Who wants doughnuts?
Trader Joe's, Krispy Kreme, progress on the new logo, the CEO of McDonald's, and 7 other things I think are worth reading today...
I’m Bill Murphy Jr. Welcome to Understandably. Thanks for reading.
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This starts out like a joke but it’s true.
At least it used to be.
A Canadian walks into a Trader’s Joes in Washington State.
He drops a few thousand bucks on stuff like Cinnamon Bun Spread, Ketchup Flavored Spud Crunchies, and Creamy Pink Primavera Pasta Sauce.
Then he drives back to Vancouver (where there are no Trader Joe’s stores), and sells his haul at a gray market grocery store he calls Pirate Joe’s.
The joke ends there, because Trader Joe’s wasn’t laughing. So they sued bandit entrepreneur Michael Hallatt and ultimately closed him down.
I thought of this story after news broke about a college student in Minnesota named Jayson Gonzalez.
Each week, he was driving 250 miles roundtrip to Iowa, where he’d stock up on boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Then, he’d sell them back home at nearly a 100 percent markup.
Net results: Some devoted fans, a bit of press coverage, and then a “cease and desist” message from Krispy Kreme.
As my colleague over at Inc., Justin Bariso, wrote, Gonzalez reacted the smart way: With a shrug, and a NBD, and a sort of, Hey, it’s their company, and I wasn’t really planning on this as a career anyway.
I’m paraphrasing. But the attitude paid off, as the story caught fire on social media.
Krispy Kreme came through in the end, setting him up as an “independent operator to ensure consistent delivery of our high-quality doughnuts to our fans in Minnesota.”
(He has a GoFundMe going now to try to buy a bigger vehicle than the 2008 Ford Focus he’d been using.)
Rich vs. King
It’s probably not a totally fair comparison between Trader Joe’s and Krispy Kreme.
For one thing, it’s less of a logistical challenge to ensure Gonzalez transports doughnuts across state lines safely, than it would be to export a whole bunch of different products across an international border.
There are legal restrictions, too.
But, I do think it’s a good reminder, for business or for life — and something I’ve frankly had to learn over and over. A business school professor I used to know calls it the Rich vs. King dilemma.
Sometimes, staying in control means missing the chance to connect with people who truly love what you’re doing. And never learning about big opportunities you didn’t even realize existed.
About the logo
A quick aside to say THANK YOU to the several hundred readers who weighed in on the new logo ideas.
Bottom line: There’s no consensus, but the feedback was great. I’m working with the designer now.
One other takeaway for me — food for thought for the future — is simply that this really is a talented group. As I try to build this out, I hope you don’t mind if pose more questions from time to time.
Probably the thing I’m worst at is asking for help. I just need to figure out a better way to handle it if I get hundreds of replies again!
7 more links worth your time…
Big news for the Marines: Their top general says they can now use umbrellas. (Military.com)
Follow up on on yesterday’s email, part 1: It turns out, a record 1,332 CEOs have left their jobs this year. (The Hill)
The Justice Department accused two Twitter employees of spying for Saudi Arabia. (The Washington Post)
The head of SoftBank admits “my judgement in investment was not right” after WeWork and a $6.5 billion loss. (The Verge)
Follow up on yesterday’s email, part 2: the CEO of McDonald’s total departure package is apparently worth more than $41 million.
A New Zealand member of parliament, 25, was heckled during a speech; she dropped an ‘OK Boomer,’ and kept talking. (CNN)
Japan has to scrap 10 bullet trains, worth perhaps as much as $135 million, after a flood. (BBC)