Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

There's only one place that makes us happy.

It's the place where we meet people, buy things and, most important of all, express ourselves with complete sincerity and abandon. (Alright, we sometimes abandon our complete sincerity, but only if we're provoked or need to make our lives look better than they really are.)

The online world, though, is now the world. 

People accept it and (apparently) love it.

Understanding this parlous state of affairs is how some brands have made their newly-acquired fortunes.

Take Glossier, for example.

It began as a blog. Now it's the de rigueur online cult beauty brand for the young and the restless.

I always thought it was pronounced glossi-uh. As in more glossy.

My wife sternly explained to me it was gloss-i-ay. As in really rather poshish French.

She also explained that Glossier has been in the forefront of disseminating a color known as Millennial Pink.

Recently, however, the brand has taken a curious step. 

It's begun to escape the confines of the web and permit itself physical manifestations.

New York, Los Angeles and Austin have all been graced with actual stores.

The heart of this move isn't merely to show off the brand in the coolest of places. And New York. 

As the Wall Street Journal's Christoper Mims reported, Glossier's CEO Emily Weiss revealed an enormously painful truth about her prime customers: 

Millennials and Gen Z are lonelier than ever.

It isn't just, she said, that they want to commune with the brand.

It's that they want to commune with each other.

There you were thinking that, thanks to the all-loving web, younger generations are more connected than ten bottles of beer and a headache.

Yet here is a CEO offering that giving young people somewhere to meet will help her brand.

There's something bordering on poignant in beauty brands creating spaces where their lonely loyalists might gather.

Perhaps you've always had that sort of suspicion about Apple stores too.

Although the idea of Apple stores as kumbaya town squares was rather more lovingly embraced by Apple's former head of retail Angela Ahrendts than by the regime that followed.

It's natural, of course, to imagine that Glossier's confession is a desperate indictment of our current social order.

A wicked truth, though, is that brands and their marketing have often traded on people's weaknesses and, yes, their loneliness and sadness. 

Who hasn't walked out of a store, carrying a fancy bag, and felt a little better about themselves?

The only question, of course, is how long that feeling lasts. 

Perhaps it lasts longer if you make a friend along the way.

Published on: Nov 3, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.