I have been approached by several people around the world asking me for direction on how to create their startup. I noticed all of them have good ideals and direction with their startup but they have a common issue they are trying to overcome – how to implement and track their customers activities to follow up on actions, like a rewards program or points-based program.
If you buy a startup business book or listen to some clown on YouTube claiming to be a startup guru, they give you overview and summary information like a college textbook or college course. All you get from books and YouTube are tips and pointers and a bullet-point list of step-by-step instructions you should follow. Then you can’t connect what you read, so you go sideways then start saying something like “I just gotta hustle!” and start posting “rise and grind!” and “get the bag!” memes in your social media feed, thinking that will lead to your venture success. Nah, that’s some cornball stuff right there.
Meanwhile the technology companies are making record profits, obsoleting small businesses who cannot compete in a COVID-19 environment because they don’t have the capability to innovate with technology. But luckily, a West Side Chicago brotha who went to Daniel Webster Elementary happens to be a real-world technologist with over 25 years of real-world global experience can show the brothas and sistas how to create their business operations in the 21st century. I’m just going to say this – a lot of you guys do not realize the massive opportunity and paradigm shifts on the horizon where if you get ahead of the game, you will be good and these other folks still following social media celebrities, they going to end up trapped doing gig economy jobs scrapping by the day.
In this article, I’m going to discuss something you need to re-orientate, realign, and reposition yourself to learn how to create and do business in the 21st century. Right now, with this economic downturn, people are losing jobs and will be permanently marginalized because they are not viable to the 21st century shift towards digitalization and automation. Luckily, you got a brotha from the West Side of Chicago who been making global moves and making real shit happen who can tell exactly how to get on the right path in 2020 in this COVID-19 environment.
The way we program nowadays is we use a technique call event-sourcing where we write events to a data store or to a distributed blockchain ledger. Just like Bitcoin, where they have “miners” working against the Bitcoin unconfirmed ledger, there is an “orchestrator” that can respond to events recorded and take action calling microservices to perform tasks. You need to think differently on how you create or re-design your business operations to operate on an event-driven model which you will realize make sense and will make your business more scalable, more innovative, more fun and more profitable.
Learning to Observe Events
What you want to do is learn how to observe events that go on in a business. The photo above is a screenshot of a live video feed of a Japanese lunch box store where people can come in and pick up a lunch box to take out. This business model is what you guys call a “take-out only” model nowadays that Japan has been doing to serve busy lunch workers to grab a meal and go. This is a real-time live stream that you can view anytime but make sure you know the time zone is in Japan so if you in America, it will be around after 8pm you can start viewing the live stream:
As you watch this video I want you to observe and write down the following observations.
Customer-Based Events. The events you are seeing is the activity of the customer. You will see a customer enter the store. You will see a customer browse the selection of lunch boxes on the table. You will see the customer either walk out or see a customer pick up a lunch box. The purchasing customer will approach the cashier to make a transaction. The customer then leave the store.
Business-Based Actions. You will see the business take action in response to events. You will see the business place box lunches on the table to replace what the customer picked up. You will see the business accept transactions from the customer requesting a transaction. You will see the business bag and wrap the lunch box.
As you observe, you should understand the process of how a business works. A business prepares for events and respond to events. Your business needs to do the same thing and have a workflow in place to optimize event handling and business tasks – that is what they don’t teach you in school.
What you should have wrote down is the following:
- Customer Arrive
- Customer Browse Table
- Customer Select Lunch Box
- Customer Conduct Transaction
- Customer Exit Store
- Verbally Greet Customer
- Replenish table with lunchboxes
- Accept Payment
- Wrap Lunch Box
In Agile, there is a business terminology for these actions and that is called a “value stream” and your goal in event-sourcing is to create value stream. A value stream is a series of tasks to lead to a benefit such as making a sale or performing a productive task.
You need to write down every customer event you see – if the customer takes any action – that is an event. Your business should be how you respond to that event. Do not worry about sales projection, forecasting your revenue – focus only on what the customer does and how you or the business should respond, that’s your only black-owned business purpose in the 21st century.
Once again, we have to show you a real-time example from Japan, huh? Now question, how many transactions are you seeing being taken in an hour? I want you to observe this as well. Now think about that cook-to-order black-owned takeout restaurant in your hood, frying chicken for 8-20 minutes while you wait – who is making more money per hour? That’s why I said black-owned businesses will be transformed to this takeout model you are observing in Japan so they can stay profitable.
Design Your Business Model Around Events
Let’s say you want to open a resale boutique in your black community. You can do what you see everybody else is doing and that is buying clothes, throwing them on racks and put price tags on them and say they open for business. But those black-owned entrepreneurs become stagnant after a while and sales are flat and they get tired and closed down shop, don’t they?
Please look at the events and actions in the photo above and let me explain how event/actions will be handled.
Customer Enter Business. When a customer enters a shop, the event is recorded to a database with a date and time stamp. A sensor can trigger this where the door opens or even the chime can be recognized by an audio sensor that recognize the chime sound. If the customer checked in with Kossier, that event can be captured and recorded as a customer check-in as well. The action taken as a result of this event is we execute facial recognition to recognize the customer face as a previous customer or unrecognized new customer or we secretly check their mobile phone signal pinging a cell tower and record their unique cell tower ping address – yall didn’t know stores do this, huh? If the customer is new or known, the sales associate can receive information on their smart watch about the customer and their history visiting the store or web browsing preference or their Kossier social credit score to determine how to approach the customer and begin clienteling.
Customer Browse Aisle. Using computer vision technology, an overhead camera can track the ground and aisles and detect a customer walking around. That event is called CustomerMovement() and records the position, every step in every direction. So if a customer walks left and turn down the first aisle of used women jeans, the business can act on this data to show the customer is interested in the jeans and notify the sales associate who is familiar with the jeans. If the customer is known, that sales associate can receive the customer jeans size to help them locate something the customer can fit, enhancing the experience for the customer.
Customer Enter Dressing Room. The customer want to try on the used jeans and is assigned a dressing room. There can be an event called CustomerRequestDressingRoom( ) where a response action is triggered to find an available dressing room that is cleaned and return a room number back for the customer to use. When the customer enter the dressing room, this is recorded as an event CustomerEnterDressingRoom() and kicks off a series of tasks. The first task is the flat panel screen inside the dressing room will start streaming videos or audio of advertisements of black-owned businesses and corporate sponsors matching the customer profile and preferences. The screen can show QR codes to allow the customer scan a coupon and the resale shop get a commission for the lead if the QR code is redeemed. That QR scan can also be recorded as an event to create metrics to show how effective the dressing room advertising system is working.
If you reading all of the above, you should realize you would not have known of all of this innovation and techniques with technology by reading business books or listening to YouTube gurus. All of these actions your resale shop is doing are responses to events you observed and by creating value streams to respond to those events. Most of those value-streams will not be created by you, they will be created by artificial intelligence that learned from other businesses on what steps to take to engage the customer and help lead your customer to making a purchase.
But there is one more thing that you also did that is a game-changer and it is called replay. All of those events recorded to a log can be replayed by an artificial intelligence program. The AI can analyze your events for the day to optimize your business operations and give you feedback. For example, the AI can tell you if customers exit the store because you have sale associates talking to other customers. Then you can create a system where you can inform customers someone will help them shortly and engage them instead of let them walk out the store with no engagement. That is why you record events so you and the robots can learn how to optimize your business and make suggestions based on other business event replays.
Get to Work
Event sourcing is a technique we are incorporating in our upcoming Merchant and the Flow Product Service System (PSS) platform. We will have a self-learning system to help merchants learn how to record events and how to act against them. In addition, upcoming HustleSpace will have a collective event-based library so if a person want to look at a business model, they will see a list of business events such as CustomerRequestSeating() to trigger a seating availability program to find the best seats. So you will not be looking at a bunch of chatter in HustleSpace, you will see actual events to incorporate into your business operation.
With all of this said, I think you know what to do next. You need to sit down and observe and write down all of the customer events and all of your business actions in response to those events. And you create value streams which are steps that lead to a benefit such as a sale or better engagement for repeat business. Throw away the business books and stop reading – you have to know the events.
Because the world we are living in, we are going to have artificial intelligence learn to read events and respond to those events for you and helping you along the way. So there is a business action like pull from inventory, you will see which customer that inventory is being pulled for. If you do not see a customer assigned and inventory is pulled, you may be dealing with an employee stealing from you and that abnormal event and action can be captured in real-time as well.
The future is very promising for those who get the new paradigm shift and realize how we have to think differently to co-exist with machines and make them work to our benefit. Those that want to stay stuck on stupid and follow clowns on social media, they are going be working at the detriment of artificial intelligence where that machine will tell them to go pick up a rideshare customer or deliver some cold fries and a soggy burger to a home address in a bad neighborhood.
Get to listing out those customer events and the business response actions, please.