I like clean apartments, so…

Great read on how Homejoy focused on scaling their operation across 30 cities.


Hockey & The On-Demand Revolution


I recently went to a tech-innovation conference in Cincinnati and one of the keynote speakers left us all with a very compelling statement: “Today is the slowest day you will EVER live. Technology is shaped like a hockey stick and right now we’re at a point of rapid increase.” This was one of the coolest quotes I’d ever heard.

Along the same lines as my prior post on the food-tech revolution (make no mistake, it is here), I started researching operational frameworks of several on-demand companies that happen to play hard in the food space. All roads seem to lead back to DoorDash climbing to the top of this mountain.

Doordash is as vertically integrated as it gets and commandeers almost the entire supply chain (except the actual food being produced). They have taken a similar approach to others in the “service logistics” industry and have connected technology to a community of willing “deliverers.” The net is extremely efficient cycle time in an on-demand service. Their guarantee is reduced wait time for on-demand food. The end result is a happy customer with hot food, who likely didn’t even have to miss one commercial from whatever program they’re engaged in, from a restaurant that doesn’t typically deliver.

What appears to be the largest win of this whole situation is within the workforce. Think about the term “willing” that for a second. If this business model is enticing enough for a deliverer to voluntarily join and serve as a courier to pick up some extra cash AND for a restaurant to sign up for to sell their product, something has to be going right.

Upon further review, I learned that DoorDash’s competitive advantage appears to lie within their technology, a program that sits at each vendor (the restaurant) and receives the DoorDash order from any iPhone user. This then pushes notifications to the available fleet of driver(s) for pickups & eventual deliveries to customers. One can only guess that there is an extremely precise (regression-based) algorithm programmed into the technology that calculates the most efficient driver to ping with an order, based on several independent variables (e.g. restaurant inventory, weather, traffic, known demand, etc.). One can also only guess that the guys at the helm of this operations are extremely smart dudes who know a thing or two about coding.

As an Ops Manager, I am thinking long and hard on how I can apply these types of principles to my daily routine and how I can apply the hockey stick mentality. How can I make my team’s work a win-win? How can I reinvent a routine that has been stagnant for years?

Check out DoorDash’s blog site, which explains the aforementioned model in great detail.

Also – check out a podcast I found that mentions the merits of vertical integration and a few other competitors in the food logistics industry: Connecting Buyer to Seller

Lastly – give this a read. Highlights other companies innovating the restaurant scene.




And They Say Chi City

Took two phenomenal photos in the last few weeks of the city that I am falling in love with yet again (it’s very easy to do that during the summer). Hard to believe these came from an iPhone (with a little love from the ‘gram, of course). Also a midst a move to the West Loop to explore a new part of town and ridiculously exicted. The draw? Phenomenal restaurants, trendy neighborhood, tons of green space for the pups and a genuine disdain for the 19 year old drunk college girls who live above us now.

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Don't really know, but its cool.

I’ve always been one to plan. My fiance, Victoria, makes fun of me all the time because I am fairly predictable in wanting to lay out the “how” behind every little thing we do. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s great because it keeps a little order to the daily routine and I think helps balance our relationship out, but it becomes a burden when the planning enables anxiety and creates unrest. Simply put, a little planning is great, a lot is bad. Planning is in my DNA and something I’ll always do, no matter what (much to V’s dismay). So why am I telling you about my planning OCD?

Well, the truth is that I don’t have a plan right now and it’s killing me. For the first time in my life I can tell you that I have no idea what’s next. Without knowing what is next, it’s impossible to strive for anything. My opinion is that you need to know what you’re shooting for before you’ll get there. Sure, some things fall into place by chance, but I’ve always had to work hard for what I’ve gotten and that’s a direct result of thoughtful planning, in my opinion.

I am comfortable now. I’m 26. I live in Chicago. I have a beautiful fiance. I have a rock-solid family. I have great friends. I have 2 phenomenally entertaining dogs. I have a stable job. I’m financially successful. But I have no clue what’s next.  Call it an early mid-life crisis. I am getting bored and looking for self-actualization in a much different manner than I ever did.

25 was not an easy year for me. My mother was diagnosed with cancer (but beat it, like a boss), Victoria had a bout with health, as well (and also beat it!) and my job had a brutal amount of stress. I took over a floundering team and was tasked to turn things around, which is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve been a part of in work, but also the most energy-sucking.  In the process of trying to find sanity, I put more focus on things like comfort, relaxation, anxiety-reduction, and achieving overall balance,  but where I don’t want to ever go is put this comfort before my ambition. Where I do want to go is to have my career be comfortable because I love what I am doing. The two paths are close in definition but lead to completely different outcomes.

The point of this blog is 3 fold.

1. I am a visual / hands-on learner. If I use this site as a central repository for my thoughts, ideas, and insights, as well as a hub for interesting materials, I am sure I will begin to figure myself back out.

2. I love writing. I think communication is the most important aspect of life. I want to use this constant communication as a way to continue to sharpen the blade, per say.

3. Depth. One huge source of inspiration is my brother. His depth is unparalleled and he is such an interesting guy. He’s 23, in his first job out of school, a tremendous photographer (a hobby he picked up recently), extremely knowledgeable about nearly everything, well-informed, opinionated, down to earth and genuinely cool. It is so obvious that he’s living every day in a self-actualizing manner, largely because he took the time to understand who he personally was and then had the stones to tap into his creative side to show the world that.

To sum this all up, I know that I work well when I have an idea of what’s next. In order to truly know what’s next, I’ll be spending some time trying to articulate that for my own selfish reasons. I’ll also have a few opinions on the Cleveland Browns.