Interesting news today about the acquisition of online retailer One Kings Lane by Bed, Bath & Beyond.
The reason it’s interesting is because just a couple years ago, One Kings Lane was ostensibly worth -- to paraphrase Dr. Evil -- “one BILLION dollars!” And yet yesterday it was sold for what Bed Bath & Beyond described as a “not material amount.”
This development takes place less than a month after the biggest fake fish to date floated to the surface, when the $9 billion media darling Theranos, a blood-testing device, was exposed as a tech fraud and actually worth…..nothing. That’s even less than “not a material amount.”
The failure of One Kings Lane suggests the sexed-up appeal of “flash sale” sites has passed. As the CNBC story linked above notes, Fab.com sold for $15 million in 2015 after once being valued at $1 billion. Gilt Groupe, also once valued at $1 billion, sold to Hudson's Bay in January for $250 million, a quarter of its peak value; the way things are going, maybe they got out good.
We bring this all up not to lament -- well, maybe a little bit -- but to note that with crisis and failure also comes opportunity. We think that in the shakeout that is coming will put in stark relief and contrast the choices America and the world is going to have to make about our economy and ourselves. Are we going to focus on building a better economy run by better people who focus on solutions to the world’s problems, or just another run at making as much money as possible and damn the torpedos?
We think you know where 7CTOs comes down on this. We want to help make better people for a better world, create leaders who are as gifted in their humanity as they are in their technical prowess. The economy, and too many people, are in a bubble. It’s time to fix it.