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    Published on: November 4, 2015



    "The Innovation Conversation" is sponsored by ProLogic: Leading the Industry in Loyalty Marketing Services for Independent Grocers.

    Content Guy's Note: The goal of "The Innovation Conversation" is to explore some facet of the fast-changing, technology-driven retail landscape and how it affects businesses and consumers. It is, we think, fertile territory ... and one that Tom Furphy - a former Amazon executive, the originator of Amazon Fresh, and currently CEO and Managing Director of Consumer Equity Partners (CEP), a venture capital and venture development firm in Seattle, WA, that works with many top retailers and manufacturers - is uniquely positioned to address.

    And now, the conversation continues...


    KC: Based on your experience, to what extent do manufacturers think differently about their various processes - ideation, sourcing, marketing, packaging - because of the growing importance of e-commerce?

    Tom Furphy:
    These are all processes that have a chance to be significantly improved via e-commerce. We’re definitely seeing e-commerce influence these areas today, but it is not yet to the point where it is tipping the scales to become a primary driver. With e-commerce, the distance to the consumer is much shorter than it is in traditional retail. By that I mean that product and messaging reach shoppers more quickly and directly, and there is a tight feedback loop to the retailer and manufacturer. So, for example, a manufacturer that is considering a new product can produce a limited batch of it, market it directly to targeted customer segments, measure the uptake, monitor ratings, reviews and surveys to gauge consumer feedback, and quickly kill, modify or scale the product. This is a very tight process that works well for large and small manufacturers alike. Most large manufacturer businesses are based upon processes to support the scale required to sell through traditional mass retail channels. So e-commerce has been a bit of an adjustment for them, but they are getting there.

    KC: Any examples you can think of?

    TF:
    We had a great example of this at Amazon where a large manufacturer avoided disaster by using e-commerce as a testing ground. This manufacturer of a mainstream coffee product wanted to release a premium whole-bean version of their traditional mainstream product. They produced a small batch of the product (one pallet) and put it in the Vine program. (Vine is a program on Amazon used to get new products into the hands of influencers who use the products and post reviews.) For this product, the reviews were overwhelmingly negative. The brand learned that they had established too significant a mainstream/value image that consumers could not get past. Based on the feedback and the market’s bias against them being a premium brand, the manufacturer aborted rollout. All-in the lesson cost them tens of thousands of dollars. Far short of the millions that a bad product line would have cost if brought to market via traditional practices.

    Even without producing products, brands can engage consumers directly through e-commerce to test efficacy of various marketing messages, products and programs. Through their websites or a number of engagement platforms, brands can test messages, engage shoppers and seek feedback much more effectively than they can through traditional market research.

    Packaging is also an area that is ripe for innovation in e-commerce. We are definitely starting to see advancements made in packaging materials (to handle the rigor of shipping), content (less messaging is required on e-commerce packaging as it is not used to sell from the shelf), form factors and pack sizes (it’s important to get the weight, volume and cost optimized for the product to perform profitably in the channel). A great example here is Dollar Shave Club. Their product arrives in plain corrugated package, optimized for shipping and easy use at home. No finger-slicing, cumbersome theft-resistant clamshells necessary as the product is never at risk of pilferage. As more categories move toward more robust replenishment models, this will advance even further.

    KC: Is the tendency to manufacture different lines of products for e-commerce channels and bricks-and-mortar stores?  Or find pegs that will fit both round and square holes?  (If the latter, do you think this is a mistake?)

    TF:
    Generally, given that e-commerce represents a relatively small portion of a manufacturer’s overall sales, we’re still seeing manufacturers sell the same products through both channels. I don’t think that’s a mistake at this point. It’s not yet practical for most manufacturers to manufacture different products exclusively for the online channel. We are starting to see more product configurations developed that work for the e-commerce channel, such as pack sizes, bundles or combo packs that drive favorable economics. But these are using the same core products. The pegs are still fitting both holes. But this will change significantly as e-commerce grows, the Internet of Things and connected homes play a larger role and replenishment platforms flourish. I think consumers will demand it and manufacturers are ready to embrace that change.

    KC: Are bigger manufacturers better or worse at this than small manufacturers?

    TF:
    I think that smaller manufacturers have been better over the past decade, but larger manufacturers are definitely starting to figure it out. At first, when Amazon came onto the scene, it was a fantastic path to market for smaller manufacturers that didn’t have the muscle or financial clout to get onto retail store shelves at scale.

    On their website and/or with Amazon, they could send a small batch of products into the network and be live nationally. We saw categories with a wide range of SKUs, such as natural & organic, coffee and supplements that would struggle for shelf space in traditional stores, flourish on Amazon. In many cases, brands like Bob’s Red Mill, Seventh Generation, Annie’s and Nature’s Best outsold the leading traditional brands. Part of that was because these brands weren’t widely available elsewhere, but it was also because all products stood on equal footing. These brands often had more compelling product content than national brands. And they were more responsive and more in tune with shopper preferences. They were scrappier because they had to be.

    KC: Do you think there are products being manufactured or not manufactured because of e-commerce?  Can you give me an example of a product that exists today that might not have existed if there were no e-commerce channel?

    TF:
    Dollar Shave Club is a great example of a company that would not exist if it weren’t for e-commerce. They have shown that rethinking traditional channels can be very disruptive to certain categories.

    As far as individual products go, there are a few examples. We worked with a company named Health Warrior that produced and marketed chia seeds as a “superfood”. That’s right, the same seeds that produce hair on Chia Pets also contain significant nutritional benefits. They may have been able to get to market through specialty stores and eventually through Whole Foods, then into traditional grocery. But would they have had the capital backing to endure the time and cost it would take to build out the channel? Probably not. By going direct and working through Amazon, they were able to build several compelling marketing programs and they were able to take immediate advantage of a New York Times article that featured their product. That enabled them to build a large following for very little capital. They were able to parlay that into traditional distribution into several chains. That would have been virtually impossible without e-commerce.

    Another example might be k-cups. When Keurig / Green Mountain first released them, Amazon was the first retailer to offer them. They quickly grew to a significant category for us, which led to their distribution into traditional retail chains.

    KC: Is there a danger that manufacturers will pay attention specifically to the logistics issues involved, as opposed to being as consumer-centric as perhaps they should be? Would challenging e-commerce costs cause them to not produce something that they might have otherwise?

    TF:
    That’s an interesting one. It’s really hard to bifurcate customer centricity from logistics.

    Take Amazon as an example. When we launched the business we made some seemingly crazy assortment decisions that were really driven by our desire to optimize the economics. Selling cases of Jello and packs of 2,000 Q-tips aren’t really the best shopper solutions. But it enabled us to get in the business, with reasonable unit costs to the consumer, albeit in pack sizes well above what they would prefer. That has improved over time and will continue to do so.

    As the e-commerce supply chain further builds out, with more facilities in more local markets, the economics hurdles will lower allowing a much broader range of lower priced items to work. This will allow manufacturers and retailers to configure packs that better appeal to consumers. Eventually, most everything will work in e-commerce. We also feel that consumers will start to order and receive their products on more predictable schedules as replenishment shopping takes hold. This will further improve the efficiency of product flows to the home. At the end of the day, better logistics enable lower costs and a better customer experience. That’s a good thing for shoppers.



    "The Innovation Conversation" will return in a couple of weeks. If there are subjects you'd like us to chat about in the future, let us know.
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    by Kevin Coupe

    Marketing Daily reports that Clorox has developed a new digital program designed to build on its reputation as a brand focused on cleanliness and sanitation - the Clorox Cold & Flu Pulse, described as a "digital and social platform (that) centers on a consumer-facing app that reports on where flu is likely to happen, and how virulent it is likely to be, via a program that analyzes millions of Twitter conversations in real time."

    The value "isn’t just buzz," the story says. "It turns out that viral buzz precedes the appearances of the actual virus."

    Clorox says that "the effort is tied to a national campaign touting products like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, which kill human coronavirus and influenza."

    But I think it is more than that. I think it is a really smart way of harnessing social media toward an end that actually has some importance.

    Go figure. The Eye-Opener is that so-called viral buzz can be a good thing.
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    The New York Times reports that Texas-based HEB is awarding 55,000 of its employees an equity stake in the company.

    According to the story, "The Butt family, which founded the San Antonio-based grocer 110 years ago, is handing an estimated 15 percent of the company’s shares to employees over 21 years old who have worked at least a year at the retailer and clocked at least 1,000 hours in a calendar year."

    HEB has 370 stores in Texas and Mexico and generated $23 billion in net sales this year.

    Craig Boyan, HEB's president/COO, tells the Times that "the plan is intended to recognize workers’ contributions and foster loyalty to the company, and enhance their long-term financial stability ... Under the plan, workers are able to cash out when they leave or retire from the company, and will also receive dividends based on the retailer’s earnings."

    Here's how the Times describes the plan:

    "Starting in January, eligible workers — the retailer calls its workers 'partners' — are set to receive a grant of nonvoting shares valued at 3 percent of their salary, as well as $100 in stock for each year of continuous service ... The retailer said it would continue to make yearly contributions to the stock plan, based on company performance. About 55,000 of the chain’s 86,000 full- and part-time employees are expected to receive shares. Employees in Mexico are not eligible, for now, because federal laws that set standards for pension and health plans do not apply there."

    Boyan says, "So many in retail are competing in the race to the bottom, and people are the largest cost. So it seems logical to cut people, and lots of folks are doing it. We think that’s a trap. We believe the race for the bottom cheapens the American experience. It’s bad for the country and bad for companies ... We think there is great benefit in a more empowered, inspired, proud, trained work force."
    KC's View:
    Outstanding. No other way to describe this move.

    Let's repeat that passage again...

    We believe the race for the bottom cheapens the American experience. It’s bad for the country and bad for companies ... We think there is great benefit in a more empowered, inspired, proud, trained work force.

    HEB isn't the only company that has figured this out. Publix and WinCo are two other companies that understand that when employees believe they have skin in the game, and feel a real sense of ownership (as opposed to a contrived, just-for-show approach that calls employees something other than that and then treats them as nothing but), then they will be more effective, more efficient, more productive.

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    The Seattle Times had a story the other day about how, while "reviewers have long used Amazon as a platform to vent about products that failed to live up to their expectations" and "even used it to attack authors whose views differ from their own," this trend is gaining a new - and even disturbing - momentum.

    Increasingly, the story says, "people are launching coordinated campaigns to push political and social agendas through negative reviews often only tangentially related to the product for sale. They are able to do so because Amazon welcomes reviews regardless of whether the writer has actually purchased the product."

    For example ... Scarlett Lewis recently wrote a book entitled "Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness," to describe her emotional journey after the murder of her six-year-old son in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre three years ago.

    But many of the user reviews of her books on Amazon would not seem to reflect the idea that she wanted to write a book about hope and forgiveness.

    “This Scarlet Lewis person is a real sick human being,” writes one reviewer, while another writes, “Scarlett Lewis is a fraud and a sellout to all of humanity." From a third: “Scarlett Lewis is a lying traitor."

    The rage in these reviews "is fueled by the conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax, perpetuated by the government to push for tougher gun-control laws," the story says, and stoked by people who use social media to get others to join in the writer-bashing.

    And ironically, much the same thing has happened to “Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life’s Darkest Hours,” a book by Sandy Hook Elementary first-grade teacher Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis.

    It isn't just books. The Times writes that "a year ago, PepsiCo launched a new mid-calorie soda called Pepsi True exclusively on Amazon. That caught the attention of activists at the Rainforest Action Network and SumOfUs, who have condemned PepsiCo for its use of so-called 'conflict palm oil,' the harvesting of which is causing deforestation, in its snack products such as Doritos. The two groups decided to target Pepsi True through Amazon’s review system because they knew it was a low-cost way to make a high-impact statement ... And it worked. Nearly 4,000 followers gave Pepsi True 1-star ratings and posted negative reviews that, among other things, ripped Pepsi for supporting 'rain forest destruction by buying unsustainable palm oil.' Pepsi was caught so off-guard that it asked Amazon to take down the page."

    The Times writes that "these campaign-driven negative reviews may promote agendas, but they often add little to the discussion about the product itself. That’s because the vast majority of reviewers responding to those calls-to-action have never used the products they are critiquing, a point they often acknowledge in their reviews. In the process, those reviews often overwhelm comments from customers who have read the book or used the product."

    While Amazon has moved lately to crack down on bogus reviews as violations of its terms of service, these reviews do not fall into that category. Best that anyone can tell, these are real reviews, and Amazon won't take down anything that does not violate its guidelines.
    KC's View:
    It seems to me that it would be preferable if Amazon's guidelines required that reviews of products actually be reviews of products, as opposed to political screeds ... especially screeds written by a bunch of conspiracy looney tunes with nothing better to do. And maybe they ought to require that reviewers actually must have bought the product on Amazon. (As an Amazon user, I have absolutely no problem with this. An informed review, even one I may disagree with, is much better and more useful than one that is written from ignorance.)

    I'll say this. I actually have a copy of “Choosing Hope: Moving Forward from Life’s Darkest Hours" at home, and I'm going to read it. And I'm going to buy "Nurturing Healing Love: A Mother’s Journey of Hope and Forgiveness," mostly because it what these nut jobs are trying to do to these authors disgusts me. (One can object to tougher gun laws without suggesting that somehow the murder of children was a government conspiracy designed to abridge people's rights. At least, I think so. I hope so.)

    In the broadest sense, this is about the slow, ineffable decline in and coarsening of civil discourse in America.

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    LL Bean announced yesterday that it has named Steve Smith, a former Delhaize executive who more recently worked for several of Walmart's international businesses, to be its new president/CEO.

    Smith is just the fourth CEO in the company's history, and the first outsider brought in to run the company; he succeeds Chris McCormick who has been president/CEO since 2001 and is retiring at the end of the fiscal year.

    Smith begins his new role in January.

    The announcement notes that Smith began in retailing as director of marketing at Hannaford, and moved on to other executive roles at its sister companies Sweetbay Supermarkets in Florida and Delhaize Le Lion in Belgium. He also has worked at Walmart's Sam's Club division in China, Asda in the UK, and, most recently, as Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer for Yihaodian, a pure-play e-commerce business based in Shanghai.

    It was just last week that Walmart lost another of its international executives, when Shelley Broader, who was running its EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada) region, announced that she was leaving to become the new president/CEO of Florida-based Chico's FAS. It is worth noting that Broader is a former Hannaford and Sweetbay executive.
    KC's View:
    People have told me that for a long time, Hannaford was seen as having one of the best management training programs in retailing, and it would appear that this is confirmed just this week by the ascendance of Smith and Broader to major retail CEO jobs.

    Hugh Farrington and Ron Hodge, both former Hannaford CEOs, have a lot to be proud of. There is a lot of Hannaford DNA out there, in leadership positions at companies and associations, bringing talent, skill and passion to the marketplace.

    I love the Steve Smith news. As I've said here often, I'm a huge LL Bean fan ... beyond the fact that I really admire its growing omni-channel approach to retailing and relentless focus on nurturing and reinforcing its brand equity and value proposition, it is my idea of a fashion designer. As I write this, I'm wearing Bean jeans and a Bean sun washed canvas shirt (which I have in a half-dozen colors), and I have a Bean leather jacket slung over the back of my chair. To know he comes from a company about which I have written much over the years, and from a crop of executives for which I have enormous admiration ... well, it just pleases me enormously.

    More on this below, in Executive Suite.

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    Nielsen is out with a new study about millennials' shopping habits, concluding that whatever generational and behavioral changes may be taking place in that generation, it remains made up of people who like to shop at Walmart. The study says that 75.5 percent of total millennials shop at Walmart, while 55.6 percent shop at Target, and 46.8 percent shop at Amazon. The numbers are a little different among so-called "upscale millennials" - 67.8 percent shop at Walmart, 65.2 percent shop at Target, and 59.7 percent shop on Amazon.

    In laying out the more popular retailers for total millennials and upscale millennials, most of the names are the same, if in different order - Dollar Tree, Kohl's and Dollar general are in the 4-5-6 positions for total millennials, for example, while Kohl's is ranked # 4 for upscale millennials, Dollar Tree is seventh, and Dollar general doesn't even make the top 10.

    One curiosity that speaks to how some folks define "value proposition" - Costco is # 8 on the upscale list, but does not make the total millennials list.
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    National Public Radio has released the results of what it calls the Marketplace-Edison Research Poll, which is designed "to explain a conundrum in the American economy" - the fact that, despite continued improvement in the economy, "there’s still discontent among many Americans about their personal economic situations."

    According to the poll, respondents expressed a number of concerns:

    • "63 percent said they are sometimes or frequently anxious about their financial situation"

    • "42 percent said they feel stuck in their current financial situation"

    • "27 percent said they are not financially secure"

    • "28 percent said their personal financial situation causes them to lose sleep"

    The report goes on:

    "More than 10 percent fear being unable to make a car payment, more than 10 percent fear being unable to make a mortgage payment, more than 25 percent fear being unable to pay rent and more than 33 percent fear not being able to make a student loan payment.

    "More than 30 percent have 'a lot' of fear over not having enough saved for retirement, nearly a quarter fear facing an unexpected medical bill and more than 20 percent fear not being able to afford college for their children. More than 38 percent have at least a little fear about losing their job in the next 12 months, and more than 11 percent say if they lost their jobs, they are not at all confident they could find a new one in the next six months."

    There also "was a significant group who regretted the amount of college debt they acquired, with 38 percent saying that taking on debt for their education was not worth it."

    The concerns tend to be higher in certain demographic groups than others - Hispanics and African-Americans are more worried than whites, and people 25-34 and those making less that $25,000 a year more worried than people older and making more money ... which seems completely reasonable. At the same time, people paid an hourly wage seem more concerned than those on salary.
    KC's View:
    All this seems sort of depressing until one gets toward the end of the Marketplace report, in which it says that "respondents expressed a sense of optimism despite the insecurity that many feel, with 79 percent saying hard work plays a bigger role than luck in getting ahead and 72 percent agreeing that they feel they have a fair opportunity to achieve the life they hope for."

    As Shakespeare might've said: "Aye, there's the rub..."

    The survey also found "broad support for the government’s role in providing a social safety net, with more than three quarters agreeing that the federal government should be providing unemployment benefits to those who lose their job, food stamps to the poor, college tuition assistance to low- and middle-income families, subsidies for health care benefits and job training programs."

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    Engadget reports that Best Buy, looking to ramp up its delivery options so it is more competitive with the likes of Amazon, "is testing a same-day delivery service with the help of delivery service Deliv. Currently being tested in San Francisco, same-day delivery will cost Best Buy customers the same amount as one-day business express shipping. The company is marketing the service to online shoppers as an alternative to its in-store pickup option."


    USA Today reports that "there are now more than three dozen confirmed cases of people being sickened by an E. coli outbreak in Oregon and Washington state, a sharp increase in the number of people affected by an outbreak that has led to the popular fast casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill temporarily closing 43 restaurants in the Pacific Northwest."

    On Tuesday, the story says, "the company announced it has taken a number of steps in the aftermath of the crisis, including conducting environmental and food testing in its restaurants and distribution centers,deep cleaning of the closed restaurants, and hiring two food safety consulting firms to assess and potentially bolster the company's food safety procedures."
    KC's View:

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    • Labeed Diab, who has been serving as president of Health & Wellness at Walmart US, said yesterday that he is leaving the company to become COO at Brookdale Senior Living, Inc., with responsibility for all aspects of operations, including community and field operations, marketing and sales.

    Diab formerly was president of the Midwest division for Walmart US, as well as regional vice president of operations for Aramark Healthcare, and a regional vice president with Rite Aid.
    KC's View:
    It is interesting to note yet another departure from Walmart in which an executive left under his own steam. CEO Doug McMillon has been moving a lot of pieces around the board, and I have to wonder if some folks are looking at the game and thinking to themselves that a) this is a good time to take that call from the recruiter, and/or b) with all these new job titles, some previous paths to advancement may be at least temporarily cut off.

    Or, it could just be that all the tumult within Walmart has got recruiters thinking that this is a good time to harvest some ripe fruit off the Bentonville tree. (I use the word "ripe" in the best, most complimentary way here ... just in case anyone is wondering.)

    There is another possibility - that these executives have decided to move on to companies that they simply think will be more fun to run ... less bureaucratic, more nimble, easier to have real impact.

    I vote for that one.

    Published on: November 4, 2015

    Got the following email about Amazon's opening of a bricks-and-mortar bookstore in Seattle:

    Isn't it ironic that the company that commoditized book buying and forced mom and pop stores and even Borders out of business, is now trying to revive the romance of browsing physical books? Is Amazon considering b&m stores or will book buyers in this store simply be part of an experiment? We know prices will be the same as the site, but there will be a Amazon Answer desk and Kindle and Echo displays.

    Time will tell, but Bezos loves new innovation and chances are I may run into him at the store!

    Thanks once again for your terrific blog, what would mornings be like without MNB with my coffee!


    My pleasure. As I've said, my guess is that this is not the beginning of an Amazon assault on the bricks-and-mortar world, but rather just an experiment to test some theories and gain some knowledge. But this is just a semi-educated guess.




    MNB reader Jackie Lembke had some thoughts about Kmart reviving the Bluelight special:

    So do you have to actually be in a K-Mart to get the special? Because for me that would be an issue. I haven’t shopped at a K-mart in years and the last time I did it was sad and depressing. Even with the possibility of getting a special deal, K-mart is not on my list of stores to visit.

    I commented the other day about this story:

    Compare this to Target and even Toys R Us. They're focused on the future, and Kmart is reviving a concept that was created in 1965.

    Put me in the "unimpressed" column.


    This prompted MNB reader David Peterson to write:

    You are already in my “unimpressed file”.

    Your insights into the obvious are so...


    Oh, well. Can't please all the people all the time.

    I just try to come up to the plate and take my hacks. Sometimes I connect, sometimes I strike out.

    I'm always sorry when folks leave disappointed.




    On another subject, from an MNB reader:

    I was reading your piece on Market 32 today, a day after I happened to visit their new store in Sutton, MA. I looked forward to a visit to the new store and thought it would be an experience of learning.

    While I do believe they have a disconnect with their consumers in general right now, I am not sure I saw any solutions or many WOW factors in the store. My only 2 WOW moments were when I found a large bag of rice for what I believe was $69 and ground black pepper for what I remember to be around $54 per pound. I found the store to be “pretty”, but confusing and full of areas with high price gimmickry  instead of volume movers at a good savings. There was very little if any for discounted displays of merchandise, but yet many kiosk of high margin items, just tying up valuable real estate. Perhaps I am not embracing change enough, or maybe I am smart enough to know not to abandon the basics? Time will tell, but I am not sure we will see 100+ Price Chopper to Market 32 conversions in the near future!

    From there I paid a close by visit to a busy Market Basket in Oxford, MA & a new Wegman’s in Westwood, MA. 2 different ends of the spectrum, but both companies with a clear idea of who they are and where they are going, each with many WOW factors each in their own way.





    We had a story yesterday about Google's plans for drone deliveries, and I commented that this now seems to be more a matter of "when," not "if." One MNB user replied:

    But after the first two-year-old is decapitated, the best-laid-plans-of-mice-and-men will go totally awry.

    I hope it doesn't come to that ... but I wouldn't be surprised.




    Regarding the new "Star Trek" series that will be available for streaming-only in January 2017 to people who subscribe to the CBS All Access service, MNB reader Brian Blank wrote:

    Much excitement here over the announced new "Trek" series (tempered by memories of "Enterprise"…).  You mention the digital-platform delivery will bring younger viewers to the franchise, which the JJ Abrams films have probably already accomplished, at least somewhat.  I would suggest that there is a flip-side to that observation:  it will bring OLDER viewers to CBS All Access.  Longtime fans, many of whom watched the original series in first-run, are sure to be first-time customers for CBS All Access, some may even be first-time or relatively new streaming viewers.  Personally, I am pretty close to 50, a big Trek fan, and streaming is far from my first choice in viewing—though I am no stranger to it.  Ordinarily, I would wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray to be released (as I’ve done with "House of Cards"); but there’s NO WAY I will wait to see the new "Trek" series.  And, yes, I will most likely still buy the Blu-Ray sets when they are released.

    I have kind of a weird fondness for "Enterprise" - especially for the final season, during which the writers seemed to be having some real fun playing with some franchise myths.

    Not everybody is engaged, though. MNB reader LuRene Dille does not want them to make it so:

    I’m outraged that I would have to pay yet another monthly fee to stream Star Trek.

    The reality is that the TV business is changing, cords are being cut, cable packages are being disassembled, and lots of companies are going to be testing ideas like this one.

    Businesses can't be caught flying at impulse power when everybody else is doing warp speed.
    KC's View: