CEO Supper Club: "I want to trade as an Internet company not a retailer"

By Sarah Lacy , written on February 19, 2013

From The News Desk

I'm skipping ahead a bit in the chronology of our dinner with the CEOs of Birchbox, Warby Parker, Thrillist, and One Kings Lane, because I wanted to post the conversation we had around "buying revenue."

Yesterday, we wrote about how some ecommerce companies are being very top line aggressive -- and the cost to their business. It cost Ecomom's investors everything, and I suspect the Vegas-based etailer won't be alone.

Doug Mack of One Kings Lane argues that he is growing revenue much slower than he could because he's insistent on having double digit profit margins. His comments left no question about his motives to build OKL into a large, stand alone public company. "I want to trade as an Internet company, not a retailer," he said.

"That is what ecommerce 2.0 is really about," adds Ben Lerer of Thrillist/Jack Threads.

Mack sort of loses his mind when Warby Parker's Neil Blumenthal brings up Lululemon -- a brand-heavy retailer that trades at a juicy multiple compared to, say, Amazon. Mack practically lunged across the table, exclaiming, "Lululemon is our favorite! We have Lululemon envy!"

The conversation continues as the CEOs debate the best ways of getting new users -- if overpaying for them is off the table. (This point was slightly less contentious than our CEO Supper Club video from earlier today about whether content brands could build commerce businesses.)

(Thanks to Felice in New York for the hospitality.)