Amazon a Monopoly?, DTC Lawncare, Interview with Huron Founder, Nike Acquires AI, CVS Launches Prime, Apple Card Rollout, Power of Stories, Celebrity Disgrace Insurance, Performance Beer, Aged Beef, P

Covering commerce daily from Amazon to Zulily.

Amazon Is a Monopoly, an Interview With Sally Hubbard - Marketplace Pulse

In an interview with an antitrust expert Sally Hubbard, we discussed what makes Amazon a monopoly, how that affects consumers, businesses relying on Amazon, and competitors, as well as what actions and regulations antitrust investigations might bring in the future.

Exclusionary conduct includes things like predatory pricing, exclusive agreements, refusing to deal with a company, most-favored nation clauses, designing your product or service in a way that excludes competition, and more types of anticompetitive behavior.

Sally Hubbard: Antitrust enforcers like the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and State Attorneys General are finally taking a look at some of this anti-competitive conduct and could use your input about your experiences.

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Interview with Matt Mullenax - The Proof Wellness

Matt Mullenax is the Founder & CEO of Huron, a men’s care brand offering A+ personal care products for guys everywhere. Matt started Huron under the premise that the world didn’t need another $40 body wash, and guys everywhere need access to great products at an approachable price.

A native Ohioan, Matt hopes to fill an audience void: the fact that consumers in non-coastal markets aren’t often shown the same variety of high-quality products as their coastal peers.

Matt has worked on both the finance and brand side of the consumer industry -- Winona Capital Management, and Nike and Bonobos (6th employee), respectively. He earned an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and a BA from Brown University.

Growing tasteful turf Boulder gluten-free pioneer tackles problem of toxic home lawn care - Boulder Weekly

Like one of those boxed meal plans that show up on your porch, Sunday supplies tailored lawn nutrition seasonally that is safe for humans and pets.

It’s 25 percent organic matter including molasses (which feeds healthy bacteria) and kelp extract to help the lawn deal with heat and drought.

Nike acquires A.I. platform Celect, hoping to better predict shopping behavior - CNBC

After years of scooping up brands like Converse and Hurley, Nike is shifting its focus toward buying start-ups that help it behind the scenes.

With Celect's technology integrated into Nike's mobile apps and website, the shoemaker should be able to better predict what styles of sneakers and apparel customers want, when they want it and where they want to buy it from, Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk explained in an interview.

Then, in March of last year, Nike said it acquired consumer data analytics firm Zodiac in a bid to speed its "digital transformation," as its sales continued to shift online.

CVS targets millennials with Amazon-like membership - CNBC

CVS will expand its membership program, CarePass, nationwide after testing it in Boston, Philadelphia and Tampa. Consumers pay $5 a month or $48 annually for a suite of benefits, including free shipping and discounts.

CVS has a plan to win over millennials and it looks a lot like Amazon Prime: free home delivery of products from shampoo to cold medicine, all for an annual membership fee of $48.

Pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens are fighting to stay relevant as consumers, especially younger ones, shop online more and in physical stores less.

The Apple Card starts rolling out today - The Verge

The Apple Card interface in the Wallet app is extremely nice: it provides detailed information about all your purchases, using machine learning to clean up merchant names and categorize your spending over time.

You can set payment schedules in a variety of ways, play with a circular slider to see exactly how much interest you’ll be charged, and see how much you’re spending weekly and monthly.

Seth Godin on the Power of Stories | Next Big Idea Club - Next Big Idea Club

Author Seth Godin speaks with Ryan Hawk about the power of the stories we tell ourselves and the world around us.

How to give back to your mentor How luck and skill combine to produce success Why we should integrate Random Acts of Initiative into our daily lives

Seth Godin is the author of 18 international bestsellers focusing on the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership, and making an impact.

When celebrities mess up, "disgrace insurance" steps in - VOX

Companies want it for inevitable scandals, but providing it can be tricky.

This is all according to the scale designed by Spotted , a Boston startup that’s on the forefront of a particularly timely kind of product: “disgrace insurance.” Though policies like it have been around since the 1980s, the disgrace insurance industry is growing for reasons that are obvious (like the increasing fragility of celebrity reputations after #MeToo proved the public now wants to take allegations of sexual misconduct seriously) but with a whole new host of difficulties: How, exactly, are you supposed to craft a detailed insurance policy that puts a number on Kim Kardashian’s political activism or the leaked lewd texts of a Real Housewife’s husband?

While there is plenty of demand for such services, now that public scandals are so much more easily exposed on social media and the internet, Kachka notes that insurers are wary of drawing up policies that protect major films and TV shows.

Why ‘performance beer’ is the newest trend in sports beverages - Fast Company

One of the many new ‘functional’ craft beers on the market, Sufferfest is brewed to help you celebrate, recover, and refuel for your next workout.

Sufferfest also provides refreshments for the hundreds of participants of August’s Big Birdcamp, the annual networking and fitness event sponsored by Seattle-based women’s running-apparel company Oiselle (French for bird), a cult brand that organizes local running communities across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

Sufferfest’s own Instagram account has more than 15,000 followers, and tagged photos of its various brews show how much the brand has extended into the larger fitness space: It can be found at running outfitters and bike shops, climbing gyms and CrossFit studios.

The New Trend in Steak: Old Beef - WSJ

Steakhouses looking for the next big thing are hoping to lure diners with dishes made from older cows; “a little bit of a tougher bite.”

Rod Bolls, 44, is a regular at Corrida, a steakhouse in Boulder, Colo.

Dubbed “vaca vieja”—Spanish for “old cow”—it’s a ribeye steak the menu described as being “8 years at harvest.” That’s about four times older than normal.

‘There Was Something Else Ground Up in the Ice Cream.’ Children Revolt at Plant-Based Treats. - WSJ

Food companies are serving up ice cream and frosty treats made from beets, spinach and soy; ‘It does not sound like summertime.’

Becca Hoffman, who is 14 years old, eats ice cream with her dad almost every day.

She enjoyed the cotton candy flavor (made with beets) but was less keen on the strawberry (with “hidden carrots”).

Birkenstock is launching a cork skincare line. Yes, really - Fast Company

After 245 years, the German sandal company is pivoting into a wellness company centered on…cork.

Have you ever stared lovingly at your Birkenstock cork sandals as they gently cradle your foot in orthopedically-engineered comfort and thought to yourself, “I wonder if there is an anti-aging cream made from the same material in this footbed?”

As Birkenstock was developing this new line, it conducted lab tests that suggested that cork bark extract had the potential to reduce skin redness, stimulate collagen formation, and combat free radicals.

The Consumer Trends That Destroyed Media’s Business Model - Monday Note

I thought that a possible scheme for subscriptions could be: one for national media, in the $12–20 a month range, another, less expensive ($5–$9/month) for local news, and the last one for specialized content, whether it is a business or a leisure publication.

Recent studies show that in most markets, not only is a small 10 percent slice of the readership is willing to pay for an online publication, but, on average, there is room for ONE , paid-for media subscription per consumer unit.

Amazon Scout Autonomous delivery robots begin deliveries in California – TechCrunch

Amazon’s Scout six-wheeled, sidewalk-driving delivery robots have begun making deliveries to customers in the Irvine, Calif. area.

Amazon announced this first California deployment of Scout bots in a blog post, noting that in its experience to date, the company has had plenty of opportunity to experience a range of weather conditions in its first deployments in the Pacific Northwest in Seattle — so weather-wise, at least, the little blue bot should have a smoother time in sunny California.

While the robots can drive themselves around, which is the whole point of the project to begin with, for the time being they’ll be accompanied by an “Amazon Scout Ambassador.”