BLOG ARCHIVE FOR: August, 2004


Party like its 1999

On 9/1/99, Quixtar launched not only its Web site but its business model.  While the anniversary of a Web site isn't news, the phenomenal success of Quixtar is.

Since its launch, Quixtar has become the #1 online health and beauty retailer, tallied sales approaching $4 billion, and not only survived, but thrived, when a lot of .coms became .bombs.

There hasn't been a lot of good business news in West Michigan over the past year or so (unless you count the almost weekly opening of some chain restaurant in the area — honestly, how many bland corporate-processed theme restaurants can you take?)  Plant closings, workforce reductions —  lots of bad news on the doorstep.   Quixtar's success has been a bright spot not only for the hundreds of thosuands of IBOs who are earning through their Quixtar businesses, but for Quixtar's home base in West Michigan.

And, as one of Quixtar's 900-some employees, it feels good to be part of a success story like this.  Most of us don't get the chance to be part of something at its inception be part of its growth and success.  It's been a lot of work and a lot of fun, and I can't wait to see what the next five years brings.


If you don’t win, are you a loser?

There was a USA Today editorial this week that quoted Nike billboards in Athens that proclaimed “Silver isn’t winning. It’s losing gold.”

Most Olympians don’t have a shot at a medal.  By Nike’s  standards, almost everyone will go home losers.  Or do they?  Think of the faces of those that march in the opening ceremonies.  People from places most of us can’t pronounce, let alone pinpoint on a map.  They are the best in their country at whatever sport they’re competing at.  They may not be the best in the world, but they’re the best in their village, town, or country.  That’s something.

Kia posted something in the realquixtarblog about how the media have created unrealistic expectations about swimmer Michael Phelps medaling in eight Olmpic events.  Now they’re practically depicting him as a loser as he continues to fall just behind Aussie Ian Thorpe.  He’s one of the best swimmers ever to compete for the U.S.  And he’s only 19.  He will probably compete in at least two more Olympiad, maybe more.  A loser?  Hardly.

During the 70s I developed a serious crush on high jumper Dwight Stones.  I became convinced that I could become a high jumper as well (at age 10 I had a growth spurt that brought me to the 5 foot 3 I am today, but I was tall for a 10-year-old.)  I strung a jump rope between two trees and spent much of a summer hurling myself over it.  I progressively moved the rope higher as I was able to jump higher.  I would do this for hours.  Today, I’d probably be treated for OCD.  But back then, every family had its odd kid (and I believe that’s why families were bigger.  If you had one odd kid and the others were normal, it was OK. If you only had one and he or she was a little quirky, what could you do?)

Was I Olympic material?  I know now that I never would be.  But at that moment, I was the best high jumper in my neighborhood.  I then moved on to constantly batting a tennis ball against the garage for hours on end.  

A runner from the town where I live is currently at the Olympics.  Dathan Ritzenheim is a long-distance runner whose toe injury means he’s out of medal contention.  But he’s still going to run and compete and be part of the 2004 Summer Olympics.  Whether you win or lose, you’re part of something bigger than yourself and part of history.  I’m waiting to hear about the Jamaicaan bobsledders or the swimmer from the Sydney games who finished a match minutes after the winners and runners-up had left the pool.  Give me the underdog, the one who may not be the best, but who can provide their personal best effort.  Those are the real winners of the games, or any game, for that matter.

.  Had the bisque but it wasn’t very warm and the cream had started to separate.  Need to go complain.


An unabashed love letter to Netflix

I just responded to Qblog and used Netflix as an example and wanted to continue my evangelicizing about the company.

A friend introduced me to Netflix a few months ago and I'm hooked.  At first, I tried to move DVDs in and out of my home as quickly as possible, to maximize the number of DVDs I would receive in a month.  During my free trial I think I watched 15 DVDs (I'm one to make sure I'm getting my money's worth out of any investment.)

But what I didn't expect was the thrill of receiving those red envelopes in the mail and wondering what's inside.  I have about 80 movies in my queue but I don't check it often and never know what's coming next (sometimes I'll put a new release at the top of the queue but usually I just wait and see what I can get.)  Today I got "Bowling for Columbine" and "Spirited Away".  Next time it might be "My Dinner with Andre" or "Sixteen Candles."

And,  I'm never running out in my pajamas to return a movie before the dreaded due time.  For popcorn and your beverage of choice, you're on your own.

So many companies tend to overpromise and underdeliver — Netflix is one that consistently keeps its promises to customers.