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Sheetz and Online Ordering

One name you can’t escape as soon as you enter western Pennsylvania is Sheetz. Sheetz is a convenience-store retailer that doubles as a MTO food establishment. Sheetz provides customers with highly  customizable food options and is best known for this attention to detail.

Online ordering, which allows the customer to skip the line and have food ready for them has only recently been introduced at Sheetz after several failures with service partners such as OrderUp, which allow third party apps to orchestrate order and delivery of food. Unfortunately Sheetz’ vast, customizable menu led to issues with orders so Sheetz created their own online ordering service. Now a customer is able to order ahead and have their food ready as soon as they arrive, and this time they know they’ll be getting exactly what they wanted.

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TF2Outpost, Revolutionizing Digital Currency

One of the largest growing digital markets currently exists on a game platform called Steam. Owned by a company named Valve Software, Steam is a multi-game platform that includes many blockbuster titles such as Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2 and many others. These games have in-game currencies (treasure keys, promotional items, cosmetic items) that have value in the real world that are determined as a part of the vast Steam ecosystem.

This all sounds great, but there is a problem. How does one player find another player willing to exchange items in one game for items from another game? How does this player accurately research the market in order to determine what is a fair exchange? TF2Outpost.com has come up with the solution. The creator of TF2Outpost had the goal of creating a centralized hub to allow players to exchange items between different games as well as advertise potential trades they would like to make. TF2Outpost operates on a subscriber model, generating revenue from customers who enjoy the website enough to pay a monthly subscription. Overall, this website provides a valuable service to the entire community that plays Steam games, while also turning a decent profit.

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The Doorman App

Have you ever ordered something offline and when it was delivered to your house you weren’t there? Instead of coming home to find the product you ordered you find a delivery notice. Well, there is a new and innovative app called Doorman that is aiming to solve this problem.

Doorman is trying to eradicate this problem by allowing customers to schedule their own delivery times. Even if it is as late as midnight seven days a week.

Doorman was created by a former Pixar Technical Director named Zander Adel. Zander came up with this idea by looking at the retailers that offer same day shipping. Places like Amazon or Postmates. He goes on to explain that all of the shipping and deliveries are done through companies like FedEx and UPS. As a result of this customers have less control over the time their product is delivered.

Doorman fixes this by allowing customers to give these retailers their “Doorman address” which is a location of the company’s warehouse. The customer will then be able to specify exactly when they want their order delivered.

Doorman has already delivered over 25,000 packages in its first market in San Francisco and is preparing to spread to the east coast.

When looking at how awesome the name of this app is and how cool of an idea it is, I wish I could have come up with it first.

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Squeeze

As a senior in college, I am getting closer and closer to the day I have to take responsibility for my own finances. Luckily we live in a world with effective and innovative tools that can help me do so. One of those tools is an app called Squeeze.

Squeeze is a personal finance app that is designed to help users manage their finances. Tasks it helps with are saving money, reducing debt, and growing wealth by giving you access to price comparison tools for all of your bills. As well as other tools. Such as a spending tracker, financial analytics, and coaching on how to do these things.

Squeeze will sync users’ online banking, credit cards, consumption habit, and evaluate pricing on the users’ recurring bills. The creators of Squeeze look at the app as being an all in one financial solution to managing their personal finances. Squeezes’ financial management app has often been compared to other sites like Expedia and Travelocity. This app also brings together the users mobile phone, the internet, and internet plans all into the app and compare their prices to others constantly.

I personally feel that this app would be a great tool for anyone to use in order to manage their finances effectively and in a new way.

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Mentor Box

 

“The more you learn, the more you earn.” ~ Warren Buffett

 

Today our modern landscape is changing faster than we can blink. Merely a decade ago Amazon.com was something to laugh at, now it is the single largest retailer in the U.S. Hiring practices used to be based on pedigree and risk minimization, now Zappos.com offers its new employees $3,000 after training to quit (a tactic to rule out employees who do not truly wish to be there). My point remains the world is changing faster than we leymen can reasonably keep up with.

Those who struggle most from this changing landscape are today’s CEOs: Tasked with leading a company into a future. Burdened with the mantle of financial security for their staff. Expected to perform a hundred hours worth of work in a mere sixty hour work week. It is difficult to say the least.

Astoundingly it is seen that the CEOs of some of the most successful companies share one common practice, they read. They don’t just read though, they consume information at an alarming rate. Refreshleadership.com summarized a plethora of surveys from these miracle workers discovering that the average book count for a single year among the upper echelon of business was a stunning one-hundred books per person. So how does someone so consumed by business and responsibility find the time to read so much? Frankly, I think the best of the best must have some sort of genetic abnormality which relieves them of the necessity of sleep.

What about the rest of the world? For them a new venture has appeared, Mentorbox.com. This site delivers three books per month with cheat sheets and quick memorization tools so that the CEO on the go can quickly gleam the useful ideas and move on in mere minutes a day. The price tag is slightly high for the average man, but not for the average CEO. Priced at $225 per month on a monthly subscription model this service is not aimed at the average employee. Still it has caught on in the right spheres and is already a cash positive venture due in part to the co-founder’s reputation as a knowledge guru.

Tai Lopez made a name for himself (and quite a few conspiracy theories) with his YouTube ad Here In My Garage, where he stood next to his Lamborghini and bragged instead about his books on the wall. It quickly went viral and earned him a name. He was later featured on a TedTalk where he claimed to read a book a day and branded himself in that manner. With this type of personal branding he took his following and launched Mentorbox.com which immediately sold out and went cash-positive.

  1. http://www.refreshleadership.com/index.php/2013/01/average-ceo-reads-45-books-month/
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Flow Hive: How Bees Went Viral

Flow Hive Beekeeping

Bees didn’t used to be a topic of conversation. These days, we’re hearing more and more about how the bee population is in danger, and the repercussions of the bee species dying off. For years, not much was done in the consumer world to combat this. We all worried about prices of honey rising, and maybe planted some wildflowers in our backyards, but that was about it. At least, until the Anderson family came along.

The Andersons have been beekeeping for three generations. Father and son duo Stuart and Cedar Anderson recognized a problem in the beekeeping industry – harvesting honey was disruptive to the bees, and often resulted in the beekeeper being stung. “There must be a better way,” Cedar remembers thinking at a very young age – he began beekeeping when he was only six years old. Stu and Cedar tinkered with designs for almost a decade before coming up with the Flow Hive.

Stu and Cedar launched an Indiegogo campaign in February 2015 that would quickly become one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history. Their humble goal of $70,000 was reached within minutes of going live. Flow Hive holds the title of the most successful campaign ever launched on Indiegogo. So, what’s their secret?

For starters, they had identified a problem and pain that seriously lacked a solution. Bees were already on the forefront of people’s minds – Flow Hive offered a way for people to be connected. Stu says, “I think people saw Flow as a sort of drawbridge to connect them with the natural world.” Nothing like this product had ever been offered before, and they had an already established niche market of beekeepers – but their market extended past that because of the usability of the product. With Flow Hive, anyone could be a beekeeper.

 

The Internet played a massive role in the success of Flow Hive. They started a social media campaign less than a month before their Indiegogo campaign began. The goal was to tap into their personal networks and gain a few beekeepers, but the videos Cedar had made for the campaign went viral – the Andersons attribute it to help from friends and family and a genuine interest in bees and the concept of beekeeping. Their campaign page was clear, descriptive, and showed the passion Stu and Cedar had for their project. By the end of the campaign, Flow Hive had raised over $13 million from 38,000 contributors.

Flow Hive is a perfect example of how the Internet can exponentially grow the success and reach of a start-up. Without it, there’s a slim chance we would have heard about a normal father-son duo from Australia and their groundbreaking idea to innovate beekeeping.

Check out the Andersons’ story of the Flow Hive invention process:

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