The first big step to $125MM is made.  Had a great meeting day today with M… and T…., and we had agreed on the Genie framework – the project is a go.    I see this as a great beginning of moving towards $125MM.   I’m not able to discuss the deal details here, however in broad terms, Genie is a beautiful example of leveraging mutual strengths.    RedStores will create Genie project for the German market with M and T funding the project (7 figure total investment from M and T (in USD) for 2010 and 2011).   Since this is aimed at covering RedStores costs to bring the project to market, the RedStores then has the opportunity to leverage the effort (and investment into the project from M and T) to expand into Europe and beyond.    M and T gain ecommerce capabilities and likely strength to become #1 or #2 ecommerce player in Germany in 3 to 5 years.   RedStores gets to go after rest of Europe with a different strategy (exit play).
So, overall, unlike in sales, where you win a project and you get paid for winning, what Genie does is allows us to win later on based on our skill.    So, as such, Genie is an amazing enabler. 
Its like Genie is a pen that we can write with – and the pen is now there – the story is still to be written – after all the pen is the enabler – the story writer still needs to write the story.  But, without a pen, a story writer could not begin his work, and such is with Genie.   RedStores now has a pen – the kind of story we write with it, will be up to us.    I’m thrilled by this enabler, but truly what excites me most, is what we will be able to do with this.
Truly, sky is the limit – as is a story that a writer can write on a blank sheet of paper.   So, we now have the pen – and although that itself is a cause for celebration – the true celebration  will be when the story is written – and that is still ahead of us.
So, in less poetic terms – we will proceed with work starting on May 15, based on a MOA.   My challenge will be to ensure that Genie is NOT the only project on the go, an that RedStores continues on it path of opening up new sites WHILE effectively executing Genie.   The vital things over this year and 2011 will be a clear strategy, vision and execution.     I expect that the Marketing Plan and Strategy for Genie will take up solid 2 months of my time, so I will need to balance that with Leadership, personal life and everything else.   Perhaps I will need to challenge some of my own assumptions as to ‘my need’ to come up with the Marketing Plan on my own – after all we have a LOT of smart people at RedStores.    But, this is something I will have time to think through in more detail over next few days.   Meanwhile, its truly terrific that Genie is a go.   And also important to remember that Genie is a pen that will enable us to write our own success story.
Tomorrow I get to wear my engineering hat for a couple of hours (I’m quite looking forward to it) – and go deep diving into the world of databases, data extraction, etc.   Hmmm…although I probably shouldn’t admit it, the engineer in me is really looking forward to it.     Who says a CEO cannot due technical work once in a while! :)   Yes, I know, from theory point of view, this should be delegated out – BUT I know I can shave off 2 or 3 weeks of schedule – and reduce risk – and also have fun with it!
Our meetings today where in the Lufthansa Meeting Center – middle of a forest reserve.  Beautiful facilities.  All green around. Very peaceful setting.
The jet lag is hitting me a bit, so planning to take a power nap, go work out, and then draft a Memorandum of Understanding for us to execute.  I probably should have prepared it ahead of time – BUT – I wasn’t comfortable doing that.   It wasn’t lack of confidence, but rather – I think respect for M and T, and the fact that we still had to make sure that we would make this work.   We did!  Tres cool.
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Location:Am Kavalleriesand,Darmstadt,Germany