You know, I feel people have been trying to describe my generation its motivations forever. While I consider myself Generation Y (The last analog generation while carrying the torch for the first digital one), I’ve been repeatedly told that I am a “millennial.” While I’m still not sure what that means, I have been reading up on the subject and usually boils down to these three things: Rejection of extravagance, reluctance to commit to “grown up” things, and a revisionist approach to the American Dream due to a commitment to an entrepreneurial endeavors. Say what you want about the first two (and yes, I am aware of the #RichKidsOfInstagram and #TheGreenTeam, I can say that I’m all about the third.
I am an entrepreneur.
Sure, I’m at the point that expenses are outweighing revenues, (It happens to companies many times my size) but I’m committed to making that work for me. A couple of months ago, I went into detail into the many jobs that I have, demonstrating that I’m fully entrenched in the “gig economy.”
But quite frankly, all of those jobs were killing me.
Forget the whole loss of productivity, I had my hand in so many projects operating so many “different parts of the brain” that the whole thing became exhausting. Spinning wheel metaphor aside, I always felt like I was behind the ball. Enter McDonalds:
High-tech burger Ops
Ah yes. As a poor kid and an even poorer college student, it was safe to say that McDonalds saved my life on a number of instances. It was a beacon of light that destroyed the shadow of hunger. There’s something comforting in realizing that no matter how hard things were financially, if you had $3 in your pocket you wouldn’t go hungry. Mickey D’s was an American Institution, so much so you could at one point get two apple pies for a buck!
But Millennials had to go and ruin it.
Let me (facetiously) explain. People of my age had a growing consciousness about their food. They needed to know where things came from, if the food was sustainable and how it was going to impact our collective health. Soon, it was “uncool” to go to McDonalds.The symbol of the Golden Arches itself became a symbol of poor health. Being seen with a bag with a yellow M on it was the mark of shame that only people who “didn’t care” would be caught dead with and…
…where was I? Oh yeah…
McDonald’s tried to counteract this by appealing to everybody. Hey, people like chicken wings? Mighty Wings it is! People like Starbucks? Bring on the McCafe! The menu was bloated and with it came longer wait times. Customer appreciation plummeted and sales were in the toilet. After a protracted debate with franchise operators, McDonald’s pared down the menu and brought a new emphasis on improving the quality of their food. The new outlook wasn’t perfect, but the company had to focus on what was important to them, or what “brought them to the dance.” Nobody wanted complex espresso drinks and chicken wings from a burger joint. They wanted classic Grimace.
“You know that’s right!” -G
Here’s a different but similar example, take Wrassleroos:
Wrassleroos is a company that makes professional-wrestling themed underwear. Seriously. Check out their website. I’ll wait.
Unlike a great American hamburger, the concept behind Wrassleroos was niche to begin. While I want to believe everyone is a wrestling fan, I fear that’s not quite accurate. The line started simple enough, featuring underwear with references to some of the biggest stars of the sport. There was soon a desire to create multiple designs for more and more individual wrestlers and soon, the offerings had increased so much it was putting a strain on the manufacturing process. This situation is more closely tied to the woes of scalability, but the end result was the same: Too many offerings. Not enough focus.
Wrassleroos, like McDonald’s, took a hard look at their menu decided to focus on the products that was most beneficial to them. I guess my point through off of this is to say if I consider myself a walking business, that I had to do the same.
Some pruning never hurt anybody.
There’s advantages to every job and responsibility I do. Though you want to give everything 100 percent, that’s just not possible. I had to lay out all of my jobs and decide which was the one that 1) kept the lights on 2) kept me fulfilled and 3) able to expand upon (there’s that scalability thing again). Simply put, after doing that it was easy to see some jobs not making the cut.
I’ll probably have to brown bag lunch a couple more times a week, but the idea is that with the room to focus on the two or three things/businesses I feel will have the most value, the quality of work will sure to improve.
And when it does, I’ll be eating a Quarter Pounder with nothing on but my Simply Ravishing Wrassleroos on.