Out Of My Mind On A Wednesday Mornin’

Clinton vs. Trump. Who will win?

View Results

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!