Personally, I hate logo processes. Not only does everybody has an opinion, but most also think their opnion is a relevant opinion – and to some extent that might even be true. There are of course some factual things you can base a logo decision on (different colors sends different signals, certain stuff works better online, etc.), but there is still a chunk of gut feel involved. So logo processes tend to be very much like watching a World Cup footbal match with a handfull of drunk mates that believe they should have been coach for the national team (I am sure this comment will upset my colleagues, but I have to admit, that in this scenario, I will be as drunk as everybody else).
But good stuff also tends to come out of logo discussions, e.g. you tend to become a bit clearer about what the company is all about, and to get that kind of a discussion out into the open can be very productive. But at the end of the day a decision has to be taken, and everybody needs to move in the same direction.
In Just-Eat we have had a very unique logo, but also a logo, that does not at all signal what we want to be. It was too niche-ethnic and down market. And on top of that, it was actually difficult to read. But we could not start all over designing a new logo, because there is some affinity to the old logo, and many of our 5.000 restaurant partners has the logo on their windows, etc. Our abstraction was, that we should do with the logo, what BMW did to the Morris Mini: everybody seeing a Mini Cooper can see, that it is a Mini, but it is also very obvious that it is a brand new car that has been modernized and re-found it’s inner strength catering for a modern audience.
After a couple of months of heated debate (and probably a difficult and frustrating time for our agency), we ended up with what I think is a good solution. We have kept the yellow and red colours, but modernised the look. But judge for your self – the logo is at the top of this page.
If you have comments, be welcome – we will probably go through another logo process within a couple of years, and then I will dig out the comments.
As part of our offensive and more aggressive approach to growth, Just-Eat of-course need more capital. There are a couple of ways to secure that, and banks is not one of those these days. Luckily our owners are very capital strong, and understand the value from getting momentum to our business. However, one thing is money, another thing is whether you can get more than just money. That’s a big part of the venture capital industry: smart money.
Now I have for three months had the pleasure to talk to a ton of VC’s. Oh boy, that has been some fun. VC’s come in as many shapes and sizes as the rest of us. In general I have enjoyed the process (and I will enjoy it even more, when it is finished, money in the bank – soon …), and most of the VC’s have been smart and pleasant people. Some with banking background, some with operational experience, some with no real record.
It is 8 years ago, I last time was leading a VC process, and there has been one, major difference between then and now: the level of professionalism has improved, i.e. the smart money card has improved. Now, there really are many VC’s with a proven record, that know the digital space, and has shown they can work successfully with internet companies. Very few companies back then had been through the whole process with internet companies, and they were in general caught completely off-guard, when the .com crash happened. It means, that the discussions with VC’s are now more productive. It does not mean, that they are all great to work with, but there definitely are a good choice of trustworthy VC’s that can work within the space. So if you have a great concept and a good team, it has never been easier to find a partner, that can support your aspirations. They might talk about stocks down, the economy sinking and all that, but if you really have a billion dollar plan, you can bet, that they will be chasing you.
They are still terrible to do valuation haggling with though! But they will eventually understand the potential of our company and surrender to our compelling arguments, or else – they will miss a greaaat deal.
In Just-Eat we launched an offensive in the autumn of 2008. We could see, that we had a great concept, a scalable platform, good team and even though there is competition in both the UK and most other European markets, in only a couple of countries has the market for online takeaway market places been cemented by someone else. So, we needed to become more ambitious to realise our full potential. A lot of stuff is happening – I will get back to that on this blog shortly – but one of the areas, where we are now gearing up is within BtC marketing. We have already quadrupled our monthly spend in the UK, in DK we are one of the top tv-sponsors for the Danish Premier League in football, in Holland we are in the middle of an outdoor campaign with thousands of posters all over the country, etc. But by heart, everybody in the company on the marketing side are “online guys”, so we focus on PPC, SEO (when our new web site is fully implemented because the current one is horrible for SEO), viral, etc., and if you want to build a brand you probably also need to do some of the “other stuff” (except if you are Google, Facebook or Twitter).
There are definitely viral effects in our business (tell-a-friend is an important channel for us), but if we really want to accelerate aggressively, and “own” the UK market, then it is not enough. We probably need to go on TV in a major way. And therefore, we need a very senior marketeer to guide us through that process. He/she will be overall responsible for our marketing efforts, but importantly the person should add a lot of experience and knowledge to the areas where we are not so strong today: brand building, running big integrated campaigns, TV/press, synergy effects of mixing various channels, etc. And the person should of course still understand the digital space, where we are already fairly savvy.
So, if that is something for you, then check out this ad at Monster – or send me an email.
Read an investor analysis on Domino’s UK, very interesting. Their shares are trading at more than 10 times EBITDA and are growing at around 20% in a time of recession, so a hot stock these days indeed. But really interesting thing is, what this means for Just-Eat. We are in the UK groing 200% p.a., has a much wider choice of restaurants (not only Domino’s pizza, but all kinds of pizza, indian, chinese, thai, italian, sushi, etc.) and a more scaleable economic model!. We must be on to something!
A bit funny: they say in the report (from Numis), that the delivery part of the takeaway market is only GBP 1.5 bn. Well, I guess that is what the tax man sees. The reality is, that the market is much bigger, because a large chunk of the market is based on a cash economy the tax man never sees. Has always been like that, and is so in all countries. How big it is in reality, I don’t know, but it is probably closer to GBP 2.5 bn. All the small, dynamic restaurant entrepreneurs often cook much better takeaway food than Domino’s and the other big chains, and since they have the “cash economy” advantage (whether we like it or not), then they are very competitive. And they always will be. There is a reason for Domino’s only having 550 Quick Service Restaurants (QSR’s) out of close to 25.000. The huge underwood of hard working and creative QSR’s and smaller chains will always be dominating the takeaway landscape.
Or maybe the real motivation for this blog is to give a first hand intro to how it is to participate in running a fast growing, international, mid-sized tech company! Pure and simple.
It is fascinating, hard work and also a little bit dirty. Not really the place to be in, if you want to live a quite life in the ivory tower. Leading from the front – I believe – is quite important for this kind of companies. And the trick then is to make sure, that you regularly take the elevator up into the tower, enjoy the view, and make sure, that the overall health and direction of the company is on track. Always a balance – and all that.
I have thought about getting this blog up and running for the last half year, and finally with help from Rune R., here we go. Based on the most commonly used blog publishing software, I am finally in the ranks of the self promoting internet generation. So why do I start blogging (other than it is interesting for me to see how internet CMS has developed since I last had hands-on experience with this almost 10 years ago)?
Well, it is because, I really-really want Just-Eat.com to become a truly international success. And part of that is to preach the message of how the world will be a better place if we all did our takeaway ordering via the internet … well, it might be an exaggeration that the world becomes a lot better, but at least it helps a bit: fewer trees to be chopped down for menu card production, more effective ordering without the frustration of language issues and occupied phone lines, better choice to pick from, safe credit card processing, etc., etc. All in all, a quite good proposition. When the average takeaway consumer understands this, I am sure they will all skip the phone and come the way of the convenient takeaway portals like just-eat.com. And if I with this late entry blog could help to push a bit in the right direction, then that would be super. Mission accomplished.
But since takeaway and online ordering is not the only thing of importance on this planet, I assume I will spend a good chunk of my blogging time on very different issues. We will see – I will take it one blog at a time. Cheers!
This is the first post to this new blog. I will within a couple of days put up the first real post. Stay tuned.