Customer Acquisition Costs

Customer Acquisition Costs, better known as CAC, have changed dramatically in the past year. As the competition rose, the price of engaging a customer rose, and the channels to engage made it more expensive as the algorithms became more difficult.

Unfortunately, many companies got caught with their pants down and are now paying the price. The change in the economic environment has forced many to cut costs. Others need money, and the cost of the cash will be painful. A company worth $1b might now be worth $300k. It could take another decade to get back to $1b. Who knows, but there is a serious check in the start-up world, particularly consumer product companies.

Forward-thinking companies who figured this out early on by entering their own retail stores will change the retail landscape. Our streets will look very different a year from now. The rise in interest rates will force commercial real estate to decrease in price. It is a time that must come to create growth in our cities.

Retailers are finally thinking about the consumer journey. That journey will be in person, it will be digital, it must be seamless, it will be inspiring, it will be about trust, it will be curated, and it will be enjoyable. And the cost of CAC might become less expensive.

Pita Bread

I posted the recipe for pita bread last year. I made it again this past weekend. A few things to note that I have changed in the recipe. The key is letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight, taking it out a few hours in advance,

  • 2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups bread flour – I used pizza flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Mix 1/2 cup water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and let it stand until foamy. About 5 minutes.

Combined the flours, and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the dough hook (key accessory). Mix on low speed until blended. Add the yeast mixture and another 1/2 cup of water and the oil and mix until the dough forms a ball that pulls away from the sides and bottom of the bowl. When that happens add another 1/2 cup of water and mix until that is incorporated. The tough should feel tacky but not sticky.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rise in the fridge overnight. It should double in size.

Take out of the fridge two hours before using. Make 8-9 balls the size of baseballs and place on a wooden tray and cover them with a dishcloth.

Preheat the oven to 500 with the rack in the upper third of the oven. Place a baking stone or an inverted baking sheet in the oven to preheat too. The pita will bake on this.

Now roll each dough ball to be about 1/4 inch thick like a hockey puck with a floured rolling pin on a floured working surface. Place them in the oven on the baking stone or baking sheet until puffed and cooked through. About 3 minutes. Serve!

Now roll each dough ball to be about 1/4 inch thick like a hockey puck with a floured rolling pin on a floured working surface. Place them in the oven set at 500 degrees on the baking stone or baking sheet until puffed and cooked through. Takes only about 3 minutes. We used a pizza oven.

The bread is delicious. Still good days later!

I Am Struggling

The morning after Roe v. Wade was overturned, I got a text from my daughter. I hate this country. Sadly I was feeling the same way. What happened this past week was a gut punch. I am struggling to comprehend what just happened, even though it has been decades in the making.

Our Supreme Court just turned back time by deciding to limit states and local governments in restricting guns outside the home and the constitutional right to an abortion. I can’t help myself but look at the data. When I look at the data, it makes me begin to hate our country too. We need a serious revolution. Whether we like it or not, it begins at the voting booth.

Eighty-three percent of Americans live in urban areas, and roughly 10% live in the largest cities in the country. As someone who lives in cities, seeing people carrying guns with the intent to protect themselves is insane to me. Carrying a gun is not the answer to a safe society. It doesn’t take much to look around at the rest of the world. Belgium is a perfect example. Why guns have more rights than women is questionable too.

The Supreme Court is slowly winding down the federal government’s role, putting the onus on the back of each state to decide how their citizens want them to live. At one point, will I need a passport to get from NY to NJ? Does anyone in those robes understand that we are one nation? Why would I want to pay taxes to the Federal Government to distribute money to Kentucky? Kentucky is half the size of NYC. If the people of Kentucky want to walk the streets of their neighborhoods, packing guns and ensuring that women do not have rights over their own bodies, then why would I want to pay my taxes to them? Is that where we are going? If so, those states that happen to have an equal voice in the Senate, regardless of the size of the state, are all going to get fucked. Good riddance. I am waiting for these lawsuits.

As for destroying equality for women, it should be noted that 61% of Americans believe in women’s right to choose. One in four women in this country has an abortion, and that will not end. The reason is not so cut and dry, which is why this is a healthcare issue before anything else. Pew reports that 93% of abortions happen in the first trimester. 82% of pregnancies by teenagers are unintended. Why would anyone force a teenager to have a child? Is the Federal Government going to help that mother and child get a good job, have childcare, and be able to afford a roof over their heads and healthcare? I am not talking about a handout but helping people break the cycle of poverty by creating opportunities. This is purely about control, nothing else. Both the teenage kid and the child are screwed on day one.

The only good news is abortion clinics have been decreasing as medication now accounts for almost 50% of abortions. Good luck on stopping that one. Pharmaceutical companies have a lot of cash and do not like being told they can not distribute their drugs. We have witnessed that with the reprehensible Sackler family. The problem, of course, is that people who cannot afford the drugs are, as one would expect, those who barely make ends meet

What a country.

The Female Dilemma

Will parental roles ever change? I think about this every summer when I see friends navigate the end of school and what the kids will do this summer. Even if there are two female or male parents, one of them generally becomes the caretaker. Someone has to, and for some reason, the care falls typically upon the woman’s shoulder with a partnership between a man and a woman.

The juggling of keeping the refrigerator full, getting the errands done, figuring out where the kids are and how to get them there and back, different kids, different camps, different schedules, clothes in their closets, food on the table, providing emotional support, and don’t forget the dog or cat to take care of.

Let’s not forget that if you work, that must all be managed. You also need to have your own sense of self, from friendships, work, mental health care, reading books, going out, buying clothes, and maintaining a sense of assemblage.

Is caregiving innate? It might be. I see our friends with kids that are young, not old young to drive or now driving, and it all brings me back to realizing how exhausting, fulfilling, joyous and crazy it all was. I am still the Mom, but my role has shifted. The only thing that remains constant is nobody has any idea how much shit I do to keep the trains running. I guess that defines motherhood and the female dilemma.

Mental Health

When I was in 8th grade, a few teachers decided to have a large group of girls get together and discuss their 411. Some were obviously having a hard time at home, others cried, and others seemed shell-shocked. Unclear why the administration chose to do this, but it was clearly not a great idea. One meeting, and we never got together again.

I was talking to my sister-in-law about this. Her suggestion was, why doesn’t everyone have therapy, just like you go to your dentist every six months or have an annual physical. The question is, when does therapy start?

The concept in 8th grade should have started in pre-school. As a young kid, maybe once a week, the “feelings doctor” comes in, and the kids can feel free to express themselves. Continue those mental health meetings as part of the curriculum. Allowing kids to express themselves from the beginning. They would all become much more tolerant of each other and the world.

Starting young is the key. Mental health is being in touch with your emotional side daily. If it happened from the start, we would live in a different and perhaps better world.

Brands Go Bad?

What is life going to be like in the Meta-world? Who is in the Meta-world? What kind of experiences are people looking for in the Meta-world?

Twice as many men vs. women are more interested in the Meta-world. Younger generations have no issues with purchasing real estate and NFT’s to hold, store, display, and sell, but how about actual clothing in an e-commerce world?

Many see something about the “high-end” business as the guiding light but the massive business opportunity is to sell to the masses. At Macy’s in the mid-1980s, the idea was to scale up. Carry more high-end brands to bring in a different consumers. It was a thoughtful shift to rebrand Macy’s like Bloomingdales. It didn’t work out that well.

When I saw this Instagram announcement that Balenciaga, Thom Browne, and Prada will be the first brands in a Meta-Virtual Fashion Store, I thought, I am pretty positive that your customer is not hanging out in the Meta-world. They certainly aren’t buying $3200 jackets. There might be a few, but is there ROI on the cost?

Is this going to kill luxury brands? Who else is going to do this? Most people still want to buy in stores, and that data is clear. Almost half of Generation Z would rather shop in a store.

The fashion industry is ripe for change. New designers, smaller brands, new looks, and I am going to just put it out there, I think they won’t find their success in the Meta-world.

Covid Cocaine

We are living in a financial hurricane. Everything is swirling round and round, and it is still unclear where the pieces land. The valuations are plummeting. Companies in all sectors are rethinking their strategies. At least I don’t see those valuations heading back to nonsense land too soon, and I hope they don’t.

I was on a board call, and someone said we have to ask ourselves, did this brand have the good fortune of Covid cocaine, and is the addiction over, or are we part of the next post-hurricane? Was their growth a fallacy called covid cocaine?

I love this description. It is an excellent description of a time when certain companies just soared. Home goods, food delivery, telehealth, e-commerce, and others. Some are still sprinting up the hill, others are cutting staff, and most are making a shift. Customer acquisition has undoubtedly shifted.

The reality is we are all trying to figure it out. Pet ownership soared, and the reality of that is setting in. The question is, what company will find itself in massive rehab, or will just have to call it quits?

Roy Castro, Strive, Gotham Gives

Roy Castro is the co-chair of Strive, a non-profit based in Harlem that helps the underserved and formerly incarcerated lift themselves out of poverty through living-wage employment, aiming to shatter the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Let’s Cut to the Creatives

There is a reason that VCs love to invest in product people. Their creativity creates change. Sometimes they do not make the best CEO, but that is for another time.

Cities need to be rethought when it comes to housing, transportation, street-level experiences, a changing climate, and community. Who else is better to think about solutions than creatives?

In London, Sadiq Khan, the mayor, created a group of top architects to advise on sustainability and inclusivity about significant developments across the city. Obviously, Related did not do that when it came to the building of Hudson Yards. This new team in London is the next generation of city preservation commissions. Preservation commissions had zero say in Hudson Square because it came from the ground up. They only get to comment on preserving the past. Someone should be thinking about the future.

I would love to see Eric Adams do the same thing but go one step further with this team, helping the city rethink its zoning, bicycle paths, and housing. So many brilliant creative minds in NY would love their town. Put their brains to work about the future of our city with one mission each. Attempt to make it non-political and run it as a proper think tank with expected solutions. Please don’t complicate things.

There isn’t a top creative that I know who wouldn’t jump at the chance to make an impact on the city they love.

Phallus Found

Patriarchy has been going on for a very long time. It has always been used for insults, sexual innuendos, and a comedic slant. How often do women ask themselves why do some men act like that? What is it? Sometimes it just comes down to the penis. It just represents something to give thought to.

And then, a rock was discovered in an archeological dig of Hadrian’s Wall that runs 73 miles across Northern England. This area has uncovered relics from the 3rd-century citizens. Not much has changed as multiple phalli have been discovered in this area, carved into walls.

The larger carved penis with the words SECVNDINVS CACOR which means Secundinus, the shitter. Dylan Herbert, a retired biochemist from South Wales, found this particular one last May. An insult to Secudinus, who also lived at that time.

I wonder what the women of that time thought about the 60 penis drawings that are chiseled throughout the length of Hadrian’s Wall as they walked by to get the food, do the laundry, take care of the children and keep the men happy? Probably nothing good.