BRAND: The Tesla brand has come to represent much more than beautiful cars; it also means breakthrough technology and exhilarating performance. Tesla has become a symbol of a new way of living – clean, bright, innovative and forward-thinking. Tesla’s pioneering spirit, as personified by founder Elon Musk, conveys an urgency to shed the old ways of doing things. Earlier this year, 325,000 (note: now 373,000).
ADTECH: Joe Marchese wrote a great post back in 2014 called “The Coming Subprime Advertising Crisis”. He summed it up well (my emphasis): “I don’t think we have the sense of urgency we need. And we need that because, unlike the financial services industry, advertising is not too big to fail… because online display ads are so terrible and so oversaturated, most ordinary people don’t particularly like advertising and wouldn’t care if it went away.”
BRAND: Cristiano Ronaldo became the world's best by being the hardest-working man in football. In this Nike Ad, the Apparel brand sells the fantasy of Ronaldo's life while delving into his daily preparation and dedication and luxury and glamour. Nike currently holds a monopoly on U.S. Elite Youth Soccer. Though this ad features its marquee Euro teams, you'll have a better understanding as to why.
DATA: The fast-growing social app has teamed up with the analytics firm Moat to track how viewable ads are on Snapchat, and to ensure that only real humans are viewing the ads. In addition, Snapchat is working with Moat to provide more robust data on how long people watch its ads and how often people view them with the sound on. Based on its own internal data, Snapchat says that more than two-thirds of the videos delivered on Snapchat.
INNOVATION: Turns out, Zee.Aero doesn’t belong to Google or its holding company, Alphabet. It belongs to Larry Page, Google’s co-founder. Page has personally funded Zee.Aero since its launch in 2010 while demanding that his involvement stay hidden from the public, according to 10 people with intimate knowledge of the company. Zee.Aero, however, is just one part of Page’s plan to usher in an age of personalized air travel, free from gridlocked streets and the cramped indignities of modern flight.
BRAND: The subjects in Yeti's six to eight-minute videos, which launched last week, all represent demographics within the brand's target audiences. "We wanted to connect with our core audience over their shared passions," said Sara Kenton, senior director of digital at Yeti. Over footage of hunting trips in Hawaii with his young son, pro surfer Shane Dorian talks about how he took fewer risks in surfing after becoming a father of two and discusses how he's passing his hunting techniques along to his son.
ECOMMERCE: The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper study indicates that 51 percent of all purchases made by respondents were made online — a 4-percent increase from last year, when that figure was 48 percent. The study derives from figures in comScore’s survey of over 5,000 American shoppers. Perhaps expectedly, 17 percent of consumers plan to shop less in store and shift some of that spend to digital devices. The smartphone saw the biggest spike, as 77 percent of consumers reported an intent to shift more mobile shopping time to their phones — a 10-percent jump from last year.
MEDIA: While there’s no definitive reason for what caused the change to the algorithm, there are a number of possibilities. Mr. Anderson said Facebook might have prioritized posts from individuals to try to reward them for sharing more personal stories on the network, as reports said the company was worried people were writing less about events or thoughts from their own life. He went on to say that it could also have been a way for Facebook to re-calibrate the algorithm so people’s feeds didn't feature several articles from the same news organization consecutively and to prioritize video.
ECOMMERCE: Investment from mall owners is also fueling a cottage industry of technology startups peddling software and services that create interactive mall maps and mobile advertising, as well as assist in real-estate maintenance and security operations. Jibestream, a firm that creates interactive mall maps to guide customers from store to store on their mobile phones as well as help them find parking, has rolled out its technology to hundreds of malls run by Westfield Corp., General Growth and Dubai-based shopping mall owner and operator Majid Al Futtaim.
ECOMMERCE: UberRush, the ride-hail company's express delivery service, is now publicly available to any business that wants to integrate the service's API (application program interface) in their digital products. Last January, Uber announced it would offer Rush's API to certain businesses in a private beta, but now the service's API is publicly available to anyone who wants to include a delivery option in their app. Some of the businesses that started using UberRush during the beta period include the department store Nordstrom, 1800flowers, and Google Express.
Last Word: Where is the growth capital?
I've had the pleasure of meeting with several venture capital firms over the past several weeks. One thing that I've noticed is that opportunity is very much regional. In the above graph, derived from Shai Goldman's data, you'll see that the majority of venture capital financing is managed in California, New York, and Massachusetts. If you live outside of those zones, your barrier to entry is considerably higher. And this is only outdone by your barrier to receiving a term sheet - which is even less likely. Funds are typically apathetic to founders who do not operate within their ecosystem. Of course, there are exceptions.