Crashing Up - Remote Wars, Soccer Cards & Evergreen Problems

Welcome to all of the new Crashing Up family members who’ve joined since Monday. If you’re reading this but haven’t subscribed, make sure to do so here.


Greetings from chilly Boston! I spent this morning writing by the water and visiting the Harvard Book Store. I picked up a copy of Skin In The Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb that I can’t wait to dig into. If any of you have read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I took this photo using Dispo, David Dobrik’s disposable camera app which recently raised a $4 million seed round. It’s currently in Beta, but I have 20 invites available for Crashing Up readers. Reach out if you’d like one!

Here’s what I’d like to share this week:

  • I’ll be chatting with two amazing podcast guests: Mindy Zemrak (Emmy-nominated Supervising Casting Producer for Shark Tank) and Taylor Offer (founder of Feat Clothing). I’ll be weaving in some reader questions throughout the interviews, so if you have any questions for Mindy or Taylor, send them my way.

Listen to past Crashing Up Podcast episodes: Apple | Spotify | Anchor | Breaker

  • I’m putting the finishing touches on the redesign of my personal website and adding in my existing content (blog posts, newsletters, podcasts). I can’t wait to share it once it’s ready.

Now onto the good stuff. Here’s a weekly collection of things that I’ve been learning from or enjoying recently.

📕What I’ve Been Reading: 

Streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon, and Disney are in serious competition for real estate in our minds, but also on our TV remotes. Despite the ubiquity of the Netflix and Amazon buttons on remotes around the globe, very few know about the cut-throat power struggle between streaming providers and TV manufacturers surrounding the use of branded buttons, operating systems, and voice assistants.

🎧What I’ve Been Listening To:

Two weeks ago, alcohol delivery app Drizly was acquired by Uber for $1.1 billion as part of its quest to own the next hour delivery market.

If Amazon owns next day, Uber can own the next hour…If we take 20 to 30% of the market, thats a $200 billion dollar marketplace.” - Dara Khosrowshahi

While the idea for Drizly is simple, the execution required to navigate federal liquor regulations is no easy feat. In this Not Boring Podcast interview, Drizly employee #1 Brett Beller discusses the company’s wild founding story, why he sold the bulk of his shares early on, and his reaction to the acquisition news.

Hint: It starts with F and rhymes with buck (which I’m sure he wishes he’d have a few more of right now).

🃏State of Trading Cards

Last week eBay released its 2021 State of Trading Cards report, a summary of the key trends in the cards and collectibles industries.

A few additional statistics and personal predictions:

  • Basketball and Pokemon card sales have exploded 373% and 575% respectively.

  • Australia was the fastest growing country with a 379% jump in card sales.

  • Sector (sport) growth currently aligns with sports having the most international acceptance. With the 2022 World Cup approaching and the USMNT roster of young and exciting players, I expect soccer to continue to grow.

  • Other leagues and collectible brands will follow NBA Top Shot’s playbook and experiment with NFTs and digital cards. NBA Top Shot has done over $40m in GMV transactions in January alone.

📃Focus on Change

The most successful businesses are often praised for weaving the threads of our future. While many companies are grounded in the constant race for innovation, Jeff Bezos plays in a different lane. Instead of trying to predict the future, he focuses on evergreen problems:

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ I almost never get the question: What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ That second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time…In our retail business we know that customers want low prices and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; They want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future where a customer comes up and says ‘Jeff, I love Amazon but I wish the prices were a little higher [or] ‘I love Amazon, I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly. Impossible…When you have something you know is true, even over the long-term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

🧰Tool of the Week:

Hidden Tools is a collection of curated tech-based tools and resources to help you scale your business and improve productivity. I know a tool for finding tools is very meta, but there were too many cool ideas in here to choose from (BkMark has been my favorite so far!)

Plus it was created by Bereket, a 12 year old developer who’s been cranking out software products to his thousands of Twitter followers. At least the Pokemon cards I was trading at age twelve are worth something now.

That’s it for this week. Let me know what you thought of this edition by clicking one of the links below. All feedback will be used to make this the best it can be.

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Thanks for reading,

Randy