2016-05-06

Nature of a Business

Now this might come as a shock to some people, but it would seem obvious to others. (All mentions of 'food' below should be regarded as 'food and beverage'.) I was just discussing with a partner why I don't run Sudo's social media properties in a more foodie-friendly fashion. The reason is that I'm running it as "we're not a food brand, but food is our revenue model," similar to how "Facebook is not an ads company, but ads are the revenue model." Of course, it could be a complete mistake, and this might not be a bankable approach.

In terms of positive statements, it would be fairly accurate to say that we have been run as a provider of infrastructure that facilitates the acquisition and distribution of knowledge. Sudo is an IT company masquerading as a food company. Even the people who work here who think that food is the core value proposition... are the like the people who manage ad products at Facebook who think that ads are Facebook's core value proposition - neither could be farther from the truth.

As Starbucks understands fairly well, the coffeeshop business can be primarily about the management of space - space that is used by a population to engage in particular activities. Starbucks takes a humanistic value and commercialises it - social life. I simply took an intellectual value - learning - and am proceeding to attempt the same commercialisation. This may not be successful, but it is what we are currently able to attempt.

Also, it's the only way to make food interesting to me, I suppose. Pleb foods, hipster foods, all a captive market of sorts - potential cash cows for more interesting and scalable endeavours. I'm certainly not a foodie myself - it's one of those luxuries that is disincentivises by the pursuit of technical knowledge. While I dislike greasy foods, and find people who like greasy foods disgusting, I nevertheless maintain the highest respect and professional appreciation for the experts in the food industry who have shared their views and emotions with me. Anyone who masters a value chain and is able to turn it into a business deserves to be a leader.

As for myself, I'm never quite sure if we're ready.

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