Issue no. 247. The last one had a 40.2% open rate. Ironically, the most-read article of the last issue was on the differences between Stitch Fix and Uber's styles of growth. Over 7.4% of you read the October 20 article on pre-IPO $SFIX by Shira Ovide.

BRIEF: Warby Parker holds off copycats by innovating. BuzzFeed sheds jobs after an advertising revenue miss.

Where have I been? Well, let's just say this: stop playing recreational basketball after you turn 33! Orthopedic surgery on a pretty nasty injury can put a damper on things. - @web

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Today's Top Intelligence (14 Reads)
What Was ComplexCon?
Excerpt: The way the convention center was situated, it felt as if the adults were upstairs, talking about “the culture,” while the kids were downstairs, attempting to embody it with their purchases. For as long as I can remember, “the culture”—that vague, oft-problematic umbrella term—was synonymous with both creativity and authenticity. Synonymous, too, with hip hop, and the youth, and the black and brown kids who are typically at the forefront of trends. // Media

Read More @Rembert
Excerpt: In a way, his vision of retail is a return to the heyday of department stores, when they were housed in well-designed, even beautiful structures in the heart of cities. "The trend of urbanization is something we must all recognize and understand," Neumann also said. "People from every walk of life are seeking spaces in big cities that allow for human connections. There is no reason why retail space should not be part of that movement." // Retail Real Estate

Excerpt: Everlane, which grew from T-shirts made in a Los Angeles factory starting in 2011, and then into clothing basics, shoes and luxury items like cashmere sweaters, is based around ethically-made goods and “radical transparency” around prices. Shoppers know where their clothing comes from, where their money goes, and are given price options on “sale” items (i.e. if there are surplus items available, you can pay a lower price than the original listed price). // Retail Real Estate

Excerpt: A wider issue here is that, due to the customer being trained that the sole success of a product is measured by its selling out, it becomes secondary if people walk into a store and actually see it on the shelves. // eCommerce
Excerpt: A somewhat obvious part of digital enablement is the ability for the product to ship well. To sell something online, its physical dimensions and economics need to work with shipping. One of the important, but overlooked, reasons for Casper’s success, is that their mattresses are made of foam and compress into a relatively standard and compact box. At the same time, there is no work required of the customer, since the mattress takes form upon exposure to air. If instead Casper had to ship fully formed mattresses, the shipping logistics would be more complicated and require a higher sales price. // DNVB

Excerpt: Back in 2014, Nasty Gal and Bonobos were on top of the world. Nasty Gal, a vintage eBay shop Sophia Amoruso launched in 2006, had blossomed into an e-commerce powerhouse. It had just expanded into a large office in Los Angeles, staffed by a hundred employees, and was generating $300 million in annual revenues. Bonobos, for its part, gained a loyal following almost immediately after it debuted its derriere-enhancing chinos in 2007. Seven years later, Bonobos was about to sell its millionth pair of pants, making $100 million a year, and readying for a 30 brick-and-mortar store expansion around the country. // DNVB

Excerpt: Podcasting has typically catered to more high-end, urban audiences. Podcasts featured on popular distribution channels, like iTunes, are often produced from urban areas where the biggest distributors and podcast networks are located. Most listeners in the U.S. are highly educated (see above), have higher household incomes and work full-time, according to Edison Research's latest podcast survey. // Media

Excerpt: I believe that Ajit Pai is right to return regulation to the same light touch under which the Internet developed and broadband grew for two decades. I am amenable to Congress passing a law specifically banning ISPs from blocking content, but believe that for everything else, including paid prioritization, we are better off taking a “wait-and-see” approach; after all, we are just as likely to “see” new products and services as we are to see startup foreclosure. And, to be sure, this is an issue than can — and should, if the evidence changes — be visited again. // Data

Excerpt: Why do I value this direct to consumer channel so highly? For one, e-commerce margins are better (in the 80 percent range versus as low as 50 percent in traditional retail). But it also offers the potential for scale that retail simply can’t match. My grandfather grew his textiles business methodically, one merchant and store at a time — something I greatly admired as a child, given the grit and hustle he put into closing each sale. However, today, with the help of Facebook ads, viral videos like Dollar Shave Club’s classic ad, influencer and celebrity-driven endorsements, sales can boom overnight. // eCommerce

Excerpt: Amazon had an ‘eye-popping’ Black Friday sales performance as we estimate Amazon comprised between 45 percent to 50 percent of all e-commerce sales thus far,” the report noted. “With e-commerce Black Friday sales on a trajectory to increase roughly 18 percent year over year, these are very positive data points heading into Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season for Amazon (and its investors). // eCommerce

Excerpt: Turbulence in online media is to be expected, of course. And some analysts think this latest convulsion is merely the latest bump in the flight path—“more of a correction than an upheaval,” as Digiday’s Lucia Moses put it. Big bets were placed on the “pivot to video” over the past couple years; now, Moses writes, we’re seeing a “pivot to reality.” Mashable and Vice in particular had been valued at levels disproportionate to their revenues, partly on the hope that online video ads would prove lucrative for publishers in a way that online display ads have not. That hope appears to have been misplaced. // Media

Excerpt: Obviously, BuzzFeed and Vice aren’t failures by any normal definition. They have hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and are theoretically worth billions. Skeptics, however, will note that those billions are private-market valuations—notional values that can disappear in an instant, as in Mashable’s case—and that neither appears close to turning a profit. // Media

Excerpt: Stitch Fix is also a retailer, at least in part. But it definitely doesn't want to be valued like one, as my Bloomberg News colleague Alex Barinka has written. Gap Inc., L Brands Inc. and other clothing retailers have stock market values roughly equivalent to their annual revenue or lower. Inc. is valued at 3.4 times its annual sales for the last 12 months. // eCommerce

Excerpt: When the mall opened, in 1992, it represented the pinnacle of retail convenience and a mecca for young people to gather and spend. But the $650 million megamall was always “vaguely unreal . . . exuding the ambience of a monstrous hallucination,” as novelist David Guterson described it in a 1993 Harper’s article, calling it “monolithic and imposing.” Two years later, Jeff Bezos launched his online book marketplace, which quickly grew into a new type of Everything Store, one that fundamentally redefined the shopping experience and led some to argue that commercial centers like the Mall of America would become gaudy relics of an antiquated era. // Retail Real Estate

Opinion: DNVB's Must Become Luxury Brands
There are a great many tidbits in this essay, in addition to the original infographic above. The notion of moving a brand up-market is one that I believe very strongly in - not only as a price-anchoring function but as a product differentiator and brand builder.

This is the first essay that I've featured by the New York venture capitalist but it's a worthwhile one. It's lengthy but it's worth your time.

Excerpt: Building a luxury direct-to-consumer brand is easier said than done, but take comfort in the fact that it can be done. Every generation has its share of holdover brands from the last, but millennials, like our parents before us, have a cadre of all new logos and experiences we want to be seen in, on, and around. Unlike our parents, we care about the experience of the purchase as much as product itself and are willing to pay serious premiums for individualized VIP treatment. Use that to your advantage. Provide a level of service your competition won’t, and tack that additional cost to the end of the price tag.

Read more here.
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