Category Archives: business

The Latest in Crossover Marketing from Soho House

Soho is, of course, a place in London. And it is much more. It is also an idea and a set of values. The idea and the values derived from things that took place in Soho over many decades, when folks went to Soho (or lived there) for its free spirited and often off the rails atmosphere. Folks still go there for that.

Soho House in Soho took over the idea and values, and turned it into a club for creative types. You can join Soho House and enjoy Soho House locations in loads of major cities. Part of the allure is that Soho House pays a lot of attention to the unique atmosphere  it achieves in each place.  Brilliant.

With 23 houses in the U.K., Berlin, Istanbul, Barcelona, Amsterdam, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, Hong Kong, Toronto and Mumbai, each house is uniquely decorated with its own character and aesthetic based on the location.

Here is an image from Soho House Istanbul

Image result for Soho House

And this image is from Soho House Mumbai

Image result for Soho House

The next step?`Why not sell the items that people experience in its various locations via the web? Indeed, Soho House is doing that.

It will be fun to see how this works out.

 

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Why Food 52 is Cool

It is not because they have a new line of kitchen tools out.

It is because of this

We knew from the early days of our Shop that at some point we would design and make our own products. But we wanted to do it in a way that was true to the spirit of Food52, which is all about community. We have a lot of experience gathering and acting on ideas and inspiration from the Food52 community, and we realized that we could make the products that they really wanted if we simply asked and listened.

It is unusual for a company to be so community focused. And it is refreshing.

A quick follow up – Back when Food 52 was founded, there was a lot of talk about building “web communities”. Most attempts to do that did not pan out. Food 52 is an exception. What happened? Facebook and the other big social media platforms sucked the air out of the social space. That does not mean, however, that community based business modeling that takes advantage of tech is dead. At the same time, it appears that we lack high profile leaders of his concept.

Or do we? Here is an article from Forbes from 2017 about a very cool community based business that operates in New York. And this tidbit from the article might surprise you

“There are currently over three thousand startups listed in Crunchbase’s “community” category. Many of these have secured millions of dollars in funding. In the current climate, community means business.”

At the same time, you find relatively few posts or articles about this sort of business model. The above Forbes article is the exception.

 

A Brief Word about Libra

You might have heard that Facebook has made public its plans to launch its own crypto currency – the Libra.

What is this all about?

Facebook sees this as the next really, really big thing.

Why? Mat Levine writes for Bloomberg

… Facebook’s grand vision … seems to involve competing with or even displacing national currencies, and if you’re going that far why not displace national regulatory regimes too? If we meet back here in 20 years and Libra has become the currency of the internet, we’re not going to be talking about whether Libra complies with banking regulation, we’re going to be talking about how the Libra Association regulates and stress-tests the Libra banks that it licenses

I would put i t this way — crypto is a technology that we do not yet know how to use to add value in day to day life. Facebook thinks it has figured it out. Have they?

Stay tuned on this one.

Ok. So you are not a techie. You might ask “Why should I care?” You should care if (1) you buy and/or sell things online, or (2) if you use currencies across borders, for example, in traveling. A global digital currency like Libra, could change the way you do these things, making it easier for you to do more stuff.

BTW, US lawmakers are freaking out – saying that Facebook should put their plans on hold until regulators can figure it out. This is annoying. Over the last several years, the SEC,  CFTC, and IRS have had ample time to come up with progressive oversight of crypto markets. They have failed to do this. To the contrary, the SEC has employed a heavy handed approach to throttle innovation. And despite efforts to educate members. Congress has no clue about crypto. The White House has no clue. The thing is that no one thought being clueless was a problem. So now that Facebook comes out with an idea, they freak out? Shame on them!

Telsa’s Problem is Not Just About Telsa

You probably have read that Tesla has problems. The problems relate to Tesla’s inability to execute on its promises to deliver its Model 3 car as promised. And its stock is getting hammered.

But this is not just about screwing up on the Model 3. Tesla’s stock price is based on trust — not performance. Buyers of Tesla trust that Elon Musk will figure out a way to make Tesla profitable. The stock price assumes this will happen. And it is not happening.

That would be ok if Musk could figure out a way to keep investors believing. But for one reason or another, Musk appears not up to that challenge. He is doing a lot of stuff — perhaps too much stuff — but he is not wowing Wall Street about Tesla.

The bigger problem here is that Tesla is not alone. There are quite a few companies that have stock valuations largely based on their claims to be disruptive  rather than their current performance. And there is a worry that if Tesla crashes, confidence in these companies may start to crack.

In other words, folks selling disruption will have to promise they will make money too.

Crypto Spring?

You may not have noticed, bu

The entire crypto market hit the low point in mid December at roughly $100bn and has rallied over the winter and spring to almost $250bn. While there is no guarantee that we won’t go back and test those lows, I do think we hit rock bottom in December.

It is also worth noting that the daily trading volumes are now higher (almost double) than they were at the height of the crypto bubble in January 2018. Investors are back in the market and pushing it higher.