Member Brief: The Great Infrastructure

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On Amazon’s great HQ2 debacle. The drive from Palo Alto to Santa Cruz winds through dense forests and creeks. On a recent trip, I made that drive – back and forth – between my wife’s meetings and my own. At one point, I stopped and marvelled at the beauty and efficiency of this particular stretch. How did they develop this? How did they pave these roads through hilly, treacherous forests? How many workers were harmed in the process? Could these same innovations be executed today? It was one of the first moments that I considered how much we take for granted the infrastructure that remains.

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Member Brief: The Pivot to Tradition

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We’re at a crossroads and it’s time that we consider a new definition for the companies that launch by the dozens, each quarter. As alternative payment gateways become more common, retail channels diversify, and customer acquisition costs increase, the brands that we call DNVBs are straying away from the original definition. By jettisoning traditional means of customer acquisition, the DNVBs of later years added new middle men: Facebook and Google (and you can argue – high dollar PR).

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Member Brief: The Toy Report

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The toy consumer gap. There are scenes from two very popular films of old: the piano scene from Tom Hanks’ Big and the “Dunkin’s Toy Chest” scene from Macaulay Culkin’s Home Alone 2. These two scenes stand out to me because as child, unless you lived in the metropolitan New York are, you never once felt the joys of experiential retail while toy shopping. Don’t get me wrong, Toys R Us was great. But like Walmart and Target are today, the primary toy story of many of our childhoods was less a destination and more of a warehouse. Consumers want experiential retail for toys. And BuzzFeed’s latest off-shoot hopes to address it.

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