Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

When chomping down pizza, which crust is your fav?

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We head out to Vegas Saturday for the annual Cosmoprof show. Reviewing the newly updated floor plan (it gets updated each year due to exhibitor mix), the show is now divided equally between “pro” beauty and consumer/packaging. Pro beauty is now in the area that packaging used to be in, planned that way since that is the section that will continue to shrink while the other two sections will continue to expand. It will be an interesting show for sure. If you are around, come visit us at stand 39087.

My latest revelation and wonderment is the attention given to reviews and “THE BEST OF.” Let’s take review sites such as Trip Advisor and Yelp. You would think that everyone is an expert that posts a review. And does anyone Google-search the worst hotel or the worst restaurant? We all want the BEST and we want to pay the cheapest price to get it. Interesting enough, many reviews are bullshit and you have to become an expert to know which reviews to ponder and which reviews to skip. When it comes to finding recipes, I was looking for curry cauliflower. I typed in BEST curry cauliflower and up came pages of recipes. Then I typed in WORST curry cauliflower and just about the same recipes appeared.

Amazon is the most bizarre when it comes to reviews. I wanted to buy a vent mounted iPhone holder. I found one for $6.99 and it had 25,000 reviews. Really? No kidding. No one has time for nothing anymore, but they certainly have time to post reviews.

Sergio Marchionne, what a terrible end of life story. What he did for Chrysler is Harvard case study material. I mean look at Ford whose stock is about to go below $10. And even GM whose stock can’t get past $45. Fiat stock more than doubled in less than one years and Sergio spun off Ferrari which as tripled. 66 years old is way too young but cancer knows no age. The auto world will certainly miss him.

Is there any hotter color than green? Green is great: Go instead of stop. Fully charged or charging instead of drained or about to drain. Stocks up instead of stocks down. Green is organic, natural. Green is MSU (sorry I had to toss that in).

Here’s one for you. I was speaking to a Vietnamese nail spa owner who has 7 locations. His biggest concern? Finding qualified nail techs. With Vietnam booming (7% GNP growth vs. 2.2% USA), young people are working in factories and making more money than ever before. No longer do they need to come to the USA to find work in a nail salon. They now come with a skillset where they can get quality jobs without working 6 days a week, 10 hours a day.

I visited the new MGM National Harbor property last month and was totally impressed. As nice as any Vegas property and very comparable to ARIA but with only 300 rooms. Casino is smoke-free and features more than 60 poker tables. Location is perfect and if you are thinking about a great weekend getaway, check this place out.

The fitness craze is nutsy-cookoo. It seems like every new strip center has some kind of workout place that offers pop-in classes. Truly appealing to Millennial’s, I can’t even list all the names but places like Orangetheory already have 1000 locations. My take is that personal trainers are opening their own joints and willing to work 7 days a week to have their own business. This is one business that burnout will certainly take place down the road.

Here is a question for you: If the fitness craze is nutsy-cookoo, why is the obesity rate in the USA at it highest level ever?

Are you moving to Denver to take advantage of legal weed? Fastest growing city in the USA and weed bed and breakfasts are one of the hottest trends around since smoking it in public or in hotels is still illegal. Now on the breakfast buffet besides O.J., donuts and cereal, your choice of Sour Tangle, Ghost Train Haze and Gorilla Glue #4. The only caveat is that prices per night are higher due to the amount of food inhaled at breakfast!

Sorry Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, Neiman and Saks. Ulta wins, you lose. Estee Lauder, master of premium cosmetics and skin care (MAC is still hot, hot, hot) is opening stand alone boutiques in Ulta stores as fast as they can build them. Department stores will yet again need to reinvent themselves. Perhaps first floor makeup counters will move upstairs but what will take its place?

Is there anything better than good pizza?

Happy Wednesday!

Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Clinton vs. Trump. Who will win?

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I want to be Marc Lore. He understands the marketplace, private equity and marketing perhaps better than anyone else. How can anyone explain the phenomenon of selling diapers online below cost to get volume, losing money and finding yourself competing directly with Amazon for the same customer. We all know the outcome: Amazon bought diapers.com for $540 million in 2010 (oh, that also included soap.com). But hey, how can one live with only $400 million after taxes? So Marc goes to Amazon to work with Jeff. Jeff makes sure Marc has an iron-clad non-compete. I know I certainly would do the same. Marc works at Amazon and then comes 2014 and the end of his non-compete, what does he do? Leaves and starts Jet.com. Everyone wants to do business with Marc and in no time he raises $80 million in private equity funds. That would eventually grow to $500 million but what’s a few million here or there? Jet.com goes live last year, does some business while losing millions. But again, who cares? Then last week Walmart decides it needs Jet.com to be competitive with Amazon and buys it for $3 BILLION cash plus another $300 million for the executives to stay on. Now I have no idea what iron-clad non-compete Walmart negotiated with Marc but it best be 20 years or longer!

As an entrepreneur, you read about these stories and just scratch your head. There a few of us that can successfully start one company let along two or three. But selling regardless of price is tough. Just ask those that have.  BTW, happy 60th birthday to Max!

Now that two major shows are behind us, Cosmoprof and NACDS, what can be said about the business of beauty?

Cosmoprof now reminds me of the Olympics. 50% larger this year due to the new space created at Mandalay Bay (thank you MGM for making everyone walk more), there were more than 1000 booths and they claim more than 30,000 attendees. What is really interesting is that beauty is now dominated by public and private equity companies. Independents like us make up just a tiny bit of the business. To attract more retailers to the show, Cosmoprof created prime space for beauty entrepreneurs to show off their latest creation much like Olympic athletes. These products are truly entertaining and more than 90% of the companies won’t survive but it gives retailers ideas to come up with products of their own. My interpretation is that this is not what Cosmoprof should be but they prefer the Mark Cuban’s of the world over professional beauty companies.

NACDS on the other hand is strictly business. No theatrics here in Boston. No rep groups taking large booths on the show floor, in fact, they aren’t allowed. Large phama companies have even larger booths which make up more than half the show. The “front of the store” makes up the rest of the show. Unfortunately the front of the store is getting stale because innovation and new players are not in this space. There are many reasons for this but let’s just say I have a feeling mass retailers are not going to take over beauty anytime soon.

Yes it has been hot but this is the summer of a lifetime. It doesn’t get much better than this. I did read that June and July were the hottest months in history.

Sports Illustrated picked U-M to win the BIG10 and go all the way to the national championship only to lose to Alabama. I think SI has drank too much Harbough Kool-aid. I spoke with my guy at MSU and he thinks the Spartans will go 10-1 losing only to Notre Dame. One thing is for certain, the U-M/MSU rivalry is finally back.

And please tell me football season is not 3 weeks away.

Trump vs. Clinton. Never before in USA history has there been such an election. Can this election even be close? My thoughts are that the polls have no idea. Clinton will win in a landslide OR Trump will win in shocking style and confound all the experts.

Happy Wednesday! And happy birthday BUB!