You may have noticed a certain type of ad on Facebook or, if you take it, the New York City subway, in which an everyday consumer item is presented in minimalist splendor: mattresses (Casper), rolling suitcases (Away), tampons (Lola), razors (Harry’s). Catalogue companies and the people on infomercials have been doing direct-to-consumer marketing for years, but these ads hail from a new generation of startups, companies often backed by venture-capital money, that want to use the methods and practices of Silicon Valley to “disrupt” regular old consumer goods. Take Casper’s Web site, which explains that its mattresses were created through an “obsessive” process involving “two dozen beta models” and “A/B testing.” Consider also these companies’ tendency to present everyday events—sleep, packing for a business trip, the onset of your menstrual cycle, stubble—as time-wasters requiring only the right gadget to be dealt with. One of the startups to pioneer this formula was Everlane, a mostly online clothing company that sells “modern basics,” the kind of no-nonsense staples one associates with J. Crew and Gap. Everlane came on the market in 2011, selling cotton T-shirts. Since then, it has expanded into everything from sweaters to accessories and has reportedly sought to raise investment at a valuation of more than two hundred and fifty million dollars. Read more at The New Yorker.