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What mark and tobi gave us
We all hate facebook.
Its customers hate it because its a buggy mess.
Its critics hate it because donald trump became president.
Apple hates it because it wouldnt cough up 30% of revenue.
Support is hard to get, accounts can be taken down without warning, you can lose everything in the digital casino called “performance marketing”
Most people still like Shopify.
Its tech isnt best in class, but it is easy to use.
You can still start selling for $100 bucks.
Apple hasnt poked its head into their business (yet)
But these two tools came together to give us something the world has never really had before- Permissionless Entrepreneurship.
This is a Mark + Tobi + Sean love story.
Most people reading this dont remember the old model.
Things were sold in stores.
Even ecom was large established retailers that people could trust.
20 years ago, amazon made up less than 10% of ecom sales.
Sears and circuit city were the bigger names.
To get in those stores or on those sites someone had to say yes.
Buyers were gate keepers between you and customers.
They got wined and dined, they wrote the check.
If you wanted to go “Direct to Consumer” you could:
Open a physical store
Go “As seen on TV” with an infomercial
Sell shit out of the trunk of your car like Phil Knight
Even then, someone needs to approve your lease.
Someone has to agree to give you a timeslot.
The only permissionless thing you could do was hustle units out of your volkswagon.
20 years ago, ecom sales were 1% of retail sales in the US.
This year we will ecom sales will break 1 trillion.
It will eclipse 20% of all retail sales.
It is still growing 10% every year.
You can make a store and launch ads in an afternoon.
Its taken as a given now.
Its taken as a right that you can just reach new people every day.
I wanted to point out how uncommon and foreign that really is.
Its something that started 20 years ago with ebay, but was put on a rocket ship because of the dream pairing of FB and SHOP.
How long will the era of Permissionless Entrepreneurship last?
Rising ad costs have the industry turning back to wholesale.
Operational difficulty is making people look at the old model with rose colored glasses
If ecom is only naturally growing 10%, then if you want to grow more you need to do more. More ad dollars. More products. Better everything.
Facebook is under pressure.
Shopify will have to grow revenue.
We often talk about the “golden era” of FB ads.
2014-2017. It was just so easy.
But, what if, we are still in the golden era?
It has just gone from 24k to 18k?
We are still in the permissionless era.
Ridge will get to a billion in revenue in 3, 4, maybe 5 years.
No one ever said yes to us.
But, will this era close?
Are we watching it shrink?
Even with all the challenges and changes, I think we are still in the glory days.