fleeting.

Brian: [00:27:45] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:27:45] And we give a lot more social capital to than is really deserved. For instance, there's been a spate of videos of... Now he can turn out a crowd. Don't get me wrong, I know I'm going to be shouted down on this. There was a very notable experience, a notable, noteworthy happening when he opened, I think, at the American Dream Mall. He opened the first MrBeast Burger physical location and there were some 10,000 people that showed up. The challenge that I have with that is this man gives away millions of dollars whenever crowds form. So there's like an in-built hype engine that sort of comes around that's not really, I don't think it's an authentic need or desire to want to connect with the product. It's to connect with the creator and the potentiality of either at the very best, you win a lot of money because this man is practically a philanthropist. At the very worst, you wind up in his video and that's pretty cool too. But as a consumer packaged goods creator, Feastables as a chocolate brand doesn't really seem to excite me or too many other people so far as I can tell, other than it came from him. And between chocolate and burgers, I have a real problem with someone who has control over the youth peddling not great for you food products. So that's it. That's my hot take on MrBeast. Come back to me and give me your rebuttal.

Brian: [00:29:26] I think some of your criticisms are correct. So here's my thinking. He's young. He's 24 years old. He's built a brand already that surpasses a lot of other 24 year olds out there. Like well surpasses them. If you think about a lot of like young actors, they have to go be in some really bad teenybopper movie or whatever before they really hit it big. They've got to pay their dues typically through really, really cringe stuff. And MrBeast has a huge leg up on that as far as his road to stardom goes. I think the other thing is he's clear he's into monetization. He is leading the way on how to monetize content and that's on his mind or he wouldn't be raising $150 dollars. Money clearly motivates him. And so [00:30:28] when you have this level of stardom at this age and you have the kind of following and audience that he does and you build the brand as well as he's built because he's built it from the ground up himself without the help of anyone else. He's going to have lasting power. MrBeast is always going to be around. It's really going to be up to him if he wants to take it to the next level. And I think it's possible to do that. But it solely rests on a 24 year old's shoulders. So if he has trouble in his life for whatever reason, and it kind of hits him hard, he's built a personal brand, not necessarily an engine. [00:31:14] And if he takes it and he does kind of what, Dude Perfect did, and now there's Dude Perfect Land coming...

Phillip: [00:31:22] Yeah, that's a whole other thing.

Brian: [00:31:24] And he builds a whole world around him that's not just him, then I think he has a chance to be very, very successful. And the razor-thin margins don't scare me at all. If he's into monetization he's building right now, he's in build mode. I feel like he's the kind of guy that could get very, very, very scrappy and do something way outside the box that does not require a lot of money in order to still do something that's really, really entertaining. And so I feel like he's using the money that he has to just keep audience building as fast as he possibly can in as big of a way as you possibly can.

Brian: [00:32:08] Oh, yeah.

Phillip: [00:32:09] Eventually, he'll just flip the switch.

Phillip: [00:32:12] It's the Amazon model.

Brian: [00:32:14] It's the Amazon model. If you actually rearrange the letters in MrBeast, that spells Bezos.

Phillip: [00:32:19] {laughter} Jeff Bezos. That's pretty awesome. What I find interesting... So when he launched his chocolate brand, Feastables...

Brian: [00:32:30] Have you had any? 

Phillip: [00:32:33] No. 

Brian: [00:32:33] Me neither. 

Phillip: [00:32:33] I should do that. Mostly because I have no desire to go in search of a chocolate bar.

Brian: [00:32:39] You're not Charlie. 

Phillip: [00:32:43] I mean, give me a break here. I'm here in bed with my grandpa. I have other things to do. So he raised capital to do so. Some friends of the show, Brian Sugar, and others at 776 which is Alexis Ohanian's fund.

Brian: [00:33:06] We really need to have Brian Sugar on the show at some point.

Phillip: [00:33:10] And Shrug Capital. Feastables, in particular, raised 5 million at a 50 million valuation back in January. And apparently supposedly will do air quotes. According to Axios, tens of millions in revenue this year, according to an anonymous source. And what's interesting about that is you see these huge activations in, say, like a Walmart. There's like pallets of Feastables. I showed it to my wife. She thought it was cat food. It has the MrBeast logo on it, which is a sabertooth-looking thing. And it's called Feastables like Fancy Feast. Fancy Feastables.

Brian: [00:33:55] I kind of love that.

Phillip: [00:33:57] There's a little bit of a problem there. I'm like, "Cats don't eat chocolate."

Brian: [00:34:01] I feel like that's a total Liquid Death move to make a cat can but have chocolate instead. Pop it open and...

Phillip: [00:34:10] You eat with your eyes first, Brian.

Brian: [00:34:11] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:34:13] The other thing that I sort of have a bit of an issue with is the audience growth. And by the way, I will criticize others of doing this and then turn around and do it for myself. Don't at me. But the idea of double counting and audience. When you say that he has 107 million YouTube subscribers, that is a mere technicality because you're also counting that 16 million of that is also the short subscriptions and across two or three different channels. And it could be no one is reconciling how many unique subscribers there really are. And that's certainly every media company does something very similar. This is a way of measuring a number and growth, not necessarily share of voice or how many neurons and neural pathways you happen to be occupying at any given time. But to me, I think that the general public doesn't know who MrBeast is. And generally because of that, they don't care. And to be a chocolate brand, you have to have exceptionally good chocolate no matter whose name is on the label. And to be a burger joint, you have to have excellent food. I think that, yeah, the flywheel portion of like getting an early audience and distribution, yeah, that's solved because he's going to turn tens, if not hundreds of millions of people onto the brand immediately to get them to come back for more it's got to be very good. You still have to be great at doing the product.

Brian: [00:35:46] Right. The product's going to be good. And that's definitely like not something that I have any insight into at this moment.

Phillip: [00:35:53] Neither do I.

Brian: [00:36:55] Chocolate's pretty saturated with very good chocolate.

Phillip: [00:37:00] There's very good chocolate. I think I would much rather... You know, what we should do is we should get our friends from Bar & Cocoa should weigh in on what they think of Feastables chocolate.

Brian: [00:37:12] We could also do a tasting of our own.

Phillip: [00:37:13] Could do a tasting. Oh, we should do that. You know what? At the next Future Commerce salon, we'll sit around and we'll do a Fancy Feastables wine pairing.

Brian: [00:37:31] That's like the dark chocolate version. Fancy Feastables.

Phillip: [00:37:35] Exactly. Exactly. I only do 69% dark chocolate from Fancy Feastables. All right, let's shift gears.

Brian: [00:37:45] Brands I don't love.

Phillip: [00:37:47] Brands you don't love. I do want to talk about this thing that I'm musing on called The Age of Contentment.

Brian: [00:37:57] Yeah. I'm totally in on this.

Phillip: [00:37:59] I wanted to get your perspective. You had a whole thing about this when I brought it up in the pre-show, you immediately launched into a diatribe about how hard it is to shop right now.

Brian: [00:38:10] Oh, yeah. How hard is the shop. That's kind of neither here nor there. Recently, we had trouble trying to find a kid's sweater, a child's sweater. And we ended up at seven different stores and ended up finding one sweater for my son. And that was weird. I was like, "Why are we shopping in person? This is ridiculous. We should just buy stuff online because it's way, way less work."

Phillip: [00:38:44] Says the eCommerce guy.

Brian: [00:38:47] I would have way rather return something. And I hate returning things. Forget going into the store if I'm going to have to go there and it's just a complete waste of time. Maybe it was just shopping for kids. Maybe it's the time frame. Maybe we were like between seasons or something and moving from sweaters to something else. I don't know what. Kids' clothes sections are sort of, but that's actually not the diatribe that I wanted to get into. The diatribe that I want to was...

Phillip: [00:39:20] That leads in, though. You kind of have to make do with what you have if you can't find the thing that you want.

Brian: [00:39:26] Or you just make do with something you have anyway. I think that that's sort of your thesis right now is that people are going to have to make do because they either can't find the thing they want. Or they can't afford the thing they want.

Phillip: [00:39:39] Can't afford the thing you want.

Brian: [00:39:40] Or they just decide they don't want anything. And I love the dirtbag move. I feel like that's the future for all of us. It's just dirtbag mode.

Phillip: [00:39:52] Dirtbag mode, baby.

Brian: [00:39:52] I went anti-bouge however many weeks ago it was now because I'm just done buying things. I'm tired of it.

Phillip: [00:40:04] I think there's a correlation with the sort of I'd say the digital fatigue that a lot of people feel, especially if you're a knowledge worker, especially if you are a remote knowledge worker, you've been working in some sort of white-collar industry for two and a half years in your room by yourself talking to people on Zoom, and that's been my existence for over a decade. I've been a remote knowledge worker for 11 years.

Brian: [00:40:36] You're a cave troll. 

Phillip: [00:40:37] Yeah, I'm a cave troll at this point. There is a fatigue that sets in after a little while. And I think that the fatigue spreads to other things. And so I sense that maybe there is a, I don't want to use the word vibe shift, but sure, why not?

Speaker3: [00:41:02] I mean wasn't that sort of the original article? His thesis was that the next vibe was like indie dirtbag. Indie sleaze. Sorry. It wasn't indie dirtbag.

Phillip: [00:41:12] I think, well, there certainly there's a lot of undercurrents.

Brian: [00:41:15] Totally different thing. Sorry.

Phillip: [00:41:18] But I mean, it's sort of comes at the same time as touch grass kind of becomes this moniker for getting in touch with the real world. And I think that that is a perfect summation of what the next year, year and a half could be like for a lot of people where we have to, for no other reason than we have to, we have to make do with what we have. And to be quite frank, most of the people like you and me and people that listen to this podcast likely have more than they need in a lot of areas. I have within just the eyeshot of this YouTube video right now, I have four keyboards. I have twice as many...

Brian: [00:42:13] And five severed candle hands.

Phillip: [00:42:18] {laughter} Twice as many piano instruments than I can physically play at one time. Two, we could justify having two different ones. Four, it's a lot.

Brian: [00:42:30] You've collected those over many, many years though.

Phillip: [00:42:32] Of course. Of course.

Brian: [00:42:35] That's not like Phillip went out and went shopping and bought four keyboards. That's like Phillip has been passionate about music his entire life and collected those four keyboards over and over.

Phillip: [00:42:45] I need you with me whenever this very sore subject comes up with other people who shall not be named at this moment. But I do think that there is a sense of we have enough. I have so much. I have enough. I actually need to get rid of things. And I think that that sort of flippening of that vibe shift, if you will, that flippening of sentiment of we're moving into an era not of austerity necessarily, but an era of an age of contentment. The amassing of things was a comfort blanket for some time. I think the relinquishing of goods and entanglements, things that don't bring you any more happiness. Actually, letting go of it might bring you more joy.

Brian: [00:43:39] We're going back to Marie Kondo? 

Phillip: [00:43:40] Yeah.

Brian: [00:43:40] We're out of maximalism. We're heading back to minimalism again.

Phillip: [00:43:46]  [00:43:46]The reason we vacillate between extremes is because we realize that the grass on the other side brings us no more comfort or joy. And the joy that we had was in the hope that the other extreme would bring us happiness. [00:44:02]

Brian: [00:44:02] So what you're telling us is we're seeking happiness and we can find it. We get rid of things. We can't find happiness. We buy things and we can't find happiness.

Phillip: [00:44:12] That's right.

Brian: [00:44:12] We're literally trying to like either detoxify or toxify our way to happiness. And it turns out that your toxicity level has nothing to do with your happiness.

Phillip: [00:44:27] Maybe happiness comes with being content, no matter whether you have a lot or whether you have a little but deciding whatever state you are in. Happiness is a very complicated and probably the wrong word to use here, but finding some sort of inner peace or joy in the situation you find yourself in at the moment is more of a state of mind than it is a state of acquisition of goods. And I say that as a person. And this is the I say that as a person who works in an industry that is perpetuated and perpetuates the acquisition of goods. And you've seen this in the last two weeks. There have been about 20 announcements about brands and retailers launching recommerce efforts.

Brian: [00:45:26] If you're not in second hand, what do you even doing with your life?

Phillip: [00:45:30] Yeah, that's right. I mean, everybody has it now. Zara, every fast fashion has announced something in the last two weeks. There was one domino. I forget if it was Zara or H&M that fell, but they all followed suit within a couple of weeks of each other. Even Shein has a rebuy program. We're looking at a future where the initial acquisition is just one part of the puzzle. It's the next part of it is getting rid of the goods is also the next state to some form of happiness. And in many cases, it doesn't come with like cash in your pocket. It's just credit to buy more again. It just perpetuates. It's the travel miles conundrum for me. At one point in time, I spent an extraordinary amount of time trying to maximize my rewards from travel. And I realized one day after five years of that, it only perpetuates more travel. It doesn't ever get me to a place where I'm like happy and don't have to travel.

Brian: [00:46:39] Totally.

Phillip: [00:46:40] Yeah.

Brian: [00:46:42] Yeah, I do think, though that people are going to spend money. So this is the thing. They're not going to buy things the way that they were buying things, but they are going to spend money on things. That's a different story than acquisition. So we're back to experience purchasing again. And like, maybe it's not travel in the traditional go to a resort in Mexico or like do your big European vacation. Maybe it's like unique travel, find your own journey type things. Maybe it's, you know, get yourself a piece of land and go build your house on it.

Phillip: [00:47:29] The great American Road Trip. If gas prices aren't $13 a gallon by this time next year.

Brian: [00:47:35] I mean, maybe it's the great American Get Stranded Because Your Electric Car Ran Out of Electricity.

Phillip: [00:47:42] Could be one of those, too. If you need, if you are looking for something, a second hand gift, I have at least three of these Martha Stewart Liquid Death candles that I could absolutely gift to you. It would be my pleasure to send it to you. Just address your envelopes in a self-addressed stamped envelopes. Send it on over. I'll send you the candle back. You can drop it in the mail to 700 Future Commerce Tower, West Palm Beach, Florida.

Brian: [00:48:15] {laughter} Also, I feel like this is we're going to get into like a pay it forward situation here. I don't know. Pay the candle forward. That's what it is.

Phillip: [00:48:29] Pay the candle forward. One last little observation. Everything is content now. And that also feels a little bit unsustainable as well. The more, more, more is not just in physical goods.

Brian: [00:48:43] Well, hold on. Get ready.

Phillip: [00:48:45] We're content. We create content. That's what we do.

Brian: [00:48:48] It's true. But get ready for my next article, which I don't think will be released by the time we publish this podcast, but I'm going to give you the name now. You made it this far. It's called Quantum Yeet.

Phillip: [00:49:11] Yeet. Like the thing my kid brought home from school and started saying.

Speaker3: [00:49:17] Correct. Yep.

Phillip: [00:49:19] Wow. Is that all? You're just going to tease us with that?

Brian: [00:49:20] Teasing with the name alone, and it does have to do with content and then some. That's all I'm going to say. Because I don't even know what I'm talking about, actually.

Phillip: [00:49:34] Yeah. I do sense that there is, on a quantum level, it's amazing that the world works the way that it does because there's so much uncertainty wrapped up in the state and being and maybe not being in the superpositioning of things at the subatomic scale. Things aren't all as they seem. It's kind of a miracle that the world even works.

Brian: [00:50:01] That's true.

Phillip: [00:50:01] That's kind of a miracle that anyone pays attention to this show.

Brian: [00:50:05] They made it this far.

Phillip: [00:50:07] As always, I'm hungry. I'm thirsty for people to put their own voice into this conversation. We'd love for you to speak back to us. You can do that. You can drop us a line at Hello@FutureCommerce.fm. I'm wrapping up, by the way, Brian.

Brian: [00:50:23] I know you are.

Phillip: [00:50:24] Get any last thing that you need to get in and get it here.

Brian: [00:50:27] Oh, well, if you want to talk to us, don't send us a message through your PR team.

Phillip: [00:50:34] Oh, for crying out loud. Yeah. Please, just be a human.

Brian: [00:50:37] Just email us.

Phillip: [00:50:38] Just email us. Yeah, that would be amazing. That's a whole other thing for a whole other time. We do appreciate every single person that gives us any attention, especially if you made it to the end here. We do want to invite you. Yes, you, the person listening to this or watching this on YouTube to be our very special guest at our Archetypes event. More information about Archetypes and what Future Commerce is building here for release in December is at ArchetypesJournal.com and we have our event in an Eventbrite link. You can find it there and more info about the journal that will be coming out in December as well as a whole slew of other things. We've got a bunch of stuff coming. You can find it all at FutureCommerce.fm. That's it. Hey, thank you so much for listening to Future Commerce. Hey, Commerce is a catalyst for change in our world, not just our collective world, your world, the world around you. We can change the world with commerce. Thank you for listening to Future Commerce.

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