Grubhub Grabs Profit by the Seams

GrubHub and Seamless have now merged into one company. Last year alone they collectively earned over $870 Million dollars in profit. GrubHub has Chicago origins while Seamless started in New York.  Mike Evans the co-founder of GrubHub and the newly combined companies COO said, “I’m excited about the expanded restaurant network that our diners will be able to use.”

The merge initially has many benefits, but over time there are very important executive decisions to make in order to optimize all dimensions of a quality service. One benefit is that combined they will operate in over 500 cities in the United States. They also decided to keep all 650 full-time employees. The former CEO of GrubHub Matt Maloney will remain CEO while the former CEO of Seamless Jonathan Zabusky will be president.  Both former companies have merged with much smaller organizations in the past. For example in 2011 GrubHub bought Dotmenu which gave them an extra 250,000 menu listings at different restaurants around the nation.

The company still has many decisions to make. One decision the company has yet to make is the name of the new brand. Perception is reality, and they should take very careful consideration of how to name the new brand. They have been heavy competitors in cities like Chicago for many years, and they have both built their own brands into what they are today. GrubHub did have more profit, and therefore it would be advantageous to keep that name over Seamless. Changing the name entirely is also an option. Since there whole process is derived from online use it is unlikely they will create a new name. For example if a family uses GrubHub or Seamless on a nightly basis, they will likely have the URL memorized or saved in their favorites. This means the new company needs to be very transparent and loud with their changes in order to retain the brand loyal consumers from both companies.  I have one recommendation if they decide to change the name of the company, and that is to buy a new website with the company name. Then link both former websites to the new website which on the surface seems like it would satisfice all the consumers. From there the new company needs to internally improve their servicing process.

After the merged company has chosen a conforming brand they should also merge the processes to optimize reliability. They can assume they will have a large impact in the market for online food ordering because separately they held large portions of the market share. It is likely that both former organizations had their own unique processes, but one standardized process would be most financially beneficial.

Do you think the new company should change their name? Or should they use GrubHub or Seamless as the new company name? Do you think they should standardize their processing systems? Overall do you think this merge is beneficial to the owners?


Google Now Knows What You Did Last Summer!!!

Google Now is now a direct competitor to Apple’s Siri. Google Now is an intelligent virtual personal assistant similar to Siri. Recently Google Now became available on iOS for iPhones and iPads.

Google Now access a lot of personal information on someone’s iPhone/iPad. There are many privacy issues related to the use of Google Now. Google Now analyzes your browsing history, mail, calendar events, and other activity on your iOS device to “predict” information that you will need before you even think about needing it.

In order to begin using Google Now and iOS, you must first open Google Search, where Google Now appears at the bottom of the screen as a stack of cards. You swipe the stack of cards in order to access the main feature of Google Now, the “cards.”

Here is an example of how Google Now is your personal assistant: You have meeting scheduled for later today in Aurora. The meeting is scheduled in your Calendar app. Google Now accesses your calendar and from the information that it obtains, it creates a “card” that gives you map, directions, and current traffic conditions to the meeting. When you repeatedly search for a particular sports team’s score on the internet, Google Now automatically displays the previous night’s final score on a “card.” If Google Now detects that you are in a foreign country, it will provide a “card” with a translator and a currency convertor.
Google Now does allow you to select what information you share with Google Now. However, the less information you provide to Google Now, the less useful, reliable, and efficient it becomes.

Google Now can be a very convenient tool for everyone. However, Google Now on iOS does not allow you to send e-mails using only your voice and you cannot access with the push of the “Home” button like you can with Siri. Google Now also only works with other Google products, such as Google Calendar. It was also released with glitches and users have complained of battery problems when using Google Now.

While I can see how Google Now can be a great convenience for me, I cannot get past the fact of how much information it will obtain from my iPhone. That information could be stored on Google’s server for years and it could sell that information to advertising firms that would creep me out with very personalized ads. Perhaps if my information was kept on my phone and it never went through Google’s servers, I would be more open to using it.

Would you be willing to provide extensive amounts of information in order to use Google Now? Are you concerned with your privacy in this technological world? What can Google do to alleviate the privacy concerns of its customers? Should Google be competing directly with Apple’s Siri on Apple’s own products? Is this Google’s strategy to win over Apple consumers? Did Google release Google Now on iOS prematurely since it still has bugs and is only compatible with Google services?



Google Now Takes On Apple’s Siri by Rich Jaroslovsky:

(Image) Google Now Opens Up To iPhone And iPad Users by Taylor Hatmaker:

Google Now for iOS: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know by Karen Tumbokon:

What else is hidden in Google’s Arsenal?

What else is hidden in Google’s Arsenal?

Whenever Google comes out with a new application, product, or service quality is an after-thought. Google is in the process of coming out with something and entering a risky market that could hurt the high quality image Google Portrays. This new “thing” is upgrading its Google Play that launched last year. This wasn’t doing as well as anticipated so they are in the process of revamping it. Android hackers dug deep into Google’s servers to find this out which, is an interesting way of having a competitive advantage. Anyway, this market is extremely competitive and bumpy. A lot is needed to compete when there are only so many games to sign. Additionally, signing to right or wrong game could mean a tarnished image. This new revamp is intended to offer some new features that other companies haven’t yet added.  Social Integration, In-Game Chatting, and Cloud Capabilities are just some of the new additions that will hopefully put them above their competitors and bring a better and higher quality image to their brand. The Social Integration aspect will grant users the ability to use their Google+ profile compare performances on leader boards. Next, In-Game Chatting will build on the social capabilities and users will have the ability “to chirp your friend’s terrible performance.” The last addition are Cloud Capabilities. This will be where the management of quality comes in. Google Play Games will sync all saved data on servers the same way calendars, contact information, and mail is stored. The games, supposedly, won’t take up precious hard drive room; however, relying 100% on the Google servers may put too much responsibility in the hands of the company. If Google doesn’t capitalize on this opportunity and execute it some quality issues will definitely arise.

My Opinion

Google is taking the right actions to get ahead of its competition. I don’t think these changes are outlandish because innovation is what makes money now a days. Also, this won’t hurt Google’s quality and credibility because consumers don’t expect much out of mobile device games so the sky is the limit. Any upgrade or innovational addition will just bring more users into the scene and make it an even more profitable market. Google’s market share within this realm of entertainment will grow.


  1. Will this new version of Google Play be too risky and tarnish Google’s accolades in quality?
  2. What else could Google do to make this “less risky”?
  3. What can Android do?
  4. Are Google’s new additions attainable or impossible?
  5. How does this effect quality in the market or with Google?

Will there ever be a perfect design?

There will never be a perfect design. If there was there would never be a need for anyone to buy anything new. This can be seen with many products and as we first use them we think they are amazing but as time dwindles on we start to see the flaws. This is the case with the 3 gadgets that have taken over the market by storm and have now made us take a second look.  The 3 gadgets I will talk about below are the latest Mac book pro, amazons kindle and the razor 2. Reading these names must have quickly caught your attention if you are indeed a user of any of these products and if you are not experiencing any issues below you can see that the product design we may see as perfect is not flawless.

While not all of us have experiences writing on the latest Mac book pro there are some flaws that were not found in the design and production of the laptop. It was made so that it can be light and thin and taken anywhere. While that is great the lower edges of the medal casing are so sharp that after typing for more than a short period you may start to see deep indentations in your skin. Most users who work long hours on these machines say that the redness and sensitivity may last hours until their arms are back to normal. Something this easy to correct should have been seen when they were testing the laptop out and can now potentially be very costly.

Unlike the Mac book pro above the problem with the kindle has been addressed and corrected already. The very first kindle on the market had buttons that were very sensitive. Without even touching down on the button the device would change the page or start typing. While this design defect was corrected in the newest version, the old kindle is now selling online for a quarter of what it first sold for.

The third gadget we should all be familiar with is the razor 2. Being one of the original  flip phones it definitely came with things that needed to be changed. The purpose of having a touch screen on the outside of the flip phone was supposed to be to quickly get to your contacts or play music. What they did not suspect was that when people sat on their phones or hand it in their pockets it was playing music and calling the contacts that were so readily available.  Although this issue has not been fixed yet it is something that razor lovers want addressed.

As you can see from the examples above, there is no such thing as a perfect design. The designs of these goods should have been tested further before being introduced into the market but have lead the way for new product opportunities. What opportunities do you think can arise from the above?

How Six Flags could learn from this class

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 after years of being in devastating amounts of debt, poor management and multiple changes in who owned the company. This initiates the first issue as there is no way there can be a good way to manage a large company like this with so many changes in leadership. By the time the people that work for Six Flags got used to the new style of leadership, the ownership changed again therefore messing up the whole system again. A long-term plan should have been established with somebody that would be there the whole time this be through the different stages of ownership.

The company started doing a little bit better again in mid-2010, and today in 2013 analysts say that the company can have a good season ahead of it as it has new attractions that can improve the attendance and therefore the revenue. Through finally having good management again the company has improved season pass sales, less discounting and more financial income through parts of the business such as dining. What the earlier owners and managers should have realized is that forecasting plays a huge role in how their business is doing. They should have realized that discounting is good but definitely can not be the end all be all as it may attract people, but there has to be a line draw to make sure it is still profitable for the company and therefore the employees.

The fact that there are a lot of new rides and attractions posts a lot of opportunity in terms of that a lot more people will start showing up. One of the reasons that Six Flags Corporation had been struggling is that old customers were getting saturated with the rides and attractions that were available to them because they had been to the parks so often. With the new rides a lot of the long-time goers will start going again and the season ticket sales will go up again.

Management also mentioned that this will not be the old Six Flags ever again as it will establish a new business plan and “has willingness to rethink its business model and track record of success.” It seems as if this new set of management knows how to promise the company future success, but the question is if it will actually be able to successfully implement all of these new strategies to guarantee they won’t slide into losses again. The keys to success for a company like Six Flags are good forecasting for what needs to be done in order to get a lot of tickets sold, good management of the employees and facilities, along with making sure the rides and attractions provide variety and do not get boring.

Fiat’s New Deal

Fiat Industrial, a division of Fiat specializing in trucks and construction/agricultural equipment has announced a change in management structure to help the transition of acquiring a new subsidiary, CNH Global (agricultural equipment maker).

The new structure will emphasize brands and brand awareness, in addition to region by region operations. The adoption strategy will be similar to when Fiat acquired the American car company Chrysler in 2011.

While negotiations of the acquisition are still in progress, Fiat Chairman Sergio Marchionne is confident they will succeed, however expensive it may be. While this may briefly take a toll on the company’s overall revenue and income, its assets will increase with the purchase of a new division. Since CNH Global is a company with nearly $20 Billion in revenue yearly and business in over 150 countries, the deal should turn out to benefit Fiat in the end.



In addition to acquiring CNH Global to bolster Fiat Industrial, Marchionne has announced that Alfredo Altavilla will take over operations in an attempt to turn around Chrysler Group LLC, the failing American car company that is 58.5% owned by Fiat. in addition to American sales, Fiat announced it will be focusing on returning Chrysler’s market presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well.

In the next two years, due to the aforementioned acquisitions and the attempted turnaround of Chrysler, Fiat expects to lose money. As a result they are turning to innovation to differentiate themselves. They plan to introduce 19 new models in the next four years including a Jeep compact car. Also, they are making efficiency a priority in their Italian factories they feel are under performing. By renovating and innovating they are attempting to stop the tide of losing money Chrysler faced due to the American economic crisis of recent years. Making a Jeep compact and over half a dozen new Alfa Romeos and Maseratis is going to push Fiat’s products into new market segments that will bring them more customers and greater revenue. Maximizing efficiency of existing processes, in addition to reducing costs and raising output, may have the added benefit of improved products, which could help them to retain customers better.

Additionally, visionary leader Marchionne has approached leaders of American car company General Motors and French car company Peugeot with an idea of combining forces to take over Volkswagen’s dominance of the European automobile market.  However, it is unclear if such a deal would ever take place, especially considering that both GM and Peugeot have taken bailout money from their respective governments in recent years, weakening their financial position.






Works Cited:

From Cash to Cards to Phones

Over the years, the use of physical cash has declined with the increased use of credit and debit cards.  There are many people who do not even carry cash on them at all simply because they feel that it is too bulky and inconvenient.  The ease and convenience that a debit or credit card brings to a consumer’s shopping experience has grown to be a more appealing way of paying for various items.  Now, though, Google Inc. has attempted to make even this form of payment a thing of the past move on to the next big thing: to complete payments from a smartphone.

Basically, Google has come up with a way to make all of your debit, credit and even brand loyalty cards on your smartphone, which makes making electronic payments even easier.  Instead of fumbling through your wallet to find these various cards, you can simply pull out one card, the Google Wallet Card, and complete any transaction with ease.  The Google Wallet Card that is swiped will simply access the chosen card on the account and access any loyalty or rewards cards attached to the store.  This technology can be used anywhere that debit and credit cards are accepted, which means that it can be used anywhere nowadays.

By releasing such an application and choice to consumers, Google will be taking the lead against its competitors in the market, such as Square and PayPal.  This is especially due to the fact that the Google Wallet App will be available in both the iOS, or Apple, and Windows phone which makes it available to more consumers across both softwares.  With this newer feature and easier payment system, it is believed that Google will be able to attract far more customers than either competitor even if they are able to catch up with the technology in the near future.

Although it is not yet confirmed, it has been rumored that the Google Wallet card service may even surpass PayPal and come out with an card service that is integrated with the app and have secure payment service on the app directly.  This may be on the list of further improvements that Google has decided to make on the service.

Although the concept of the Google Wallet is very appealing and innovative, it is still under speculation by the public.  Personally, as someone who still uses cash from time to time, I am not so sure that I will be able to easily adjust to something like the Google Wallet.  The idea of having access to all of my finances in one place would, for me, be too risky.


Is Microsoft Creating Some Bad Blood?

For almost as long as the company has existed, Microsoft has relied on 3rd party hardware developers like Dell, Samsung, Sony, and Hewlett Packard to use the products they created. Because of this, Microsoft has always dominated the operating system market with many companies like the ones listed making use of the many variations of Windows along with other products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. However, for the first time in thirty-seven years, Microsoft is releasing a computer.

Microsoft released its Surface, a tablet based computer, on October 26, 2012. Many would wonder why Microsoft would venture into such territory. Microsoft has had such success selling its operating systems to other companies, why would it take such a large risk in creating its own computers? The answer comes down to design.

Companies like Dell and Samsung will run Microsoft’s new operating system, Windows 8. But Microsoft felt that in order to fully display the capabilities of Windows 8, they would need to take design duties in their own hands. “We decided to do Surface because it’s the ultimate expression of Windows,” Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows division said. “It’s a stage.”

The Surface is designed to come with a magnetically attached keyboard which nearly doubles the tablet as a laptop. By doing this, they are hoping to directly compete with Apple’s iPad. The iPad, due to its ease of use and compatibility, has been adopted by many businesses and schools to be used in their day to day operations. For example, in the article it is mentioned that at a medical technology company 5,500 iPads have been issued to employees for use. Because of this, some have predicted that soon the iPad and other tablets will overtake laptops. Laptops have already lost sales to the iPad and other tablets.

In order to establish itself in the tablet market, Microsoft wants to ensure that the operating system is utilized effectively. By creating its own design for a tablet Microsoft is hoping to take some of those sales away from Apple and make a name for itself in the tablet market. Since most businesses already use PCs, Microsoft should have no issues with compatibility with the computers that companies already use. However, the Surface has not had the time that the iPad has had to develop. Many applications and 3rd party accessories already developed for it. Microsoft will have to hope that the Surface catches on quickly.

As for companies like Dell and Samsung, do you think they should be upset that Microsoft has developed its own tablet that will directly compete with their own? Do you think they feel upset that Microsoft felt that their own hardware would not be good enough to display the capabilities of Windows 8? Or do you think it will help them in the end as more people might by desktops from Dell and other hardware developers due to success of Windows 8? The article seems to suggest that it could be a win-win for these hardware developers but I would like to hear your input on what the future might hold for Microsoft and hardware companies.


Luxurious and Green: The Fisker Karma

What’s better than a green, eco friendly Prius? Well, the Fisker Karma of course. Fisker Automotive is an independent start up by partners Henrik Fisker and Bernhard Koehler. Being in business since 2007, Fisker Automotive is a fairly new brand. The new hybrid is only one of many sports hybrid cars currently on the market that are in fact, greener than ever. How can the Fisker Karma possibly be so green? It has silent electronic door latches and a solar-panel roof. This helps run the AC fans and fill the battery. It is considered an Eco Chic car and it consists of natural-fabric seats. It includes wood trim recovered from California forest fire and the dashboard is ultra suede, which means no leather is used.

“This car is more sexy and exciting than any other car you’ve seen,” boasts designer Henrik Fisker.

Basically, the Fisker Karma is the first luxury plug-in hybrid. It has two modes. Stealth mode is battery mode, and sport mode gives the car 402 horsepower. When driving the car, it can go up to 50 miles on battery power, then the system is jolted by electricity from the 2-liter, 4 cylinder turbo gas engine. This luxury car is competing with the Porsche Panemera and the Tesla Roadster. These are all eco friendly luxury sports cars. What differentiates these cars is price, physical features, and brand equity. Fisker Karma beats its competitors when it comes to being ecofriendly, and no other luxury hybrid can be plugged in to charge. The Fisker Karma is $103,000 and is near in price to its competitors. The Panemera is $95,000 and the Tesla is $109,000.


Will the Fisker Karma be successful globally? (They have built the car to have low emissions, to cater to European countries.)

Will people want to invest in such a new unheard of American company or will they stick to trusted brands like Porsche and Lexus?




What does Finance know about project management?

       Being the Finance Manager for a company that does rollouts and installs of POS and Voice systems for major retailers, I really get to see the impact of project management on the companies’ bottom line, be it positive or negative.  We quote our projects between a 30 and 40 percent margin, but in 2011 we saw projects running anywhere between 65 and negative 25 percent.  Our CEO estimated that 80% of the variability was due to our own operational inefficiency, while only 20% was due to factors beyond our control.  While the wide range and inconsistencies of our project margins were troubling, the biggest issue was that overall the margins were down, with over 75% of our projects coming in under quote.  At the beginning of 2012, my boss and I were assigned to investigate what was causing the lower margins, and to come up with a plan to turn it around.  It may seem strange that Finance was assigned this task, but our CEO’s reasoning wass was that we are the ones who look at projects on a macro level and are responsible for explaining the margin variation, while every other department is only focused on their one piece (i.e Sales, Logistics, AR, etc.).

       After spending two months auditing our operations, talking with people in Sales Engineering (quoting), Sales, Operations, Logistics, and AR, we identified many problems contributing to the lower margins, but the overall problem that we identified was a lack of a clearly defined process for our projects.  While every project is different in terms of the scope of work at the site and the deliverables that the customer expects, if the administration of a project on our end is done consistently, many of the problems we run into could be eliminated. 

       Some examples of simple steps that have been skipped leading to a hit in our margins are: 1) final revisions to quotes not being authorized by the customer, 2) sales not reviewing the first invoices that are sent to the customer, 3) work orders not being created in time so that contracting has to rush to contract the labor and has to pay premium rates, 4) AR not putting job notes on the invoice, 5) Logistics shipping the wrong equipment to the site, and 6) work being approved without a customer PO.

       To control the problems and get all the departments on the same page when it comes to our project management, we developed a project checklist and worked with IT to implement this checklist into the current PM software we are using. With this checklist, every adminitration step has a due date, a responsibility assigned, and needs to be checked off before moving on. The benefits of this include increased organization, increased accountability, and better communication. Since we implemented this new checklist, we have seen an increase in our margins each month in the last 3 months, as well as increased cash flow by ensuring we are collecting the revenue quicker from our customers.  It’s amazing to see what an impact the simple step of creating a comprehensive checklist can make to the bottom line.

Here is an excel copy of out Project Accountability Checklist for anyone interested.

What do your companies do to keep projects organized on the back-end? Do you have any kind of defined project process or checklist?