Early start at 5AM – mostly due to jet lag. Spent the morning going over the presentation material and at 8AM Markus picked me up and we drove out to Thomas loft for the meetings.
The day unfolded very well, with exchange of information about the DLM group and RedStores.com. It was quite a new experience for me to learn about the supply chain – and the depth and way it worked. Overall, quite a significant structure for procurement. Both Markus and Thomas are fantastic guys, very easy to work with and communicate. We had a great day, talking about our businesses and learning.
Definitely a very strong synergy between our capabilities, so tomorrow will be Day 2, and we will explore potential options for working together. The day ended on a great musical note, as we all went to a terrific jazz concert by Brad Mehldau– perfect ending to a very good day.
One issue that has become apparent is that the model that on boarding small suppliers under $5MM in revenue will not work for business in the $100MM range. In fact, I had always assumed that the $100MM+ business would have very mature IT departments that would be able to take them online. This has been basically its clear wrong assumption, and its clear that there is many, many companies of significant size that don’t have in-house capabilities to go online.
So, the interesting concept is, do you back away from the $100MM range businesses and target the $5MM businesses, or do you pursue both segments. In a way, its much easier to work with guys like Thomas and Markus –vs. a smaller players – bigger vision, bigger aspirations and frankly more interesting projects. So, interestingly enough through the meetings with DLM group, I have identified a market segment that is ready for ecommerce that I didn’t see before. Because its a new ‘segment, the business model would need to change for this level of play. In essence nothing wrong with that, but requires some thinking about impact on long on long term strategy, IPO friendliness, etc.
But I will think through that tomorrow – tonight the bed is calling me.
Day is ending for me now at 11:30PM – will write more of a commentary and thoughts in the days to follow.
Below are some images from Thomas loft, and also at the bottom a picture of both Markus and Thomas with their toys. The collection of their cars is behind them in background – lucky for them they are in Germany and can take these baby’s out for the full speed run.