They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada


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Dominant players were the only survivors; losers were forgotten. Rocket entrepreneurs must be willing to "die to win. After the email went public, Samwer apologized "to anyone who might have been offended" by its language or tone. A new category Samwer wanted to test--and dominate--was meal kits. A Swedish startup called Linas Matkasse sold preportioned groceries with corresponding recipe cards that arrived weekly through the mail.


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Once Richter was on board with the Linas Matkasse copycat, he assembled his team, recruiting Thomas Griesel and Jessica Nilsson to be co-founders. It was the trio's job to find out if meal kits would take off in the rest of the world--and, if so, to seize that before anyone else did. Jade eventually named HelloFresh --launched from Berlin in October The meal-kit venture was a small bet for Rocket. But for Richter, it was an opportunity to fulfill a vision of himself he'd nurtured since college: He wanted to be a startup founder.

Over the years, he'd made attempts--there was his idea for an Airbnb-type site geared to university students, and the plan for a campus-based food-delivery service. More recently, he and Griesel, also an MBA and a champion miler and steeplechase runner, had been pitching a daily fantasy-sports betting site for professional soccer. But they'd been unable to persuade investors to buy into their dreams. Now Richter had a backer, and better yet, a potentially massive opportunity.

If meal kits turned out to be more than a Scandinavian anomaly, they'd be able to disrupt one of the biggest industries in the world: the grocery supply chain. Richter and the Swedes weren't alone in this ambition for long. HelloFresh's two most formidable competitors, Blue Apron and Plated, emerged within months of its launch, and soon the industry had grown into a full-blown battle royale. But then, as quickly as the category mushroomed, it began to fall apart.

Yet soaring high above this fray, seemingly unscathed, is HelloFresh. This year, after lagging far behind Blue Apron in the U. So how has HelloFresh managed to defy the fate of its competitors? Richter explains the startup's strategy as he would one of its recipes: His team finds the target customer, busy families by examining data ; fine-tunes the efficiency of the marketing efforts by collecting lots of data ; improves the quality of the recipes using insights drawn from, yep, more data ; expands the range of the offerings to cater to even more customer segments thanks to even more insights and even more data.

But in reality, HelloFresh's history is far more complicated than his just-add-data-and-stir formula. It involves hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars, aggressive marketing tactics, health department complaints, threats of violence, hard drugs, dumb money, and, at its center, founders who have been so relentlessly focused on growth, they've barely stopped to consider what happens when they actually win.

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Heat up a second pan in Steps 4 and 5 to cook multiple ingredients at the same time and shave off a few minutes. Inside the defunct wholesale bakery in Berlin that now houses HelloFresh's headquarters, the decor is hardly subtle in reminding you that, yes, this is a fresh-food company. Farmers' market-style, green-and-white striped awnings shelter rows of computer monitors. Farmhouse tables are a folksy contrast to the industrial concrete floors, while stacks of empty cardboard HelloFresh boxes--looking like they might at any minute be loaded up with mahi-mahi and shipped off--double as makeshift walls throughout the open office.

The co-founders' office is set apart from all this charm. Lofted in the back, inside a sparse, glass-walled conference room, are Richter and Griesel, silently pecking at their laptops, in mission control. In September , the months-old startup was plotting its U. Schmincke--one of Rocket's many entrepreneurs-in-residence, which the company made available for rent to its startups--was hired to become HelloFresh's new U.

Before flying stateside, Schmincke had embedded himself at HelloFresh's headquarters to soak up intelligence, but was surprised to discover he'd have little contact with the co-founders. You're flying me to the U. I'm running your company. Should we maybe have coffee? Up until then, Richter and Griesel, the company's COO, were doing what they had been recruited to do: act as "execution machines," as former employees have described them.

By the summer of , as word got out of the coming launch of Blue Apron and Plated in the U. Following the Rocket playbook, the advance teams were typically made up of other young generalists, often former bankers and consultants, or Rocket's own entrepreneurs-in-residence. To gin up enthusiastic press, these outposts sometimes cast a photogenic local employee as a co-founder. In the U.

When the service arrived in Pittsburgh, the Post-Gazette reported that Marushka Bland, a young mergers and acquisitions lawyer who had gone to culinary school, "helped co-found HelloFresh. These far-flung teams all ran on tight budgets at breakneck speed. The U.

Every Tuesday, they woke before dawn to drive a rental car to the New Jersey warehouse and pack meals for the weekly shipment. By the end of the summer, they were delivering food to New York City, and then the Tri-State area, and then to the whole Eastern Seaboard the following year. It was hard and unglamorous work.

The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum. This was Rocket's culture, say former employees. When I ask ex-U. CEO Schmincke about the lawsuit by the intern--who started shortly after Schmincke left--he starts flipping through pictures on his phone. He slid the device across the table, revealing a photo of a sweaty, crowded workroom. And, yes, I was working there too. Employees within the Rocket system were swapped out like tires on a Formula 1 racecar.

Meanwhile, in Germany, Richter and Griesel oversaw the local sales effort. Nilsson, their third co-founder, left in Believing their best potential customers were busy white-collar professionals, the teams packed bags with prepared HelloFresh food and headed for office buildings, talking their way past security.

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Once they got upstairs, they'd find a break room, unpack their wares, and start pitching. Richter and Griesel pushed their staff to beat the previous week's result, and then beat it again. They had to prove there was demand for meal kits--that HelloFresh was primed for the kind of wildfire growth venture capitalists loved. Everything that was in our pockets, we were burning," says Vincent Thuilot, who helped start the French unit of HelloFresh. When HelloFresh France struggled and was shut down later in the year unionized truckers increased shipping costs, and many of the customers quit during August, when much of the nation goes on vacation , Thuilot was named HelloFresh's head of business intelligence.

It was during that time, he says, he got the sense Richter and Griesel didn't want to share bad news with Samwer or other investors for fear they might be cut off. Anything that was not looking good, we were not communicating it. If we talked about the number of issues we had with boxes"--like those arriving with spoiled food--"I don't think they would have invested much further. It was just 'This week was bad--so I'll take the average of the last 12 months. By , Richter and Griesel were trapped between their investors' ambitious expectations and the meager economics of meal kits.

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Shipping fresh groceries was expensive, requiring refrigerated warehouses, hundreds of laborers to pack boxes, and insulated containers. From until , the company's cost of goods and fulfillment expenses made up 81 percent of annual revenue, leaving little behind to cover overhead or other costs.

Then there was the price tag for finding customers. The spawning of the meal-kit category was fueled, in large part, by VCs rushing to bring subscriptions to all kinds of product categories. It began with software, but soon there were shoes ShoeDazzle , cosmetics Birchbox , dog toys BarkBox --the list went on. Investors liked subscriptions because they appeared predictive: They could input certain assumptions--customer acquisition costs, margins, the number of subscribers who would likely quit over time--and then model their return on investment.

Within this framework, all marketing expenses, from social media ads to direct mail to salespeople stalking people on street corners, were the price of buying customers. Now the company was running out of cash, and its three biggest investors, including Rocket, were unwilling to pony up more money. In , HelloFresh's next two largest investors, Holtzbrinck and Kinnevik, bailed on the company, trading and selling their shares.

Richter and Griesel decided to go for broke, pouring their remaining funds into growth marketing. All other p ending posts are reviewed individually and approved at least daily. No sales offers, please. Many, many thanks to all the wonderful readers who help to ID these books!

We also appreciate those who take the time to thank the contributors for researching their books. I am looking for a book that I think may have been called "Santa Claus is Coming" or something like that and it could have been written in the 's or early 's. It was about a family and Christmas It was my favorite book between I wish I could remember more details to help in the search.

Please let me know if you can identify it. I had a copy of this when I was young, so I'd guess this was published from the mid s to the early 80s. It was hard cover and I remember the book being brown, but this might be because many of the illustrations had a brown or sepia tone. I've looked at Google Images and don't see anything that looks like what I remember. Any ideas?

One story was about a bubble gum machine and another story was about a little monster's birthday That is all I can remember I think the book was yellow?? Im looking for a series of illustrated childrens books possibly from the 60's 70's or 80's. They were written by a man and a woman, i think she wrote the books and he illustrated possibly husband and wife and their picture was always on the back of the books, and they looked a little hippy-ish.

The books were always about mythical creatures, usually had a story about a mother, father, child, one of the books revolved around pegasus', another was dragons, and perhaps unicorns. Please Help!

Trials of a Clone Factory

Looking for info on a book by an Austrailian writer maybe , 's or there about. Only have a basic story.

They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada
They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada
They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada
They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada
They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada They Called Me Otherwise,Stories of growing up in Africa, Scotland and Canada

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