Danny Meyer 2

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

In our first round with Danny Meyer we looked at his book Setting the Table and took away these lessons:

  • Do something that interests you.
  • Understand your (and employee’s) incentives.
  • Be there for a deep understanding.
  • Be different in a way you can be excellent.

Let’s dig into more of Meyer’s advice.

Meyer sat down with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Meyer is, according to Gary, curious. “Twitter at it’s best is a listening platform,” Vaynerchuk said, “You are great at what you do because you macro listen to your employees, to the market, to the consumer, you’re a listener.”

Meyer experiments. “Daily provisions was an accident…my favorite kind of accident.” Meyer had a little extra room to do something, but what? Experimental optimism may make Meyer an Intelligent Fanatic.

Meyer knows a job is more than work. “I can never imagine not working because it’s brain and heart food.”

Meyer focuses on the most important things. When Vaynerchuk suggested Meyer start a podcast he replied:

“My own team is begging for the same thing but my answer is this; for ten years before I wrote Setting the Table my team was like, ‘you gotta write a book’ and I said ‘we already have cookbooks.’ They said, ‘No, we don’t want a recipe for how you do food, we want a recipe for how you do business.’ What do people need to hear in a podcast that doesn’t already exist?”

Meyer communicates well. At one point they asked Alexa for the best restaurant in New York City and there was no answer. That led Vaynerchuk to say:

“Who has the leverage? In this scenario, Amazon has the leverage. It’s not that Danny’s firm wants to spend all this marketing money to be a paid endorsement, he wants to win on his own merit…99% of restauranteurs don’t want to be at the mercy of Alexa. That’s just Zagat twenty years later. That’s just the New York Times twenty years later.”

“I think the way to not be at the mercy of a third party is to be a tremendous communicator at scale. For you to do what you need to do well, you need to have a podcast and a blog post and an Instagram account and Twitter and Facebook and a YouTube vlog and all of the above.”

“If you ask me, there is nothing more important than the ability to communicate with the end consumer because it keeps you from being vulnerable to the technology revolution happening.”

“Instagram (for marketing today) is the cost of entry.”

Ben Thompson’s body of work emphasizes the pinch point where the value is captured like fish in a net.

If someone is a Naked Brand, is scale communication is the antidote to the aggregator’s paradox?

Meyer said about brand building:

“I really believe that powerful brands emerge when you don’t pursue them becoming a powerful brand…Thing number one, if you want a powerful brand, you gotta pursue the things you’re passionate about and it’s possible a successful brand will ensue.”

Marketer Ryan Holiday wrote, “You know what the single worst marketing decision you can make is? Starting with a product nobody wants or nobody needs.” If Meyer’s Shake Shack hamburgers were foul no one would eat there. If churn was elevated customers weren’t elated. How?

“Make sure your staff understands why you got into this business in the first place. What’s their job when they come to work.”

Brands are one way a business can develop pricing power. Meyer has lived our Moats and Allocators post; harvest gains and allocate to the most fruitful fields.

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Thanks for reading.


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