Whether you know it or not two major events occurred today that represent a true step forward (at least in my own mind) in the evolution of the Internet (Michael made me capitalize it) as a truly valuable medium occurred today. While the heavyweights in the industry were debating the future of Web 2.0 at the conference in San Francisco, I learned that Twitter had verified that the handle @TigerWoods was really Tiger Woods and that my bank had noticed that my kids' savings accounts were eligible for a "free" upgrade to a higher interest rate.
As to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, John Doerr and other heavyweights I await their prognostications with bated breath...as I will forget them as soon as I read them. But will I ever forget that Tiger is back on Twitter or that this change in interest rate (which would have an impact of approximately $.01 per year)? No! Never! Why? Because they remind me of the distortions of notion of real value being delivered by this medium and create noise where there is no need. That my bank actually employs people to call account holders to let them know that over the next one hundred years each of my two daughters can see their net worth rise by $1.00, makes me wonder what other real opportunities that I am missing.
Don't get me wrong--I am a big fan of Tiger Woods. I am a golfer at heart and I admire his accomplishments in the sport. But I don't see him either as a moral compass or his personal problems as a sign of the decline of our society. I see him for what he is--an athlete, an entertainer and a troubled human being. But nothing that he has done--or will do--relieves of me from any my responsibilities as a citizen or a parent or as the President of this growing engine we call FohBoh. So Tiger and my bank have reminded me of the value available from the web. So I will (cleverly, I must say) transition to the latter concern and end my rants (for now, I may be back in one hundred years to get that dollar back).
Michael has written quite prolifically lately about the perils of software development, the reasons for delaying the launch of our new web presence, the challenges we face in financing this company and the broken risk/reward equation in the financial markets and those points do not need to be further repeated here. But, as I said to a business colleague earlier today, we must come back to focusing on value delivered as the driving force behind any business. If we can succeed in delivering value to our members and customers we will succeed as a business. Sometimes it seems that many in the financial community have this backward--oh, I'm sorry, I said I wouldn't rant any further.
Forgive me. Thanks.
At FohBoh, we have had innumerable debates about what the foodservice industry really needs from the availability of a socialized, commercial and interactive web technology company. Our current conclusion--and hence our current strategy--is that there are three core elements to what provides value to the foodservice professional (and including all those service industries such as equipment vendors, linen supply houses, food manufacturers, etc) is that the following are the minimum required elements:
- Community: A place for the free exchange of ideas and for the airing of problems and solutions that face our members in their day-to-day jobs
- Utility: information and business applications that reduce the time and burden of operating in this industry, providing value to our customers customers and to narrow the focus of where best to spend the most limited of resources, namely time
- Connection: This is where our choice of words needs to be particularly clear. Byconnection we mean where community meets utility, where the distance between those who have a need can find those who have what they need, where buyers met sellers.
When the FohBoh 3.0 web presence is unveiled on December 1, we hope you will see that we provide these minimum elements.
FohBoh 3.0 will at least address the question of who FohBoh is and where FohBoh expects to make money. Our base is the community--or the communities--that we operate and hopefully to the satisfaction of our 40,000+ members. Our software--FohBuzz, FohMail and our FohMedia service will demonstrate the clear utility that we are in the first generation of providing solutions. Our move into providing connection will best be demonstrated by the FohBoh Marketplace and its extensions. This is where our efforts will be in the embryonic stages but we will be providing something that is well understood in this industry, namely a platform for promotion (heaven forbid we call it advertising) but in a way that is both accessible and available on demand.
And we're doing this while we are raising the necessary capital to do it well.
So I guess we aren't done yet. And Tiger can have that extra $1.00 over the next hundred years.