How 3D Printing Threatens Amazon…and What That Can Teach Us About the Power of mRNA

The power of mRNA technology to truly transform society in the coming years can be a bit hard to understand.

We can already see the importance of mRNA tech / vaccines in our daily lives because of how central it is for combating COVID-19, but understanding its potential beyond COVID-19 likely takes a bit of a leap of faith for the average person.… Read the rest “How 3D Printing Threatens Amazon…and What That Can Teach Us About the Power of mRNA”

Tidbits #35 – Semis, NFTs, Media, and More

I’m sure you already know the market had a crazy week. Maybe it’s tech (and frothy valuations). Maybe it’s interest rates. Maybe it’s ARK Invest?

Who knows.

What I know is that there are a lot of tech / tech-like things going up like rockets πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€ that do not and are very unlikely to eventually have tech-like economics (e.g. EVs). If I’m proven wrong, great!… Read the rest “Tidbits #35 – Semis, NFTs, Media, and More”

Tidbits #34

Hi, friends. πŸ‘‹πŸ»πŸ‘‹πŸ»

What a week! Not only were markets extremely volatile, many companies and industries continue to undergo fascinating change. Major change is coming in the media space if Snap, Twitter, and Spotify’s recent investor / product presentations were any indication. And beyond that…the boom in NFTs (non-fungible [crypto]tokens) is wild in its own right.

This and more below. πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»πŸ‘‡πŸ»

As always, thanks for making the time to read.… Read the rest “Tidbits #34”

Tidbits #16 – Skipping the Elephant in the Room

I sensed October was going to get really crazy, but it got crazy, faster than I thought. You know what I’m talking about. Since the whole world already knows what happened yesterday, I’m just going to skip mentioning the elephant in the room because you and I know I have no useful commentary to add there at all.

Let’s see how well I can take your mind off of that topic and onto other things.… Read the rest “Tidbits #16 – Skipping the Elephant in the Room”

Tidbits #10

A hodgepodge…

πŸ› 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 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

Read the rest “Tidbits #10”

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 #5

Starbucks – After decades championing “the third place“, Starbucks has been experimenting with newer store formats. Initially the company moved upmarket with their Reserve/Roastery formats. This one is from the Seattle location:

Seattle Reserve Small Roastery

While the move upmarket feels quite natural for a company that has focused so heavily on building a well-recognized and beloved brand, the recent experimentations with smaller, more convenient stores is an interesting one:

Starbucks Pick Up Store

What’s interesting is that Starbucks is experimenting with these smaller stores after having been outgrown by an aggressive Chinese competitor named Luckin.… Read the rest “Tidbits #5”

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”

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”

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)”

The World’s Most Valuable E-Commerce Company

Is possibly going to be Alibaba very soon.

Amazon vs BABA

For a long while following it’s IPO in 2014, investors were highly skeptical of Alibaba. Many still are, but many more are starting to recognize Alibaba’s incredible dominance in China. More importantly, as mentioned briefly in my postΒ Tencent vs Alibaba on the Quest to Go Global, the company stands a fairly good chance of going global.… Read the rest “The World’s Most Valuable E-Commerce Company”

Amazon’s Capital Market Dependence

Lately, there’s been no shortage of positive coverage on Amazon – and for good reasons. The vast majority of retail is struggling with declining same-store-sales, yet, Amazon continues to post a torrid pace of growth despite its size. In FY16, Amazon grew North America segment sales by 25%, and that growth came at the expense of the rest of the retail industry.… Read the rest “Amazon’s Capital Market Dependence”