Episode 285
January 13, 2023

2023 Predictions: Looking Back, Looking Forward

New year, new predictions! What were some of the predictions Phillip and Brian made last year that were right? Were there some misses? The guys share how their 2022 predictions stacked up and what they believe we will see in 2023. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

Some Bold Predictions

  • Who are The Biggest Retail Winners of 2022? What about The Biggest Retail Losers of 2022? Are these surprises? Who will it be for 2023?
  • “If there is digital business to be won, Walmart can win it and they'll win it away from Amazon.” - Phillip
  • “The call to work back in the office again is going to spur a set of entrepreneurs from big and small brands alike,” leading to growth in the maker economy
  • The Biggest DTC Winner prediction for 2022 was so so right and was basically a no-look half-court swish, but will this be the case for our prediction for 2023’s Biggest DTC Winner?
  • “There is a small group of people that are realizing that physical media has a place in the world because the things they love are being taken away from them and they're no longer available on streaming services. When that happens, it changes the way people find safety and security in the things they find entertaining and important in their lives.” - Phillip
  • Brian has some bold and exciting predictions for the tech world for 2023, and it will be interesting to see how close he will get to being on the mark with these
  • “The tools that are about to be unleashed into the world are going to be absolutely the most interesting trends of 2023.” - Phillip
  • Have you heard of Media Chic? Phillip explains what it is and why he thinks we will see more of it in 2023
  • “People are going to revolt. There's going to be a genuine trend of people quitting to start their own businesses and really doubling down on what their home working situation looks like.” - Brian

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Phillip: [00:00:09] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about the next year of commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:02] And I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:04] It's usually next generation, but we're switching it up today. We are doing my favorite show of the year and apparently yours as well, audience. Last year, our number one episode of the year was our annual predictions episode, and it did not disappoint. So this year, Brian, we're going to dive into some predictions. This could be a very long one to settle in for.

Brian: [00:01:27] It was last year.

Phillip: [00:01:28] Yeah. And we're doing an evening recording now, so we have no hard stop. It just means I only get sillier and more tired as time goes on.

Brian: [00:01:37] This is going to be fun. You know what's really funny, though, about our predictions episodes? The way we have them structured now, we really try to actually stick to the year. The reality is that we get way further out ahead of the year with things like Visions or literally just our podcast every week.

Phillip: [00:01:58] Yeah.

Brian: [00:01:59] It's actually really hard to be contained to such a short timeline. It's probably why we have to spill so many words over it because constraints often inspire more explanation.

Phillip: [00:02:14] Yeah, it's true. I mean, you are one to spill many a word. So how about this? What we're going to do, we're going to follow last year's format, which was heavily inspired by a couple film and media podcasts that I listened to, and then I think sort of cribbed in part topically by the All In podcast. So I do want to at least tip the hat to, hey when you see a good structure, you might as well crib it. We did it last year. We're going to follow it this year. We have like 16 or so categories of where we're going to make some predictions. And as we do, we're going to revisit last year's predictions. And so I'm really pumped. I thought, let's start with I thought I missed the mark big time. And then when I got into it, I realized, well, we were pretty close. We were pretty good on predictions for 2022.

Brian: [00:03:19] You said that to me before, and I was like, man, I'm not sure you're right about that. I think we actually did hit on quite a few things. And I think there were a few really good ones. There were a couple we missed, but all in all, predictions weren't too bad last year.

Phillip: [00:03:36] How about this? I promise you, when we miss, we'll miss big.

Brian: [00:03:40] They'll be a few big misses this year, I'm sure.

Phillip: [00:03:42] A coming piece that we're sort of musing on is in the vein of things that have sort of been inspiring and things we've been reading. And Brian, you've been on a bit of a tear lately the last year or so with Marshall McLuhan. And I think that we may touch on this thing that I'm sort of workshopping, which is modern prophets and man, you look like you're wrong until you're very right. That's what it kind of comes down to. And with the state of media, everything you say and everything that we do at Future Commerce gets quantified and recorded in perpetuity for us all to examine later. Hey, one day we'll look back and say, "Wow, we were pretty close on a few things," but without any further ado, hey, how about this? We're going to drop in a little drum roll, please Chris. {drum roll begins} How about this? We're going to kick it off with The Biggest Retail Winner of 2023. Brian, start with giving us what last year's prediction was and what this year's prediction is.

Brian: [00:04:52] Last year my prediction was Costco.

Phillip: [00:04:55] Yes. And this year.

Brian: [00:05:04] And this year, my prediction is {drum roll ends} Costco.

Phillip: [00:05:08] Oh, my word.

Brian: [00:05:10] And there's good reason for that. All of retail kind of stalled out a little bit last year. The economy stalled out a little bit. Costco didn't fare too badly. I believe that Costco is very poised to continue to see growth this coming year. And, of course, success can look like many things. If we're talking stock market growth, that's one thing. If we're talking earnings, that's another thing. I look at Costco stock right now, and this by no means is investment advice, but I see a company that's set to have a good year. That's how I feel.

Phillip: [00:06:00] I mean, they grew 13.76% last year. So when you look at broadly, I mean, and that's top line revenue, of course. Stock price is down about 7%. But hey, when you consider the broader market, it's not the worst retail performer by any stretch of the imagination. They're doing things right. I can see where you're going, though, maybe economically there's a retreat to wholesale, price club, off price...

Brian: [00:06:34] Yep.

Phillip: [00:06:35] And they're opening up a luxury channel. I had a tweet that went viral that kind of pointed out a few luxury items like Le Labo perfume and diptyque candles at Costco.com

Brian: [00:06:46] That's because I almost bought them there.

Phillip: [00:06:48] You're the tastemaker, Brian.

Brian: [00:06:52] Yeah, exactly. You nailed it. With an uncertain economy... And I don't even know if the economy is necessarily going to be that bad this coming year.

Phillip: [00:07:06] I think we're in the midst of a pretty... I think we're in the hurt already in the economy and we don't know it yet because of the state of data and the way that it's just we live in truly unprecedented times where not all of the data points agree with each other. Let me touch on one thing because we can't spend this much time on every prediction or this will be a three hour episode.

Brian: [00:07:32] We can't? Ohh.

Phillip: [00:07:32] But I do want to give one plug. You wrote probably the most profound piece of the 100 plus things that you've written for Future Commerce over the last couple of years. [00:07:44] You wrote a piece for the Archetype Journal called "Dissociating at Costco." And I have to... I know it's been a long-running joke for like half a year or half a decade now on this show how much you love Costco, but I didn't ever realize how much it really meant to you and how much there was that you had to say about it. That was a very deep familial and emotional bond that you have with the moments of life that are punctuated, the in-betweens of life, that are punctuated with trips to the store, and for you and your family that happened to be Costco. I implore whoever is listening right now, and this isn't because we want to make money. Although I like making money. You have to buy the Archetypes Journal book and read it in print. It is not the same reading it online. Sitting down and seeing the pictures of you and your dad and reading the story is an absolute emotional devastation that every single person should experience. And it's an honor that you would share that and be so vulnerable. So when you open the show with Costco's 2023, [00:08:52] I'm like, yes, Brian. Yes.

Brian: [00:08:57] Yes, yes.

Phillip: [00:08:57] Costco for life.

Brian: [00:08:59] It's true. Costco for life. It's hard because it's both nostalgic and it's sensible.

Phillip: [00:09:10] Yeah. Okay.

Brian: [00:09:11] One last thing to add to that. I don't think I'm the only one with some deep-seated nostalgia when it comes to Costco. And so I think it's intertwined because of the way that they've conducted themselves as a company...

Phillip: [00:09:29] I think there is a lot to say there.

Brian: [00:09:30] Yes.

Phillip: [00:09:31] There's a lot to say there. A lot of success and generational success in the way that we feel about it can also be as sort of that spiritual and intangible thing of they treat people well.

Brian: [00:09:42] Correct.

Phillip: [00:09:43] And so if you treat people well, that comes through in everything you do. All right. Well, let's talk a bit about so my biggest...

Brian: [00:09:50] What you got?

Phillip: [00:09:50] Okay. So my prediction for 2022's Biggest Retail Winner was Gap Brands. I couldn't have missed the mark more. I looked like I was going really strong through about half of the year. Banana Republic had an amazing turnaround.

Brian: [00:10:10] Their new site is beautiful.

Phillip: [00:10:11] And by the way, their new site is the epitome of what I consider to be what is possible when you throw out the playbook and rethink the way that you do online retail and you can do it by having a mixture of new and old. They've gone ultra premium for the category, so the Banana Republic turnaround is very much a thing. Gap as a whole is in pain. And I think Gap had signs of potential with the Yeezy X Gap X Balenciaga, which turned into Yeezy, Gap, and Balenciaga drama across the board. So Gap brands, I'm going to call that sort of a miss, although I feel like it could be argued. It's kind of 50/50.

Brian: [00:10:59] There were some things in there that were positives. I will say one thing and I want to get into this a little further. I do feel like there has to be a hat tip to Zara here. And the reason why I say that is when it comes to Banana Republic, Zara...

Phillip: [00:11:18] Can we hold that over to the design trends?

Brian: [00:11:20] Okay, well, we'll hold it.

Phillip: [00:11:21] I'm with you, I think. Yes, but I think I want to get to prediction. All right. So. Okay, I missed it last year. I'm going to play it safe this year. [00:11:31] Biggest retail winner, 2023, Walmart. [00:11:34]

Brian: [00:11:36]  [00:11:36]All in. [00:11:37]

Phillip: [00:11:38]  [00:11:38]The reason I'm saying Walmart is because I don't know how Brian, but they got me. They got me. I don't know how. Their app. I don't usually... [00:11:53]

Brian: [00:11:53]  [00:11:53]It's so good. It's really good. [00:11:55]

Phillip: [00:11:56]  [00:11:56]It's so good. I'd go so far as to say it's damn good. It's worth the punctuation. The service is incredible. The delivery services fast, their marketing expertise, and doing things that keep bringing me back and reminding me gently are things that Amazon has taken... It makes me realize how much Amazon has taken me for granted as a customer because Amazon does none of them. [00:12:24]

Brian: [00:12:26]  [00:12:26]Oh. Oh. That's like the biggest slap in the face you could ever give to Amazon. [00:12:29]

Phillip: [00:12:30]  [00:12:30]And that's a person who spends... I don't know. We were going to do this last year and we never did. I wonder how much I spent on Amazon last year. It's probably a shocking amount, but Walmart's won my business. And I would say this, it comes through prestige partnerships. It's been a year and a half to two years of building prestige partnerships that made me sit up and take notice. And when the American Express platinum card did a free Walmart+ offering, I said, You know what? I'm in. [00:13:04] Yeah. It's very, very good.

Brian: [00:13:08] And you haven't looked back. Here are a couple of things on that...

Phillip: [00:13:13] True Same Day delivery.

Brian: [00:13:15] True Same Day.

Phillip: [00:13:16] I could do so much more about...

Brian: [00:13:17] They did that post... It was Cyber week or whatever we call it now. It was BF/CM. I got stuff delivered to my house same day.

Phillip: [00:13:25] Yeah.

Brian: [00:13:27] Yeah, same day. That is crazy.

Phillip: [00:13:30] Yeah. Hard to bet against. Anyway, I could go on and on. It's a safe pick by far, but...

Brian: [00:13:37] So small little anecdote there. I know we've got a lot to cover here, but I am a Walmart apologist recently. My mother-in-law was like, "I'm worried Amazon's going to cut me off because I return a lot of stuff." And I was like, "Well, why don't you just use Walmart instead? And she was like, "Can you get pretty much the same stuff?" And I was like, "Yeah, pretty much the same stuff, often for a better price. And they have an incredible retail footprint, and it's really easy to take stuff into the store and return it instead of having to package it up." And she's like, "Oh, you're right." She went off, she started using it and she's like, "Yes, I can get everything. You're right." I have a feeling my mother-in-law's Amazon footprint is going to shrink this coming year significantly because of Walmart. There's my anecdote.

Phillip: [00:14:36] Uh. {laughter} That was definitely worth the few minute journey that we took to get there. I would also like to point out that if we're doing comparisons between yours and mine, I don't think we'll do this with all of them. But hey, we're doing big retail, we're doing big publicly traded retail, at least for the first one. Walmart's revenue trailing 12 months in October was 600 billion, which was a 5% year-over-year increase. So not as commanding of a growth curve as Costco per se, but their stock is up 2% year to date year-over-year, which, as far as things go, you know, Walmart has weathered the storm and looks to be on the upswing and this is not stock advice.

Brian: [00:15:24] One last point that I want to make about this. You have been a Target stan for a long time.

Phillip: [00:15:31] Yeah. And I would say I'm still going to shop at Target.

Brian: [00:15:33] You are, but I have this sneaking suspicion that actually you're shopping on Amazon might go down a little bit. It's not going to increase, that's for sure.

Phillip: [00:15:45] No. I don't think so.

Brian: [00:15:46] But I have the sneaking suspicion that you're going to start seeing previously what would have been a Target purchase happen at Walmart.

Phillip: [00:15:52] You know, it's an interesting thing if you think about behavior in the shopper and this is always a trap. I understand it's really hard to examine your own behavior with any sort of objectivity. I don't think of Target as a digital brand. I just don't. I don't think of Target as a place that I go to online. Now, I know that millions upon millions of people do. I am not the norm. Target is a physical in-store experience for me. That's how I consume Target. And so [00:16:25] if there is digital business to be won, Walmart can win it and they'll win it away from Amazon. [00:16:30] Full stop. All right. Let's keep moving.

Brian: [00:16:32] All right.

Phillip: [00:16:33] The Biggest Retail Loser of 2023, Mr. Brian Lange, last year you said Amazon. What do you say for 2023?

Brian: [00:16:43] Well, it's already BB & B, right?

Phillip: [00:16:45] Bed, Bath and Bankrupt. {laughter}

Brian: [00:16:47] Beyo-wom-wom {laughter} Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Phillip: [00:16:48] Yeah. Actually, I'll cut this really short. They also said Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Brian: [00:16:55] And I added Macy's is like my real answer because I went into a Macy's over the holiday season and my wife and I looked around and were like, "Egh."

Phillip: [00:17:05] What happened?

Brian: [00:17:06] "Bleh."

Phillip: [00:17:06] Yeah, Yeah.

Brian: [00:17:07] I mean, it was always bad, but like, it's really bad now.

Phillip: [00:17:11] So in mine, I had high debt late-stage retail. So Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl's. We're going to see a little bit of a challenge there. You know what we could... Gap brands may have been a year early and more of a bellwether of a style of retail. I think [00:17:32] the mall is on a three year upswing. I think '21 and '22 were big comeback years for the mall. Opinions have completely changed about what is to be found at a local mall. And in fact, you see millennials now talking about J.Crew and Abercrombie & Fitch like it's 2005 again. [00:17:58] So it's shocking to me. But I think that's just where we are. And so, yeah, retail losers... No longer mall brands. It's the out parcel stores. Maybe Macy's could be a mall brand. So, yeah, we're going to be seeing that. All right. Let's shift gears. That was an easy consensus category for us. Biggest DTC winner of 2023... Last year, you said roll ups.

Brian: [00:18:27] Last year I said roll ups. I feel pretty good about that in some ways. I mean, there were some roll ups that didn't have the kind of runway that we hope they did. But we just we're doing a really incredible show with OpenStore right now, which I would sort of consider kind of an aggregator. I think there are a lot of really cool things going on with purchasing this year. I want to say... Get ready. I don't know. I don't know about this. New entrants. So I think we're going to see a new crop of creators that come into their own. They might have been on Etsy, they might not have had a business before. Here's why I think this is going to happen.

Phillip: [00:19:13] What do you mean by creator? Not a social media influencer/creator.

Brian: [00:19:16] Not social media. I mean like creator, DIY...

Phillip: [00:19:19] Maker.

Brian: [00:19:20] Makers, the maker economy. That's what I mean. Yeah. I think there was a lot of work from home that people are going to, businesses are going to try to call them back to the office and people are going to say, "Nope, I don't want to do that. I want to build my own thing. I would rather invest my life and do things my own way than go back into an office." And that does speak a little ahead to my modern work trend, which I won't tip here. But I think  [00:19:57]the call to work back in the office again is going to spur a set of entrepreneurs from big and small brands alike. [00:20:05]

Phillip: [00:20:05] So you say. It's the year of the entrepreneur and the benefactors of those are the Shopifys, Etsys, and anyone who empowers small business and newcomers in finding an audience.

Brian: [00:20:23] Yeah. I think the winner isn't necessarily Etsy or Shopify, although they think they will win. I just think newcomers in general. Everyone kind of wins as a result of this. There's going to be a continued fueling of that maker economy. That's my winner for DTC.

Phillip: [00:20:42] Okay. Beautiful. Well, I'm bullish on that too. Okay. Biggest DTC Winner 2023 for me... Last year I said Hero brands.

Brian: [00:20:54] What a move.

Phillip: [00:20:54] The maker of the Mighty Patch.

Brian: [00:20:57] What a move.

Phillip: [00:20:59] Hold on. I'm going to do something. Chris, let's roll the clip of me talking about it. {reminiscent music} Ju Rhyu, who is the founder of Hero Brands, had an amazing Twitter thread about how they scaled Mighty Patch, or they have 18 SKUs, actually, Hero Brands does. But Mighty Patch is the one you probably recognize. It's on the shelf at Target. It is a blemish patch. It wasn't the pioneer in the pimple patch space by any means, but it's kind of become the brand as far as pimple patches are concerned. Sort of that like celluloid pimple cover up sort of thing. They scaled that product to $100 million in an omnichannel business in the past couple of years. And I think they had such a phenomenal 2021, I think 2022 is going to be a monster year for them. And I could see some M&A activity there as well. In particular, the thing to watch out for is there is so much M&A that happens in the beauty space that people just don't pay enough attention to. Multibillion dollar acquisitions happen in beauty every single month. It's insane to me. And we don't cover beauty a lot on this show, but the few acquisitions that have gotten on our radar are the ones that are usually off of the radar, they are direct to consumer brands that have distribution through Sephora and Ulta that are making a killing online. And you have to respect the fact that the Twitter-sphere just isn't hype to some of them. Another good example So anyway, Hero Brands is my pick. {end of clip from 2022} There it was.

Brian: [00:22:46] Call of the year.

Phillip: [00:22:47] Called my shot. That was a no-look half-court. Honestly, I don't know. Anybody could have called that because I think three days before the predictions episode, Ju talked about her $100 million year on Twitter.

Brian: [00:23:32] I guess. I don't think anyone did.

Phillip: [00:23:32] By the way, this is going to be one big plug for Archetypes Journal. At the time that you're listening to this, there's going to be like maybe 100 copies left total. You have to pick up the physical book at ArchetypesJournal.com. We have an exclusive hour and a half long interview with Ju Rhyu, the Founder of Mighty Patch and its parent company, Hero Brands.

Brian: [00:23:57] So good.

Phillip: [00:23:58] If you want to hear more about my biggest pick for the 2022 DTCC winner, hear it from our hero, the Founder of Hero Brands in her own words. And you can get that at ArchetypesJournal.com. All right here. I'm going to call my shot number two. Are you ready?

Brian: [00:24:17] I'm ready.

Phillip: [00:24:19]  [00:24:19]The Biggest DTC winner of 2023, for me, is Tracksmith. [00:24:24]

Brian: [00:24:25]  [00:24:25]Oh, yeah. Absolutely.  [00:24:30]

Phillip: [00:24:30]  [00:24:29]Long have I adored this brand. For about five years, I have been a customer. Their growth has been the best kind. Slow. Steady. Doing and putting in the work. Not drawing undue attention to themselves, not trying to create a platform for themselves or for notoriety, or the width or the smartness. Matt Taylor doesn't even have a Twitter, so far as I even know. They are just doing good work. And not only are they doing good work. They have expanded category three times over, by my count, in the last two years to now they are in footwear. When you are a running apparel brand that can now do world class footwear, there is absolutely no stopping you. [00:25:15] I bought two pairs of the Elliott Runner, which is their first running shoe. It's a daily trainer. I have a Twitter thread about the absolutely unbelievable experience.

Brian: [00:25:30] Dude.

Phillip: [00:25:31] I have never had an unboxing experience like this in my life. It is on a completely different level, and it could not have been an easy thing to bring into this world by any means.

Brian: [00:25:46] Oh, no. They said as much.

Phillip: [00:25:47] Oh, sure.

Brian: [00:25:48] Yeah. They said that it had been on their roadmap forever. They delayed it over and over because they wanted to get it right.

Phillip: [00:25:55] Well, they did. It is a shockingly good running shoe. It is now my daily trainer and I'm as much in love with Tracksmith as I have ever been. They have done two amazing things this year. They did a partnership with J. Crew. They did a partnership with PUMA. Of course, Matt Taylor is ex-Puma, and to my knowledge, I believe Matt goes a long way back with not just in product dev having been from PUMA, but I believe there is a... I don't know this for sure, but I believe there's some interest there between PUMA corporate and Tracksmith. So if you're looking out into the future, what does the Biggest DTC Winner of 2023 look like? I don't know. Tracksmith looks like it might be poised for acquisition or I don't know, just take it to the moon. I think they could take it to the next level and really become a prestige running footwear brand.

Brian: [00:27:05] Agreed. I'm sure they have had multiple offers.

Phillip: [00:27:07] Unbelievable. Unbelievable. All right.

Brian: [00:27:10] Good call.

Phillip: [00:27:11] Let's move. We said okay, winner. I love that category. Biggest Loser, Brian, Biggest DTC Loser of 2023. I can't remember what you said for last year and you're typing in the doc as...

Brian: [00:27:26] Casper was last year.

Phillip: [00:27:27] Okay. {laughter}

Brian: [00:27:27] I said and all the sacrificial DTC brands. I feel like it's just like last year, the sacrificial brands got dumped on. I think there were a lot of death to DTC articles out there. It was kind of already on its way out. This year I don't want to... I don't know. I don't want to pick on anyone.

Phillip: [00:28:03] Well, that's not fair.

Brian: [00:28:04] I know. I know. We already saw some losers. You go first this time. I've been first for all of them. Your turn.

Phillip: [00:28:12] How about just say that you feel like it's unfair. This, by the way, I have a big problem with this. Not you. I have a big problem with this is that we can't deliver critique.

Brian: [00:28:27] We wrote a whole thing on this.

Phillip: [00:28:30] I don't care if we wrote it or not. I'm going to say it again. There is a problem in our space of being, of having founders visible, notable, and accessible via social media that you cannot deliver any critique without being some sort of a bad guy or being like as if you're rooting against them or trying to de-platform them. I think as examiners of brands, we should be able to deliver honest critique without saying that we are wishing ill upon them. But that's just me. Okay.

Brian: [00:29:03] I'll take... I'll go with like a safe one here. Stitch Fix is already in trouble.

Phillip: [00:29:09] You're cribbing mine. That's not fair.

Brian: [00:29:11] I didn't see it. I promise. I didn't see it. I didn't know that you said that. I promise. I had no idea. That's yours, too? I'm not kidding.

Phillip: [00:29:18] It is mine.

Brian: [00:29:20] Oh. Sweet. Well, good for you. Yeah. Katrina Lake coming back. Not going to fix it.

Phillip: [00:29:23] I don't think that's going to... She didn't fix it to begin with.

Brian: [00:29:26] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:29:28] Yeah. Okay, fine. So Biggest DTC Loser 2023. Last year, I said Staff, the DTC plunger. It was a stand in for unnecessary products being DTC-fied that nobody asked for. I don't know that that could be considered to be a successful prediction. We still see plenty of things that literally nobody's asking for. There are products in this world that have been white labeled to death that continue to launch every day. We don't need another collagen brand. I'm sorry. Thank you, guys. Anyway, [00:30:02] my Biggest Loser DTC loser of 2023, I'm picking Stitch Fix and potentially any other 2010 vintage. Anything else that is of the era, which unfortunately, and I'm going to say through no fault of their own. Katrina Lake is like a household name, right? And it's for a good reason because everybody who launched their business in that era was told by PR teams and by investors that you had to be a visible Girlboss founder. And that was a persona that was developed and cultivated and invested in. And I don't know, looking backwards that anyone's any better for it. In fact, it drew a bunch of unfair criticism. And that's why we have the culture and the DTC world right now that you and I have to tiptoe around and not say bad things about brands. And that's an unfortunate position to be in when we cover brands. [00:31:03]

Brian: [00:31:03] But let me add. So this is... I'm not going to add to the list of losers.

Phillip: [00:31:09] Ty Haney fits into that too. There are a million of them.

Brian: [00:31:16] Let me ask you a question, though. Everlane was founded in 2010.

Phillip: [00:31:24] Everlane just airdropped me a $25 gift card for no good reason. I mean, we're not seeing the best of the best from the principled brands of that era. They're just another apparel brand now.

Brian: [00:31:37] Exactly. Yeah, Away...

Phillip: [00:31:39] That's where we are. You know what? Actually, Away, I don't know. I don't know that they all are doomed. I'm saying they're going to have a really tough time, mostly because all of them, Stitch Fix in particular, have a business model which is so unbelievably dependent on one method of selling and one channel. I don't know. Stitch Fix is not going to be opening physical stores this year, I don't think. And they can't private label anymore. They've run out of that because that's all they do anymore. So I don't know how you... I don't know how you turn it around. I don't know. It's probably not my job to try to suggest how you do. Okay, let's switch. I'm sorry. I'll get off the soapbox. Let's switch gears. Biggest Media Winner of 2023. I'll go first this time around.

Brian: [00:32:30] Okay.

Phillip: [00:32:32] I said I missed the mark massively when I said Netflix. I saw on the horizon, so we were coming out of Squid Games. And I thought to myself, wow, there's like a real strong opportunity for IP and culture-defining IP to come out of Netflix.

Brian: [00:32:52] Now we're talking about the global opportunity at Netflix.

Phillip: [00:32:56] In particular, when you look at okay, what are the things that are gaining cultural awareness right now? I thought Korean drama and some other more global audiences and exposing people in the West to more of that style. I mean like there's an unbelievable amount of influence that Eastern media is having on Western culture. And I was really bullish on that. That was number one of my pick. I also said YouTube. I think we can safely say YouTube had a pretty stellar 2022. Netflix, not so much. So we'll call it a loss for me. This year, I'm going to pick, and I'm going to have to justify it a little bit. I'm going to do a two-for here as well. NBC Universal is my pick for 2023.

Brian: [00:33:49] I like that. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:51] And I think there's a lot to like. I think they're continuing to dominate in streaming or grow in streaming. They're the only people really doing live stream shopping or in-context purchase shopping while you watch a show online. That seems to be an unbelievable unlock for them. And they're cultivating a little niche there for themselves. But the thing that really has me excited is that they are just dominating. Universal is dominating in bringing big IP to life in a bunch of different ways. There is How to Train Your Dragon at the Universal theme park is about to launch. We're just seeing an unbelievable amount of IP that's coming out of universal that I find to be a really interesting examination.

Brian: [00:34:49] This is anecdotal yet again but I just had a friend visit a couple of parks, theme parks, and he much preferred the overall customer experience at Universal.

Phillip: [00:34:59] That's what I hear over and over and over again. Yeah. They're going to open a year-round horror experience in Las Vegas. They're kind of doubling down on the far ends of the spectrum of what entertainment really is. And I think that Peacock is actually quite a good service and services got to the sort of freemium model well before Netflix did, which I think will be sort of a bit of a death spiral for Netflix where it's a strong suit for NBC. I think, lastly on this note, and then I have a second like sort of a dark horse pick, there is... I mean, the culture may be owned by Disney, but it is not entirely owned by Disney. In fact, I would say a good amount of Disney is quite normcore now. And I think that people who are trying to be anti-Disney are fleeing to other content properties, not going to be Warner Brothers. And where that seems to be a bit of a hot mess. But anyway, another one for me, I think the ascendancy of Pokemon to come back into popular culture this year and Super Mario Brothers movie coming out in 2023, I think Nintendo is going to have an incredible year.

Brian: [00:36:20] Love it.

Phillip: [00:36:20] And so again, Super Mario being a Universal property, I don't know. I think that there's an interesting sort of dark horse look there and then there are some rumblings that Nintendo has a new console that may be announced this year. So a lot of interesting stuff.

Brian: [00:36:36] But don't forget, they finally set a date for Breath of the Wild 2.

Phillip: [00:36:40] Yeah, there's a lot happening.

Brian: [00:36:42] Yeah. I mean, that could literally, that alone, that game alone could propel Nintendo to the heights of the highest of heights this year.

Phillip: [00:36:52] Next year, Brian Lange. Biggest Media Winner of 2023. Last year you said HBO.

Brian: [00:36:59] I did. And I feel like they had a decent year. They released some incredible shows.

Phillip: [00:37:07] Did they ever?

Brian: [00:37:08] Yeah. So that one, I mean, The Rehearsal was on HBO. That's all I care about.

Phillip: [00:37:16] Man, that really spoke to you.

Brian: [00:37:24] It did. This year. I'm actually going with your prediction from last year. I think YouTube has a lot of opportunities still this year. I know they're making investments in everything that we all keep hoping that content can do, which is get a little bit more direct with selling and change the model. And I think that YouTube might have the investment and the talent to actually be able to solve it. I think Universal has done actually a really good job as well. I would put them at the forefront of that. They've made a lot of investment there. I think that YouTube can also do a really good job with this.

Phillip: [00:38:08] Yeah, I'm excited to see that. I think we're going to have a little bit of a back and forth here in just a minute about it. Why don't you roll into Biggest Loser of 2022?

Brian: [00:38:19] Okay.

Phillip: [00:38:19] 2023. Last year you didn't even have a pick.

Brian: [00:38:23] I didn't really have a pick. Yeah, I kind of said I don't think there's going to be a big loser in media, which I was wrong about, for sure. That was a miss.

Phillip: [00:38:31] There are plenty to choose from.

Brian: [00:38:32] Yeah. This year I'm going to say Netflix is still going to face some headwinds. And the reason for that, I think is the ad-supported model, I don't think it's necessarily going to win them many new fans. People that want to be on Netflix, are pretty much paying for Netflix. And they also lost a lot of people this past year. Things have slowed. And so I just don't think that an ad-supported platform is going to necessarily provide them with the lift that they're looking for. They need to get back to making really, really good content. There are only a few shows that I'm very excited to watch on Netflix. There are other platforms that I'd much prefer to have and I actually feel like I might cancel Netflix for a couple of months this year. Bring it back, and cancel it again.

Phillip: [00:39:27] Wow.

Brian: [00:39:28] Yeah, I did last year. I did in 2022. I canceled Netflix for like a month and then something dropped that Elizabeth really wanted to watch. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:39:38] That is typically, I think, how it's going to happen. Having eight services that you're paying for concurrently to be part of the water cooler conversation is probably not sustainable. And so you tend to kind of zero in on a few that may work for you. Apple TV had a stellar '21. I don't know that '22 was kind of worth having Apple TV around.

Brian: [00:40:08] I canceled it.

Phillip: [00:40:09] Yeah. Okay, Biggest Media Loser 2023. Last year I picked Peloton.

Brian: [00:40:21] Great pick.

Phillip: [00:40:22] I don't think that that was a shock to anyone. I also picked Disney, and Disney was a weird one in this category. {reminiscent music} My other loser was a tie for me, I think Disney could be at this inflection point. Did you watch Book of Boba Fett? It was good, but not great. And we're going to see like nine Star Wars properties launch this year. And I feel like it's either going to be extremely good or extremely bad. And I don't know if it's extremely good. Also, I think parks are going to be challenged. They've shut down retail stores. I don't know. It could be a tough year for Disney. And if theaters aren't making a comeback, I feel like they keep delaying. There may be a lot of delays in their release schedule for Marvel films. There's a lot here that could be loser-ish territory. We'll see what happens. Maybe tied with Peloton for one of the bigger losers of 2022. {end of clip from 2022} I think that there's something to be said about how high is up when it comes to growth and when you have a 15 year run in M&A and then you have the leader of a company leave who was beloved and who built an empire. I feel like it wasn't hard to say that Bob Chapek's days were sort of numbered. And so we're seeing a little bit of a resurgence now where we have Bob Iger coming back and taking the helm at Disney. He's an M&A guy. We're probably going to see a roll up. Hey, maybe they could acquire Tracksmith, I don't know. {laughter} Disney could acquire Tracksmith. So that was my last year's pick. I don't think it was rocket science for either of them by any stretch. This year I am picking Warner Brothers Discovery, which owns your beloved HBO pick. I think one of us is going to be right here.

Brian: [00:43:47] HBO was last year. That was last year's pick. I didn't pick them this year. I agree. I see that. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:43:53] Am I missing? I misread it. Remind me. I'm sorry. What was it for this year?

Brian: [00:43:58] This year it's YouTube. My loser this year is Netflix. My winner last year was HBO, which is accurate.

Phillip: [00:44:06] My loser this year is Warner Brothers Discovery. They're canceling properties left and right. And I think that something that we're sort of noodling on right now as we're turning our minds toward having looked at all these trends reports, I have downloaded 150 trends reports, and I'm synthesizing them with AI right now and trying to extract some insights. I'm using a tool called Bundle IQ. Shout out to Nick Manacki, a founder friend of mine who has this stellar AI product that he's been building for four years. So not riding a wave by any means. He's created the wave. But what I'm seeing is [00:44:52] there is a small group of people that are realizing that physical media has a place in the world, and they're realizing that because the things they love are being taken away from them and they're no longer available on streaming services. When that happens, it changes the way that people find safety and security in the things that they find entertaining and important in their lives. And a whole group of millennials experienced that once already when The Office left Netflix. And I think we're going to begin to see that happen more often, [00:45:33] especially as Warner Brothers Discovery is trying to figure out what the heck they're going to do and bring these two businesses together. They're renaming HBO again to just Max, I think. So the app is going to change yet again. They're retiring... There's a whole Batgirl movie that's just getting canned. It's already filmed. It's ready to get out. They're taking a tax write-off for it. They're going to give permission to a lot of studios and a lot of media companies all over the place to take losses in the style of sort of creative accounting. And I find that that's going to spur a wave of physical media and nostalgia. It's probably the thing that's already begun. So my Biggest Media Loser of 2023. All right, Brian, we are 42 minutes in and we're not even halfway through this.

Brian: [00:46:23] Oh, my gosh. We gotta fly.

Phillip: [00:46:26] Biggest tech winner of 2023, Mr. Brian Lange.

Brian: [00:46:31] Last year I put Microsoft, which actually wasn't a terrible pick because they performed better than a lot of other big tech companies did. Even though they lost, they lost ground in the stock market. They performed better than most. I think I also had Apple in there. But this year, looking ahead, I actually do think Microsoft's going to do well. I think that they are making investments in smart places. They're diversified. Actually, all the same reasons I said Microsoft last year, I say Microsoft this year. Diversified, looking to the right places, building open ecosystems, investing in AI like crazy. I love Microsoft as a pick this year. I am all in on Microsoft. But to get a little bit more commerce specific for a second, I'm actually kind of bullish on both Shopify and BigCommerce this year.

Phillip: [00:47:39] Hmm.

Brian: [00:47:41] eCommerce is at an all time low stock price wise, but they made some really, I think, dare I say, smart cuts recently in their SMB markets. I think before they were looked at as a competitor to Shopify, I think that they found a lot of success in the mid-market. And maybe the mid-market has been sort of emptied out by a lot of other platforms that were acquired. I think there's a lot of room for them here and actually, they may end up being... Someone could take them private. They're cheap enough for someone to take them private. And I see that as a massive opportunity.

Phillip: [00:48:33] Wow. Wow. Okay.

Brian: [00:48:35] All right. And then Shopify also has opportunity in the mid-market and even in enterprise. Shopify components... Really interesting release.

Phillip: [00:48:46] Oh, we have not even covered this.

Brian: [00:48:48] I know.

Phillip: [00:48:48] I think we need to.

Brian: [00:48:50] We can do a whole episode on this.

Phillip: [00:48:50] I'm going to track down Harley at NRF and get him on Future Commerce.

Brian: [00:48:55] Let's do it. I love that idea. Commerce components could be a game changer. It's really I mean, it's a product that's competitive at a more enterprise level. It's built to do that. Obviously, it's brand new. So there's a lot of testing and trying that has to happen first. But an incredible launch partner, I think, was Mattel. Is that right?

Phillip: [00:49:20] Yeah. Incredible.

Brian: [00:49:21] Incredible. So, yeah.

Phillip: [00:49:24] Which, by the way, was an RFP that was being shopped for years. For years.

Brian: [00:49:30] And I think what's really interesting about this, Shopify is also taking its hits on the chin in the stock market. I think that there's a lot of opportunity for it to get some of that ground back.

Phillip: [00:49:43] It's undervalued right now.

Brian: [00:49:45] It's undervalued now. That's right.

Phillip: [00:49:46] In a big way. And I think that the market's sort of already factored in any potential forward de-growth. It does look like there's a turnaround imminent.

Brian: [00:49:57] I think so. So yeah, and then let me just one more...

Phillip: [00:50:00] Hard more against Shopify in our world at this moment.

Brian: [00:50:04] I know. That's right. Hard to bet against Shopify. BigCommerce I think also undervalued. Microsoft Looking good. My last one here and I guess I'm just bullish on tech in general. This is going to come out of nowhere. I'm going to be a little contrarian voice here.

Phillip: [00:50:18] Call your shot.

Brian: [00:50:19] I actually think this could be a bit of a comeback here for Meta.

Phillip: [00:50:25] Wow.

Brian: [00:50:25] They've been dumped on so hard. They've taken so many so many hits on the chain. And it's almost like can it go lower? The answer is yes, it can. However, however, I do believe that Meta has incredible talent on staff, and I think they are the kind of people that can actually architect to turn around and build something that's worth engaging in. Now, I'm not saying Facebook is that thing, but they've got a bunch of other properties. WhatsApp. Instagram. A ton of other investments and yeah...

Phillip: [00:51:08] Maybe TikTok in 2023.

Brian: [00:51:10] I don't know about that, but I just think that they're actually that's a really good point. That was one of the things I was thinking about as well. TikTok sort of hit a little bit of a wall. And Instagram's been very good at copying features of other social platforms.

Phillip: [00:51:24] And YouTube as well.

Brian: [00:51:28] So long story. Yeah. And YouTube. Well, yeah, that's a really good point. Back to my YouTube prediction. So yeah, come back year for Meta potentially. Maybe it's not this year, but I believe that they will make a comeback at some point.

Phillip: [00:51:42] Okay, I love it. [00:51:44] All right. Biggest Tech Winner 2023. Last year, I said TikTok. And then I spent the whole year dumping on TikTok {laughter} because I was just angry. People kept saying, "Oh, TikTok shopping is going to take over Amazon." "TikTok search is already eating into Google's market share." Neither of those things actually are true, so I actively worked to undermine my own prediction for the year all year long. And I'll absolutely own that behavior. I also said Square, there's kind of a repeating thing here where I get part of it right and then the other part extremely wrong. Let's shift to I think 2023's Biggest Tech Winner will be OpenAI. $29 billion valuation with a $10 billion tender offer from Microsoft. So I'm going to piggyback on yours, Mr. Brian Lange. OpenAI, creators of ChatGPT, GPT3, GPT3.5, and chat. We could be seeing GPT4 potentially this year. I think it's already changing the nature of work in every facet of the tech industry. A million people onboarded, a million people onboarded onto ChatGPT in five days. That is unbelievable. [00:53:12]

Brian: [00:53:13]  [00:53:13]Who's one of their biggest investors though? [00:53:15]

Phillip: [00:53:15]  [00:53:15]Yeah, Microsoft.  [00:53:17]

Brian: [00:53:17]  [00:53:15]Heyo! {laughter}

Phillip: [00:53:17] That's where I think the Microsoft pick makes perfect sense. So I will piggyback on yours. I'll say OpenAI, specifically Microsoft.

Brian: [00:53:28] I love it. I'm with you. I mean, I left OpenAI for something else in this, but I think you're dead on.

Phillip: [00:53:33] I do think that there is a dark horse here to say that Google... Sundar {Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet} is apparently at the helm running their own GPT killer. Which, by the way, yet another plug for the Archetypes Journal. The Google large language model is so unbelievably good that there are people who worked at Google. A researcher on staff at Google, Blake LeMoyne, who was dismissed because he was in fear that the AI had become sentient. He was absolutely convinced that the AI, Google's LLM, their large language model, has become self-aware and would have conversations with it that he then took to a US senator's office. He was dismissed. Now he's suing the company on grounds of religious discrimination. This is a story that we cover in the Archetypes Journal, ArchetypeJournal.com.

Brian: [00:54:44] Let's go.

Phillip: [00:54:46] Where we're saying the next pro-life battlefield is AI. Who's going to unplug that machine? I think some people would have something to say about that. So it's an interesting evolution of both cultural awareness, broad availability of a tool, and maybe Google releases a GPT killer and we're both proven wrong. Biggest Tech Loser 2023. I'm just going to whip these out. Facebook. I said Facebook. I think I pretty much got that right. This year I'm going to say Biggest Tech Loser 2023 is Twitter.

Brian: [00:55:20] Twitter.

Phillip: [00:55:21] I think that's a consensus pick. Is that a consensus pick?

Brian: [00:55:24] No, that wasn't my pick.

Phillip: [00:55:26] What did you say last year?

Brian: [00:55:28] Oh, last year. I don't know what I said last year. It's actually not in the notes. I have to go back and go through the transcript to find that out. I don't remember. Now, this year... I should look that up while we're doing this. I'm just saying tech's back, baby. {laughter} You wrote a note that we talked about this. There's zigging and zagging in this world. And I think there's a lot of like dump on tech out there right now.

Phillip: [00:56:04] Yeah.

Brian: [00:56:04] In fact maybe too much so. This is the thing. Tech has always roared back after coming through a time where it's just destroyed and I am all in and even if I am done with Elon, which I said many years ago.

Phillip: [00:56:22] You have said many, many times since 2018.

Brian: [00:56:24] And I've said many, many times. Even Twitter. It's an addictive platform and it serves a purpose. And while it may have filled a role that any number of tech companies could have filled and got lucky, whatever you want to say, how it came about, it's still filling that role. People are still using it actively. And I don't know if Elon's going to run it into the ground. It might survive because it plays a role that I don't know if people are going to try to have fulfilled by something else. So I am in on tech.

Phillip: [00:57:04] I'm with you. I looked it up. You said Facebook. It was a three second conversation. You called Facebook as your biggest loser.

Brian: [00:57:14] Easy peasy, I guess.

Phillip: [00:57:15] And I don't think that that was a hard pick for anyone at that point in time. And hey, we can all be right at least some time. Hey, tech's back. You're an optimist. I'm into the techno optimism. I love that. Most interesting trend of 2023. Last year you said psychedelics get legal. Did you do a lot of microdosing this year?

Brian: [00:57:37] Zero. Zero. I wasn't even planning on it when I said that. I just thought it was kind of fun idea. {laughter} I guess I was wrong about it. This year, I would say obviously it's OpenAI. There's no question that AI and what you're able to do with it, we need to do a whole episode just on the upcoming digital divide that AI is going to create. I firmly believe that this is the kind of technology that you and I were hyped on before we even realize what it was.

Phillip: [00:58:16] In 2016 we were talking about this.

Brian: [00:58:19] Yes.

Phillip: [00:58:19] The issue was that there was no tooling and you had to build the stack. There were barely foundations, there were Python models and you had to create your own training data source, your own training data. It wasn't useful or practical, and now it is both.

Brian: [00:58:40] Correct.

Phillip: [00:58:40] Yeah.

Brian: [00:58:40] So I mean, I know that's already kind of hit. That already hit. We already saw that happen last year. I think it's going to start to get employed in really interesting ways this coming year instead of just... It's not just the content play. There are very, very useful applications for this. There's going to be a lot of investment that goes into it, not just OpenAI, but other places as well, or maybe using OpenAI to go do something. So it'll be a lot of investment around the employment of OpenAI. So I expect that to be a huge place where money flows to this year.

Phillip: [00:59:21] All right. I think it will be a bubble. I could agree with you.

Brian: [00:59:29] It could be a bubble. {laughter}.

Phillip: [00:59:33] Most Interesting Trend of 2023. So last year, I said crypto. And by the way, the flip side of that is that the last trend in this series is saying what are you sick of? And basically, I said crypto. So it was like two sides of a coin. Crypto went through a winter. If anything, this is probably the thing I got most wrong. I don't think crypto was all that interesting in 2022, with the exception of maybe a few novelties here and there. And shout out to a few angel investments that I have in the space. But outside of that, I don't see a lot of broad adoption or bullishness. And I think that actually, the hype cycle needed to end so that we could have people quietly get to work and actually build useful things. And this year, Most Interesting Trend... How could you possibly at this moment say anything other than artificial intelligence? I'm going to say Google's GPT killer. When that happens, I think that will be the most interesting thing of 2023. I think in 2023 what we see we will see full-on video generation from OpenAI and from other competitive services.

Brian: [01:01:04] It's already there. I think we already have.

Phillip: [01:01:06] Well, it's there's a lot of fakery at the moment so you can piece things together. There's a lot of pain over work. There's model generation, there's character manipulation, there is movement, but we are not seeing the thing that I think we're going to see. Adobe just released a podcast service where they take a low quality voice recording and they can reinterpret it and recreate it. They're not doctoring it, they're not applying synthesis to it, they're not EQ'ing it. They're not applying any sort of forensic analysis tools to it. They are recreating the audio from small clips. And it is shockingly and convincingly sounds exactly like the person.

Brian: [01:01:50] Enhance.

Phillip: [01:01:50] Not even just enhance. It's just recreate.

Brian: [01:01:53] Yeah, recreate.

Phillip: [01:01:54]  [01:01:57]The tools that are about to be unleashed into the world are going to be absolutely the most interesting trends of 2023. [01:02:05]

Brian: [01:02:07] Right. I'm in. Yeah. I agree.

Phillip: [01:02:10] Oh. Is that a consensus?

Brian: [01:02:13] Oh, yeah. No, that's consensus. We're both on the same page.

Phillip: [01:02:18] Yeah, I love it. Okay, so then I would say let's shift. So the Biggest News Story of 2023. I think last year I said NFTs. I don't know how I could possibly have said that, but I think I was drinking some kool-aid of some kind.

Brian: [01:02:37] Well, no, it was. Well, NFTs is not specific. So I said Web3. In some ways it kind of was one of the biggest stories of the year. Crypto, Web3, NFTs.

Phillip: [01:02:49] Fell apart.

Brian: [01:02:50] It fell apart. That was the story. {laughter}

Phillip: [01:02:54] Yeah, of course. The February invasion of Ukraine by Russia definitely dominated the news cycle and created a lot of uncertainty and certainly our writing at the time, I believe was around February 11th of 2022 was an unbelievable amount of technology and commerce technology is situated in the Ukraine, in Ukraine, and in Eastern Europe in general. And any instability in the region would create some uncertainty in the world of eCommerce. And we were sort of criticized for writing that at the time. That didn't mean that things were going to crash and burn. It meant that it creates a lot of turmoil for people who are real people in the midst of conflict. And so I will say that that continues. I think the Biggest News Story of 2023 is Russia and a lot of concerns there. Brian, Biggest News Story of 2023.

Brian: [01:04:07] Yeah. Last year, like I said, Web3 was what I said. This year I do think it will be political. That's what I wrote. Something political. I think we could see some weird and big shakeups actually in the political sphere. I don't know exactly what that means yet, but I do think that there are going to be some very big things that happen. And maybe it is geopolitical, but maybe it's actually domestically, we see some big changes or big news. And not for nothing. This is the year when presidential election hype starts to get wild.

Phillip: [01:04:49] That's right. Yeah.

Brian: [01:04:50] It could get really wild.

Phillip: [01:04:51] This is my favorite part. I know that our beat is commerce. I like talking about things that are sort of outside or adjacent to it. I'm realizing now, this is our second year of doing this, that these may not be sweet spot for you, but they're really exciting for me. So suffer me through it for just a minute. The [01:05:19] Biggest Fashion Trend of 2023. Last year I said comfy and cozy. I thought comfy and cozy is sort of coming back to the fore. I think there are a lot of ways to sort of contextualize whether that was true or not. I don't know that broadly that is the case. I think you could have said that formal wear definitely or dress clothes, jeans, hard pants made a comeback in 2022. That maybe feels like a miss. I'm going to say that 2023, is something I haven't heard, but I'm made up. I'm going to call it Media Chic. [01:06:05]

Brian: [01:06:06]  [01:06:06]Media Chic. Tell me more. Tell me more. I made up my mind last year too. So I'm very interested in yours. [01:06:12]

Phillip: [01:06:12]  [01:06:12]Media Chic. I think that there is already at play and potentially we'll see it on a bigger scale, basically, dressing in whatever is adjacent to whatever the water cooler media diet is at the moment. For instance, Wednesday, it's a series on Netflix. It is surprisingly good. It's sort of captured the minds of teenagers everywhere. People are like, "Wait a second, Goth is a thing that comes around at the same time. If you look at M3GAN, I don't know if you've seen this new movie that's just come out. It's yet another killer doll, a new horror franchise being born. [01:07:10]

Brian: [01:07:10]  [01:07:10]That's, by the way, that's the title of the next horror comedy, Yet another Killer Doll. [01:07:17]

Phillip: [01:07:17]  [01:07:17]There it is.

Brian: [01:07:17]  [01:07:17]I love it. Yeah. [01:07:18]

Phillip: [01:07:18]  [01:07:18]It's kind of a horror comedy. M3GAN {pronounced Megan}. You'd be forgiven to call it "M 3 Gan." So anyway, Squid Games is another one. I think that there are moments in the popular culture where there is a piece of media that's so dominant that it sort of captivates the teenagers for some time and they sort of cop the style. And I think that that we could call Media Chic. [01:07:46]

Brian: [01:07:46]  [01:07:46]Hmm. That's cool. That's cool. Last year, I said sort of a more modern twist on Matrix's sort of trench coats and things like that. And actually, I don't think I was that far off. I saw a lot of trench coats, a lot of that late nineties sort of vibe come back this year. This year I'm going to go and actually this isn't that far off from Wednesday, I'm going to go 2004 Indy, which was sort of a mix of like restructure. It was a really casual period in clothing in the early 2000s and 2004 brought back a little more structure to it. I feel like it was the period when things went from casual to form, a little more formal, a little bit of like throwback to like thirties and forties attire. And maybe we don't go back to that specific period. But I do think we're going to see a little bit more structure introduced and sort of classic elements that get mixed in with modern things. I know in that 2003 range, the wide leg pant was back, with a little bit of a flair.

Phillip: [01:09:13] It's coming back again.

Brian: [01:09:15] It's already here. I'm saying we're moving just past that back to just a little bit more of a formal look.

Phillip: [01:09:26] Okay. Yeah. Did they sell that in Kirkland Brand?

Brian: [01:09:34] You know, Costco never picked up on that during that period.

Phillip: [01:09:39] I'm sure.

Brian: [01:09:40] But I will say that their clothing is a little bit more on-trend than it used to be.

Phillip: [01:09:48] Yeah. Speaking of, these sort of fashion trends. Design trend. I love this category too. So in 2022, I said the trend of the year was what I called an aggressive aesthetic, like heavy metal. Think Liquid Death. My love and fascination of Liquid Death only deepened in the year. And I'm seeing a lot more of these sort of aggressive brand aesthetic that's coming back to the fore. I think that that's a really interesting design trend. This year, I am saying Y2K, a throwback to the sort of design motifs of the year 2000, which is sort of adjacent to what you were just saying in the fashion trends. There is an iPhone ad at the moment that sort of has this fish-eye lens look to it where the heads are really big and the bodies are quite small on the people. And it reminds me of like a Gushers commercial from like 2001 or something that you might have seen on Nickelodeon, insert like a Super Soaker ad or something like that. So this Y2K sort of aesthetic of bringing back this sort of gonzo media. I would say that amped up an exaggerated media aesthetic is a thing that I think will see a lot of this year.

Brian: [01:11:31] That's cool. I like that. For me, I always tend to think Jesse is a little ahead of the time, so I.

Phillip: [01:11:38] Our Creative Director at Future Commerce, Jesse Tyler.

Brian: [01:11:43] Yes. Jesse Tyler. He crushed it with his organic, more natural thought process last year. And I thought that was really good. This year I feel like Jesse is yet again ahead of things. I thought what he did with Archetypes was so good. And I think so, like on point for where we're headed this year, giving things a little bit more of a classic flair and almost hearkening back to a little medieval almost.

Phillip: [01:12:17] Literary, like classic literature.

Brian: [01:12:21] Yes. And I mean, you look at the movie, we've got Dungeons and Dragons coming out here soon. I just think there is a design aesthetic coming up that's going to harken back a little bit, and have a little more of a flourish to it.

Phillip: [01:12:42] I am here for it. We should weigh in with some experts in the next category, but I couldn't help myself. A food and beverage trend of 2023 last year. I said sobriety, even weed. I don't know that that... {laughter] Sobriety. Yes.

Brian: [01:13:06] Sobriety. Yes. Weed. Not so much.

Phillip: [01:13:08] No. No. No. Not so much.

Brian: [01:13:09] Weed was in.

Phillip: [01:13:10] One could only hope. This year, I think that we're going back to basics. I think that there's nostalgia in food is a massive... It's too important and too big to overlook. But I do think that basics can also mean bulk.

Brian: [01:13:33] Let's go.

Phillip: [01:13:34] And so that means yeah, I think that a food and bev trend is really just we're going to see and this I think ties back into something I was talking about a couple of years ago there are not enough buying in bulk options on websites. And yeah, I think that it would behoove a lot of brands to offer larger than retail packaging through their website. Why not offer a larger kit through Amazon and diversify the channels that you're in?

Brian: [01:14:12] Better for shipping, too.

Phillip: [01:14:12] Absolutely. Well, it depends on a lot of things. I think consumers would be more price sensitive and want to get more bang for their buck, but they'll still want to enjoy the things that they do already like. I think we'll see a lot of brands look at their merchandising and say, "Hey, bulk is in as far as the consumer is concerned." How about you?

Brian: [01:14:35] Yeah, a couple of things here. So beverage has been a category that's seen a lot of investment in the past two years. The past few years, really. And I wonder if we're going to see a little bit of a flattening of bev in general, just the number of entrants into bev. We saw some drop off like UGLY.

Phillip: [01:15:01] Yeah, rest in peace.

Brian: [01:15:03] Yeah, exactly. I also think that we're going to see some shifts in the wine industry. I've already kind of seen this. Wine is getting broader. Natural wines and biodynamic wines are really picking up steam among even millennials and Gen Z, trying new and interesting flavors, which is going to actually bring about a little bit of a change in what premium wine looks like. And so some of these can't age as well as previously produced wines. Also, people are just finding that the palates changing. The Robert Parker era is quote/unquote over, although I don't actually believe that fully, because I believe that he actually did have a really good palate and I'm in for that. But I do see certain regions, more regions, picking up a little bit more prestige, drawing up prices in unique places. Have you ever had a wine from the Fingerling Lakes area? Not many people have... The Finger Lakes, I should say. Or From Oklahoma. And so I'm seeing some interesting trends there. It's going to get broader. There are going to be certain regions that kind of come up. There's going to be a little bit of maybe not a drop in price of some of those classic old world wines, but the generation that really invested in those... There's a new generation of wine drinkers coming in that are willing to try things. So that's my wine prediction.

Phillip: [01:16:59] My food and bev prediction for Brian Lange is we'll be hosting about 5 to 6 salon style dinners next year. And or I should say this year, in 2023, the year of our Lord. I should say if you want to experience Brian's love and passion for wine, you should subscribe to Future Commerce Insiders and The Senses. And we will notify you when we are coming to a city near you. And it's usually sort of a first come, first serve basis. We try to prioritize people who open nearly every issue and every email that we send to their inbox. And so if you kind of find yourself in that position, hey, I'd love to have you out for a dinner. Also, you're working on a piece about food and bev...

Brian: [01:17:52] I am, thank you for bringing it up. I was actually going to bring that up because if I socialize it, I'll finish it. {laughter}

Phillip: [01:17:59] Give us a little bit of a taste. A taste?

Brian: [01:18:02] A taste. It's about the role of food and bev and its tie to commerce, and its importance of commerce ties back to our Visions trend from 2022, "The Sacraments of Commerce," and the role of consumption. So it's a lot. And I'm really, really excited to write it and release it. A lot of ideas that have been floating around in my head here for a while and actually some big shifts from things that I've written in the past, some mind changing that I've had as a result of working through this. So get ready. It's a big one coming from me.

Phillip: [01:18:38] I love it. Modern Work Trend of 2023.

Brian: [01:18:44] You ready?

Phillip: [01:18:44] Last year I said VR. What? I must have been on that weed from the sobriety trend a few minutes ago. I don't know. I don't see... I don't know where we are with VR. But you know where I do think we are? I think the modern work trend of 2023, at least according to Starbucks is return to office. Return to office is going to be a massive trend. And I think that it's hard to overlook it when you look at just here in the first two weeks of the year. Disney is announcing four days mandatory return to office. You're seeing Starbucks saying three day mandatory return to office. I think there are a lot of businesses who don't want to go through a second round of layoffs. So they're going to create involuntary layoffs by enacting return to office policies. It's going to be really painful for a lot of people, but may spur on the trend of entrepreneurship, as Brian mentioned earlier. So that is my Modern Work Trend of 2023. How about where are you at? What was your 2022 pick?

Brian: [01:20:07] Yeah, actually I don't remember what my 2022 one was. We need to check the transcript on that as well. But this year...

Phillip: [01:20:17] So you said flex work in 2022 and you said a big investment in at-home infrastructure and yeah, people will be letting their workforce go to work at home is what you said.

Brian: [01:20:31] And yeah, they're done with that now, except that [01:20:35] people are going to revolt. They had too good of a time working from home and they don't want to go back. So I actually think that there's going to be a genuine trend of people quitting to start their own businesses, and they're going to and they're going to optimize... They've spent some time on this, but they're really going to double down and spend time on what their home working situation looks like. [01:21:05] And obviously, it's going to be a lot of people that go back to office. I think here it's already happening. But I think there was a certain type of person that tasted what it was like to work from home and is never going to return. So my prediction is there's going to be some quitting and some entrepreneurship that results as a result of the call to return to office. And as a result, there's going to be investment in at-home work environments. Garages and additional buildings.

Phillip: [01:21:50] In the doc you say, "Sheds."

Brian: [01:21:52] Sheds. Yeah.

Phillip: [01:21:52] You said, "Sheds." Potentially, yeah. Creating other spaces that are not necessarily ones in your home that give you the ability to work adjacent to your home.

Brian: [01:22:02] People are going to warehouse stuff at their house.

Phillip: [01:22:07] I mean, people are going to have to do something with these homes that they overspent on in the last two years if home prices... They're stuck in them for a little while.

Brian: [01:22:17] They are. Yeah.

Phillip: [01:22:18] Health Development Trend, let's roll right into it. Last year, Health Development Trend. Brian, you said Microsoft teams for health starts to take over. You said telehealth will emerge as big companies make big investments in doing a proliferation of telehealth and we did actually see a tremendous amount of these direct to consumer sort of niche telehealth companies that launched for everything from weight loss to ADHD in the last few years. I think 2022 was a big year for that and potentially so big it's created a crisis for Adderall and sort of an outage, a shortage in the United States. There are just too many people that want it that cannot get it, and maybe probably shouldn't have it. That's a question to be answered. But we're also seeing a lot of weight loss drugs that are being prescribed in a very similar fashion. Medical cannabis is being prescribed in a very similar fashion. So it was a big year for telehealth. It was an astute pick.

Brian: [01:23:22] Yeah.

Phillip: [01:23:23] What do you have for 2023?

Brian: [01:23:25] 2023, I actually think this is where we saw advancements in the Apple Watch this past year. I think this is the year where we start to see just the beginning of what I'm going to call push, not pull health care. Effectively, the way that we've interacted with the health care system over the years has been to basically self-diagnose and say, "Oh, I don't feel well. I need to go to the doctor," but this is the year when we're going to start to see opportunities to have our doctors proactively reach out to us based off of data that we are going to be collecting through at-home systems, whether that's wearables or other health monitoring systems. Everybody kind of laughed about the urine tester in the toilet that was released at CES. But I actually believe that these devices... This is the kind of thing we laugh about as a toy or as something that's kind of silly that is actually going to completely change how we do health care and is going to supplant an industry that we've looked at as a bastion over the years. So at-home monitoring and just the first hints of having doctors and AI reach out to us about our health and prompt us to go do something about it.

Phillip: [01:25:02] It's funny because you want to talk about how early we are on certain things, our 2017 year-end predictions episode going into 2018, so we're talking five years ago now, I said uBiome and sort of at-home quantified... That was a stool sample but quantified gut health was an emergent player in a category that would explode from there. Explode... Pun intended. With a stool sample. But the issue is that uBiome, I guess, according to The Securities and Exchange Commission, says that was a scam. Maybe not that particular one, but maybe the style of the business. Okay. So for my trend forecasting for Health and Development Trend of the year, I said last year 2022 biohacking and neural link. And I think neural link would have made probably a little more headway if a certain person hadn't bought Twitter and crashed Tesla's stock along the way. So I think that, yeah, it could be, hey, maybe that could be a thing in 2023. But my pick here is and this is informed almost entirely by my media consumption, but a number of podcasts. Andrew. Sorry. Tim Ferriss. Doctor... What's the guy's name? I'm drawing a blank now because it's like 1:30 in the morning for me. Eric Huberman. There's like a number of folks that have been talking recently about Ozempic and Ozempic being a weight loss drug injection. It's semaglutide. This is a thing that started out as a diabetes treatment. It's seeing a lot of people being prescribed Ozempic. It has made the rounds on my Twitter because it was featured in an All-In podcast recently. Jason Calacanis sort of copped to being on Ozempic and that created a discourse of 20 people on my Twitter saying, "Oh, I've been on Ozempic." So I think it's it's really interesting how maybe that's been quite common over the last two years, but people are just now coming clean that they've been using this. And it seems to be like a quote/unquote miracle drug. This is not health care advice and I'm not on it and I don't plan to be. But I find that to be a really interesting category. This category of therapeutic is probably an interesting one to take a look at. And it definitely changes the way that we talk about managing weight and weight loss in this country. Why don't we just skip ahead? I think Government Predictions, it's a little long in the tooth and we're already at the end. I just kind of want to hear what we're sick of. So why don't we... I'll let you have the next to the last. You'll have the penultimate here. Brian Lange. What are you so sick of that you hope it dies a painful death in 2023?

Brian: [01:28:47] You know, this is going to sound stupid, but something that really annoyed me was I saw a lot of dumping on Gen Z as employees. It felt really like remember when people used to complain about millennials a lot?

Phillip: [01:29:01] Yeah.

Brian: [01:29:03] A lot. They're like, "Oh yeah, they can't take over the systems we've built." I've seen a lot of this same attitude towards Gen Z and, and their work ethic, and like they just don't care about working long hours or doing what it takes to get things done. And I just, I think that's a complete misunderstanding of the new generation and how they work and how they think. And so maybe they don't want to work 40 hours over 40 hours on the same job. Maybe that's what it is. I'm just I've seen some really negative things in the press about who Gen Z is and saw some just gross reactions to it. And I think that's a mistake.

Phillip: [01:29:56] All right. You're tired of it.

Brian: [01:29:58] Tired of it.

Phillip: [01:30:00] Leave the kids alone.

Brian: [01:30:01] Leave the kids alone. They're going to be fine. They'll end up having to work really hard for you as you retire.

Phillip: [01:30:07] Not so much kids anymore. Okay. Well, last year I said DAOs, DAOs as a placeholder for a decentralized autonomous organization is the be all and all solution for every problem that we have in organizing human effort. I thought that that was so overblown and a misapplication of a probably not legal business organizational unit and probably an unbelievably inefficient and technologically wasteful way to solve problems. So let's say all of the same things, but let's replace DAOs with GPT. I kind of think that this tendency to say, "Oh, you could use AI for that," is one that is being professed quite a bit online. I love that there's a lot of experimentation in this space and there are a lot of early adopters. And full disclosure, wrestling with how we make it more transparent in content creation, but I have been using GPT for experimental purposes. In particular, we put out a ten day meditation on the role of commerce in society and I used GPT to generate the outline of the ten days, and then I used GPT to generate a little bit of the content. The problem is that using GPT to generate all the content is kind of a big waste of time because I know what I want to say and it's not going to say it the way I want to, but it is definitely a way to sort of not have a blank slate. And I think you can over apply technology and use AI for AI's sake. So yeah, I hope that this let's-just-use-whatever-the-latest-thing-is-for-everything is a trend, just generally an abstract, that I hope dies.

Brian: [01:32:19] Nice. I like it.

Phillip: [01:32:21] Brian. I think we...

Brian: [01:32:24] Can I add one more trend that we didn't put a place to add this, but I want to say it?

Phillip: [01:32:31] Sure.

Brian: [01:32:31] I really genuinely believe that this year I think Kirsten Green's expanded thesis around applying consumer-like experiences to B2B is going to dominate our headlines. B2B is wide open for opportunity for change and we've been saying that for years, but I think we're there. I think this is the year we really, really, really start to see B2B commerce tools experience change. And I actually spoke about this with Aaron Sheehan on a LinkedIn live that he did. I think Kirsten's right, and I believe that this year is a big year for that.

Phillip: [01:33:26] Amazing. Kirsten Green, of course, the Founder and Principal at Forerunner Ventures, who was on our show not so long ago, maybe six weeks, eight weeks ago. Okay. I think I would agree with that. I love that. You know what else I agree with? This is now our longest episode of all time, and I hope everybody's really enjoyed it. I had a frickin crap ton of fun with you, Brian.

Brian: [01:33:54] It was good.

Phillip: [01:33:55] This has been, just to wax poetic for a moment, I came on full-time at Future Commerce in 2022. 2023 will be the first year of the full year of getting full-time focus. And I'm looking at the things that we have planned. I know what's coming down the pike. This is going to be an unbelievable year for us.

Brian: [01:34:19] That's a great prediction. I love it.

Phillip: [01:34:20] Looking ahead, I'm just going to say it. If you made it this far into the episode, we're planning on doing a summit this year where people can attend and come and join us. And so I would love for you to join us in June in Chicago for Future Commerce's Visions Summit. And we're going to do it. And this is not the way that you make an announcement, but we don't do anything the way that you're supposed to do it at Future Commerce. And we'll do a better job of really building up to it in the next 2 to 3 weeks. But I really think this is a huge year for us and people are starting to take notice of the really thoughtful and intentional work that we put in in trying to talk about a broader conversation about how commerce connects people. And I think that's pretty cool.

Brian: [01:35:13] That's exciting. We have such a great team, too. I can't even believe it. I feel so lucky to work with the people we work with. It's crazy.

Phillip: [01:35:22] It really is. It just isn't right. We have too much talent in one place. It's kind of incredible.

Brian: [01:35:30] It is.

Phillip: [01:35:31] So to everybody who has listened to the show here and everybody's listened to Future Commerce over the years, thank you so much for being on this journey with us. We used to say this to end the show. I went back and listened to an old show. We used to say, "Retail tech moves fast..." And then you would say...

Brian: [01:35:52] "But Future Commerce moves faster."

Phillip: [01:35:53] That's right. But I love that we, sort of hearkening back. We've come a long, long way. And I'm really, really proud of the work that we've done. And we could not do it without the support of our audience, our listeners, and the folks who have given us your attention. We never take it for granted. Thank you so much for your support. And hey, if you want to hear more episodes of this podcast and other Future Commerce properties, there are five of them now. There are a lot of them.

Brian: [01:36:23] There are a lot of them.

Phillip: [01:36:25] Go right now, head over in a web browser., go to your location bar type in FutureCommerce.fm.

Brian: [01:36:32] Did you see dot com?

Phillip: [01:36:34] Dot fm. I said fm.

Brian: [01:36:35] I know.

Phillip: [01:36:36] It could be dot com sometime shortly and then one way that we can have a deeper relationship... Subscribe to our newsletter. If you are on our newsletter, you'll be up to date on our Future Commerce salons. Our upcoming Events. Crypto Basics Clubs. Chapters that we're supporting across the country. Trade shows that we happen to be at. We're putting on a few salon dinners here in the coming weeks and then we'll just generally love to come grab a cup of coffee with you. The way that you'll find out about that is being on the list so that you'll know when we're around. Thank you so much for listening to Future Commerce.

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