Five Strategy Things N° 5
Chick-Fil-A; The Agency Problem; NFL broadcasters; The Unsexy Side of Responsiveness; Amazon Fulfillment Centers
Chick-Fil-A is quietly improving its food
Chick-fil-A has been quietly switching out ingredients over the past decade…it eliminated heart-disease-promoting trans fats in 2006, removed high-fructose corn syrup from its bagels and golden wheat bread, and gradually reduced sodium in some products. Now the 1,700-store chain is working to remove preservatives from its breads and oil. What’s unusual about the efforts is that Chick-fil-A has largely refrained from publicizing them until now, hoping to avoid ire about any perceived change in flavor. “We didn’t necessarily want the customer to know we’ve tweaked their favorite product,” Jodie Worrell, the chain’s senior nutrition consultant, told NRN.
…but they’re not ditching MSG, because MSG makes things taste awesome.
This is a pretty cool move. I have a hard time dealing with the tension between their politics and the deliciousness of their noms, but you can’t fault them for steadily, quietly improving food quality. This is hard stuff to pull off.
The Agency Problem
The agency problem is the problem of doing one-off work in a world in which software is becoming a service that needs constant attention. And that constant attention isn’t just the attention of community managers: it’s the attention of designers as well, who need to constantly refine and rework small changes in the interface based on the emergent behavior of the people using it.
Quantifying the best and worst NFL broadcasters
There are six ways that sports announcers can fail:
- Clichés (AKA laziness)
- Factual errors
- Nonsense (AKA babbling incoherently)
- Taking plays off
- Off topic
A dude watched 32 football games and categorized every fuckup the color commentator and play-by-play guy made. Lots of hilarity available for those who click the link below. For example:
The most exemplary instance of the Aikman vernacular was when he began a sentence with the phrase “Yeah no I mean hey.” Five words of complete and total uselessness.
ESPN crews have a historically tough time balancing a vague mandate for general entertainment with calling an actual football game. Gruden, with his 29 infractions, can’t find the sweet spot between impersonating a caricature of a football coach and being a real person. Surprisingly, I counted only one “this guy” over two games. He still leans a bit heavy on “this kid,” though, with seven such utterances.
Cognitive surplus for the win.
The original article is gone, but this is the closest thing I could find that has the meat of it.
Made by Many: The Unsexy Side of Responsiveness
We tend to associate the word ‘responsive’ with how websites behave. But really the word describes not the actual result of responding to different media constraints, but their ability – their readiness – to do so. This is a result of important, unsexy things like up-front architectural considerations, design decisions, and well-executed code. The point isn’t ‘a website that works nicely on all screens’, but ‘a service that has the capabilities to adapt.’
I fucking love this post. Two things:
- Really great connection from “Responsive Design” to “Responsive Operating System”, defined by readiness to respond to new conditions;
- That a lot of the important work these days is initially unsexy, behind-the-scenes work.
These guys are truly our brothers from another mother.
Original post is gone, but Made by Many is here:
Amazon Fulfillment Centers
There are about 300 Pickers at this facility. They are managed by two managers. Pickers find the cubby they’re assigned to look for, scan its barcode, and then find the item within that cubby that they’re supposed to pick. They scan the item’s barcode, and drop the item into their bin. If a picker finds a broken item, they put it in a red bin at the end of the aisle, where QC can find and fix/dispose of it. If a picker finds an item that’s not in its proper cubby (e.g. on the ground), they put it in a blue “amnesty” bin, where QC can pick it up and return it to its proper location.
Awesome notes here from Spencer and Jason, two of my colleagues that recently visited an Amazon Fulfillment Center. Lots of good intel about their ways of working and general ethic.
Original article is gone, but Spencer is here: