VeeCon, Web3, Mercedes Activates Charity, Amazon Packages from Malls

May 23, 2022
This Monday, we’re walking with our heads up, and eyes scanning the horizon as we summarize Paul’s recent trip to the Web3 conference, VeeCon. We also talk about Mercedes getting creative with its charitable giving (and why we think you should too). Finally, we look at Amazon’s newest last-mile delivery testing.
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VeeCon wrap up:

  • Business responds to culture. Art and Entertainment is where Culture is typically first “defined”
  • Concept of ‘custody’ and the responsibility that comes with it (decentralization and token-based economics)
  • Ian Rogers, Chief Experience Officer at Ledger
  • Formerly CDO with LVMH , most known for his 20 years bringing digital music mainstream…Beats then Apple Music launch)
  • Education is critical for innovation and adoption (Web 1, 2, 3)
  • Every industry will be affected (even the DMV)
  • Similar adoption curve as all tech, esp Web 2
  • It’s all about community. Web2 was about having an audience, Web3 is about cultivating community
  • Take Away: Web3 isn’t going to solve Retail Auto’s problems today, but remember when you thought it was ridiculous to put a vehicle listing online instead of the paper?

Mercedes auctions rare care for new charity fund

  • German automaker Mercedes-Benz said Thursday that it has auctioned an extremely rare car from its company collection for a roaring 135 million euros ($143 million).
  • 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé: This icon of automotive history is an absolute rarity – one of just two prototypes built at the time.
  • Following in the innovative footsteps of the car’s creator, Mercedes hopes the fund will support young people being able to learn about and research environmental science and decarbonization.
  • Take Away: Think of unique ways you can use your people and material resources to equip learning & charitable contributions within your community. Get outside the box of simply a dollar and activate your resources.

Amazon tests shopping malls as a base to deliver packages from

  • Utilizing its FLEX drivers (think Uber/ Lyft style), drivers will pick up packages to be delivered directly to customers within a 10 mile radius from individual stores in the mall instead of local Amazon delivery centers
  • Pays Mom and Pop shops to be a sort of post office to stage deliveries in an effort to cut down on delivery times
  • Take Away: Revitalization of antiquated building uses is prevalent in retail. Thinking of your brick and mortar with a new perspective will keep you ahead of the OEM drive toward an agency model and away from franchise.

Paul Daly  0:24  

I don't know if you notice, but it's totally Monday right now. And we're coming off a big weekend. We're coming into our huge week. And we got a couple little things to buy like Amazon delivering packages from your local shopping mall.

Kyle Mountsier  0:36  

If you go the people really want to remember when your time when

Paul Daly  0:44  

and what the shopping mall represented. When you were a teenager?

Kyle Mountsier  0:49  

When like all Liberty was gained, right?

Paul Daly  0:53  

Like, that was that was literally, like teenagers today have zero idea what that is? Zero?

Kyle Mountsier  1:00  

I don't know. Okay, so I don't know. It just depends on what area of the country and what your teenagers are doing. Because I still see a lot of like, pictures at the mall pictures at the maybe like the outdoor shopping mall. Maybe there's like a transition to like the outlet feel. But there's still a lot of teenagers getting that experience. I'm just gonna throw it out there just throwing it

Paul Daly  1:20  

out for shopping mall.

Kyle Mountsier  1:23  

Yeah, like, we don't do outdoor shopping.

Paul Daly  1:28  

Yeah, well, I just got back from Minnesota, we're in Minneapolis, where there are literally tunnels that connect the hotels because it's freezing. Yes. But it wasn't that cold. It wasn't that cold. But you know, we digress already, like talking about starting Monday off

Kyle Mountsier  1:43  

with a look when when you haven't been in the office together for well, two days at the end of the week, and then the weekend. And it's like, we just have a lot of catching up to do so you're just gonna get like, welcome to Monday with Paul and Kyle, when we haven't really talked for five days. And he

Paul Daly  1:59  

really means that because I walked in this morning, and I had some things here at the office. That conversation I need to have. I came in I logged in, and it was basically like, you guys ready? We haven't talked at all since was it. Thursday night, Thursday afternoon, Thursday morning. Yeah, something like that. Yeah, whatever. Alright, so we have a lot of fun things to talk about today. We're gonna let's, let's talk about the collaborators first. Let's just get this out.

Kyle Mountsier  2:26  

Yes. Yeah, I'm really excited because we had this kind of switch, which was Thursday or Wednesday, we had this thought when we were talking about asotu con. And obviously, we started talking about it last week. And so if you're hearing this energy, and you're like, What do I do? How do I get a hold of this, we've got a really crappy landing page, because we threw it up because we own a domain now. So if you want to be at the forefront of the news, you can go to us, fill in your little information, you'll be the first to get information when we have more. But we were also starting to talk about, you know, partners that come along, side and event, right. And depending on what event you go to, you've got, you know, industry partners, or OEMs, or large conglomerates, paying money to make sure that the thing happens, right. And historically, what happens is it's just kind of, you know, drop some money in and then your name gets somewhere your logo get somewhere and maybe you get, you know, a seat dropped or something like that. But we started talking about what if all of those people, and those companies were actually engaged in collaborating to make sure the event went well, let's that was actually a participatory engagement. That said, I have some skin in the game to make sure that the whole thing feels really good for all of the participants. And so we're like, oh, shoot, we should call them collaborators, right?

Paul Daly  3:49  

How we need to reinvent not even reinvented, but it's redefined. And sometimes a redefinition of a word. Right? And recontextualizing the expectation on both sides, right? As an event, right, our expectation is that you are going to be a participant, right? In the forming of the programming in the activation, right? We're heading into this with an activation mindset, not a sponsorship mindset. And with that being said, right, even the language, so we're like, you know, what partnership industry partner is, as far as we're concerned, is that?

Kyle Mountsier  4:24  

Yeah, a lot of people would be like semantics, you know, tomato tomahto type thing. And I think our words are so important. I've written actually, last year, I remember a couple of LinkedIn posts that I wrote about this and your words are so important, no matter what you're doing in business, you know, we actually we had a conversation with Liza Myers Borges who is an asoto investor. And she was very particular about we kept calling her her team employees and she said, No, no, the word we use as associates because it means something to the way that we relate to those people. And I think just being So particular with your words, especially in business, or in the way you relate and collaborate in business or with customers, you know, whether you call them customers or clients impacts the way that you engage with people. And so just, we're going to choose our words wisely. And so we encourage you to as well. Yeah,

Paul Daly  5:16  

I have a suggestion for attendees to that I'll share with you later. But I was thinking about it. I was like, Oh, we have collaborators. And we'll tell you that later. But um, so I just got back from I just got back from four days in Minneapolis, Minnesota at something called V con, if you follow me on social, you've probably seen a lot of like, What the freak is he doing? Right? Right. Yeah, he's like with stuffed animals. And there seems to be like, you know, there's Logan, Paul. Like what in the world is God if you're watching the video, like there's some cornhole and some like baseball, MLB activations, but here's the deal. V con is put on by Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur, you know, marketing, ABC wine guy, social media got, like, I don't know what name you're gonna put, I'm looking him up if you don't know who he is. But this is basically the most collaborative and progressive web three conference that ever existed. And there haven't been many that existed because it's fairly new technology. So we just wanted to give you a quick roundup of that, I wanted to tell you like just just a couple of minutes to kind of sum it up and tell you why it matters to retail, automotive. So if you don't know, web three, is actually like blockchain technology. It's an Internet of web based experience based on blockchain and crypto and NF T's. And if again, that seems even a little confusing. We'll back it up web one was like, hey, look, you can have a website, right, you can go and absorb information from the internet. And then you could maybe log into some bulletin boards and things like that. And then web two comes along. And web to was social media, like Facebook, remember when it was like, oh, all of a sudden more people use the internet to get on Facebook than they do for like the rest of the internet, right? And this whole migration of this social media integration and the way we function, the way we buy things, the way we use things? Well, that was web two, web three, is this new era of a blockchain based internet experience. And at the center of the principle of web three, is the idea of custody, you own your stuff, and you can take your stuff with you to the next thing that you want, or the next site or the next experience. Like right now,

Kyle Mountsier  7:26  

I think it's really and this is where a lot of people think that it's something altogether different. But if you think about what one as, like display of information, right, that accessibility four levels of information that we've never had before web two is interconnectivity of personalities and profiles, right, is, hey, there are people actually accessing this information, and they're connected in some way. And then the third layer of that is validation, that information and the interconnectivity of people and making sure that it has a central source of truth. And I think that's, that's just a different way of explaining what you just said, but I think a lot of people get in their head of like, I don't even understand this whole new thing. And really, what it is, is just a continuation of the information and interconnectivity in, in a more authenticated nature.

Paul Daly  8:17  

Well, there's there's another nuance, it's super, super different, right? It's this element of custody. And I listen to the ledger CEO, a ledger is a company that basically developing technology around the wallet, quote, unquote, that you keep your stuff in, and they have hardware and software devices. So Ian Rogers, who is the chief experience officer, which is really CEO, like Chief Executive Officer, as well, he's a former Apple guy, he's a brand guy, so you can expect to be a little bit more 360 Thinking about how you how you interact with ledger, you know, he's got just experience with luxury brands. He's the guy that like, brought digital music to the forefront, like with Yahoo first, and then with beats, and then Apple Music. So the guy understands the consumer dynamic of I mean, if you think about ownership, it wasn't that long ago, when if you wanted to listen to the new Kendrick Lamar album, you had to pay Apple 999 to get it and download it to your device where you can listen to it on your device. Right now. It's actually just when Spotify and streamed it, it wasn't that long ago that we were paying 10 bucks for that. And that was like a groundbreaking thing. And just not too long before that. It was like you had to have the album, put it in your computer, upload it into iTunes, and then you could get it on your device. So all this show, he was talking about this element. And now we're owning it. And I'm realizing right now, like there's going to be so much more to talk about this. We can't possibly do it now. But here's the punchline. Companies like Time Magazine are in on this. It is going to change the way we interact with the world and being around you know, when you get around other people, I got outside automotive, and I said, By the way, just saw how you should really do an event to keep people engaged. We're going to be bringing all in that ruckus number one, but But secondly, you realize this is the very forefront of it. and it will be mass adopted at this point. And you can watch web one and web two transactions and adoption curves. And we're right in the middle of the beginning of it. And so the takeaway is, look, it's not you have to pay attention to it, I'm more convicted than ever that is so to myself, like, we're gonna be convicted to educate you on this, because people that have educated me, all of a sudden, my mind is open to all these new opportunities in what I do. And it should for you in retail, automotive, but you have to learn about it first. But it's not going to solve our problems today in retail automotive. But look, it was at one point ridiculous thinking you were going to take not put a card in the newspaper and instead put it on a website.

Kyle Mountsier  10:39  

Yeah, I think I think that that's the key takeaway for me is the education right now is the most important thing, activity in web three is not absolutely necessary for all retailers or businesses. But having a level of education so that when full scale adoption is, you know, is like at scale, and available to people that maybe aren't super in depth or technological or technical, technical, that you already have some sort of learning or research along the ideas. And so I think that that's the big takeaway for me is like, continue to stay curious. In this.

Paul Daly  11:14  

It Yeah, this is going to be fun. And let me just tell you, this is going to be far beyond some transactional level of of integration, right? This is not about just oh, well, like the cars, you know, title will be on an NF t like, yeah, that will be the case and your license will be an MFT. And I'm sure the DMV will find the slowest way to do it even with an NFC they will I think those are like a theory of wonders of the rebate, right? Yeah. But but the reality is, there is a community building element to NF Ts and cryptocurrency that it's just only a few people understand right now, but I'm telling you, this is going to be how you build community, and exclusivity around your dealership around your brand if you're an industry partner. And there's a lot more coming so just you heard it here first, folks. Right, but we're gonna we're gonna really take it upon ourselves. We've been talking about this, Kyle. I mean, how long about doing some education around nfts For months, right? This is I think the the spark that's going to light the fire. So enough about V con, you can go see a little bit of a actually we're going to do a whole we're going to do a whole recap on it so you can actually read it. See it like take a second to understand it. I don't have a Spanish speaking of rare items. Segue.

Kyle Mountsier  12:28  

All right, this was so cool to me. So Mercedes Benz. Last week announced that they sold an extremely rare vehicle. It's got 300 SLR. And I look I'm gonna say this next week. When you lent out Luna EULA note qu eulen house? Yeah. You gotta get the law in gravelly voice to say it right. So, of this vehicle, there were only two prototypes ever made. And the company sold one of them. And they sold it to a rare car collector. For 135 million euros. That's $143 million. And the whole Yeah, what so most expensive car ever sold, right?

Paul Daly  13:15  

I was gonna say 1000. But it couldn't be million. Okay,

Kyle Mountsier  13:21  

just a ton of money. But what's really cool about it, and you know, all of that you can go look at we've got linked in the show notes, like, you know, the whole history of the car.

Paul Daly  13:32  

Did I miss it? Now? There it is.

Kyle Mountsier  13:34  

So, you know, it's just, it's just like wingback car. And it's just really unique and engaging. And there was a lot of new things that they were doing with the actual model. And if you click in the show notes, you can read all of the history. The designer, the person who created the car, was just extremely innovative and forward thinking for his time. And this is what I love, is they took that passion, that desire from the originator of this vehicle and put it into what they're going to do with the money which is their desire is to support a younger generation learning about environmental, environmental science and decarbonisation. So they're going, Hey, look, we we've always been this innovative company, we're now going to turn that into charitable efforts, and then move that charitable effort into being innovative in a whole new ecosystem of Evie. Evie technology. Genius.

Paul Daly  14:31  

Yeah, because they're tying, they're tying their charity to some level of we've been saying the word a lot, some level of activation, right? It's not just empty dollars. It's not a check in a photo op. It's actually a thoughtful activation of something you can contribute. That's very much on brand for you. Right very much on brand for Mercedes, but then recontextualizing it to move it forward. So bravo on that we're big fans of that. And you know, we believe that auto dealers all over the country have this very same opportunity. Well Not very, but the same opportunity to car there's only two. One no but there's there's a very clear opportunity to take the things that you're already giving to your community and and activating it right not just empty dollars not just to check the photo up. Because you know, the real needs of the community, right? You see the people every day they walk in and out of your stores, your team members, they work in the community, they have families that play soccer, like you got it, you understand what's going on. So how can you meaningfully and intentionally activate those dollars to actually make much more impact than just the dollar itself, it takes little thought takes a little efforts, but it's worth it. It's not only the right thing to do, but it's also worth it.

Kyle Mountsier  15:43  

Yeah, and it's more fun that way, when you connect people to the dollars or intentionality around the dollars, the story builds itself, within your team and within your community a lot quicker than just like, we ship some money over to this nonprofit, right?

Paul Daly  15:58  

It's, it sucks because like a lot of the benefits in at first are qualitative benefits and not quantitative, right? You can't count your your cost per card isn't gonna go down that month. Right, but But what is going to light and fire in your team? And what that translates to in the sales experience? What that translates to in qualitative experience, you know, takes a little vision, isn't it funny that the things that are most worth it take a little bit of vision and some work? smells a lot like hard work. I don't know if I'm in for this. Alright, well, one final story from

Kyle Mountsier  16:34  

one final, we teased this at the beginning. I wish we had like 20 minutes to talk about this because it's so exciting. Maybe we'll explore this over.

Paul Daly  16:44  

I don't think it's good still. But coming back to the mall. Right Amazon is testing shopping malls as basically delivery hubs to get their packages sick. Gotta watch the show to get the gift either Nick Milty in some kind of strange laugh cycle. But Amazon is testing shopping malls as a base to deliver packages from using its flex driver. So this flex drivers are not like the uniformed Amazon drivers you might see it's more like Uber Lyft, right. It's like an on demand drivers use their own vehicles, they will pick up packages and deliver them directly to consumers. But they're going to be picking up the packages from individual stores inside the shopping mall, instead of having to drive to the Amazon delivery center hub, and go get it about that.

Kyle Mountsier  17:32  

I here's here's what's okay, so I get it from like, there's a lot of space. Right? There's a lot of space in the shopping mall. So storage is obviously an issue. And if and if you're trying to build storage facilities, you're you know, like that's a major expense. So you do have a space consideration. But it's not like there's you know, 20 shopping malls in a city. Like in Nashville,

Paul Daly  17:56  

there's always really well located.

Kyle Mountsier  18:00  

Do you think so? In Nashville, they are hard to get to, they're annoying to get in and out of

Paul Daly  18:06  

easy to get to in Nashville, of the taco truck.

Kyle Mountsier  18:12  

The taco truck is super easy. Literally. All of them have four entrances, but they're all always congested. And there, it doesn't seem like the easiest

Paul Daly  18:23  

to be going through, like the other entrances. You know what I mean? Like where the vendors go in and get deliveries, you know, they have all this back hallways and corridors, like I don't know, I think about it, they do have the space, right. But they also don't have the traffic and they have a lot of struggling businesses inside. But the bottom line is I'm just trying to take over the world. And this is just logistically speaking. They were like, Hey, let's try this. Right? We have mom and pop shops, while it's Hey, to take deliveries of packages, and then just pass them off. Right? So they can when that last mile can be faster, right? drone delivery was going to be a thing like in 2014. Businesses like oh, it's gonna be a lot of fun. We're gonna get things there in 30 minutes. But actually, they're getting things there really quickly right now without drones because of things like this. And basically, I don't know if you've ever seen an Amazon driver, they don't look happy. They look like they look like there's a robot behind the eyes. They never have the same route twice. Whenever they show up to my house, my dogs freak the crap out of them. Right or UPS drivers like yo, what's up Rambo is one of my dog's name. But all that to say like, Amazon is just constantly tweaking, right? They're constantly trying. I think

Kyle Mountsier  19:33  

2000 more delivery centers across the US that are fully fully built and don't have many people in them. It's like prime opportunity for just, you know, a closer location to some more people. Yeah, it's which it's literally this is what's crazy. It's the Lithia strategy. Yes, Asbury strategy, buy more places. Buy more brick and mortar places in more spaces so that you can be closer to the customer. Now then it's even more expensive. It's the OEM strategy. You know what more delivery centers closer to people so that I can get my cars there. and last and last mile engagement that every industry is recognizing that being closest to the customer from a delivery perspective, is the way you win. Because the more digital the more transactions go digital, the closer you have to be to the customer to make the delivery experience quicker.

Paul Daly  20:28  

Look, Amazon doesn't get it right. Every time we know this, you're not going to get it right every time. We know this. But the point is that we keep trying new things because sooner or later, we're gonna get it right

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