My Latest Score: The All-Pink Outfit.
Hey hey, ho ho // this wintry weather’s got to go.
I’m so bored of my sweater routine, I could cry. When I went to brunch with my cousin, her husband joked that winter in their house is like “50 shades of gray sweaters.”
So, I did what I always do when I’m in a fashion rut: I bought a new monochromatic look in a show-off color: pink. Monochrome is the antidote to winter wearies: it always reads fashion-forward and fresh. (If you don’t believe me, spend some time looking through archives of Miroslava Duma’s street style. She is SO good at monochromatic looks and matchy matchy styles. And with a tremendous amount of panache.)
At any rate, I bought this fluffy dream of a pink sweater, and these pixie pants (only $30!). A friend had told me that she loved these pixie pants, and they come in the perfect shade of millennial pink (p.s. – do we all agree that ice blue is the new millennial pink?), so I’m giving them a whirl, though I also considered these because I love the way Theory cuts their pants — slim and elongating. I wasn’t crazy about the slight flare at the ankle though.
You’re Sooooo Popular:
The most popular items on Le Blog this week:
+A universally-flattering dress — perfect for just about any occasion, from brunch to work to cocktails, and for any age!
+My favorite — and most used — recent kitchen acquisition. Ideal for keeping your mise en place in shipshape. Bonus: they nest inside each other for easy storage in our cramped Manhattan kitchen. (P.S. — My favorite kitchen gear.)
+I carry this EVERYWHERE, especially in light of the severity of the flu this season. (Note that the link is for a pack of 6. Which is perfect! Throw one in your purse, your stroller, your car, your gym bag, etc.)
+It was 10 degrees on Wednesday. Ergo, I wanted to live in these this week.
+Since first mentioning this, I’ve had SO many people rave about this little facial tool! I am dying to try it!
#Turbothot: Structuralism + Jeff Bezos.
The prevailing credo these days in the startup world is that good businesses solve real problems. Most VCs, startup advisors, and founders — myself included — have adopted and clung to this formulation with tenacity. So much tenacity that one of the most common questions we fielded while on the fundraising circuit was: “What problem are you solving?”
And with good reason: it makes good sense. For starters, necessity is the mother of all invention: if people are frustrated with something in their lives, they forge new solutions. And often those solutions will be marketable to millions of people just like you. What’s more, there’s an old adage that it’s always easier to sell a painkiller than a vitamin. People are willing to put down money to alleviate pain, but it takes convincing to get someone on board with a preventative measure. With painkillers, there’s urgency and the promise of immediate relief! With vitamins, you’re gambling on what might or might not happen in the future, and there’s no real rhyme or reason to starting now or delaying a few days.
At any rate, like the dutiful start-up-founders-in-the-early-21st-century that we were, we employed this patois ourselves. We talked fluently and thoughtfully about the problems we saw, about the pains they caused, about the relief that was so badly needed, in dozens of public talks, interviews, podcasts, pitch sessions.
But then, a few days ago, I listened to an interview with Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, and learned that he went about building his business entirely differently. He wasn’t concerned with real-world problems. Rather than the problem-forward tack we’ve been educated to employ, his was solution-backward. He explained that he’d noticed that the use of the web was growing 2300% year over year. “Things just do not grow that fast,” he explained, “outside of a petri dish, that is.” A mathematics and statistics whiz, he was drawn to the numbers and knew that — looking at its growth curve in use alone — the Internet was on a trajectory that would fundamentally change the world. So then he said: “How can I jump on board?” And he came up with twenty different ideas for dot com businesses before settling on books. His thinking was that there are so many books in the world at any given time — so many SKUs — that computers, optimized as they are for managing and organizing and numbering large quantities of items, would actually be a perfect fit for an e-business. And so Amazon was born.
A lightbulb went off. There was no story about how he’d searched to no avail for a book he couldn’t find, no language about the “problem” of having to trek to the library or physical bookstore, no testimonial about how much more humans might read if they could skim samples of books in advance of purchasing them. He wasn’t thinking about a customer problem. He was thinking about a statistically significant opportunity.
A veil was lifted: I saw the structuralist forces at play in the way I had conceived of, built, and framed my own business. It reminded me again of how important it is to question assumptions, even those that seem infallible. Now, in this case, it could well be that Bezos is the exception to the rule. And, in fact, many wonderful businesses were born to solve problems in the founders’ personal lives, and we are the happy beneficiaries of their intrepidity and vision. And it could also be — and Bezos admits this many times over in the interview — that his business was, simply, lucky: the right concept at the right time. In his words: “startups need early planetary alignment.”
But I was stopped, for a second, realizing that I’d been carrying around a “truth” — what I saw to be a truth — without having pondered the alternatives.
So, to Jeff Bezos: for not only more or less outfitting my life, but challenging me to think harder and more critically.
#Shopaholic: The On-Sale Statement Earring.
+The latest bow in mini’s collection. I like picking colors that are a little muted, a little more sophisticated for her — you can’t go wrong with big white bow, but I’m talking things like taupe, mauve, French blue, gray. They’re unexpected and elevate even the most simple outfit — jeans and a little striped onesie — into something more.
+I’m obsessing over these jeans. They’re unlike anything I’ve ever worn before and I love them styled with more sophisticated pieces, like a simple black crewneck and pearls and pointed-to-flats. Damn, I need these. Separately, high-rise jeans with button flies are all the rage right now, and I can’t get behind them. The thought of unbuttoning and buttoning those pants 10 times a day sounds horrible.
+OK, I really love this lantern-sleeve sweatshirt (under $60).
+This would be so fun for a beach vacation!
+Ordering this to play with our best friends.
P.S. I recently updated my shop to organize the products into categories — LMK what you think! xo