Archives for posts with tag: business

Long read, but great story about manufacturing and perseverance.

Jennifer Knight ’89 has returned manufacturing jobs to an American town.

Source: Dyed in the Wool | Brown Alumni Magazine

This post has been on my mind for a while, so I finally decided to sit down at the keyboard and share my thoughts.  Over the years I have interviewed my fare share of candidates.  The roles that I have interviewed people for have ranged from senior to entry level positions.  Irrespective of role, I have seen many candidates trip themselves up in the interview because they were not adequately prepared.  By prepared, I don’t mean having a dossier on the company.  In many cases candidates for both senior and junior level roles, have not completed basic research or just were not prepared.  A few examples include:

  • Not knowing what the company does
  • Not having reviewed the company website
  • Not having read the job description or remember what the job is, even though you submitted a resume and have accepted an in-person interview
  • Not having prepared any questions to ask the person interviewing you
  • Unable to remember (or unwilling to discuss) key accomplishments from you last position

The items above seem like common sense, but I have come across many people who were disqualified because of the aforementioned  items.  I know competition for talent is tough in today’s marketplace, but I don’t think it is too much to expect that people show  up prepared (as well as on time) for an interview.  Also, for folks conducting the interview, please take time to read the candidate’s resume.  Respect goes both ways.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

On a recent excursion for groceries with my 12 year old, I was reminded that: 1. Kids observe the most interesting things and 2. Employee hiring, management, and engagement practices do positively impact the bottom line.

In need of groceries for la familia, the 12 year old and I jumped into the car for what is inevitably a long trip because for one reason or another, I can never find everything I am looking for in one grocery store.  On this particular weekend day, we find ourselves visiting three different stores.  The first store was a disaster because many of the shelves were barren. Additionally, as a fruit fanatic I was disgusted (once again) by the fruit flies hovering in the fruit section. (Side note, I have previously spoken to the store manager about the fruit fly issue and pointed out to him that his competitor – literally across the street no less – does not have this issue.  Said manager didn’t seem all that concerned with my feedback).  This particular store (whose name rhymes with toga) is a national chain, not a small mom and pop place.  After not finding many of the national items I was in search of, I decided it was time for us to leave (without purchasing anything at all).

We then headed to the competitor across the street.  This particular grocer (also national  – actually global – in scale), that takes pride in offering low prices was better in terms of stocked shelves.  I believe (but I could be wrong) that because of this company’s focus on keeping costs low, they are always low on staff.  They must have 8-10 registers that are meant to be staffed by humans and no more than 2-3 are ever staffed.  Also, you don’t see many employees walking around the store that you can ask for assistance.  The lack of employees on registers does not seem to be a big issue because it rarely takes long to check out as not many other customers ever seem to shop at this store.  I’m not quite sure how this particular location stays open.

We then proceeded onto the third store  – Trader Joe’s – for what always turns out to be somewhat specialty items you tend not to find anywhere else.  As usual, Trader Joe’s has lots of traffic and yes the shelves are always stocked.  Even though the store was busy we were able to check out quickly.  We probably spent no more than 30 minutes in the store.  Upon exiting the store, my 12 year old informs me that Trader Joe’s (I believe this is the first time I have taken her to Trader Joe’s) is her favorite grocery store.  I asked her why and she made what I found to be a very interesting observation (so interesting I decided to write a post about, want to read it?) Her comments were along the lines that everyone in Trader Joe’s seemed happy and were nice.  They seemed to enjoy their jobs and everyone had a smile on their face and greeted you with a smile.  I have previously written a post on  said subject: https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/customer-facing-employees-with-the-right-attitude/  I am not sure of what Trader Joe’s does differently (employee selection, pay, training, or some combination thereof) but it works.  Upon further discussion with my daughter she was spot on; the employees at Trader Joe’s did seem much happier, they did smile, and that was radically different from the other stores we visited that day.  When my daughter starts shopping on her own, I suspect she will make a beeline for Trader Joe’s.  The lesson?  Probably many based on your perspective, but for me a great reminder that customers appreciate doing business with others who are pleasant to deal with and who seem to genuinely enjoy their job.  Customers can tell, especially 12 year old kids.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

While not a huge fan of soy sauce, the post below highlights the history of the ubiquitous little package of sodium laden sauce that many of you may have stashed somewhere in your kitchen.  While I found the history interesting, what really caught my attention was the blurb at the end of the article about innovation (packaging in this case) being applied to this ho-hum product.  Product innovation to non-glamorous products continue to both fascinate and surprise.  My favorite non-glamorous innovations include: 1. Bottled water and 2. Pre-packaged lettuce.  Who would have thought we needed bottled water?  Bottled water is a very large industry ($100B by some estimates), but in the grand scheme of things it is relatively new – some estimate that the bottled water craze started in the 1990’s.  The same holds true with pre-packaged lettuce  / salads.  I was content with buying a head of lettuce and doing the shredding myself.  Clearly someone understood this to be a pain point and innovated.  Hats off to all innovators who are able to recognize that a staid product may ripe for growth via innovation.  Hopefully, Little Soya will find success with their innovation.

Enjoy the article.

The Mysterious, Murky Story Behind Soy-Sauce Packets — Atlantic Mobile.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

Just read the following blog posting Howard Marks: Dare to Be Great II | The Big Picture. – that is  focused on on what makes one a superior investor.  As I read through the article the points that the author covered are applicable to more than just being a successful or superior investor.  The points he covered can be applied to any area or profession.  It is not limited to the field of investment.  Some of the key areas covered in memo are:

  • Dare to Be Different
  • It Isn’t Easy Being Different
  • Dare to Be Wrong
  • Dare to Look Wrong
  • Looking Right Can Be Harder Than Being Right

The dare to be different point rang true for me since I have always marched to a somewhat different beat (and some might argue that I dance to a different beat as well, but that is a different story).  I have always counseled my kids to not follow the crowd.  Along those lines, though, many of us realize that being and doing things differently is not easy and never will be.  It takes a certain amount of intestinal fortitude to “be different”.  The other points highlighted in the memo are all insightful and once again are applicable to all walks of life.  Hats off to Howard Marks for his second installment on the subject of “Dare to be Great”.  The posting is a little lengthy, but worth the effort – scroll to the middle of the blog posting to see the memo from Marks.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart

 

 

Came across this article the other day and was quite impressed.  Might be considered a little intrusive by some, but it appealed to my inner geek.  I’m not sure who the first airline customer will be, but I am sure their premium class customers will be very happy.  Way to go B/E!

The Business Class Seat of Tomorrow Will Blow Your Mind, and Freak You Out a Bit – Skift.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/

I am a fan of small businesses and especially the brave entrepreneurs who launch them.  Below is the link of a recently launched business: Viddlz.  Viddlz has developed a marketplace that allows food artisans to sell their product online to other foodies.  Great idea and I am wishing the Viddlz team much success.

Viddlz Introduces E-commerce Platform & Marketplace for Food Artisans | Viddlz Blog.

Rindge Leaphart

http://www.linkedin.com/in/rindgeleaphart
https://rindgeleaphart.wordpress.com/