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Hut Rewards from Pizza Hut jacks up the free pizza for loyalty race

Pizza lovers have to pick their poison to rack up free pizzas. Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's (and others, I'm sure). All now have 'earn a freeby' programs that are pretty clear and friendly. Hut Rewards has generated a lot of excitement because during launch--now until October 1, you can earn a free pizza by spending as little as $50 online. 

The important point is that you've got to stick with a supplier! Online and mobile ordering are also usually required, and you'll still pay tax, tips and delivery charges. 

I expect this to become the industry standard, like frequent flier programs at the airlines. Which brings me to an important point. Many people gravitate to the most generous program, but some of us are more concerned about the experience. Pizza is not a big enough part of my budget to justify anything but my favorite slice. 

So watch these programs develop over time, and let's see if Pizza Hut continues to be the leader or if they jockey for position. 

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Loyalty without trust

Power allows people to demand loyalty they haven't earned, but I'm not sure it should even be called loyalty. We usually call it "coerced loyalty" but the important thing is that it's not based on a track record of mutual trust. The interplay between trust and loyalty has been amazingly examined in Kendrick Lamar's LOYALTY video, directed by Dave Meyers & the little homies, featuring Rihanna. I'm not sure the point comes across in the lyrics as clearly as it does in the video, which contrasts coercive and trust-based loyalty vividly. 

Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna

Loyalty, loyalty, loyalty
Tell me who you loyal to
Is it money? Is it fame? Is it weed? Is it drink?
Is it comin' down with the loud pipes and the rain?
Big chillin', only for the power in your name
Tell me who you loyal to
Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark?
Is it unconditional when the 'Rari don't start?
Tell me when your loyalty is comin' from the heart

Watch the video at Vevo. Lyrics at Genius


Have you heard of the 'amplification' tactic for promoting women's ideas?

Recently, I was in a morning round table meeting where new people were trickling in but not chiming in. After watching for awhile, I interrupted a speaker who'd had the floor for several minutes to ask one of the newcomers to introduce herself. The speaker didn't appear to be annoyed. We need to help people speak up and get credit. This amplification idea is so powerful. 

Adam Grant: Wondering (Excerpt from June 2017, Question 1)

We all need to promote our work. I’ve learned in my research that successful givers are ambitious for others and ambitious for themselves. When you produce something you think is interesting or important, share it with people who might benefit from it. If that’s the only thing you share, it looks like self-promotion. But if you regularly distribute and recognize other people’s work too, there’s no backlash. You’re known as someone who has useful knowledge and is generous in sharing it.

That leads me to my favorite advice on this dilemma, which is to gather a group of supportive colleagues who will work together to make sure you each get the credit you deserve. A group of women did this brilliantly in the Obama administration: they called it amplification. Let’s amplify that.

Washington Post: White House women want to be in the room where it happens 2016-Sep-13 by Juliet Eilperin 

When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.

“We just started doing it, and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,” said one former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Obama noticed, she and others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides.

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Prime issues with Amazon

Amazon Prime is one of the most popular loyalty programs in the country, and Amazon customers enjoy very high satisfaction levels. However, it seems that people are sorting themselves out into pro- and against-Amazon, as they are in so many other areas. (The 'against' group is definitely the minority.)

Amazon prides itself in operating on the edge of innovation, and that means breaking lots of rules. I don't object to that behavior in general, but Amazon often ignores human values which are core to me, such as fairness and protecting the vulnerable. That's why I don't buy from them if I can avoid it. 

The Verge: Why I'm never signing up for Amazon Prime, 2017-Jul-11 by Vlad Savov 

I don’t expect anyone to follow or join me in resisting Amazon’s primal pull toward Prime. You’ve got your own priorities in life and, in all honesty, nobody’s going to fix global injustice by disregarding Prime Day and taking a nice walk outside instead. But it makes me feel good to do exactly that, and so — in the ultimate expression of consumer choice — I’m opting not to consume Amazon’s enchanting deals elixir.

(By the way, this article has one of the best comment threads I've ever seen.)

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Profitless to compete with Amazon?

Speculation about how Amazon will change Whole Foods is running rampant. I click on news stories only to find that experts are being quoted who have absolutely no real information about what Amazon plans to do. Why would Amazon tip their hand at this point anyway??

One thing is clear. The grocery business will be restructured. At least Krogers' CEO expects it will

Vox: The real reason Amazon buying Whole Foods terrifies the competition, 2017-Jun-20 by Matthew Yglesias

Competing with Amazon is terrifying for any incumbent business because the company’s executive team operates on a radical model whereby the company’s overall net income is nearly zero quarter after quarter.

That is by design, not because they can’t come up with any ways to make money. On the contrary, to the best of anyone’s knowledge many of Amazon’s specific lines of business — including, notably, Amazon Web Services — are perfectly profitable. But while Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook hire lawyers and accountants to amass vast stockpiles of cash legally held in overseas tax haven subsidiaries, Amazon simply chooses to barely accumulate any cash at all.

That’s an enormous problem for every grocery chain in America, which already operate on razor-thin margins. Nobody thinks Amazon bought Whole Foods in order to siphon off Whole Foods’ operating profits in order to subsidize something else. A Whole Foods under Amazon’s stewardship will almost certainly accept lower profit margins than it does as an independent chain — and that spells trouble for everyone else in the grocery business. 

... 

Of course the nightmare scenario for the supermarket industry is that acquiring Whole Foods does allow Amazon to fundamentally crack the grocery home-delivery game in a way that leads Kroger to go the way of Borders.

But the reason the takeover is such a disaster for the industry is that the financial implications are bleak even if Amazon doesn’t succeed in bringing incredible game-changing innovation to the sector. Introducing a player into the market that doesn’t care about profit margins is going to be devastating to competitors who have to.

They won’t necessarily be put out of business, but they will be forced to respond to lower prices and lower margins with lower prices and lower margins of their own — making the current round of dividend hikes extremely difficult to maintain. From the standpoint of an executive at a conventional business it must seem extraordinarily unfair. 

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