Tidbits #15

Here’s some of the things I found interesting recently. Some of the articles can be a bit dated but still worth considering in the grand scheme of things.


🎮 Games + Virtual Worlds

#1 Next Installment of Call of Duty Black Ops About to Launch

While this isn’t my type of game, Call of Duty is one of the world’s largest franchises.… Read the rest “Tidbits #15”

Tidbits #12 – Buy, Buy, Buy

No…not stocks (maybe depending on the stock!)…but if Amazon, Shopify, and Pinterest’s results last week did not make the point painfully obvious enough, e-commerce IS commerce now. Some data providers estimate that e-commerce share of total commerce increased from 15% last year to 40% in Q2. Normally, e-commerce share only grows about 1% per year and has taken 20 years to get to 15%…

The way we buy, buy, buy is changing at an incredible pace.… Read the rest “Tidbits #12 – Buy, Buy, Buy”

Part 3 – Payments and Identity

There is nothing that feels more inevitable to me (barring regulatory barriers) than tech giants eventually playing a significant role in the payment space. To a slightly lesser degree, I am also starting to believe that traditional merchant acquirers will cease to exist without business model transformation and that networks like Visa and MasterCard will increasingly broaden their scope and subsume some of the functions that are currently offered by merchant acquirers.… Read the rest “Part 3 – Payments and Identity”

Tidbits #11

What I found interesting recently.


🗺 Society

Why the US needs racial progress:

Two years ago, Marian Croak was hiding in her office at Google’s YouTube offices, convinced the police would enter and shoot her dead.

There was an active shooter on the San Bruno, Calif. campus, and police were moving door-to-door to clear out staff. Though the soft-spoken, petite Ms.

Read the rest “Tidbits #11”

Tidbits #10

A hodgepodge…


🛍 Commerce

#1 Shopify continues to “Arm the Rebels” with a Walmart partnership

Starting today, Shopify merchants across the U.S. will be able to apply to sell through Walmart.com. If approved, they’ll be able to connect their Shopify store to their Walmart Seller Account, enabling them to quickly and easily sync their product catalog and create product listings on Walmart.com.

Read the rest “Tidbits #10”

Tidbits #8 – Eyes on Facebook

Just two weeks ago, Tidbits #6 – Shopping Edition highlighted shifts in e-commerce because of COVID19 driven by players like Shopify and Pinterest. Capital Flywheels speculated Facebook as a potential wildcard, and we did not have to wait long to see what Facebook is up to. Very, very exciting.

In a similar vein, in Tidbits #7 – Strong Balance Sheets in Motion, Capital Flywheels commented that Zuckerberg is an underestimated operator.… Read the rest “Tidbits #8 – Eyes on Facebook”

Tidbits #7 – Strong Balance Sheets in Motion

Now that we are several months into the COVID19 pandemic, many companies have gotten over the initial stage of shock.

Many (weak) companies have already declared bankruptcy. Like JC Penney. Like Nieman Marcus. Like J Crew.

But, there’s another side to the coin. As discussed in a recent post, companies with strong balance sheets are not only defensive in periods of stress, but strong balance sheets can be deployed offensively to aggressively box out weaker competitors during periods of stress.… Read the rest “Tidbits #7 – Strong Balance Sheets in Motion”

Tidbits #6 – Shopping Edition

Assuming I am not that far from average, COVID19 has very likely changed our collective behaviors in a very big way.

Probably more Netflix. Probably more Zoom / video conferencing for work. Maybe some more gaming through console, PC, or mobile. And probably a lot of online shopping.

Over the last few days / weeks there has been an incredible shift in the ecommerce and omnichannel landscape.… Read the rest “Tidbits #6 – Shopping Edition”

Tidbits #4

As previously mentioned, Nintendo is following in the footsteps of Disney and will be building theme park attractions. Bloomberg recently published more details on what that may look like ahead of Super Nintendo World opening at Universal Studio Japan:

Super Nintendo World is slated to open this summer in Osaka, featuring a Power Up Band wearable that lets visitors collect coins and battle bosses while exploring a physical environment.

Read the rest “Tidbits #4”

Open Sesame

According to Wikipedia, Ali Baba opens the mouth of a treasure cave using the magical phrase “open sesame” in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”.

In similar ways, our Alibaba has been making incredible progress in opening a multitude of modern treasure caves…

Caves such as…

Single’s Day. Just a few days ago, Alibaba announced >$38 billion of GMV for their Single’s Day shopping festival (note that the RMB has weakened over the past year, which further obscures the incredible growth in riches they continue to find in this Single’s Day cave).… Read the rest “Open Sesame”

“Arming the rebels of the commerce industry”

Shopify announced quarterly results yesterday and raised guidance. Although the market appeared to be more short-sighted and reacted poorly largely because the results were “good but not good enough”, the company continues to execute well on its long term vision.

Along with results, the company released a new report highlighting the impact of their business, which is worth reading. Shopify disclosed that they crossed 1 million merchants running on the platform.… Read the rest ““Arming the rebels of the commerce industry””

Emerging E-commerce Franchises / Sea Limited

Today, Alibaba and Amazon are likely household names and for good reason. Both of them are giants straddling a number of industries and likely touch close to 2 billion consumers annually. Both of them also tend to be trendsetters that determine the evolution of markets / industries (or at least in thought).

While Alibaba and Amazon get most of the attention, there are other giants in the making that I think get less attention than they rightfully deserve.… Read the rest “Emerging E-commerce Franchises / Sea Limited”

Alibaba Ramping Up Efforts in the US?

Looks like I’ve neglected to post in quite a while.

The past year has certainly been a blur with both market and geopolitical disruptions domestically and abroad. What started out as my good intention to take the market disruption as an opportunity to do more work on a number of companies I’ve long admired (largely within e-commerce and internet space), quickly lengthened into a years-long journey exploring new areas/industries such as payments, SaaS software, and biotechnology.… Read the rest “Alibaba Ramping Up Efforts in the US?”

The Future of Ecommerce: Utilitarian vs Social

When people think about ecommerce today, they likely think about ecommerce along the lines of C2C (consumer-to-consumer), B2C (business-to-consumer), or B2B (business-to-business) – in other words, classification by type of buyers and sellers.

Or perhaps people think about 1P (1st party) vs 3P (3rd party), depending on whether the ecommerce platform itself engages in the direct buying and selling of goods.… Read the rest “The Future of Ecommerce: Utilitarian vs Social”

The Other Supply Chain Gorilla That May One Day Challenge Amazon

As detailed in my recent post, Amazon has built up quite a formidable competitive advantage through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Not just on the demand side, which every happy Prime subscriber is already familiar with, but also on the supply side.

In that post I concluded the following:

Fulfillment is clearly beneficial on the demand side, but has a lot of supply side advantages as well.

Read the rest “The Other Supply Chain Gorilla That May One Day Challenge Amazon”

Why Amazon is so Hard to Compete Against

Amazon has clearly become an absolute juggernaut. There are likely only a handful of companies today that have the resource and scale to compete with Amazon directly. But most of the companies that do have the resources to compete generally don’t operate ecommerce platforms, leaving the field mostly wide open for Amazon to continue to grow unabated.

I have been trying to grapple with the question of why it has been and continues to be so hard to compete against Amazon.… Read the rest “Why Amazon is so Hard to Compete Against”

Supply Side Advantages of Fulfillment (by Amazon)

I wish I had spent more time analyzing Amazon in earnest years ago. But late is better than never. I’ll console myself with the fact that e-commerce penetration in the US is still <10% of all retail sales…and relative to that statistic, even the word “late” seems a bit premature.

Having spent a number of months learning more about Amazon’s history, assets, business model(s), and philosophy, one thing I’ve realized is that Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) affords the company immense advantages on the supply side that I think are largely glossed over in mainstream media and investor dialogue.… Read the rest “Supply Side Advantages of Fulfillment (by Amazon)”