Service Delivered: Timeless Change
In the small town of my youth, Drs. John Bugelwicz and Peter Gamache did house calls. What an antiquated concept – physicians who would bring their healing arts right into your living room.
If that isn’t peculiar enough, in that bygone era John Fox of Fox Rexall Drug would run a prescription by our house after his pharmacy closed. We could also rely on Bob Fritz to deliver a part for our Ford truck if he had what we needed in his store at Western Auto Supply.
Those were the good old days when I “went to school without shoes uphill both ways in the snow…”
Alas, the world has changed so much!
Now, when it comes to customer service, home delivery (in keeping with the lyrics of a Peter Allen song) represents something “old,” which has been repurposed through digital technology, “to be new again.”
While online ordering and mobile technology afford us the ability to not only buy with a voice command or the movement of a finger, these tools also allow us to have products brought to us with unprecedented speed and convenience. In an article titled, “There’s a delivery service for that,” Crain’s highlights how home delivery continues to meet timeless and fundamental needs:
“Consumers are buying not just a meal kit, but potentially a little more time in their day, a little more privacy, or in the case of subscription boxes, simply a little more whimsy.”
So if my childhood had medical service, pharmaceutical, and auto parts delivery, what’s in store for consumers today?
Let’s just look at a few examples from the panoply:
Indianapolis and Bloomington Indiana have ClusterTruck which essentially is a food truck that makes food to order as they bring it to your door. On their website, they refer to this as, “A revolution in food delivery…Nothin’ soggy. Nothin’ cold.”
While we are on food delivery, how about the market niche carved out by October Kitchen in Manchester, Connecticut? According to Crain’s Connecticut, “senior citizens and baby boomers are the…bread and butter” of October Kitchen LLC, the Manchester-based food home delivery business that Paul Finney started 17 years ago. In contrast to more recent startups in the meal delivery space, which tend to market themselves more toward millennials…his target demographic is seniors.
Indirectly related to the “munchies” is the delivery of medical marijuana in California. San Francisco-based Eaze has been referred to as the “Uber of the cannabis industry.” A 2016 article for Techcrunch noted that Eaze launched in 2014 allowing patients to order on demand cannabis and quickly enabled “people to get a medical weed card in the state of California over the phone in under 10 minutes. The startup now claims availability in nearly 100 cities in California and says it has delivered marijuana to more than 200,000 people.”
Founded in 2012, Drizly has expanded to 40 markets in states like Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, and Florida which is well beyond their founding location in Boston. As per their website, Drizly is “driven by the noblest mission of them all — to make sure cups, fridges, and coolers are never empty again.” As such Drizly works with “local stores so you can shop their shelves using your smartphone or computer to order beer, wine, and liquor at the touch of a button. You still have to drink it the old fashioned way, though.”
I have been sharing examples of this trend toward effortless home delivery with keynote audiences for years now, highlighting brief puppy visits, on-demand gasoline fueling, and subscription services that will curate, surprise, and delight consumers with virtually every imaginable form of merchandise. An example is, Loot Crate which purportedly has about 700,000 subscribers all of whom receive, on average, $40 worth of merchandise at a time in the form of “geek subscription boxes for gamers and nerds.”
Even Walmart is “all-in” with the home delivery movement. Currently, they are test marketing an option that they hope will help the big-box merchandiser compete more effectively with Amazon.com. According to a Fashion Network article, Walmart is exploring “a program that allows store workers to deliver packages ordered on the store’s website after they finish their shifts… the step will cut shipping costs, speed the delivery of packages and allow workers to earn additional compensation.”
The big idea from this blog is that every business owner or leader should strive to create options to deliver products/services to customers’ doors whenever possible with as much ease and speed as the business owner or leader can muster.
Based on my reflection of my childhood and the target market for October Kitchen, I’ll take the liberty to modify a 1979 commercial tagline which suggested orange juice is not just for breakfast anymore and instead suggest, “Home delivery is not just for Millennials anymore.”
That tagline, like digitally enhanced home delivery, truly does prove that “the more things change the more they stay the same.”
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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