We're back! Brian joins Amazon, we talk subscription movie passes driving return to the shopping malls; and are we seeing leading indicators of unchecked inflation? PLUS: Who is the Nordstrom customer?

Main Takeaways:

  • Have Phillip and Brian run out of things to talk about?
  • Odd-couple partnerships have become a thing in retail.
  • Brian can never talk about Amazon, ever.
  • GDPR: Friend or foe to small business?
  • Brian makes a prediction that may change the way we regard the economy.

Big Box Retail Crossover: Odd Couple Edition:

Can Movie Pass Bring Theaters Back From The Dead?

  • Random movie news: Malls are trading the ghosts of retail's past for luxury movie theaters.
  • In an effort to get people to actually go to the movies, Movie Pass is basically trying to be the Netflix for movie theaters.
  • Brian is not all about movies, but find Movie Pass interesting.
  • Phillip brings up a Retail Wire article that questions whether Movie Pass can reveive dying malls?
  • One really interesting data point from the article: 54% of Americans prefer to watch movies at home, with only 13% preferring to go to the theaters.
  • Brian points out that this makes sense: people can have an equitable movie theatre experience at home, especially with the emergence of streaming services like Netflix, and Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
  • Phillip only uses Netflix to watch The Office (and Jessica Jones) which is pretty strange to anyone who has ever binge-watched anything on Netflix (which is basically everyone).
  • Brian calls Phillip old.

Does Anyone Really Understand GDPR?

Could Economic Growth be Different Based on Social Class?

Go over to Futurecommerce.fm and give us your feedback! We love to hear from our listeners!

Retail Tech is moving fast and Future Commerce is moving faster.

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Phillip: [00:01:12] Hello and welcome to Future Commerce, the podcast about cutting edge next generation commerce. I'm Phillip.

Brian: [00:01:17] I'm Brian.

Phillip: [00:01:19] And we have no idea what we're going to talk about today. This is a running gun. Actually, no, I have a few ideas.

Brian: [00:01:26] {laughter} Yeah.

Phillip: [00:01:26] But before we get started, we want to encourage you today. We want you to join our family. And the best way you can do that is to subscribe to our podcast wherever it is you get podcasts. We're on Stitcher. We're on Spotify. You may have heard our audio ads on Spotify. That's a thing we're doing now.Can you believe that?

Brian: [00:01:47] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:01:47] And so if you are new to the podcast, we're glad to have you. You can also listen on any smart speaker device with the phrase "Play Future Commerce podcast." OK. Brian, what's new in your world, my friend?

Brian: [00:02:03] Oh, you know, all kinds of things that I'm not allowed to talk about.

Phillip: [00:02:09] {laughter} If you missed the last episode, Brian is now a member of the Board Collective in that he's joined Amazon.

Brian: [00:02:17] Nothing I say on this podcast reflects the views of my employer. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:02:23] {laughter} Is there a way that we can drop in like just sort of the transformer audio sound like where the Michael Bay transformer just machine crush sound. That's how I imagine Amazon sounds at any given moment.

Brian: [00:02:43] {laughter} You're going back to like Titans of Industry right now. That's what you're doing.

Phillip: [00:02:47] I love that. I love that. No, but for real, we actually we do have a tight time frame today. We also have way more content than we could even talk about. But I kind of want you to kick us off. What's new in your world? What do you got going on? Doing a little bit of travel...

Brian: [00:03:06] Yeah. I mean, let's talk about this for a minute. It's now just a few weeks away, like two weeks away, from Magento Imagine, which I mean... That's a that's a conference that you and I have been going to for years.

Phillip: [00:03:25] Sure.

Brian: [00:03:25] It's how we met. So definitely a lot of nostalgia.

Phillip: [00:03:30] Yeah. For sure.

Brian: [00:03:32] ...to be there, though. And you're emceeing that event, which is super awesome.

Phillip: [00:03:39] Yeah.

Brian: [00:03:39] I think it was the perfect choice. If any one of our listeners wants to see Phillip just having the time of his life and looking awesome, they should come to Magento's Imagine conference coming up here April 23rd through 25th at the Wynn in Las Vegas. It is going to be a good time for sure.

Phillip: [00:04:03] Yeah. Yeah, it will. And Amazon will be there in no small way.

Brian: [00:04:09] That's true.

Phillip: [00:04:10] You guys are going to be...

Brian: [00:04:12] We are a presenting sponsor, as updated on the website. Very excited.

Phillip: [00:04:21] It's now official. Ok. So here's our segue. So you know who are presenting sponsors these days? I love this because we're seeing this in the retail world. Kohls teams up with Aldi and Nordstrom adds Anthropologie Home. Are big box stores or big retailers turning into mini malls? This was an article over in Forbes. And it kind of got my.

Brian: [00:04:51] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:04:55] Sorry, it's a little bit of a delay there. It's like a Shoptalk contributor for Barbara Thow, who basically got my gears turning because this is not the first time we've seen this. I mean, Amazon and Whole Foods... I mean, the list goes on.

Brian: [00:05:12] I wouldn't call it the same thing as that, but definitely Sephora and JC Penny. And there's been one other example. Macy's has done this, I think, to some degree. I think we talked about this with Sucharita back on episode 41?

Phillip: [00:05:37] Yes. Sucharita Kodali, who actually is a keynote speaker at Magento Imagine. We're not being paid by Magento for this. We should actually be paid by Magento for this.

Brian: [00:05:48] That's a really good point. We really should.

Phillip: [00:05:51] If you're listening, guys, cut us a check.

Brian: [00:05:56] Great pick on that keynote...

Phillip: [00:05:57] Oh Lord & Taylor and Walmart. Remember that partnership?

Brian: [00:06:02] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:06:03] Yeah. That's a good one.

Brian: [00:06:04] That's not even an in-store thing. That was like an online thing.

Phillip: [00:06:07] Well, come on. I mean, is there any difference anymore with online and in-store? That's where I'm seeing things. It's like I don't even think that people expect parity with the experience in store anymore. It's like your local store. Sometimes I go to my local Publix here in Florida and they have rotisserie chickens. And if they don't have it, then I go to the other Publix in Florida that does. And that's how retail has become. It's like this store has that, this online experience has this... I don't know. I don't know if that's good, in general, but the partnerships are a thing that I don't know that people are relying on, but it's an experience that potentially is driving people to stores.

Brian: [00:06:50] Yeah, I think also it shows that retail doesn't need as much space as it used to. They are taking up real estate in a big box store, right? The additional stores. And then these additional stores are creating smaller versions of themselves within these big box stores and traditional mall retailers.

Phillip: [00:07:11] Yeah.

Brian: [00:07:11] And so I think it definitely points to the way we're moving, which is, you know, one of your predictions from episode 55 for 2018. The flagship store is changing. That is one of my favorite predictions that you made. And it's just stores in general are changing. Nordstrom is a great leader in this, I think, with their tests store in Hollywood. And you know, this is just another example of how they're thinking differently about space. It's just we can do things differently despite the fact that we've done things basically the same way for a long time. So super cool. I'm glad that it's happening. I think that this is a good opportunity for retailers to do cross-promotion, to do partnership. In fact, I would almost argue that it's necessary. Retailers can now be frenemies. Anthropology is... Their clothing is fairly competitive with Nordstrom's offering. Right?

Phillip: [00:08:29] Right.

Brian: [00:08:29] But it's got such a distinct to look and such a distinct feel to the brand. It's not at all a problem for them to have a store in Nordstrom because 1) I'm sure Nordstrom is taking a cut. So Nordstrom wins. And 2) Anthropologie is... It's not like it's taking away from Nordstrom's brand, even if it would have been competitive if it was not in that store.

Phillip: [00:08:59] I mean, if it had at any point in time, it's already happened. Right?

Brian: [00:09:04] Right.

Phillip: [00:09:04] So at this point, there's no clawing back. We might as well all try to share each others success going forward. I wonder what kind of data... These interesting sort of strategic partnerships, they have to be backed up by some data. And I have to wonder how you determine that this is a potentially profitable venture for both of these brands. My sense is that the person who shops in Anthropologie probably isn't a Nordstrom customer, in general.

Brian: [00:09:46] Really? I don't think so, man.

Phillip: [00:09:48] That's how I see it. I think that. Okay. Let me put it this way. The people that I know that shop in Anthropologie are of a younger demographic who have a certain sort of taste that that appeals to. And she's the kind of shopper who probably doesn't find her way into a mall very often either.

Brian: [00:10:08] Yeah. You got a little... Well, I don't know about that.

Phillip: [00:10:13] But I mean, all of the Anthropologies around me.. Again, this could be regional. All the Anthropologies around me and the ones in New York that I've seen are standalone or disconnected from other retail, or they're in what is a nontraditional mall. It's more of a market or an outdoor market. It's not a traditional shopping mall, enclosed space with recirculated air, I guess that's the thing I'm trying to say.

Brian: [00:10:40] Yeah, I might have a little bit of a bias on this because Nordstrom is based in Seattle, and pretty much everyone in Seattle shops at Nordstrom that has the means to do it.

Phillip: [00:10:48] That's got to change the way that you think about things as well. And being in Palm Beach and Worth Avenue, you know, sort of the boutique sort of thing probably changes my perspective as well. I'd like to hear what our listeners think. A lot of smart people that listen, we're not retailing analysts technically, but I'd love to hear what other people think. It actually makes me think of something else. I know that we're kind of blowing through this, and we could probably spend the whole show just talking about that. But the prevalence of, since I was talking about shopping malls, it reminded me of how many shopping malls are getting full on 20 screen movie theaters to sort of take up the old flagship retail space.

Brian: [00:11:30] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:11:32] And I started thinking, it reminded me about AMC's movie pass that's like $7 a month. It's Netflix for going to the movies.

Brian: [00:11:41] It's super cool. I love it.

Phillip: [00:11:44] That blows my mind and it changes my whole outlook on not just moviegoing in general, but the idea that it might drive me into a theater, which I probably wouldn't have gone to otherwise.

Brian: [00:12:00] One hundred percent. I mean, I have young children. I don't go to the movies very often. Also, I feel like the movie theater experience is cool. But now everyone has large screen TVs and the desire to go somewhere and sit with strangers and eat junk food while in a dark room... I don't know, man. I think a lot of people are happy to sit at home on the couch. So this is a really good subscription model force for an industry that needs a little bit of a shot in the arm, although actually maybe it doesn't. I don't know. We don't have data on this. Maybe movie attendance is actually up. That's a really good question. But regardless, I like the model. I think it's cool now. Now teens don't have to try and go in to the movie theater and just stay there and catch two movies at one time. They can feel good about it. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:13:02] Yeah, no joke especially. Yeah. Because that's the demographic that's gonna hang out and go to a movie, you know, all the time.

Brian: [00:13:08] Every day.

Phillip: [00:13:09] There's definitely an economy there, as a parent like I might absolutely opt in to some subscription service at some point. I do that anyway for a lot of things. So there's a great article on this of how AMC or others could make moviepass equitable. And yeah, if you check it out, it's on RetailWire.com. Tom Ryan actually has a great write up on it and basically likens it to a gym membership. So yeah, you'll use the service heavily when you sign up. It'll taper off over time. You'll probably only use it for certain types of movies or shows that you really want to see eventually, but you'll continue the subscription. One interesting data point that you kind of just called out, which is most people, 54% of Americans prefer to watch movies at home and only 13% say that they prefer to go to the theater to watch a movie. So, yeah, screens at home are better and you know, not having people texting in front of you when you could be texting yourself. {laughter}

Brian: [00:14:20] I saw a sixty five inch screen TV go on sale the other day for like, I kid you not...

Phillip: [00:14:28] Was it at Costco?

Brian: [00:14:29] I don't know. I don't think was Costco. It was sub five hundred dollars.

Phillip: [00:14:33] That's just ridiculous.

Brian: [00:14:35] Yeah. This is all to say you can have a movie theater experience at home. If one of my friends, as a kid, had a sixty five inch television, everyone would have been at that person's house every single day. Now, if you have a 65 inch television you're kind of just a normal...

Phillip: [00:14:56] Yeah, it's small. You're a total normy. Yeah, I find that just really, really... I don't know. That's fascinating how much it's changed. And we have infinite selection at our fingertips, and we still only watch, you know, three channels. Like I was remarking the other day... I forget how much is Netflix even? I've had a Netflix subscription for over ten years. I don't even know what I pay for it.

Brian: [00:15:21] It's like ten bucks a month of something.

Phillip: [00:15:23] Twelve bucks or something. Yeah. So what do we watch on Netflix? This is an interesting sort of thought experiment. I thought about it. I went to the recently viewed, and it went something like this. The Office. That's it. That's all...

Brian: [00:15:42] You're at outlier, man.

Phillip: [00:15:45] I don't know.

Brian: [00:15:45] Everyone is binging everything.

Phillip: [00:15:47] I don't know about that. I watched Jessica Jones Season 2. That was the last thing that was newish that we've watched. Before that, you know, it was like some random documentary that's only on Netflix. And then, you know, mostly just The Office, Parks and Rec... It's like reruns of sitcoms that aren't on TV anymore. 30 Rock. That's what we do. That's what we watch.

Brian: [00:16:09] I'm pretty sure that you're an outlier.

Phillip: [00:16:13] I know that original programming's big. I know it is.

Brian: [00:16:15] Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:18] I'm not watching it though.

Brian: [00:16:18] Yeah, that's just you.

Phillip: [00:16:19] I feel like there are other people like me. All right. Someone out there if you're listening to Future Commerce, and you're like me...

Brian: [00:16:25] You got old before people were doing binging.

Phillip: [00:16:29] You know, I know I'm old, but you don't need to rub it in my face, Brian. Yeah, it's interesting. There's only a few years between you and I. But it might as well be a chasm. {laughter}

Brian: [00:16:42] {laughter} Yeah. We've talked about this before. Actually, I'm quite passionate about that subject.

Phillip: [00:16:47] Yeah. And you don't like to be labeled...

Brian: [00:16:49] Micro generations, if you will.

Phillip: [00:16:51] Yeah. Exactly. Micro generations. Oh, let's see. What else are we going? Oh, we got a lot of interesting feedback about our take on GDPR in our last episode. A lot of sort of uptake. I'm noticing a lot of messaging, especially from the e-commerce platforms. I railed on them a little bit in our last episode. But seeing a lot of e-commerce platforms like coming out with some, you know, very comprehensive guidelines and some sort of ecosystem requirements for a marketplace and for app stores to comply with GDPR. So a lot of movement happening on the GDPR compliance front since our last episode, which was only a week ago, but which at this point in time might as well just be like, you know, 10 years. It's moving so quickly. And we're coming up on the deadline. We're a little over a month away.

Brian: [00:17:47] That's mind-blowing, and I doubt we'll see like an immediate action, but it will happen. I think there will be an action at some point where they can really you know, they'll probably make an example of a company to really like scare everyone else.

Phillip: [00:18:06] That's bound to happen. It's interesting because this goes right in hand with what we were just talking about, maybe this is the small store episode or something like that. I don't know how to frame this. Or our stores within stores episode. Because this gets me thinking about how is it fair for... The compliance requirements of GDPR are so onerous that only large companies really can do it to the spirit of the law, while complying with the letter of the law.

Brian: [00:20:26] To the letter of the law or to the spirit of the law?

Phillip: [00:20:28] Well it's both of it, I think that the letter of the law.. They're two different things, if you ask me. But you know, some of the e-commerce platforms I've seen that put out some guidelines are really only complying to the spirit of the law, or to the letter of the law in that they haven't given the end users the power that they need in the platform to get things like data. Like if you were to go and download your Facebook data, e-commerce platforms should be doing that. They should also give you the ability to terminate your own account and successfully terminate your account. And what a lot of platforms are saying is that, well, you really have a 30 day window to comply. And so what you need is really just a request forms from your CRM tool for someone to manually put that together. And that takes all of the onus off of the e-commerce platform, or from the third party providers in the e-commerce ecosystem, and puts all of the onus on the business owner, which sucks. And again, not something I think a small business is going to be able to shoulder going forward, but at the same time, and I'm shifting gears a little bit... I know you probably have something to say about that. But I want to link it to another thought. We have big retailers that are launching small stores in an effort to appeal to a different kind of customer and a different kind of retail brick and mortar footprint strategy too. For instance, Target is making some waves by launching some really tiny stores such as one they put up in, I think, Brooklyn recently. I'll have to find an article about it. But it's like the big retailers are starting to play small as well. And the small retailers are being faced with challenges with compliance, especially if they're doing any business in you. So anyway, I found this a really fascinating time to be a small business owner.

Brian: [00:22:30] Retail renaissance.

Phillip: [00:22:32] It cannot be easy right now. That's for sure. .

Brian: [00:22:38] Yeah that's very true.

Phillip: [00:22:38] What's your take on it?

Brian: [00:22:40] My take is, I'm a little bit of a wait and see to see how this actually plays out. It's not that I don't have an opinion. I kind of want to see what happens with GDPR before... I don't really have a good prediction on it, I guess is what I'm saying. Regarding small and large business, I agree with you. I think this is going to be easier for big businesses than it is for small businesses. But I don't really know how this is going to affect small businesses yet.

Phillip: [00:23:04] I'm sorry. So what I was trying to say... It was sort of a retroactive comment...

Brian: [00:23:08] Oh.

Phillip: [00:23:08] ...is that I anticipate what your take would be based on whether the law should even be...

Brian: [00:23:16] Oh are you saying I'm a libertarian? I'm not a libertarian. Get out of here.

Phillip: [00:23:19] Sure you are. But no, I'm saying I feel like your take would have been that the law shouldn't even exist in the first place, because...

Brian: [00:23:25] No, I don't think that.

Phillip: [00:23:25] Because who needs the government to tell us how to control privacy and regulate users data.

Brian: [00:23:35] No, that's not what I think.

Phillip: [00:23:38] Oh. Well tell me then.

Brian: [00:23:38] I do think there's a place for government in all of this. One hundred percent. I don't want to get too political on this particular episode at least, but I think there is a role for government in ensuring that businesses aren't taking unfair advantage of their customers. And basically right now I think that, in our current state, there's so little transparency that I think we have things like the Facebook Cambridge Analytica thing going on. And so there is an opportunity for government here to help protect its citizens from practices that are really exploitive of consumers. So, yeah, absolutely there is a role for government here. I just don't know how this is going to play out in terms of how it affects small businesses. I think it will be a bit of a burden. But let's just see how they respond. It's hard to predict how it's going to affect them.

Phillip: [00:24:57] Do you see an opportunity for a secondary or a new set of technologies that will help assist small businesses that...

Brian: [00:25:12] One hundred percent.

Phillip: [00:25:12] Ideally the thing that comes up... It's interesting because Alan Kent, who's a developer advocate at Google now, but we know him from his former role at...

Brian: [00:25:23] Magento.

Phillip: [00:25:23] Again at Magento. Cut us the check, Magento. Just do it. He's been listening back through older episodes of our show, and he mentioned that on episode three or four I said that I felt like some sort of a federated or widely available identity management capability for consumers is about 10 years out. And he seems to think GDPR is the herald of it. You know, only having been two years away. What's your take? Would this all be easier if we just had a centralized way like a Facebook, but for identity management?

Brian: [00:26:04] Yeah. That was one of my predictions in episode 55, which was that we're going to have the ability to have... We're gonna see more single sign on type scenarios. And so I definitely think that's true. It's still gonna be a little bit before it really takes hold. I don't think it's gonna be eight years away. I think it's gonna be just a couple years away before we'll be able to really, really have a lot more control over where our data is and and how it's being used, obviously, outside of the black market.

Phillip: [00:26:44] Do you think that we'd see the value? Because this is the problem when a product is free, you're the product, right? So our data is the product.

Brian: [00:26:54] Yeah for sure. No, no, I've been thinking about this a lot. We're going to see a lot of like "freemium." You're going to be giving your data away, and you're gonna know it. You going to know exactly what it is. And it's like, "OK, you want to keep using our product? You have to opt into certain things." And that's true right now. But it's not as explicit as it should be. And it's not clear what pieces of data you're giving away. That's the biggest thing is it's really not clear what data you're giving away.

Phillip: [00:27:23] Yeah, but don't you think that the mountain of data that they're collecting... Now, we are deep in this.

Brian: [00:27:30] It's too late. You're saying we can't go backwards.

Phillip: [00:27:35] Yeah. I mean, the cows are out of the barn or whatever the idiom is.

Brian: [00:27:39] Yeah but people's data changes. That's another thing.

Phillip: [00:27:43] It does change. Yes, I agree with that. But even if you were to have access to it, let's say that you did, wouldn't a mountain of data look basically start looking like the apple terms and conditions? You're just going to accept it. You're not going to dig in to see every little piece of it. You know, you'll be outraged by a headline here and there. And then one day you'll just accept it because it's a barrier. Your acceptance of that is a barrier to do something else you want to do.

Brian: [00:28:10] Yeah I read an article about that exact thing. Yeah. I think that's true. Some people will. There's no doubt about it. People are going to give away their data, so they can do stuff that they wouldn't be able to do. Savvy consumers are going to be a lot more careful. And I've railed on this last episode. I railed on this one episode 55. I think that businesses are going to find ways of providing more and more value, so that you will give away more data, which again, I think if it's in a controlled environment, "Oh, yeah. I'm totally fine with you giving my data to my favorite restaurant because I'll get additional discounts or coupons because you guys have a partnership. I'm totally fine with that." Am I cool with you giving my data away to that restaurant's competitor that I don't really like? No, I'm not cool with that. And so I think it's going to get down to offers and specific, you know, get really specific about what pieces of data are being used, who's using it, and why. And you're going to... People have been signing up for giveaways for a long time and willing to give out their information to be entered into a drawing. That's nothing new.

Phillip: [00:29:30] Yeah.

Brian: [00:29:30] We've been doing a data collection before the Internet. But usually there's some sort of offer incentive to give away that data. And it's also very clear what data you're giving away.

Phillip: [00:29:44] Well. So that's what I'm saying. I kind of mentioned this a second ago, but Sheryl Sandberg had mentioned that if users wanted to opt out and this is an interview that's actually dropping today with NBC as she makes a press tour... The never stop, never stopping press tour, by Sheryl Sandberg. Her take is that to opt out of advertising and any sort of data collection at the highest level would be a paid product to Facebook.

Brian: [00:30:21] Yes.

Phillip: [00:30:21] And I wonder how many people would actually pay for that. You'll have long term holdouts. And I'm a good example of this. I'm a six, seven year hold out of Spotify, and I'm now on Spotify.

Brian: [00:30:31] Right.

Phillip: [00:30:33] And so you will have people like me who have an ideological problem but will still pay for a service. And that's where it will eventually wind up. And I think we'll see, yes, your prediction of an identity management platform that is as ubiquitous as a social media platform, whether they become one in the same, I guess we'll see what the free market...

Brian: [00:30:58] I doubt it, but there might be some of that. But yeah, it might not be one single identity management platform. You might have a few. You'll probably have... You've got your Apple ID, you've got your Amazon ID. You've got your Facebook ID. So there'll be a few big players that you're going to use to manage your identity throughout the Web.

Phillip: [00:31:18] Why can't the U.S. government just give this to us and and just tattoo it on our four heads, and just call it the mark of the beast and be done with it?

Brian: [00:31:25] And then you just went to the next level. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:31:29] Yeah. Let's just get it over with. That's kind of where I'm at right now.

Brian: [00:31:35] Dude. Ok. So I have an idea. Maybe I should introduce it on the show.

Phillip: [00:31:39] No, please introduce it on the show. This is all I've ever wants to do.

Brian: [00:31:42] All right. Awesome. This is our big half baked idea of the day. Right?

Phillip: [00:31:45] I love it.

Brian: [00:31:47] All right. So I've been reading the Atlantic a lot lately. I'm a huge fan, by the way. I just need to come out and say it now.I am a true, like I read the Atlantic a lot.

Phillip: [00:32:00] As a libertarian I wouldn't have expected that. But no, I'm kidding. It's so fun.

Brian: [00:32:06] Oh my gosh.

Phillip: [00:32:06] Carry on. Yes. So the Atlantic.. Wasn't there a whole hubub about them hiring a writer recently or something in effect? There was... That's a whole separate.

Brian: [00:32:15] There was. They hired a writer and then immediately fired him when they realized that he wasn't joking when he said certain things.

Phillip: [00:32:22] Right. Yeah.

Brian: [00:32:25] I've been reading a lot of articles on poverty, and not all of them come from the Atlantic, but financial situations like, for instance, this wasn't from the Atlantic, but I was reading about how we're at a high right now for people not being able to make, or just refusing to make, payments on mobile homes.

Phillip: [00:32:45] Oh I saw this. Oh, my gosh. Yes.

Brian: [00:32:47] Yeah. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:32:47] It's a leading indicator of economic depression.

Brian: [00:32:49] Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. So here's actually kind of what I've been thinking about. And I haven't done any searching on Google or wherever to see if this idea already is out there. And I'm sure that it is. Or if it isn't, this is just me and my basic understanding of economics. But I can't help but wonder if we've been in a period of inflation for the past couple of years.

Phillip: [00:33:14] Yeah. This is good. Yeah. Give us some context to this. This is very good.

Brian: [00:33:18] Yeah. So I'm wondering if our leading indicators and our trailing indicators of inflation have been a little bit flip flopped. We're at an all time high for the stock market. We're also at all time high for people not being able to make payments on their... I shouldn't say, "all time high." I'm not sure if it's an all time high or just a recent high on mobile homes. The middle class and the lower classes have been experiencing things differently than the upper classes. And what I'm getting out here is we've seen some unprecedented economic growth recently. Right? But what if our money is actually worth a little bit less than we think it is? How are we measuring inflation? Are we measuring it relative to buying power or to worldwide currency? And how do we know when our money is inflated? And I think there's obviously a lot of economic debate about this, but there's no doubt we've had economic growth. There's no doubt we've seen all time highs on the stock market. But if our money is worth less, maybe the growth isn't quite as unprecedented as we've been thinking it is. We had so much unemployment at one point and we're finally starting to come up to kind of the reverse problem where we're having trouble finding workers. But wages still haven't really risen in many ways for the lower classes. And I think it's because we may have gotten so used to being able to have cheap labor that there was no reason to raise labor rates. So essentially the thing that sort of indicated that we had inflation, which was wage increases across the board. People are getting paid more. Things cost more. All of the above. Those types of scenarios. McDonald's prices are rising. We've been looking at the dollar menu and saying, "Oh, well, we still have a dollar menu." Well, actually, let's get a little bit further into that data. Is the dollar menu still the dollar menu that it was once before? Are people still able to purchase the types of things that they're able to purchase before? You could definitely argue that. You know, I would argue that no, we haven't. That I think the final data point of inflation now is wages at a lower class level. I mean, this is why the city of Seattle passed the $15 an hour minimum wage because it jumped significantly. It was like a $4 jump or more or something like that when they passed that.

Phillip: [00:35:33] Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Brian: [00:35:33] What we're seeing here is wages were the last thing to come up. And that is why we're seeing the type of struggles that we are. That's the general idea. It's super half baked. I would love to hear what other people think about where we're at with inflation right now and how that's affecting the economy. Obviously very tangential to our normal topics.

Phillip: [00:35:52] Let me try to scale it back, because I think I understand what you're saying. We potentially have some fundamental economic indicators that we usually measure as the basis for inflation. But for whatever reason, either lifestyles or technology or something has changed that there are additional indicators for a certain class groups which might put them in a position of lower buying power than other class groups.

Brian: [00:36:20] Right.

Phillip: [00:36:20] And so, we have unchecked inflation in certain areas or certain people groups because we're not tracking. It could be US monetary policy. There could be something that could be done to either track or adjust for this. And we don't know that it's even happening because we're not watching the right things.

Brian: [00:36:39] Right. We're not watching the right things. It's happening in different places. So like buying power in one class is not the same as it is in another class. And then also our standard for living. We know certain things cause cancer. We know certain things are bad for your body now that we didn't use to know.

Phillip: [00:36:55] If you live in California, everything causes cancer. But yes.

Brian: [00:36:59] That's a good point. But my point is our standard of how we live has changed. And you're almost looked down on if you participate in things that we know are not good for you but are cheap. So it's another opportunity for classism, if you will. And so the middle class is actually feeling an additional burden. I mean, I think the lower class, too. That's another reason why people are feeling and are so poor because they do want to buy up. They do want to be healthy. They do want to make good choices with their lives. It's a lot harder to do that, way harder to do that, than it was before. So anyway, definitely a half baked idea, certainly rambling for a minute or two there. And I know we're out of time, so maybe we can come back and revisit this in a future episode when I have it a little bit more together and have written it out a little bit further.

Phillip: [00:37:53] That's great. I'm looking forward to hearing more about that. And we want to hear what you have to say. Maybe you could lend your voice to this interesting topic. You can do that at FutureCommerce.fm. We also want you to go over to Apple podcasts and leave us a five star, like and subscribe there. We're on social. We're everywhere that you are listening to podcasts of any kind. So that's on any smart speaker device. We're also on Stitcher, and we are on Spotify. I am reluctantly on Spotify now these days. That's a whole separate story, too.

Brian: [00:38:26] Wait, wait, wait. Before we close out.

Phillip: [00:38:27] Yeah.

Brian: [00:38:28] I forgot to say there was a phrase that I wanted that sort of put out there about that last thought that I forgot to do.

Phillip: [00:38:34] Ok.

Brian: [00:38:34] And I got to call it an "inflation deficit" where essentially we've gone into the red on inflation. It didn't happen for so long that now we're catching up. But I wouldn't call it runaway, what I would call it a period of heightened inflation.

Phillip: [00:38:49] You tend to have these... You have a sixth sense about certain things. And then seven or eight months from now, we'll look back and realize that's exactly what you were talking about. So I no longer can sit here and debate you on these things, I just I'm gonna watch it happen.

Brian: [00:39:07] {laughter} No. You need to debate me, so you can poke holes in what I'm saying.

Phillip: [00:39:11] Well, I'll just call you libertarian, and then...

Brian: [00:39:15] I am not a libertarian. There's a debate point.

Phillip: [00:39:17] I love it. That's the show title.

Brian: [00:39:19] Retail tech is moving fast...

Phillip: [00:39:21] And Future Commerce is moving faster. Wow. If you made it through this episode, you deserve a cookie.

Brian: [00:39:25] You really do.

Phillip: [00:39:26] Alright, we'll see you.

Brian: [00:39:26] Bye.

Phillip: [00:39:26] Bye.