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Case Studies


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Digital Ecosystems


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The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Farrukh Younus Tuesday, 01 November 2016.

Amongst the definitions of an Entrepreneurial Spirit is a discomfort with the existing status quo. Sometimes from within an industry, sometimes from outside, the entrepreneur through their gut instinct has a passion to improve a situation, deliver better value, even solve a problem which we at times we did not know existed as we have become normalised to existing practice.

This isn’t about selling ice cubes to Eskimos, that is nothing more than a glorified ponzi scheme which once it’s participants are aware of, they become angry, upset, and suddenly the relationships that were build crumble. Nor is it about jumping onto the app-bandwagon, at the recent Tech Expo held in Bishopsgate I met a gentleman over lunch, Robert Fejer, whose DailyRoads Voyager app has had millions of downloads without making him rich.

It is however about leaving people with such a pleasant memory of an activity, an experience, an engagement, that they wish to return for more. This is no better illustrated by a new to market product, TasteTripper, launched by a friend, Jennifer Earle. Contrary to the desire to move fully digital, TasteTripper is a business proposition where you buy a pack on-line – currently for chocolate, coffee or beer – and receive a physical guide about the category in a given city, complete with vouchers with which to ‘taste’ a product, then go shopping.

Curious, a colleague and I took five vouchers out from a Chocolate TasteTripper packet and spent the day in London discovering the experience. As with any new offering we faced hurdles. At some venues we had to call for the manager and explain what our voucher entitled us to, at other venues the staff had to call in to head office to verify the vouchers were indeed legitimate, whereas elsewhere as soon as we presented the voucher the staff at the counter knew the product offering and obliged happily. With time and learning this process with become more smooth.

Jennifer is of course the Queen of chocolate in the UK. As the founder of Chocolate Ecstasy Tours where individuals book a guided trip around – currently – London or Brighton, discovering and tasting chocolate treats, it made natural business sense to develop a self-guided tour solution, particularly given that she has already business relationships in place with leading chocolatiers.

In the modern era with instant check-ins, instant on-line sales, instant everything, TasteTripper creates a non-digital experience. It is part of it’s appeal. We all have smartphones, but the packet comes with a physical map locating the various chocolate-coffee-beer spots that are involved in the program. All of the vouchers are physical, printed on card, and the tangible engagement, that element of touch beats any ‘haptic’ experience on a device, demonstrating that while digital is great, the physical world also has it's merit. No better demonstrated at the Tech Expo where Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality played an important part.

On the other side of the spectrum you have Great British Chefs. Run by their CEO, Oliver Lloyd, their mission is on-line, bringing together the best of British – and now Italian – chefs, creating on-line recipes and where possible engaging with social media influencers at specific events, such as cookery classes e.g. in partnership with Le Cordon Bleu school in London. More recently, they ran a Great British Cheese Awards where the CEO aptly pointed out that long gone are the days where cheese competitions would be held in tents as we stood within the glorifed chambers of The Gilbert Scott in St Pancras.

Do not misunderstand me, there is a certain love for festivals in tents in fields, one our nations leading shows, the Great British Bake Off has adopted this model. Indeed I have fond memories of driving to the grounds of Cardiff castle in Wales for a cheese festival many years ago.

But with both TasteTripper and Great British Chefs, we suddenly have offerings with their own unique USPs. The former is an idea that will grow because of the experience it delivers, and simply needs to scale to deliver a similar richness at cities around the globe. While the latter which has already secured it’s first significant round of funding and will eventually monetize its offering further along with its cache of relationships.

In a city full of chocolate shops, reviewers, and many ways to learn about chocolate, TasteTripper is offering which you didn’t know you needed, but as a lover of chocolate, once you know it is available, you crave. Yes, everything is there for us on Google, or on individual bloggers websites, but by re-packaging the information into a meaningful format, Jennifer has created a brand value and proposition, such that I look forward to similar offerings for Paris, Brussels, Berlin and so on. Yet no matter the product offering, she and her team will still need to initiative the relationships directly with chocolatiers to enable expansion.

We can see the impact of funding with Great British Chefs. The Cordon Blue school has always been around but it is through, for example, these unique cookery classes, where leading chefs and social influencers are brought together, that value is being build. In our own capacity at Implausibleblog we are regular invitees and you can catch a glimpse of the experience in a video here with Michelin starred Chef Pascal Aussignac of Club Gascon.

Forbes recently tweeted a link to an artilce on 25 tech companies on their way to a $ billion valuation. Sadly, following through, I was unable to read the text as their system detected my ad-blocker so forbade access. I do not know what is worse, that the ad-blocker stopped me from reading an article which someone at Forbes took the time to author, while another took the time to Tweet, or that if I disabled my ad-blocker I would be targeted with an irrelevant advert which while meaning that Forbes can pay their bills, means the advertiser is throwing away their money, promoting something I do not want to see.

Perhaps here is the next billion $ idea, rethinking the current digital advertising proposition where if money is not being wasted through click fraud (up to 1/3 according to some estimates), advertisers are more often than not delivering messages to people who neither want the intrusion, nor find their adverts, relevant.

In the meantime, both TasteTripper and Great British Chefs have demonstrated what it means to have an idea and pursue them with passion. What makes these and other entrepreneurs successful, particularly when they have a dream while solving a problem or adding a value, is, in the words of producer Jon Landau, ‘to never give up;’ the foundation of the entrepreneurial spirit.

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Farrukh Younus

Farrukh Younus

Farrukh I Younus has a background in mobile phone strategy across Europe and Asia, and has visited China on more than 25 occasions. Dedicated to understanding and delivering solutions based on new technology, Younus has spoken on the subject to the EU in Brussels, and regularly attends industry-leading conferences. He currently runs a video platform, Implausibleblog, delivering lifestyle content via social media; where his focus is on understanding consumer behaviour with regards to digital content and digital advertising. His interests include travel, nouvelle cuisine, and chocolate.

www.farrukhyounus.com

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