business news in context, analysis with attitude

A Note from the Content Guy:  Last year, MNB did an interview with Jennifer Johnson, founder of Trestle, a Portland,Oregon-based company that has a unique business model - it essentially vets brands to determine their values - and how they deliver on value promises - in a variety of areas (like the environment, worker treatment. etc…).  Then, it allows consumers using its app to determine how companies vetted by Trestle fit in to their own personal social consciousness priorities, which they can rank on the site.  It is all done by algorithm, in the same way that Rakuten knows when you go on a site for which it has a cash-back arrangement.  To me, this seemed ingenious … and the very model of 21st century consumer empowerment, which ought to be of interest to brands and retailers.

At a time of pandemic, however, when the simple availability of toilet paper and hand sanitizer is a lot more important to most people than how "woke" the company making them happens to be, I wondered what became of Trestle, and whether Jennifer and her team were able to maintain traction.  And so, I reached out to her via Skype to have a chat about how Trestle is doing in these tough times, and how it might be seeing shifts in shopper concerns; I think the conversation also provides a window on how some millennials are thinking and acting (which, to be honest, gives me hope for this generation).

Spoiler alert:  One thing Trestle has added to its service is what is called a "Small Business Override," which makes the identification of small businesses offering needed products and services - which can be the most vulnerable in a time of pandemic - a new option.

Smart stuff.  I hope you enjoy my conversation with Jennifer Johnson (who, if you'd like to reach out to her for more information, can be contacted at