Issue #190

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This is issue no. 190. The last issue had a 🔥 48.92% open rate with an additional 5.17% of you going back to this article on four eCommerce strategies that seem to be working. I wasn't a fan of the hyperbolic headline but the methods seem to be sound.

The Atlantic hit a home run with their latest ad. It features actor Michael K. Williams portraying himself and a few of his character composites (including "Omar" from The Wire). It's a poignant use of creative to generate subscription interest and revenue for The Atlantic. And as heritage media companies invest more in traditional advertising and great content to improve their sales funnel, we'll see more of this from the likes of the Washington Post, the New York times, and savvy magazines who are producing ads to generate subscription revenue as ad revenue becomes less and less reliable. Now that I've provided context, read and watch this: Am I Typecast? [NSFW]

In a recent comment to 2PML, The Atlantic's Vann R. Newkirk II:

I think the video with Michael K. Williams is more than just an advertisement; it was a way for us at The Atlantic to announce our goals of questioning conventional wisdom and promoting rigorous, thoughtful journalism while also doing just those things in the video itself. I think people are enjoying it so much because not only is it amazingly played by Williams, it also leaves us with a question to ponder. Especially with the urgency of conversations about race today, I was really happy we produced this, because it reflects an internal monologue that I and many other people of color have everyday. It just does so many jobs.

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Starbucks has introduced a new payment system in Japan [VIDEO]
Mr. Warren Buffett sold 90% of his Walmart holding.
U.S. eCommerce sales grow 15.6% in 2016.
U.S. Luxury brands take a backseat to European brands.

Today's Top Intelligence (12 Reads)

The package delivery system can apply the force onto the package in a number of different ways. For example, pneumatic actuators, electromagnets, spring coils, and parachutes can generate the force that establishes the vertical descent path of the package.

Amazon Patent for parachute delivery via Drone, USPTO 

Last Word: On proprietary products and eCommerce

Issue 189's most read article contained four indicators of eCommerce success, one of them is depicted above. Internet retailers are nearly 3x more valuable when they source and/or manufacture a product that cannot be found elsewhere.

A great example of this is the new initiative of Pittsburgh's Cotton Bureau, who is relatively quiet startup with a thriving marketplace for well-designed tees. For example, they sold 3,100+ units of one design in January 2017. Their custom site converts exceptionally well, they're currently sporting a 🔥7.7% conversion rate in 2017.

Led by Michelle Sharp, Cotton Bureau's Blank will manufacture their own t-shirt blanks and will attempt to do so domestically. The timing couldn't be better, as American Apparel will leave a void for companies desiring high quality t-shirts for their own branding or product lines.

From yesterday's announcement:

Today, we’re lifting the lid on Blank, our project to design and produce better t-shirts from the ground up: our sizes, our fits, our fabrics, our colors. Over the last six months, we’ve been building relationships with people all over the garment industry: pattern makers, fabric suppliers, cut-and-sew operations, industry consultants, full-service apparel factories, fit models, and more. We’ve even produced a few samples. We’re going to need all the help we can get, which is why reached out to for funding last year (remember this cryptic line?) and hired a project lead to give it the attention it deserves (we’ll introduce her in a bit). Exciting, huh? It’s something we’ve been talking about forever, and the fact that it’s actually happening is a bit surreal. Let’s answer some questions.

Read more about Cotton Bureau's "Blank" initiative here. If you'd like an introduction, email and I'd be happy to connect you to their team. Cotton Bureau is one of four partners. - @web