Ben Casnocha asked an interesting question on twitter the other day. - Why does Starbucks offer free and unlimited wifi with no purchase, whereas Peets offers 1 hour with purchase of a drink?
I think the answer lies in what each business sells.
Starbucks and Peets sells ‘coffee’ like Apple sells ‘computers’. You can find lots of places and brands to buy computers but what differentiates Apple of course is their design.
Starbucks and Peets similarly have their strengths.
Peets sells good coffee and drinks first and foremost. The fact that they have wifi at all is ancillary and likely a minimum requirement for competing as a coffee chain.
Peets attracts first and foremost customers that care about quality beverages.
Starbucks sells atmosphere and lifestyle. A big part of Starbucks stores is actually encouraging you to some time in them (but not too much time). Once you are comfortable with one Starbucks - you will be comfortable with any Starbucks around the world. Free and unlimited wifi is a big part of this. It is a standard experience and expectation that draws people in to spend lots of time in the store.
Starbucks attracts first and foremost people that care about predictability, comfort, and the ‘modern lifestyle.’
What product the store sells is often different than what the company is about.
This morning I spent about an hour walking 2.2 miles. A casual pace.
I installed BeyondPod on my Android and listened to 2 new podcasts, 99% invisible, and Freakonomics. this WEEK in TECH and Stuff you Should know are tiered up.
I’m going to continue to try to walk an hour each morning. Some quiet, some with music, and some learning.
Happy new year everyone, may you be wiser this time next year.
I must be crazy. This summer I decided to buck the more traditional molds of summers full of gallivanting, researching or interning and try something that was in many ways none of those and in others all of them. I decided to start a company.
The top 5 facts:
1. I don’t get paid - in fact I’m in the red. And I work 80+ hours per week.
2. Most put chances of success at 10%. And seemingly much of it is left up to chance.
3. Competition is ruthless. Nearly every company on the web is a player.
4. The problems are not just hard, they’re are hugely difficult technical challenges.
5. And huge challenges involved with starting / redefining an entire market.
My top 5 reasons:
1. I’d rather be doing something I love, working my butt off, for a cause I believe in, with the potential to change the world making a pittance of pennies any day, any week, any month of my life. The world lends huge dividends, economic and otherwise, to those who accept calculated risk and embrace it.
2. Anything significant has a small degree of probability of succeeding any single time. Important solutions are almost inherently big problems with lots of variables. They either haven’t been tried or more likely many have failed before. Curing cancer, creating the lightbulb, you name it - innovation is hard. As it often is - the hardest thing is the most important.
3. Competition? Thank goodness! The fact that they exist means that I’m not completely off-base. I am thankful for validation of my idea and a little healthy competition to burn the midnight oil. Because - they’re doing it wrong obviously. Failure teaches me more than success. Fail forward faster.
4. Genius is overrated. Showing up is underrated. The harder the problems, the greater the reward. The harder the problems, the harder it will be for others to copy you. Every obstacle overcome is one step closer to your goal - and one more barrier to entry. Showing up is the hardest step.
5. This is the big momma. The fact that - if one million variables (and stars) align, if the timing is right, and the team is ready, if the idea matches what the world is demanding then the world embraces it. And it changes the world. I’m not sure I could work on and for anything less.
So please call me crazy - I think it’s rather becoming. It looks good on you too. A lot of people say starting a company is like jumping out of a plane, and trying to build your parachute on the way down. Sounds like fun, right? Stay up to date on the adventure: knowitapp.com
(this post also might originally appear on http://www.caldwellfellows.com/ - to whom I owe so much)
Paradoxically, education has become a way to avoid thinking about your future. Instead of thinking about your future, you go to school and defer thinking about your life.
from Ben Casnocha
I wrote out my career aspirations for a scholarship application. I should I would share here.
I want to be a leader of my generation. I am motivated by progress. The status quo is simply not good enough. I am driven to create value for investors, stock holders, and better the lives of people worldwide. For this reason I want to be an entrepreneur and investor. To me – there is no better way to create paradigm shifting movements. The world of data fascinates me; and the rate at which the world is increasingly creating, storing, and using data is extraordinary. As an Industrial Engineer – I believe in the power of data and want to help more businesses realize the power of data in their own contexts. My generation sits at a unique place in history. The opportunities and challenges that will come in the next fifty years stir me to action. Whether the world will someday call me CEO, Investor, or Senator – I do not know. But I know that I will always seek to be called innovator, visionary, servant leader, and humanitarian. I will use every opportunity to push the human race forward.