The Internet has been in mild uproar over the past day or two on the news that Nike is selling a pair of these Lebron X Olympic Edition shoes for $315:
Even though the idea of paying that much for a pair of sneakers sounds insultingly dumb to me, I can think of a few good reasons why Nike would think it can get away with this price:
1. Margins. If half as many people buy these shoes for $315 as the amount that would pay $150 for them, Nike makes more money.
2. The $190 “stripped down” version of the shoe that doesn’t include sensors to, according to USA Today, track quickness, vertical leap and explosiveness seems reasonable by comparison.
3. The secondary market for specialty Nike designs is insane. Recently, fans waited in line at a sneaker boutique in Royal Oak, MI for over a week for the right to pay a 400% mark-up ($1,000 for shoes that retail for $245) for Air Yeezy II’s. These shoes and others like it command astronomical prices immediately on Ebay.
If the market exists, why should Nike leave money on the table for re-sellers?
To borrow an adage from my old summer camp, though, if a million people believe in a dumb idea, it’s still a dumb idea. Shoes–and especially these ugly shoes that will get scuffed up the first time you wear them outside–aren’t worth anywhere close to that much money. If you have $315, in disposable income, here are 5 better ways to spend it:
1. A ticket to Heat-Lakers on Christmas Day
We KNOW this game is happening even as we don’t yet know whether it will be played in Los Angeles or Miami. But MAN is this going to be a fun rivalry for the year or two that the Lakers have Steve Nash and Dwight Howard in their nucleus.
I can’t WAIT to see these two teams play each other. The Heat are more loaded at the top but the Lakers have superior depth. Christmas Day will probably be the first time these two teams play each other and it’s going to be an unbelievable spectacle.
If you are savvy, you can probably get in the building for $315 in LA and could conceivably find a lower level ticket for that price in Miami.
Prediction: LeBron’s run continues next season. I’m still undecided as to whether it will be over the Thunder or Lakers, but Heat repeat next season as LeBron enters the discussion of top 5 players of all-time.
2. Samsung 32-inch 720P LED HDTV
$308 on Amazon. Will definitely add more utility to your life than a pair of ugly shoes.
3. A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year aged Bourbon
4. Old School Starter Jackets on Ebay:
5. 16 Shares of Facebook Stock
So Facebook is down about 50% since its IPO and will probably go down even more in November when a huge amount of employee-owned stock is eligible to be sold. To make it in this world, though, you gotta zig when others zag.
Online/mobile advertising is still in its infancy but it’s going to be figured out at some point and when it does, Facebook will be there to capitalize.
Even though online advertising does not currently command nearly the rates as ads on television or in print do, it is already much more efficient. I should never see ads for make-up, movies based on comic books, or tequila but I see them every time I watch TV.
Look at the ads on my side panel and in your Facebook tab: it’s likely that you are seeing marketing for products or services that you have either expressed interest in on your profile or clicked on recently.
If/when Facebook is no longer blocked by the Great Firewall of China, its user base will nearly double.
Facebook is still trading at 67x earnings, which is very high but at least it doesn’t have an 866 p/e multiple like LinkedIn, a social network that you probably spend 1/20 as much time on as Facebook and HATE receiving email correspondence from.
I have no idea what the mobile landscape will look like in 5-10-15-20 years but I think Facebook will be around to figure it out. As ads become even more specifically targeted and increasingly obstruct our compulsive clicking paths for 15-30 seconds at a time, Facebook will be there to innovate and capitalize.
It’s a GOOD thing that Facebook didn’t just skyrocket from the IPO like it would have in 1998 when speculators bought stocks not based on fundamentals but on the belief that someone else would be willing to pay more for them down the line. These hiccups will be good for Facebook in the long run; they will force the company to be introspective and focus on improving its cost/revenue structure.
Update: Nike has released a statement saying that the price is inaccurate and that the shoes will “only” cost $290. Maybe they’re worth it now?