Edition 27: Crash & 🔥

DTC Bubble - Politics & the Human Condition

Here’s a great story of $40,000 & a failed startup idea. There’s lot of gold in here but the key point for me was creating value for all stakeholders aka the ecosystem.

I have a few of my own crashes & burns under my belt but here’s one that was published back in 2013. The actual company crashed & burned a few years before that.


I think this is the marketing playbook now - everyone is looking for the quick wins to justify their jobs / marketing spend without taking into consideration the longer term benefits of investing in marketing. It’s not marketers at fault all the time. There’s lots of bad marketers but also there’s a lack of understanding what marketing actually fucking does!


I usually pay attention to what DHH says. He’s a smart man. But ads as a business model are not evil. There’s still some caution and fear-mongering around using ‘targetted’ ads post FB/elections. But let’s be honest, without ads, a lot of the internet as it is won’t exist today. Ads let people blog, keep the services running that we rely on (free email, search, blogs, newspapers, music, videos, etc) - how many folks out of the billions who use the internet can / would or could afford to pay $5/mo for 100’s of services. I know for a fact that a lot of folks in Pakistan (rural like where I am originally from) would not have access to nearly the information they can if the internet was paywalled. Ads let us have a free & democratized internet.

Are ads themselves evil? No. Is Facebook using 2FA via phone number then using that to target folks with ads a shady practice? Yes. Is it downright evil? No. But I can’t point fingers because I make my living on the internet & 20% of it is running ads on the internet. It’s become the cultural zeitgeist to talk about privacy.

In some ways, I feel like by taking away ads & putting the internet behind the paywall - we are enforcing elitism on what otherwise should be free (via ads) & available to everyone.

Here is the Spotify podcast article.

Spotify also hinted at taking this technology and applying it outside of its exclusive shows. “This is just the beginning,” says Dawn Ostroff, Spotify chief content officer. That means it’s possible the company will take on big ad networks, like Midroll, to sell ads for other shows and share in the revenue

I did cover this before it became official in a previous edition.

How can I end without talking about DTC & Casper's IPO?

Yes, the biz model is lopsided & there’s probably a handful of factories churning out these mattresses in a box and other DTC products. I still think DTC itself is a bubble - but is all Commerce over the internet DTC? Is this the same ‘bubble’ as drop shipping with better branding? Send me your thoughts or twitter!!

But I am guilty of arm analysis. The fact is, its incredibly hard to build a company & take it public & I have never done it ever & likely never will (who takes an agency public right?) but here’s some commentary from Twitter (LinkedIn was very quiet or I don’t follow the right folks):


Some interesting listens/ reads:

Sales / Sales Ops:

Facebook & Commerce:



Biggest takeaway

Sales is about Customer value creation not revenue. 


Preorder Susan’s book! If you don’t who who Susan is - she wrote the blog post that triggered the changes at Uber & around the tech industry among other places

And some politics & the human condition that are incredibly moving:

Till next time.

Soundtrack: Top 40 Pop / 70’s Rock.

Kamil