Is everyone else slow or is it just me?
Efficient vs. Impatient
I have now lived in Manhattan for almost 12 years, which, despite my Boston upbringing, probably makes me an official New Yorker.
Sometimes people get the impression that New Yorkers are mean. That is entirely untrue. I’ve found people here to be incredibly helpful, kind, and outgoing. We are not mean. We are not impatient. But I’ll tell you what we are:
Here’s the difference:
I am not Impatient
- I have a long term view of life and a strong sense of delayed gratification
- I tend to work long and hard on projects and earn things over time, like sustaining a podcast for 5 years, training six months for a marathon, or starting a business at age 42, not 22
- I am not the type of person that blares their horn at the car in front of me the second a light turns green
My downfall is that I am relentlessly, ruthlessly efficient, and expect the same from others. This almost always rears its head when confronted with a situation where a person or business has hundreds and hundreds of hours or customer data repeating itself in a replicable manner.
- I can’t stand waiting in line at a bar where there are 30 people waiting to buy drinks from only 2 bartenders
- When a clothing store’s flagship location has only 4 of 12 registers open on a Saturday afternoon, leaving both tourists and locals waiting in a line a mile long
- When I stand in line at a concession stand at Yankee Stadium for 15 minutes while 2 employees counted out hundreds of dollars in cash directly in front of a line of 10 people waiting for food in the 4th inning.
- Really? It’s August — 5 months into the season — and you don’t have this down yet?
- You don’t funnel people to other lines during this process to keep people moving?
- You don’t just swap in a new cash drawer?
- You count hundreds or thousands in cash in front of the public, where it could get stolen?
- Does this happen every single game?
Which brings us to…
Portland Food Trucks
Listen, I can’t say enough good things about the World Domination Summit, the people there, the weather, the great city, and yes, their delicious food trucks.
They have a huge city block sectioned off, with a wonderful selection of foods from around the world. It’s quite a delight when compared to the usual options of a $5 footlong at Subway or a pre-made ham sandwich from a deli.
And the people running these things? They couldn’t be nicer. They’re sweet, they’re friendly, they’re genuine, and they serve you with a smile.
So what’s the problem? Ruthless inefficiency.
- Day 1: I decided to get a Greek Gyro. Luckily I was surrounded by new friends to keep the conversation going, but boy did it seem to take a lot longer than expected for a basic order. We had just enough time to sit and eat before scrambling to the next event.
- Day 2:, I visited a farmer’s market. As I watched a line 50 people deep develop for some kind of biscuit, I opted for something safe and fast – sausage. Here was the overwhelming menu of choices:
- Sweet or spicy sausage
- Peppers and onions (Yes or No)
- Golden or spicy mustard
I entered the line about 7th, and when I left there were 25 people behind me, and I have no idea why. They had one person taking the money, one person cooking, a bunch of sausage on the grill, and yet it took 20-25 minutes
- Day 3: The group was even more pressed for time. I opted for a Bento Box. Once again, an incredibly simple menu:
- Grilled chicken or beef
- White or brown rice
- Choice of soda
It took 30 MINUTES to get my order!
You’re putting rice and chicken in a box!
Playing the odds
There’s been a lot of hype around big data recently. People are sending 400 million tweets a day, and there are 4.5 billion likes on Facebook every day. Trends start to emerge.
Here is what I want to ask my food truck friends:
- Are you doing this same job 7 days a week?
- Don’t people generally order the same thing every day?
- Don’t people eat at generally the same time every day?
In other words, if I had to guess, they don’t sell 410 Bento boxes on a Tuesday, then 37 on a Wednesday. If the ratio of chicken to beef is usually 50/50, you’ll never have day when 89% of people order chicken.
I don’t know. It seems like something you could prepare for.
Key Point #1: I want to give you my money
I know you’re immediately ready to call me a stuck up, spoiled New York jerk and that I should go back to my crappy little apartment and deal with crappy little delis that yell at me. I know, I know. I understand.
But hear me out.
I want to give you my money.
Yes, part of it is impatience and that I’m hangry and that you taking 30 minutes instead of 10 means I have to wolf down my tasty food in 5 minutes then sprint to the next conference session, possibly missing it because it is sold out and diminishing my enjoyment of a conference I spent $1,200 on between flights, hotel, and tickets.
But I want to help.
I want to smile at your great service, tweet your truck name to thousands, and slowly enjoy your delicious offerings. I want to throw my money at you for your service and tip you on top of that.
But I can’t do that if you keep me waiting in line forever! Let me help you.
Let me give you my money!
What if you replaced “Annoying New Yorker” with “Famous celebrity restaurant chef consultant?” Would people listen then?
Key Point #2: Do you expect anything less in our digital lives?
So finally I’m going to tie this back to your business.
Restaurants are not the same as a website and the fast-paced world we live in is a bit out of hand. We all need to slow down. But for the most part, this is our reality.
Think about your actions:
- What happens when a website takes too long to load?
Do you sit there patiently, or do you move on? Mitch Joel cites a stat from Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google:
“For every second a person has to wait for a page to load on a website, the conversion potential drops 7 percent.”
Read about it here.
- What happens when you don’t see a Google result on the first page?
Do you click through to page 2, 3, 4 or 5? Not likely.
- Have you ever skipped an ad on YouTube because it was too long?
Isn’t it insane how little patience we have?
- Do you generally watch live TV? Or do you fast forward through commercials on a DVR?
Some people haven’t watched a commercial in years. Others have ditched TV altogether and get movies directly from streaming.
- Did you just get a text alert? When are you going to check it?
The number of text messages sent monthly in the U.S. exploded from 14 billion in 2000 to 188 billion in 2010, according to a Pew Institute survey. Users check their smartphones an average of 150 times during a waking day of 16 hours, other research found.
Listen, in the big picture, I don’t know if an Italian sausage has anything to do with how fast your website loads using 3G.
Can we make a compromise here?
Businesses: Take a cue from technology trends happening around you. Dig into your data a bit, strive for a bit more efficiency, and please take our money.
New Yorkers: Chill out, put your phone away, and enjoy a nice sandwich during lunch.
Check out my free online salary negotiation course, “How to Negotiate Salary: The Negotiation Mindset.”
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I might as well skip my rant because Freshbooks is the exception the rule. With cloud accounting, a simple interface, and access on any device, Freshbooks is efficient and fast. With a great team behind it, you’ve got customer service. Maybe it’s because they’re Canadian.
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