Issue No. 239: The United States of Amazon

A Last Word: The United States of Amazon


Acquisitions continue to accelerate across the retail landscape. It’s clear that whether the acquisition is made by Amazon or by a competitor, the business decision is driven by a new competitive landscape that is heavily-influenced by the Seattle behemoth.

Amazon isn’t just thriving along a new frontier, it has become the frontier and with so many “theaters of war” that it would take a 17 page white paper to explain each strategy. The closest comparison has far exceeded the Microsoft example. It’s now closer to Standard Oilwhose monopoly was broken up over 100 years ago. In a digital era that is still relatively unregulated, it will be harder for the federal government to stymie Bezos progress. And most consumers would protest, as Amazon has elevated lower costs and ease of purchase as retail necessities.

In issue no. 239, consider how each of the areas highlighted have been or will be affected by Amazon, Inc. The company is a power player in: warehousing, aviation, publishing, eCommerce, film, shoes, grocery, cloud storage, logistics, fashion, manufacturing, and now advertising.

See more of the issue here.

Issue No. 234: A sign of things to come.

New Media: Quality, Specialization, Community

Each section of the newspaper is being unbundled into highly-specific, subscription-driven verticals behind paywalls and it’s the next evolution of local media.

We don’t need 5, 10 pieces a day, we don’t need 20 pieces a day in a city, if we can get 3 stories that you can’t get anywhere else in a city, we see unbelievable subscriber yield. That’s the pitch, do great work, be surrounded by the best talent in the market, and great things will happen. We’ll handle the rest, we know how to acquire users beyond your Twitter followers, we know how to find them on Facebook, acquire them, retain them, and we’ll handle the production, we’ll handle the platform, and you just do great work. Frankly, to most folks, that’s refreshing. Some outlets still do great work, but especially at the local level they’re really sliding around figuring out how to make it work for their organization. – Alex Mather, Cofounder of The Athletic

In a recent interview with Ben Thompson (Stratechery), Mather discusses his business model for The Athletic. Even if you aren’t a sports fan, you should still pay attention to what they are building. This is a loose comparison but consider the growing number of subscription-driven media groups and how they’ve disrupted national or local papers. The Information (unbundled “tech”), Stratechery (unbundled “business”), Skift (unbundled “travel”), and TheSkimm (unbundled “lifestyle”) are each making waves. I am adding The Athletic to the tracking list of media groups who’ve embraced the the subscriber sales funnel as a core competency. The Athletic is your local sports section done right or at least that’s the mission.

According to The Athletic, 8,000 – 12,000 subscriptions achieves break even in each metropolitan area covered (Chicago, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, and the Bay Area). To get there, their tech stack enables “a paywall, insider access, more advanced analytics, and a mobile experience to differentiate.” As media evolves, optimizing for eCommerce efficacy will become a core competency.

See more of the issue here.

Issue No. 216: BoF Discusses Columbus and Mall Retail


Inspired by 2PM


You can read more here [paywall]. Though, the ideas have already been discussed ad infinitum here.

The idea for this piece was derived from this thread of tweets and a conversation with Chantal Fernandez, the “Senior Editorial Accomplice” at Business of Fashion.

It was well-written by Lauren Sherman, New York’s Editor, after a 24 hour trip to Columbus and a great conversation with Kenny McDonald who heads economic development for America’s 12th largest city.

See more of the issue here.

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. 80: Pokemon Go (Top 10), Apocalypse at ESPN, Nike beats Adidas.

Last word: The Mainstreaming of Augmented Reality

I’m not quite sure that we’ve ever witnessed adoption of a digital product, like this. We have to consider the advertising, consumer incentive, and eCommerce implications to follow. The pace of Pokemon Go’s user growth (and the subsequent effect on it’s ownership group) has been astounding to watch. It’s opened several questions that we’d never imagine asking ourselves, just a week ago.

To summarize, the game’s IP owner is Nintendo. The game’s maker is an outfit that was formally owned by Google called Niantic. This isn’t their first GPS-based product, in fact, it’s basically their first product + Nintendo’s IP (Pokemon). Nintendo’s market cap has grown by over $11B since the app’s launch.

The app feels like a gimmick at first. But then you walk to the park, bumping into adults holding their phones and you think, “are they….no way.” And then you approach your city’s park, mall, concert venue, body of water, and you see droves of people standing or walking while staring at their phones, “this can’t be real, right?”

This was all on the third day after the app’s North American launch. So this begs the question. Considering its existing network effects, what can be done with this type of game? Here are 2PML’s top ten things that entrepreneurs will attempt:

    1. Expanded in-game commerce to include physical products delivered to your home or in-app play of other famous Nintendo titles.
    2. Augmented reality brand billboards.
    3. Bricks and mortar reward systems for stores and restaurants who welcome Pokemon play. [here is an MVP via Product Hunt]
    4. Sponsored races.
    5. A messaging app.
    6. Pokemon Go chauffeuring [here is an early attempt]
    7. Pokemon Go-centered advertising. [Amazon tries it first]
    8. Sponsored stops, sponsored Pokemon gyms.
    9. Ticketed events with rare Pokemon within a geo-fenced area.
    10. Coordinated refreshments at trafficked areas throughout the city: cold pressed juice, ice cream, etc.

At press time, Pokemon Go is set to outpace Twitter and Tinder in DAU’s – today.

See more of the issue here.