Category Archives: Business Reviews

MealDrop – Feeding Your Cravings Wherever You May Be

A few months ago I was attending a meeting at Brigham Young University for web start-ups and I met the CEO and co-founder of MealDrop, Michael Zaro. We got to talking, and me being a foodie I loved the concept and offered to help out if I could.

So, simply put, MealDrop is a company that works with local restaurants to arrange food deliveries to certain nearby locations at certain times of day. Initially started by college students for college students, it set out to satisfy food cravings while eliminating the time waste associated with food runs.

Let me give you an example. At BYU you have a fairly sprawling campus, and while there are a few eateries on-campus, there are very very few restaurants located nearby. Since a number of students are limited on time and mobility, whatever are they to do if they want food from somewhere that isn’t on campus?

Enter MealDrop.

Through the MealDrop website, that student can get online, pick the restaurant they want their food from, select from one of the prearranged drop locations, and the delivery time that is closest to when they want their food. That’s it, food delivered, and to certain locations there isn’t even a delivery charge.

The benefit to the student is obvious, since it eliminates travel time and allows them to get the food they want on their schedule. The benefit to the restaurants is that they can leverage these group buying/delivery scenarios to cut down on the number of deliveries they have to make, making deliveries much more cost effective.

And while MealDrop may have started on college campuses, they are now expanding! Seattle is the next city they are moving to, and then from there…the sky is the limit. Arranging group deliveries to large office buildings, or other centralized locales, expanding the number of restaurants covered…there are so many amazing avenues that MealDrop could travel down.

If you are in a college or city and you think MealDrop would be an excellent fit, or if you have any other ideas or suggestions for MealDrop, please send an email to suggestions@mealdrop.com

Their website is http://mealdrop.com/ and you can follow them on Twitter at @MealDrop

Employers vs. Employees – A Broken System

Over the years, I have worked for many different companies, from tiny start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. As I’ve worked for such vastly different companies, and observed many others, I’ve been both fascinated and disgusted to see a common theme, what I like to call The Employer vs. Employee Mentality.

As author and speaker Seth Godin would put it, the vast majority of companies seem to see their employees as nothing but cogs in a machine, easily replaced and of little real value. This can be seen at every level of almost every business, in the hiring processes, employee handbooks, management tactics, and turnover rates. So here’s the thing…why? Why is it this way?

In my experience, companies seem to have the attitude that we, the employees, should count ourselves lucky to work for them, the employer. They also seem to assume by default that we, the employees, can’t ever be trusted, and treat us accordingly. This is incredibly wrong.

Sure, employers provide employees with an income, and hopefully some benefits, which is fine…but at the end of the day, the employer is likely getting far more from the employee than the employee is getting from the employer. How so?

Well, I’ve certainly never come across a company that spends 50% or more of their revenue on wages and benefits, so right there the average company is getting more than they are giving. Add to that the fact that most employees are giving up the best years and hours of their lives, sacrificing time with friends and families, in many instances for minimum wage or little more. To me, that is truly horrible, and worst of all…it’s totally unnecessary.

Employers should be grateful for their employees, and treat them accordingly. Without employees, there would be no company, no revenue, and the attitude that employees are easily replaceable just won’t cut it much longer. Employers may have gotten away with pushing around Gen X and Boomers, but Gen Y isn’t going to take it, something numerous industries are beginning to understand (can anyone say Music, Film and Publishing?). Gen Y is composed of Linchpins, not Cogs.

So what is it that we want from employers? Freedom. Freedom to innovate, freedom of time and place, freedom from the constraints of mindless bureaucracy and worthless middle management. We want fair compensation for our efforts, not the lowest amount you think you can get away with paying. We want experience, skill and expertise to be counted as equal (if not superior) to college degrees. We want mindless tradition to disappear, and innovation and creativity to be both encouraged and rewarded. We want fear of change to disappear.

The tables have turned. The pawns have made it to the other side of the board, and have become infinitely more powerful in the process. There is a mass migration beginning to take place, a shift from employees to entrepreneurs, from followers to leaders. We are neither a passive nor a fearful generation.

If you, the employers, don’t get on-board, we will leave you behind without hesitation or regret. Today is our day, the future is our future, and we are taking control. Either learn to treat us with the respect we deserve, or face the consequences. The choice is yours.

Are You Simler?

I attended an awesome LaunchUp event last night at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, UT, courtesy of Jeremy Hanks and Doba, and I had the opportunity to hear from three exciting startup companies. One of those companies was Simler.

Ryan Goodwin, the creator of Simler, presented at LaunchUp last night. The premise is simple: There is an unfilled gap between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook lets you connect with friends, and Twitter lets you converse with total strangers. However, neither platform allows you to effectively meet and converse with people you don’t already know, about specific topics of interest, without being inundated with spammy Farmville and garbage app requests.

Enter Simler.

Simler allows you to create a profile, specify your specific interests, and then connect with people who share just those interests. Even better, it allows you to create feed filters that show only certain types of conversations, so you don’t have to hear about topics that aren’t of interest. Even better, Simler uses geo-location to show you people within a certain distance of you, so you can do more than just chat online.

I’ve been using Facebook for years, but in the last 12-18 months I’ve started spending MUCH less time there. Why? Because it has become incredibly spammy. I’ve had to filter something like two-thirds of my friends from my main feed, because of the insane amount of spammy app posts, Farmville this, Pillow Fight that. Absolute garbage!

I spend a lot of time on Twitter, but it is definitely not an easy medium to carry on a conversation. Many conversations end up scattered and full of random junk. While there are certainly applications that sort-of bridge the gap, it’s just not the same.

Simler is the answer. It provides the best features of Facebook and Twitter, without any of the garbage. I don’t know if I’m Simler, but I’ll sure find out!

Check out this quick video to learn more:

[vimeo=http://vimeo.com/7924150]