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a16z
MONTHLY newsletter November 2014
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with Jeff Jordan; Laura Duke, Dwight Gaston, Mike Smith, and Mike Swartz
Expectation and reality collided for ecommerce companies during last year's holiday season: Consumers’ expectation that they could safely order things just in time, and the reality that shippers simply couldn’t handle the massive volume. How can ecommerce companies deal with the conflicting expectations and logistical realities of an increasingly on-demand economy? Meanwhile, how is brick-and-mortar retail faring? And how do mobile payments fit into all this?
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Listen to a conversation with 4 experts on ecommerce logistics and ops
by Jeff Jordan
Amazon is in the news a lot lately -- it isn't a monopolyit's a vicious competitorit's a 'funky contradiction', and so on -- and we previously dissected its business model in great detail here. So the real question is, can other companies compete with the ecommerce giant, which just keeps getting bigger every year? The answer is yes. There are at least 5 ways, and they're as true today as they were a year ago...
Read the post
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with Ron Johnson and Tristan Walker
“Unfortunately we are in a period where [physical] stores will become increasingly less important in the total distribution mix for brands,” says Ron Johnson, who built arguably the world’s most successful retail outlet -- the Apple Store. Given that physical retail is expensive (and on the decline), what’s the right mix for startups here? What are some lessons learned from Apple? And why will physical businesses like the black barbershop never go away?
Listen to this podcast on brand and retail in a multichannel world 
with Lars Dalgaard and Jeff Jordan; Carine Carmy 
While the first phase of ecommerce was exclusively about retailers that distributed other companies’ goods (dominated by the likes of Amazon and eBay), the next phase has been and will be about everyone else
  • What happens when we get logistics 'out of the way of entrepreneurial inspiration' (as with platforms like Teespring)? ...read more
  • How are ecommerce models that leverage existing brick-and-mortar infrastructure (like Instacart with grocery retail) finally able to work? Hint: mobile devices + people marketplaces ...listen to this podcast / read this post 
  • We've evolved from ecommerce portals, to long-tail aggregators, to ever-more-targeted ecommerce companies (like Julep and zulily) -- now, the internet is allowing brands like Walker & Company to reach and include segments that couldn't be addressed before ...read about how
  • What happens as 3D printing and rapid physical prototyping (through service marketplaces like Shapeways) change traditional notions of seasonality and inventory management in product cycles and development? ...listen to this podcast
  • Today's ecommerce and app stores limit interaction with users and makers to one-way communication and reviews. But this is changing with discovery communities like Product Hunt ...read more
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with Balaji Srinivasan; Joe Gebbia, John Stanfield, and Ben Uretsky
What happens when the importance of access to things trumps the value of owning those same things? From computer hardware to houses, cars, and fashion, the notion of ownership is changing -- especially as software enables the matching of people and organizations that have specific goods or services to those that need them. 
Listen to this podcast 
This is the monthly edition of the a16z newsletter, a selection of a16z posts, podcasts, and resources on tech topics of interest. Catch up on previous issues of all our newsletters (including a weekly edition that features what we're reading around the web) here. If you received this email by mistake, you can remove yourself from the list instantly by clicking below.
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