3 Things: Cards Against Crypto, Baby Rental Boxes, Cut the Fat SaaS
Happy Sunday (and Memorial Day!) and a very warm welcome to all the new subscribers! I’m thrilled and honored to have you as readers and truly appreciate your thoughts and feedback 🙏. Each edition of 3 Things will contain a dive into 3 rabbit holes I’ve found myself going down recently. Subscribe to get each week’s edition straight to your inbox and if you enjoy it, please share (I suck at self-promotion so can use your help)! This past week I’ve been thinking a lot about:
Cards Against Crypto
Baby Rental Boxes
Cut the Fat SaaS
1. Cards Against Crypto
For many years, a staple at family gatherings in the Zelby household has been Cards Against Humanity. This adult card game was heavily influenced by the game Apples to Apples and involves players completing fill-in-the-blank statements using words or phrases on the cards in their hand that would be considered offensive, risqué or politically incorrect. It was also heavily influenced by Magic: The Gathering, Balderdash, and Mad Libs. The game was originally launched as a Kickstarter back in 2010/2011 by a group of friends from Highland Park High School. Within 6 months of launch it became the #1 game on Amazon and developed a cult following quite quickly with an estimated $12M in profit the first year.
Over the years, the company has launched many series of extension packs covering topics from 90s Nostalgia to AI to Sci-Fi to Pride. These packs tap into subcultures and affinity groups that have gotten to a certain level of mainstream and have experienced widespread adoption. One area with both a ton of buzzwords and also critical mass in terms of interest is everything crypto/web3. Someone could knock off Cards Against Humanity just as they did with Apples to Apples and create a next generation game focused on crypto. There are literally dictionaries of all the new words and lingo related to this new space that you can play with. You could have a base game with a large subset of phrases and fill-in nouns and then launch NFT packs where you get a unique set of additional cards, just like NBA Top Shot or Blade Runner Black Lotus packs. Just the base game alone could be wildly profitable but also doing NFT drops could generate additional revenue streams that you could continue and also create a resale marketplace for the game packs.
2. Baby Rental Boxes
Everyone knows that having a baby is expensive. Over the course of 18+ years, there is childcare, schooling, healthcare, food, and clothes. On top of that, you have books, toys, crib, high chair, car seats, activity gym, strollers, carriers and SO many other things that you end up purchasing. For the most part, there are many things that babies and toddlers only use for a short amount of time and after that phase, parents often either store the items for a future child, gift them to friends/neighbors, or try to sell them on marketplaces. More and more Millennial and GenZ parents are eco-conscious, budget-conscious, and inclined towards buying used and “upcycling” if they can.
There are now subscription baby companies for nearly everything. Lovery (which raised $100M at an $800m valuation) provides age and developmental stage specific boxes of toys, KiwiCo focuses on STEM activity kits, Literati sends personalized monthly book boxes, Yumi handles all of your feeding needs, and Dopple will keep your kids clothed with their subscription boxes. Outside of consumables like diapers, wipes, and food, most other baby/child related stuff really doesn’t need to be purchased new and accumulated with each box you get. A concept like StitchFix for all things baby could create custom rental boxes with toys, books, clothes, activities, and more; customized to your child’s age and even flexible if you have multiple kids of different ages. Each month, quarter, or interval of your choosing, you’ll get a *large* box of stuff containing all of the items you need for the current phase of growth and development, and your old stuff gets picked up, cleaned, and repackaged for the next kid. It’s better for the environment, your wallet, and for saving space around your house (literally every subscription box you get just adds tons of clutter that you feel bad getting rid of since you only used it like 4 times). You also don’t need to think about 8 different subscriptions as this would bundle all necessities (and indulgences) that you could possibly want and offer different price points and bundle options.
3. Cut the Fat SaaS
If you have been spending any time on social media, are subscribed to any tech-related newsletters, or just follow the general news, it’s clear that we are in a very precarious time when it comes to the markets. Public, private, crypto, everything has taken a hit and all types of investors have felt the pain and are wary of the volatility that we may see for months or years to come. Companies across the board have been cutting staff so that they can reduce burn and increase runway to protect themselves from potential future challenges and instability. Just look at layoffs.fyi and you can see just how widespread the RIFs are, and it’s only expected to increase from here.
Over the past decade, there have been dozens of spend management tools like Zylo or Vendr that help identify what tools you’ve purchased, what is getting used, and how to optimize your licenses and spend. On the HR side, there are also headcount management solutions like Trueplan and FP&A tools for the finance team like Planful and OnPlan. IT teams got Apptio to help plan and manage spend, and Marketing teams have budgeting tools like Hive9. The challenge is that all of these tools are siloed within individual teams and have visibility into only a subset of the total available data. When you are looking to find where the “fat” lies within your company when you need to makes some cuts, you want to view the organization holistically and analyze everything from headcount vs. output, SaaS spend, T&A, advertising/marketing budget, events, and everything in between. A product could pull in data from each of the respective tools and other areas where it lives and do a 360 degree analysis on where budgets should be cut to create the leanest and most optimized organization. There is a compelling reason to purchase right now given the current market and sentiments at Board levels, but this could act as a continuous monitoring tool, helping teams from getting too much bloat in the future or spending too much on products, services, or discretionary items.
That’s all for today! If you have thoughts, comments, or want to get in touch, find me on Twitter at @ezelby and if you enjoyed this, please share with a friend or two!