Sunday, February 26, 2012

¡Habanero Margarita!

It's been a fun first month on the job TangoTab, and I started a new blog series on TangoTabloid called "Let's Tango with..." where I get to post my 5 extra-special questions to chefs and restauranteurs and hope that they don't retaliate with kitchen knives.

I had the immense pleasure to start this series by interviewing Chef Anastacia QuiƱones of Komali and Owner and Chef Abraham Salum of both Komali and his namesake restaurant, Salum.

The cool and comfy confines of Komali
It was super interesting and funny.  So, Let's Tango with Chef Anastacia QuiƱones of Komali with Special Guest Abraham Salum!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

To Meet or Not to Meet

There's an excellent article from a few days ago in the Wall Street Journal about a growing trend for companies to adopt elements from Agile software development, including not sitting during meetings.  The idea is to force efficiency.  Just because Outlook defaults to 1-hour meeting increments doesn't mean that much time is needed, or that I actually want to spend that much time with you.

Who called this meeting?
Here are my 4 rules of meeting invites:
1. Have a goal:  If I don't see a goal in the meeting invite, then I am calling and asking for one.
2. Have an agenda:  Lord knows that we might mention the Super Bowl, or the latest Damn You Auto-Correct or People of Walmart post, but a framework helps march the team towards the goal and keeps the animals in the zoo, contained.
3. Invite the Necessary, Spare the Innocent:  'Nuff said!
4. In-and-out, no one gets hurt:  If it only takes 5 minutes, you're my hero!  I try to book meetings in 15 or 30 minute increments to force the issue, but if it really doesn't even take a meeting, just walk over or pick up the phone and save everyone the time and effort.

Forcing people to stand and taking away tables so they won't be playing Cut the Rope during the meeting is fine, but hopefully, you work with adults and not the chimps from the CareerBuilder Super Bowl commercial.

The old adage that time is money is too simple to explain the impact, though.  First, you are not only wasting your time (T = $), you are multiplying the time waste by how many people you've invited (T x N = $$).  Also, all time spent meeting is time not spent on opportunity (T x N - O = $$$).  Finally, when you really need to discuss and communicate in a structured format, you are likely trying to make important decisions that affect business, so doing it well is critical.

Save a dollar, kill a bad meeting.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Taking the Plunge, Again

Only now, as I look back, do I realize how fortunate I was to work for a startup so early in my career.  It was part-MBA, part mom-and-pop shop, part family, and a whole lot of fun.  It engrained so many values into me and I learned so much.  A lot of long hours, hard work, lifelong friendships, and some occasional stress as pressure mounted, especially that last Christmas holiday before we were purchased trying to get the product ready.  I didn't know, when I returned from vacation, if we would still be in business, so I took a programming book with me to study in case I needed to find new employment.  Who can resist such adventure?

Because...when you eat, they eat, too!
So, when I started to look around for new challenges, I knew I wanted to get back to the startup vibe.  My friend and the CEO of my first startup experience (Pixel), Jim Fontaine, introduced me to Andre Angel, the founder and CEO of TangoTab (and founder of CODEKKO, NTRglobal, and Work Meter).  Andre founded this venture that not only promised the excitement and challenge of building a new business, but an innovative service that uses a portion of its proceeds to fight hunger.  Wow!  And, it revolves around restaurants and dining out, a couple of my core passions.

TangoTab is a marketing tool for restaurants that allows them to make a controlled amount of offers to their customers, many times the same offers they are making anyway, and only when a customer redeems an offer, they pay TangoTab.  No risk.  The fun part starts from there, as TangoTab then donates a portion of the proceeds to the local food banks and hunger charities in the cities where we are deployed.

So much fun.  So useful.  So gratifying.  And, that is why I have taken the plunge, again.

Go check out TangoTab yourself and learn about the fight against hunger.  We're still working out some kinks, so register and access us via the website, as we need to post a fix for the iPhone app.  If you are in an area that we currently serve, try the service, and I'd love your feedback and your wish list of restaurants.  If you are in an area where we do not currently serve, let me know, along with your favorite restaurants, and I will let you know when we launch in your area.  You can reach out to me via twitter.

Because...when you eat, they eat, too!