Friday 16 September 2016

Getting the chop

One of our more earnest students last year did her final year research project with me, so I know her better than some of the other Faculty. Accordingly, this week, she told me to expect a call from a company for a character reference. I'm happy to do that, of course, because I can confidently say nice things about her. It's not really my business, but I checked out the company website so that I could temper my praise to better fit the job and hopefully help her achieve her ambition. This research revealed
Our business service outsourcing is outcome focused and aligned to our clients' cultures. It is built on a platform of trusted delivery, evidence led improvements. The Eishtec Way is a business approach that delivers outstanding outcomes to our clients and their businesses. We deliver results and keep our promises. We do this through focus on our people, processes and performance.
WTF?! What does that mean? Is it like Office Space? How do I, as a potential client, derive any clue from this about what Eishtec could do for me? evidence led improvements indeed! Eishtec is in bad company; everyone seems to be hiding behind this opaque nonsense: The Institute for example and Irish government quangos like the IDA and Enterprise Ireland. Why don't they write clearly what they do? Is it because many of their apparatchiks do very little except push papers about their desks waiting for the tea break? Is it because the management is so woolly in their thinking that they accept woofle-speak as the public face of the company?

I was down in Cork last weekend: the excitement has been good for blobocopy I - II. Cork is where all the foodies, including Dau.II, hang out waiting for the next episode of Masterchef-Zambia or The Great British Bake-off.  We fell to talking about how intersection of the interweb and GPS was making some killer apps, like CitySwifter. Dau.II, aka Cookie, cited Deliveroo which has arrived in Cork. Deliveroo was founded in London in 2013 by Will Shu and Greg Orlowski. Shu had arrived from NYC where, in the land of instant gratification, you can get anything delivered whenever you want it. In London, you could get pizza or chinese delivered to your home or office but if you fancied boeuf bourguignon or kimchi - not so much.  He figured thus: if I fancy nice food in half an hour but I don't cook so good, surely there are many other people like me in any reasonably-sized city.

Like Eishtec, Deliveroo has a daft name, but in contrast to Eishtec they have an ace web-site with a really clear message. What they do is "Your favourite restaurants, delivered fast to your door." now that is written in Globish: even if you're not a native English speaker you know what you're getting into . . . if you can handle the synecdoche: you don't want the whole restaurant in your front garden, the dumpsters might spill onto the lawn. The Deliveroo FAQ is written in a crystal clear, chatty, down with the hood, style which is both winning and explanatory.

"Oh, and the name? Kangaroos are known to be incredibly protective of their young. At Deliveroo we are equally protective of your dining experience."  and
"Why doesn't Deliveroo accept cash?
People still use cash? Really, son? This is the new millennium, we don’t party like it’s 1999.
Card payments creates a safer working environment for our Roowomen and Roomen, too. Feel free to tip your driver in cash, however."

Roomen? The down-with-the-Roo language can get a little wearing (the CEO is known as the FoundeROO, for example) but that's effective social media for you. As with Oatly, a bit of arch humour seems to win customers in the 21stC Food Wars. You pay a small charge to Deliveroo on top of the cost of the food and I wouldn't be surprised if Deliveroo scrapes a bit from the supply-side (extra business, after all) as well. In this connected world, if you have an unfulfilled need, it's likely that there are others nearby in the same boat - there's a busine$$ opportunity there making life easier and more convenient for you and people who are so like you that you should Friend them.

Berluddy 'ell, there's a meta-business out there. Scrape the Deliveroo client database for single people who like ramen and live in the same post district. You first heard it here! pay me royalties when your company gets its second tranche of venture capital.

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