Episode 247
April 6, 2022

“Metaverse is Just the Internet Now”

Phillip and Brian are live from ShopTalk 2022, sitting down with Ingrid to discuss what's ahead, where they think the metaverse is going, and how curation is key. Listen now!

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this episode sponsored by

Come At Me PacSun

  • Everything and everyone is all about the metaverse right now. Brian is starting to think that the “metaverse is just the internet now.” Maybe it is, hence why some think NFTs, crypto, and bitcoin are part of the metaverse as well. 
  • When we think about DTC we have to remember what the entailed vision was: “to disrupt the existing industry or category with a product that is equal to or better than the existing products that are available and make them more affordable and get them to you quicker.” -Ingrid
  • Everyone is capable of doing everything because there is an audience
  • “Crypto bros are basically just this generation's example of extreme couponers.” -Phillip
  • A company-curated around being highly curated and centered around good company culture, and innovation will beat out money every single time.
  • “The biggest opportunity in this current market is right now, everything that is going to be worth anything is entirely based on curation.” - Ingrid

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Phillip: [00:01:06] Hello [00:01:00] and welcome to Future Commerce.

Ingrid: [00:01:08] And Infinite Shelf.

Phillip: [00:01:10] And we are live. Brian, you are here.

Brian: [00:01:13] I'm here.

Phillip: [00:01:14] So just making sure that you get your voice in.

Brian: [00:01:15] Oh I'm here. My voice is in. I'm live at Shoptalk. [00:01:20]

Phillip: [00:01:20] Ingrid, this is our first time doing an in-person podcast together.

Ingrid: [00:01:23] Nope.

Phillip: [00:01:24] Is it not?

Ingrid: [00:01:27] False.

Brian: [00:01:27] eTail West.

Ingrid: [00:01:28] NRF.

Brian: [00:01:29] NRF.

Ingrid: [00:01:29] Right before the pandemic.

Phillip: [00:01:29] That is true. We did have an episode before. You're right.

Ingrid: [00:01:33] Live at NRF.

Phillip: [00:01:34] And I believe it was heavy on monoculture.

Ingrid: [00:01:36] I actually... The most embarrassing thing about that, aside from the fact that you [00:01:40] completely forgot about it, is that I was also wearing a denim jumpsuit. Not the same one that I'm wearing right now.

Phillip: [00:01:49] Oh, my gosh.

Ingrid: [00:01:50] But apparently, I have a thing.

Brian: [00:01:51] You remember what you were wearing?

Ingrid: [00:01:52] Of course I do.

Phillip: [00:01:52] There's a picture of it.

Ingrid: [00:01:53] Yeah, there's a picture.

Phillip: [00:01:54] There's a picture of the three of us.

Ingrid: [00:01:55] Yep.

Brian: [00:01:56] I can't remember what I was wearing.

Ingrid: [00:01:56] So shout out to denim jumpsuits. Apparently, my thing for conferences. [00:02:00]

Phillip: [00:02:00] This is... {laughter} It's the Canadian Conference tuxedo. Okay. We all just arrived at Shoptalk, so we can't pretend like we know what's happening at Shoptalk. Nothing's happened yet, as far as we're concerned. Although it is day two of the show.

Brian: [00:02:16] It is.

Phillip: [00:02:17] I thought maybe we could talk a little bit about the things we're anticipating. [00:02:20] And right off the bat...

Brian: [00:02:21] I mean, immediately upon opening the app.

Ingrid: [00:02:24] Metaverse explosion.

Phillip: [00:02:25] Everything is Metaverse.

Brian: [00:02:26] Metaverse, Metaverse, Metaverse.

Phillip: [00:02:29] Which tells you how over the Metaverse is.

Brian: [00:02:32] This is like when omnichannel appeared everywhere.

Phillip: [00:02:35] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:02:35] Oh, I know.

Brian: [00:02:36] It just. Yeah. Is the Metaverse literally just the internet [00:02:40] now? Like, it's just like anything related to the Internet.

Phillip: [00:02:42] It's not. Not it's not even. No.

Brian: [00:02:44] Oh, I know, I know, I know, I know. I'm just saying.

Ingrid: [00:02:47] We had an argument about this over dinner last night.

Phillip: [00:02:49] Oh, you had a dinner argument.

Ingrid: [00:02:49] Everyone's had a dinner argument.

Phillip: [00:02:49] We just had a dinner argument in Seattle not so long ago.

Brian: [00:02:58] Not so long ago.

Ingrid: [00:02:58] Well, I thought we had  [00:03:00]an argument about NFTs, which I do think is an interesting thing to go into. But the argument that Brian and I were mostly participating in, I don't even think we were like arguing.

Brian: [00:03:10] It wasn't really an argument.

Ingrid: [00:03:11] Yeah, it was a discussion. Like someone that we were at the dinner with was like, "eff the Metaverse. I hate the Metaverse."

Phillip: [00:03:18] Tony? Is that Tony?

Brian: [00:03:19] I mean, no, [00:03:20] Tony chimed in afterward. But yeah.

Phillip: [00:03:22] Can we call the person out?

Ingrid: [00:03:25] It's unimportant.

Brian: [00:03:26] I won't call him out.

Phillip: [00:03:27] Okay. It doesn't matter.

Ingrid: [00:03:28] His stance was, basically, "Because I don't see myself participating in the Metaverse, I am going to just go ahead and say that the Metaverse is useless and [00:03:40] not important." And also it was interesting because he kind of added a bunch of other things in the Metaverse. He's like, "Crypto, Bitcoin, NFTs. It's all just BS." And I was just like, "There are a lot of things that are very, very distinct about all of those elements [00:04:00] that don't have anything to do with a) your individual perception of whether the Metaverse is a thing or not, and then the best part about all of this is he wrapped it up in this beautiful bow where he was just like, "Yeah, I mean, I game all the time. I do like Fortnite, but I'm not like in the Metaverse."

Phillip: [00:04:16] {laughter} Listen...

Brian: [00:04:17] He's totally listening to this right now.

Phillip: [00:04:18] I understand and I sense all [00:04:20] of his exhaustion because there's just too much hype around it.

Brian: [00:04:24] That's why I said the Metaverse is just the Internet now. Like basically anyone that can rap the word Metaverse in because they do something on the internet... Like that's what's happening. That's what's happening.

Phillip: [00:04:33] There's an interesting story that just came out. There is an actual [00:04:40]... There have been multiple high-profile sting operations now recently around crypto and money laundering. And there's been a lot of conversation about like, "Do we need new IP laws? Do we need new laws to pursue..."

Ingrid: [00:04:56] Yes. The answer is yes.

Phillip: [00:04:57] But what's interesting is they're finding new applications [00:05:00] for old laws to pursue people that are bad actors in crypto and NFT projects in particular. So there was a project that came out. I'll try to reference it as I'm sitting here speaking. But there was a project that came out that raised over $1,000,000 in ETH. [00:05:20] They dropped an NFT, promised all of this utility on their marketing website, and then as soon as the drop ended, they shut down the discord, deleted the Twitter, the rug pulled, and basically said, "Screw you guys, we're taking the money and running." And the feds found the person.

Ingrid: [00:05:36] Awesome.

Phillip: [00:05:37] And arrested them. And it [00:05:40] turns out... You know what's funny is this just happened to me. The Ukraine basically said, "Hey, in an effort to raise some money," instead of issuing a bond like you have in years past... The government did war bonds and prior generations. [00:06:00] "We're going to issue a token."

Ingrid: [00:06:02] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:06:02] "Send your donations to this address and then a snapshot will be taken. And then we will issue a token to all people who participated." And 48 hours later, they're like, "Nah, never mind everybody."

Ingrid: [00:06:15] "Just kidding."

Phillip: [00:06:16] "Just kidding."

Ingrid: [00:06:16] So awful.

Phillip: [00:06:16] And it's funny because had that happened in the United States, that might have been able [00:06:20] to be pursued through this now legal precedent that we can actually sue people for making false promises and claims of utility for wire fraud, specifically for wire fraud. So it's an interesting moment that we all live in. No one's mad. I'm not mad that I sent $500 to Ukraine to aid the war effort, although I thought I was getting [00:06:40] a token out of it. But it doesn't really matter.

Ingrid: [00:06:42] The money did go to where it needed to go.

Phillip: [00:06:44] That's right. It goes where it needs to go.

Ingrid: [00:06:45] That's most important.

Brian: [00:06:46] I mean, it sounded more legit than this session by PacSun and the Metaverse. But that sounds like a...

Phillip: [00:06:54] Which is the thing that's happening here right now, as we speak.

Brian: [00:06:56] That's really mean. It's probably really good. It literally is the talk that's happening as we podcast [00:07:00].

Phillip: [00:07:00] Can we talk about which like sun and surf brand could do a Metaverse and would it be PacSun?

Brian: [00:07:06] I mean, I don't want to be too hard on PacSun here, but this doesn't feel like...

Phillip: [00:07:14] Zumiez? Is Zumiez?

Brian: [00:07:15] Zumiez seems like they might be able to pull something off. The Zumiez brand is actually impressive. [00:07:20]

Ingrid: [00:07:20] Yeah.

Brian: [00:07:21] What they were able to do.

Phillip: [00:07:21] Is that because it's a {gasp} Seattle company?

Brian: [00:07:23] Yeah, it is. It sure is.

Phillip: [00:07:27] You're so predictable. It's freaking ridiculous. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:07:29] But also they're not... They, I think, are also not limited to beach and sun.  [00:07:40]

Brian: [00:07:40] Right.

Ingrid: [00:07:40] They're kind of just a young, active lifestyle.

Brian: [00:07:42] It's cool.

Ingrid: [00:07:42] Street, skater kind of vines.

Phillip: [00:07:46] It's true. It's true. They're not limited. But I think [00:07:49] this idea of the promise of some future utility is something that's falling apart in the direct to consumer space right now. [00:07:57]

Ingrid: [00:07:57]  [00:07:57]Yeah.  [00:07:58]

Phillip: [00:07:58]  [00:07:58]We are seeing that [00:08:00] after ten years, a lot of people have lost faith that you can value a company on future free cash flow and that it hasn't worked out in the real world where we're shipping real product that people really want, that people are wearing the freakin shoes everywhere. People are looking through Warby Parker glasses every day and they're living [00:08:20] in their Allbirds every day. And these companies still somehow just cannot convince public shareholders that they're worthwhile without massive brick and mortar expansion. [00:08:29]

Brian: [00:08:29] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:08:29] So, Ingrid, I'm curious, could I mean, we just moved all of the people that I follow on Twitter that were direct to consumer hype evangelists [00:08:40] are now NFT and crypto evangelists.

Ingrid: [00:08:43] Totally.

Phillip: [00:08:44] And it makes me just curious as to the durability of... Do you see a warranted amount of space on this agenda for Shoptalk, for this place we are in the cycle of Metaverse?

Ingrid: [00:08:59] Yeah, well, that's [00:09:00] a very layered question, so I'm going to try and break it down.

Phillip: [00:09:02] I learned from Brian Lange how to ask a 16 sided question.

Brian: [00:09:04] Yeah, I rubbed off on you.

Ingrid: [00:09:07] Point 1.2 Of your question... So the first thing is I'm you're probably very tired of me doing this, but I really think it's important to break everything down to its fundamentals.

Phillip: [00:09:18] Yeah. Please.

Ingrid: [00:09:19] So [00:09:20] [00:09:20] when we define DTC, we have to think about what the initial vision was and that was to disrupt the existing industry or category with a product that is equal to or better than the existing products that are available and make [00:09:40] them more affordable and get them to you quicker. And then mostly there's been like a halo effect of, "Well, that means that you have to create brand notoriety and you have to create a brand that people can connect with and feel like they can be a part of, and it sort of becomes their identity." [00:09:58] When I whip out my [00:10:00] Warby Parker glasses case that says something about who I am. If I'm wearing Allbirds, which you know that someone has hijacked my body if I'm wearing Allbirds.

Brian: [00:10:13] This is a "They printed your conference pass."

Ingrid: [00:10:14] Yeah. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:10:18] There's a viral thing, Ingrid, that was "If [00:10:20] you have been taken hostage and you can only in one tweet signal that you needed help, what would it be?"

Ingrid: [00:10:28] Ingrid's wearing Allbirds. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:10:36] We lost everybody now. We've offended everybody that ever listens to the show.

Ingrid: [00:10:39] Sorry, Allbirds. Shout out to the [00:10:40] Tech Bros United.

Phillip: [00:10:41] It's true.

Brian: [00:10:41] We've insulted PacSun. Allbirds. Really similar brands.

Ingrid: [00:10:46] I think PacSun does a great job. Just to be clear. Shout out to PacSun. They're doing great. Metaverse/PacSun. We should talk about that. But in private.

Phillip: [00:10:54] Okay, okay, okay.

Ingrid: [00:10:56] So okay. So then I think the iteration of your question is [00:11:00] like, "How does that exist within the Metaverse, right? Is there a future for DTC brands within the Metaverse?" So I think that [00:11:06] if brands and companies, in general, are following the principles that were sort of created around why DTC brands came in and were able to be as powerful and meaningful and culture building as they [00:11:20] were then, I think you can apply those same principles in the Metaverse, right? I just think that there's so much noise and confusion and convolution and different reasons for entering into the Metaverse that are distractions from having that [00:11:40] pure DTC disruptive experience within the Metaverse or within the physical world, just to be clear, that it's harder and harder. People are not as able to see that through. And so I think if you're finally able to like peel back the layers of the onion and like actually think about what you're serving and why you're there [00:12:00] and whether it's in physical or the Metaverse, then I think that there's a place for you. [00:12:05]

Phillip: [00:12:05] I mean, I guess what I hear you saying is... Freaking Brian has... You've ruined my brain. I have a podcast now.

Brian: [00:12:14] {laughter} I have. On every level.

Phillip: [00:12:15] That is a Brianism. [00:12:19] Anyone is capable [00:12:20] of doing anything because there's an audience ostensibly for everything, especially if you have enough time in the market. So really, you just have to kind of, to coin a phrase, you have to be "default alive" and having poor unit economics and being heavily dependent on outside capital  [00:12:40]just to exist is not a great place to be so that you can have longevity in the market. [00:12:45]

Ingrid: [00:12:45] Yeah. And unit economics is a complicated thing in and of itself because of Amazon.

Phillip: [00:12:50] Yes.

Ingrid: [00:12:51] And the expectations that Amazon has created. And so the unit economics of me having to ship something within the same time, using the same [00:13:00] framework, basically that Amazon has been a been able to invest in becomes really challenging. So that's a big part of the unit economics not working.

Brian: [00:13:08] This is why I'm more excited about Kroger than I am about a lot of other brands right now.

Phillip: [00:13:13] Well, explain.

Brian: [00:13:16] Because I actually think Kroger is doing an incredible [00:13:20] job of working with brands that would have maybe been DTC or are DTC but are looking at new distribution strategies. And Kroger is doing a really good job of getting them on their shelves. And I am excited about that, actually. I love going to my local Kroger.

Phillip: [00:13:37] Oh, are you part of the Fuel Points program?

Brian: [00:13:40] Yes, [00:13:40] I am.

Phillip: [00:13:40] So this is like... For all of the hype that we hear all the time about things like tokens and crypto and ways to get in, crypto bros are basically just this generation's extreme coupons.

Brian: [00:13:59] Totally. [00:14:00]

Phillip: [00:14:00] There is a point to hacking...

Brian: [00:14:02] Yes.

Ingrid: [00:14:02] Oh, my God.

Phillip: [00:14:03] There is a point hacking... They come from the same... It's a horseshoe. Like they are so close to each other on the spectrum of things. They are not the same, but they're extremely close in the way in the behavior. Fuel Points hackers for Kroger [00:14:20] is like a thing. People move, they literally move to be closer to a Kroger so that they can take advantage of the Kroger Fuel Points system.

Brian: [00:14:27] Or a Costco.

Ingrid: [00:14:28] Oh, my God. So [00:15:00] this is where the nuance of crypto and just creating this big umbrella of like what crypto people are and are like. We're all, there's one thing that I think unites us all is that we're insufferable, So, let's start there.

Brian: [00:15:19] {laughter} Oh, I'm influencing [00:15:20] you as well. Everyone's just getting influenced by me.

Ingrid: [00:15:22] It's really funny because.

Phillip: [00:15:24] You are the tie that binds, Brian.

Ingrid: [00:15:24] I was having this conversation with my friend Gabi, and Gabi was like, "I really want to hear about this crypto thing, like, I really, really do. But once I open up that floodgate, is there a way to close it?"

Phillip: [00:15:35] Yeah, no.

Ingrid: [00:15:36] And I'm like, "No."

Phillip: [00:15:38] What happens if I discover a new [00:15:40] fetish?

Ingrid: [00:15:40] It's really you just go down a rabbit hole.

Phillip: [00:15:43] It has awakened something inside of me.

Ingrid: [00:15:45] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:15:46] There's no going back.

Ingrid: [00:15:47] {laughter} No going back.

Phillip: [00:15:49] I'm the foot guy now. It just happened.

Brian: [00:15:51] Oh, no, you're not.

Phillip: [00:15:52] I'm saying it's like the crypto bro doesn't stop being a crypto bro. I'm so sorry, [00:16:00] Ingrid. You were saying. Carry on.

Ingrid: [00:16:01] My point is I have unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, fallen down this rabbit hole. And I now am one of those people who listens to crypto podcasts like Bankless, for example. And those people have really sort of opened up my understanding [00:16:20] of the more macro philosophical global markets component of crypto and its impact. And that's a very big can of worms that I definitely can't close. And it is fascinating, but it brings up all of these conversations around decentralization and what that means. T [00:16:40]hey are in this sort of subculture of crypto that's very decentralized, like they're for decentralization. And I'm kind of on the fence, but I'm interested in their point of view. So I listen.

Brian: [00:16:50] I think PacSun is, too.

Ingrid: [00:16:52] Okay. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:16:54] All right. Enough dumping on PacSun.

Ingrid: [00:16:56] Anyway. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:16:58] Yeah. I think that the [00:17:00] thing that I'm trying to tease out here at Shoptalk without having actually been to a session yet and we will so we'll report back. We have three shows that we're actually recording here between this crew. I think actually maybe even more. I don't know. There's a lot coming at the show.

Brian: [00:17:15] There's a lot going on.

Phillip: [00:17:16] So we're right at the beginning. But I think that the amount of real estate that crypto, [00:17:20] and specifically maybe NFTs or digital loyalty, is taking up in the program is maybe indicative of the era in which all of these talks were booked. Because I think if you booked them today, they wouldn't be as prevalent.

Brian: [00:17:37] I agree.

Phillip: [00:17:37] We kind of missed... There's a lot going [00:17:40] on in the world right now where I don't think that crypto is the most important thing. I don't know. That's my take. And there are some really interesting things that are happening in that world. There's a central bank digital currency that could be coming from the US Treasury. There was a whole executive order around crypto recently like you can pay [00:18:00] your taxes with Bitcoin this year if you owe crypto taxes, you can pay in crypto. These are things that are genuinely I don't think you put the genie back in the bottle ever, but there's an 8 to 10 year ramp here before it actually becomes real, where you can actually [00:18:20] have a meaningful conversation about what strategy a brand used to attract customers via these efforts. Nobody knows right now. Everyone's just talking about what they did and they have no measure of success as to whether it's...

Brian: [00:18:35] It's a lot of...

Ingrid: [00:18:37] Isn't that exciting? Go. Say what you're going to say.

Brian: [00:18:39] No, it's [00:18:40] just it's a lot of people doing things in a very lightweight way to test them out and see how they respond.

Phillip: [00:18:47] And talking bout them broadly. So you mean the whole eCommerce community?

Brian: [00:18:50] Yeah. {laughter}

Phillip: [00:18:51] That's basically how everything works.

Ingrid: [00:18:52] Totally. And I kind of like that about what we do. It's a really exciting thing and it attracts a type of person [00:19:00] who is willing to be experimental and go out on a limb and take a risk. And we were just complaining, probably like right before the pandemic of like, man, things are getting a little less exciting these days.

Brian: [00:19:13] A little stale.

Ingrid: [00:19:14] It's a little stale. The innovation is like, okay, fine, how many things can I dice things up into and whatever? And cool. [00:19:20]

Phillip: [00:19:20] That's true.

Ingrid: [00:19:20] But now I think the Metaverse...

Brian: [00:19:22] We have a word to help sum up all the things that we're doing.

Ingrid: [00:19:25] What is it?

Brian: [00:19:27] Metaverse.

Phillip: [00:19:27] No.

Ingrid: [00:19:27] Oh, well, right. I don't know. I don't know if the Metaverse is... Yeah, it's gotten tainted.

Brian: [00:19:31] That's what I'm saying. That's exactly my point.

Ingrid: [00:19:34] It's so important.

Brian: [00:19:35] But that was my point.

Ingrid: [00:19:36] Right. It's this annoying thing that people just roll their eyes at. And that's a problem. [00:19:40]

Brian: [00:19:40] It is a problem.

Phillip: [00:19:41] It's when you say the word pants too much, it loses all meaning.

Ingrid: [00:19:45] Right. Pants.

Phillip: [00:19:46] Pants, pants, pants.

Brian: [00:19:47] I feel like...

Phillip: [00:19:48] How does that even spelled. Is that a thing?

Brian: [00:19:50] Neal Stephenson's rolling over in his grave. He's not dead.

Phillip: [00:19:53] He's not.

Brian: [00:19:55] I know he's not. He's also, by the way...

Phillip: [00:19:57] Isn't he a Washington guy?

Brian: [00:19:58] He is. He's from Seattle.

Phillip: [00:20:01] {laughter} This [00:20:00] is, by the way, we have lost literally everybody listening to the show. Now we're just hanging out. This is great.

Brian: [00:20:05] I mean, that's really what we're here for.

Ingrid: [00:20:07] But we have this point I think that we're making...

Phillip: [00:20:10] We're making a point.

Brian: [00:20:11] That's a good point.

Ingrid: [00:20:11] The Metaverse component and all of the innovation, new thinking, risk taking that is inspiring. I don't think that any [00:20:20] of like the creation of what the end result of the Metaverse is going to be or like the utilization of it in its prime existence is going to be. But I think the framework, or at least the pipeline within companies to fund adventures within the Metaverse, find talent that thinks about [00:20:40] the Metaverse, at least even listen to PacSun and their experience within the Metaverse. Those are all things that are going to start sort of laying the initial bricks. And when you look at a building being built, you see the foundation and you're like, "I guess maybe that can be something." And then you start seeing everything else going on top of that and you're like, "Huh, okay, this is coming together." [00:21:00]

Brian: [00:21:00] So you're bullish on the Metaverse.

Ingrid: [00:21:02] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:21:03] Well I don't know. This is in your analogy, like there's a million people starting to build right now, but no one knows if anyone has funds enough to complete it or demand enough to fill in occupancy in the building.

Brian: [00:21:17] To the point of our friend last night, I [00:21:20] just recently tried out a quote unquote Metaverse experience. It was a collab between Lady Gaga.

Phillip: [00:21:29] And PacSun.

Brian: [00:21:30] And {laughter}

Phillip: [00:21:31] Just kidding.

Brian: [00:21:34] It was some champagne brand. And now I forget which one.

Phillip: [00:21:37] So memorable.

Brian: [00:21:39] Yes.

Phillip: [00:21:39] What a great brand experience. [00:21:40]

Brian: [00:21:40] And you kind of walk around, it's like kind of being in a video game with no point other than to sell you things.

Phillip: [00:21:46] Which is the entire...

Brian: [00:21:47] And that was our friend's point that he has zero interest in engaging in an experience like that.

Phillip: [00:21:57] I have to ask a few questions, [00:22:00] Ingrid. The last time that we had an in-person podcast together, which I forgot, but now remember.

Brian: [00:22:08] Denim jumpsuit. He'll never forget.

Phillip: [00:22:10] Yeah. Don't ever forget the denim jumpsuit. Jumpsuit?

Ingrid: [00:22:15] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:22:15] Okay. Romper?

Ingrid: [00:22:19] No, we don't use "romper."

Phillip: [00:22:20] They are different hings [00:22:20]? We don't use the word romper. Okay. All right. Rest in peace, RompHim. Right? Before it's time.

Ingrid: [00:22:25] Also, while we're on the fashion dip, we have to explain. So I saw you today. I'm looking at you right now and thankfully.

Phillip: [00:22:33] Thank you. Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:22:34] You're giving Michelle Pfeiffer in One Fine Day.

Phillip: [00:22:38] Thank you.

Ingrid: [00:22:39] I'm here [00:22:40] for it. I'm very into it.

Phillip: [00:22:42] I didn't I wasn't sure if I could pull this off. And now I'm really unsure if I could pull it off.

Ingrid: [00:22:47] No, I'm here for it. It looks fantastic.

Phillip: [00:22:49] Thank you so much. Never been compared to Michelle Pfeiffer before.

Ingrid: [00:22:53] High bar.

Brian: [00:22:54] I think that's a compliment.

Phillip: [00:22:54] I'll take it. I'll take it. Okay. Here's the point. In that [00:23:00] conversation that we had at NRF years ago, I think we had talked about like whether a monoculture could ever exist again. And there's the niche ification of everything. Everything feels incredibly personal. And we were trying to attract these small, passionate audiences of people. And I guess the thing [00:23:20] that I'm skeptical on is, isn't software supposed to agglomerate? Isn't software supposed to build gigantic audiences? And to say that any software that purports to have some sort of utility that attracts a community large enough to become monoculture [00:23:40] sized is the thing everyone's looking for out of NFTs. But I think we're post monoculture and digitally then only software businesses that power the brands could become monoculture esque, right? There's a handful of dominant eCommerce platforms. There's a handful of dominant cloud SaaS platforms. Really, the only true [00:24:00] monocultures we have left are the giant software platforms on which we're trying to build new monocultures. And I think we're post monoculture.

Brian: [00:24:06] I don't know. I don't know if they're monoculture.

Phillip: [00:24:08] Pants. Pants.

Brian: [00:24:08] I know.

Phillip: [00:24:09] Monoculture.

Brian: [00:24:10] I don't know if what you're saying is true, though. I think that software can empower niche experiences. That's sort of the point of software as well, is that it can address everyone.

Phillip: [00:24:20] Can [00:24:20] you build relevant, large enough communities that are sustainable that have to be powered by these otherwise... These platforms require growth.

Brian: [00:24:35] Right. Right.

Phillip: [00:24:37] They all require growth.

Brian: [00:24:38] They don't have to require growth from the same people.

Phillip: [00:24:39] The revenue multiples in the [00:24:40] investment in the current state of the Metaverse in the way that we're, everyone's saying, "Oh, in Web 2, you raise capital and then create a community. In Web 3, you create a community and it raises capital," but someone's going to get tired or people are going to run out of money eventually when they say that there's no more money left to go around for [00:25:00] all of these communities that are supposedly that have half done projects that I could all potentially participate in. I don't know, man. It feels like a house of cards. I think there's no way to divine what it will possibly look like, even though I do believe it will be a thing. I just think it's so far away.

Brian: [00:25:15] I agree with that.

Ingrid: [00:25:16] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:25:16] You couldn't possibly ever have predicted that the bookstore [00:25:20] online would become the thing that.

Ingrid: [00:25:22] 60% of eCommerce.

Phillip: [00:25:23] More people are subscribed to Amazon Prime than profess to be Catholic in the United States. It's insane.

Brian: [00:25:29] I think what you're saying is this, Phillip.

Phillip: [00:25:31] Oh, God.

Brian: [00:25:31] PacSun is the next Amazon.

Ingrid: [00:25:34] Oh my God, stop.

Phillip: [00:25:36] Dude, you are going to meet someone from PacSun this week.

Ingrid: [00:25:38] They're going to get nuts. [00:25:40]

Phillip: [00:25:40] They're going to be like,"I'm going to check out this podcast of yours." And you're like, "Really. Don't. It's bad."

Ingrid: [00:25:45] Skip that last one.

Phillip: [00:25:45] Skip the one that says PacSun in the title.

Brian: [00:25:48] Come at me, PacSun.

Phillip: [00:25:49] Come at me, PacSun. That's the show title right there.

Ingrid: [00:27:35] So [00:27:40] Phillip, I think what you're what you're going at is actually a really fair point about the house of cards. My comment is more around I fully agree with you in that the monoculture is a thing that existed and then the internet and the sort of niche ification of the places [00:28:00] that you can spend your time and consume media and all of that has definitely changed or destroyed monoculture as we knew it. And I don't know if it is... I'm actually starting to get more and more convinced and maybe it's because I really like monoculture, so I see the world through that lens, that the pandemic and [00:28:20] the duopoly of Facebook and Google and YouTube and places that people are spending their time are somewhat consistent now that we are finding ourselves maybe coming back to a monoculture. The thing that happened [00:28:40] last night on the Oscars. Everyone knows about that.

Phillip: [00:28:42] Yes, I know. That's true.

Brian: [00:28:44] But it doesn't last as long though.

Phillip: [00:28:46] Because the platform in which we grab...

Ingrid: [00:28:49] That's true.

Phillip: [00:28:49] You're right, the half life is shorter.

Brian: [00:28:51] Yeah. So maybe monoculture is like ephemeral.

Phillip: [00:28:54] I'm curious, actually. Let's all take a bet real quick on the slap heard round the world. How long do you think we're going to be talking [00:29:00] about?

Ingrid: [00:29:01] 48 hours.

Phillip: [00:29:02] 48 hours?

Ingrid: [00:29:03] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:29:03] I'm going to say two weeks. I think there will be hot takes for the next two weeks.

Brian: [00:29:06] There's not really a difference between the two, by the way.

Phillip: [00:29:07] There will be memes for the next two weeks.

Ingrid: [00:29:09] Right. It's either years or not anything.

Brian: [00:29:13] I'm with you. It's like a 48 hours and a week, there's no... Or two weeks. There's no difference in my mind [00:29:20] between those.

Phillip: [00:29:20] What are you talking about? There's a massive difference.

Ingrid: [00:29:23] Those are really short, I think is what he's saying. Short term, no matter what.

Brian: [00:29:26] Yes. Yes.

Phillip: [00:29:26] But let's talk about something else that happened at the Oscars.

Brian: [00:29:31] I don't know anything else that happened at the Oscars.

Phillip: [00:29:33] That's true. Which is another problem. Coda won best picture. That [00:29:40] was distributed via Apple TV, which is a two and a half year old service.

Ingrid: [00:29:46] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:29:47] And it took Netflix billions of dollars.

Ingrid: [00:29:50] And like 15 years.

Phillip: [00:29:51] And 15 years and they still haven't won a best picture after throwing gobs of money, billions of dollars at content creation.

Brian: [00:29:59] Because [00:30:00] Netflix is trash and I'm canceling them. {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:30:03] Oh, I like Netflix, but...

Phillip: [00:30:04] I like Netflix too.

Ingrid: [00:30:05] Apple. That is...

Phillip: [00:30:07] Let me tell you about...

Brian: [00:30:09] I like Netflix. But I might be canceling.

Phillip: [00:30:10] I will tell you my my newest Netflix obsession. Go ahead, Ingrid. Sorry.

Ingrid: [00:30:14] Oh, no. I was thinking that Apple is this example, I [00:30:20] think is a really great example of how company culture and a culture around innovation and quality...

Phillip: [00:30:28] Yes.

Ingrid: [00:30:28] And premium.

Phillip: [00:30:29] Yes.

Ingrid: [00:30:30] Is no is going to beat out the money every single time.

Phillip: [00:30:35] It's highly curated.

Ingrid: [00:30:36] Highly curated. And it's not just that, oh, we're going to like band [00:30:40] together and create this Oscar worthy picture. It's that well, of course, if we're going to get in a room and create a movie, it's going to be Oscar worthy, right?

Brian: [00:30:50] This actually gets back to the idea of attention footprint.

Phillip: [00:30:54] Hold on. Let me just make sure that I'm not talking out of my left ear. That [00:31:00] is not a phrase that anyone has ever made before. I believe that Apple acquired the rights to distribution at Sundance last year and beat out everyone else in paying top dollar for it.

Brian: [00:31:13] Got it.

Phillip: [00:31:14] Go back to your...

Brian: [00:31:15] No. This is why I picked HBO Max as my media pick of the year when we did our predictions episode [00:31:20] because their footprint is quality, right? This is why I said...

Ingrid: [00:31:26] HBO specifically.

Brian: [00:31:27] HBO, yes. Sorry.

Phillip: [00:31:28] Yeah. And a three decade run at that. They're very good at that.

Ingrid: [00:31:32] Totally.

Brian: [00:31:33] Right. Whereas I feel like the brands, not just media companies, but brands that have [00:31:40] thrown everything at the wall are actually going to suffer a little bit coming up here. There's too much stuff and things to sort through and it's overwhelming.

Phillip: [00:31:52] And this is the point I've just made. Yeah, there's too much. It's highly fragmented.

Brian: [00:31:58] Yeah. It's highly fragmented.

Phillip: [00:31:59] So you can't have... The [00:32:00] whole point of capitalizing anything is to create and leverage future growth. You're getting in and investing in a future growth opportunity. And if everything is fragmented, you can't have the kind of scale and exit [00:32:20] multiple in the funding of that.

Ingrid: [00:32:23] That's true.

Phillip: [00:32:24] That people have had in prior decades.

Ingrid: [00:32:27] That's true. But I think that that is not the forever state. I think it's a transitionary state. We see the more powerful, richer companies buying up the smaller companies. And we [00:32:40] see it with our packages of streaming channels where it's like we're going to take down cable and now you guys are buying cable from YouTube TV.

Brian: [00:32:48]  [00:32:49]The problem with the strategy, though, is that none of these things are not getting united and none of them end up getting curated either. All the garbage comes with the acquisitions and no one ever pares it down [00:33:00] to something that's actually meaningful. [00:33:01]

Ingrid: [00:33:01]  [00:33:01]That's where I think the biggest opportunity in this current market is right now. Everything that is going to be worth anything is entirely based in curation. [00:33:10]

Phillip: [00:33:10] So this is the strong parallel. OpenSea. Rarible. Marketplaces are retailers. [00:33:20] That's what they are.

Ingrid: [00:33:21] That's right. Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:22] I mean, there's a different model and listing and whatever, but the...

Ingrid: [00:33:26] Same is true of Sephora.

Phillip: [00:33:29] And PacSun.

Ingrid: [00:33:33] Yeah, yeah, they're taste...

Phillip: [00:33:34] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:33:35] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:33:35] They're tastemakers.

Ingrid: [00:33:36] Tastemakers.

Phillip: [00:33:36] Right. And you've seen [00:33:40] it in your prior work, Ingrid, and maybe even in your current work. There's an element to predicting future trends, investing in the future of the business with category expansion and diversification, product innovation that happens in every single [00:34:00] business. And to become something that's meaningful and to evolve for the future, you have to make bets, right?

Ingrid: [00:34:10] Yup.

Phillip: [00:34:10] And you have to guess.

Ingrid: [00:34:12] Educated guess.

Phillip: [00:34:12] And sometimes these are educated guesses. But you effectively are taking a risk.

Brian: [00:34:21] So [00:34:20] maybe the arbitrage opportunity upcoming is actually it's curating and paring down the ecosystem.

Phillip: [00:34:32] Yeah.

Ingrid: [00:34:33] Yeah cut the fat.

Brian: [00:34:35] Cut the fat. Focus on the stuff that actually pays off and that actually is good.

Phillip: [00:34:40] For [00:34:40] most companies who are incapable of doing that in their own core competency and really incapable of doing that in technology choices and platform decisions. How do people make technology platform decisions? They just look at their strongest comp in their category and do what they did.

Brian: [00:34:55] Yes.

Ingrid: [00:34:56] Totally.

Phillip: [00:34:56] That's how everybody does it. I don't care what... Nobody wants to be the oddball, right? [00:35:00] I mean, we have great friends, but if all of your competitors are on Salesforce, you're not buying Shopify. That's typically how it goes.

Ingrid: [00:35:09] Yeah.

Phillip: [00:35:10] And so no one wants to be the oddball out. And that's how people make decisions, especially when it's outside of their realm of expertize.

Ingrid: [00:35:17] Totally.

Phillip: [00:35:18] And that's why I think that we're 8 to 10 years [00:35:20] out from anything material happening in the space.

Ingrid: [00:35:22] That's a great point.

Phillip: [00:35:23] And that's why we don't need 20 sessions on NFTs and digital loyalty and crypto at a conference like this. It's a flash in the pan and a year or two from now it will all have pulled back. And we'll be back to talking about the boring stuff for a little while. Because you know why? Because actually eCommerce and [00:35:40] Web work is kind of like new blue collar work. It's trade work. You learn everything that you need to know doing the work, and there's apprenticeships and journeymanships and you get better as you go and you create internal knowledge in an organization that I think is not taught [00:36:00] in a school.

Ingrid: [00:36:02] I think it's that way now. I don't think it grew up that way. And so I think the existence of eCommerce, as you're describing it right now, is something that, 22 year old Ingrid would have not touched with a ten foot pole. Because it just wasn't an interesting, innovative, exciting enough. And [00:36:20] I think there's a world in which, yes, some of the things have gotten much more streamlined. There's a way to do things. There's a well-beaten path. And if that's the way you want to live your life, then there's a really great career here for you. But I think that combining the Metaverse, combining this constant need for [00:36:40] better-for-you consumer products, better for the environment consumer products... There's a lot of innovation that I do still think that eCommerce people from the original sort of eCommerce build up days are now excited about and thinking about. And I think there's been peeled off some of the elements that are more run of the mill and can [00:37:00] be taught in our trade.

Brian: [00:37:01] I think that's why we saw a lot of DTC people moved to NFTs. Yeah, because it was like interesting. And we've talked a little bit about this on the podcast before, but isn't a lot of what we do in business, like the way things move forward is because we're just tired of the status quo. Like it's just boring. It's not interesting anymore. And [00:37:20] so we have to find new, interesting things to do because at least some people have to find new, interesting things to do. Like 22 year old Ingrid. Yeah, would have been like, "I don't want to be an eCom manager. That sounds boring."

Ingrid: [00:37:32] Boring.

Phillip: [00:37:33] {laughter}

Ingrid: [00:37:34] Yeah. Well, I think that it's definitely it's a combination of we need something new to do and a new [00:37:40] challenge. But I do think that there's also systemic problems that people are trying to solve with crypto and NFTs and the Metaverse and things like that.

Phillip: [00:37:48] Yeah.

Brian: [00:37:48] One of the things that I think is happening, and I don't know if there's a super direct relation here, but I do believe that something that's really interesting that's happening that I want to see [00:38:00] more of is the connection point between product and digital. Product innovation cycles need to desiloed from marketing and selling cycles. And that's happened quite a bit lately, but I feel like there's even more that can happen. [00:38:20] And I know we're...

Phillip: [00:38:22] That's a deep topic for another time. I love it.

Brian: [00:38:24] Not for the end of the podcast.

Phillip: [00:38:25] Ingrid, let's give you the final word. What are you heading to? What are you thinking you're going to get from Shoptalk today?

Ingrid: [00:38:33] Well, I'm very, very interested in customer lifetime value and systems [00:38:40] and software that is going to help me make better informed decisions around building that CRM capability within my team. That's number one. Number two is attribution modeling. My favorite topic slash least favorite. And I think that that's actually a really [00:39:00] great hack for any conference attendee. Coming to a conference, you have to have like one max two big things that you want to accomplish. And those are my two things. CRM and attribution. MTA. Come at me.

Phillip: [00:39:13] Fantastic. Okay.

Phillip: [00:39:15] Well, I'm sure we'll hear more about it. We've got a couple more of these episodes come to you from Shoptalk. We've got a new mini series [00:39:20] about to launch a Future Commerce. A lot to tune in to. That's it. If you were at Shoptalk and you want to talk shop, drop us a line. Hello@FutureCommerce.fm. Or Ingrid, do you drop your email on your podcast at all?

Ingrid: [00:39:33] Yeah. Ingrid@FutureCommerce.fm.

Phillip: [00:39:37] Fantastic. Thanks for listening. And that's [00:39:40] it. I don't know how to...

Brian: [00:39:42] That's it for now.

Phillip: [00:39:42] That's it for now. {laughter}

Brian: [00:39:43] We'll talk to you later.

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