Issue No. 153: Media brings sophistication to eCommerce

Graph of the week: Netflix v. Cable


With Ben Thompson’s rationale (linked above) as context, here is a visual of Netflix’s position in the evolving market of cable-based subscriber services versus the ramping up of the villainous, millennial “cord cutter.”

See more of the issue here.

Issue No. 120: an update

Last Word: an update

First: thank you. I began curating the Two PM Links letter to study and discuss the growing kinship between vertical brands, eCommerce, media, and the data that propels us forward. What could be better than one letter with everything that you need to know, each business day? On top of that, a letter that isn’t trying to sell or persuade. Each business day of the week, I cover a range of topics that often have influences on another, with the express intent to serve the eCommerce and media communities. So far, there’s been a focus on everything from the macroeconomics of eCommerce to Snapchat’s next step in the race to own augmented reality. But in a way that appeals to people who market / sell things or invest in those who do.

So far, 40-47% subscribers are opening the letters. Of that group, 24-32% click to another destination. Often times, a destination will receive enough traffic for that site’s host to reach out and ask me about 2PML.

Admittedly, brand and design have taken a back seat to functionality and information. Even so, I hope to improve the letter by adding a simple archive search, a permanent forum for readers, and improved navigation. Thank you for reading, each day, and feel free to email me with your thoughts.

See more of the issue here.

Issue No. 70: Shake ups, Feuds, and Authenticity



Under Armour founder Kevin Plank once said,“Brand is not a product, that’s for sure; it’s not one item. It’s an idea, it’s a theory, it’s a meaning, it’s how you carry yourself. It’s aspirational, it’s inspirational.” But can you teach someone how to do it and do it well?

Nike founder Phil Knight on paying $35 for the iconic logo, which he first called fat lightning bolts and chubby check marks: 

When Knight saw the revised logo, “I frowned, scratched my cheek. ‘You guys like it more than I do,’ I said. ‘But we’re out of time. It’ll have to do.’ … Now we just needed a name to go with this logo I didn’t love. Over the next few days we kicked around dozens of ideas, until two leading candidates emerged. Falcon. And Dimension Six.” (Shoe Dog: A Memoir By The Creator of Nike)

While Plank has maintained a strict and obsessive brand focus, Knight was originally nonchalant. Knight was more of a “the product is all that matters” type of executive who was clearly influenced by a brand-minded thinker, down the line.  From the founding day, Plank was the master-brander for Under Armour whereas, it is clear that Knight delegated that to someone else. The technician is rarely the mapper of the brand’s genome.

Branding isn’t a data-driven process, nor is it a science. It is difficult and unrelenting, when done well. While I don’t think that it can be taught to just anyone, I do believe that brand management and its many facets can be taught. I’d love to hear your thoughts by responding to today’s last word.

See more of the issue here.

Issue No. 11: The Chat OS, $10M, the NFL, and Burberry


Chat services have been dominating the news as of late. From WhatsApp’srecent more to end-to-end encryption, to Slack’s $3.8B valuation, to luxury advertisers betting big on Snapchat – the writing is on the wall. The NFL is the latest to bet on chat with a (cheap!) $10M sale to Twitter for the rights to ten Thursday Night Football games. Wait, wouldn’t that be Twitter betting on the the NFL? Only partly. Remember, Yahoo paid $20M to stream one awful game, earlier this year. The NFL basically gave the rights away in exchange for increased global reach.

Chat is the new Operating System and services, commerce, and a new form of television will continue to emerge out of formerly text-only services. The media and eCommerce companies who will win the future will do so by capitalizing on chat messaging as a platform for brand growth. You’ll see more of:

  • eCommerce Slackbots
  • Event-centric, interactive Snapchat filters
  • Customer-service powered by chatbot
  • Branded content-generated and scheduled to coincide with Twitter’s streamed events.

Content-mavens like ESPN’s Darren Rovell are about to become a lot more valuable.

See the rest of the issue here.