Monday Musings (7/15/19)

The Amazon Arbitrage

Hey everybody, 

Over the weekend, I published an article with my friend Nik Sharma. 

We wrote about Amazon and the Direct-to-Consumer commerce boom. In the article, we outline the playbook for Direct-to-Consumer brands who want to work with Amazon.

The piece is geared towards industry insiders, but anybody who is interested in the future of commerce will enjoy it. We suggest that working with Amazon is a delicate balance. On the positive side, working with Amazon brings instant sales and reduces overhead. But too many brands become dependent on Amazon. Those who do, don’t build the infrastructure required to create a sustainable DTC business. That’s why working with Amazon is such a delicate balance. 

You can read the full article here.

Some statistics that caught my eye: 

  1. Amazon launched 66 private label brands in 2018.

  2. Amazon has ~ 100 million square feet of distribution center space across the United States.

  3. Amazon now controls more than 550 brands, and 68% of them are apparel-focused.

  4. Amazon’s advertising business promises product discovery for consumers and new product introductions for sellers. It’s already an $8 billion annual business.


Fresh Ideas

[Flashback] North Star Podcast: Eugene Wei

Over the weekend, I had lunch with Eugene Wei who is one of my favorite podcast guests.

He’s worked at some of the world’s top technology companies, such as Amazon, Hulu and Facebook. I can’t think of anybody who understands the intersection of status, culture and technology better than Eugene. 

We talked about: 

  • Life-long learning

  • Jeff Bezos’ principles of communication 

  • Cultural differences between Hollywood and Silicon Valley

Listen to the podcast: Website | ITunes | Spotify


Video: Creative Process Introduction

On July 1, I hosted a workshop in Brooklyn with Tiago Forte. 

The workshop was called The Creative Process. In it, we outlined a fresh approach to writing and idea generation. In the keynote, we summarized the high-level ideas from our courses (Write of Passage and Building a Second Brain). 

We filmed the 11 minute keynote and you can watch it here. Some photos from the event below:


Coolest Things I Learned This Week

Famous People in History

Here’s how far away you are from famous people in history. 

1 generation = 25 years


Eye-Opening Quotes

  1. ”Humor is the spiciest condiment in the feast of existence. Laugh at your mistakes but learn from them, joke over your troubles but gather strength from them, make a jest of your difficulties but overcome them." — L.M.Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Series

  2. “Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus

  3. “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, 'You owe me.' Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” — Hafiz, translation by Daniel Ladinsky

  4. “Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” — Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

  5. “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." — Catcher In The Rye


Federer and Nadal

I don’t watch a lot of tennis. But when Federer and Nadal are on the big screen, I can’t resist. 

The two tennis greats are rivals on the court, but friends off it. The New Yorker nailed the dynamic between the two superstars. The more they differ, the more alike they become. 


Energy Efficiency


Which Trips Are Most Common? 


Highest Grossing Media Franchises


Photo of the Week

On Friday night, I hosted a group of friends to see the opening of The Farewell

The movie was only okay. It was funny, but too slow for my taste. Nevertheless, from death, to family, to the cultural differences between the West and the East, the movie tackled some fascinating themes, which sparked some memorable dinner conversations.

If you see the movie, please share your thoughts. 

Until next week,

David Perell