Connections - Summer 2017 - 29

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choices

A Taste for Online Groceries?
BY JOHN P. HARRISON,
CAE, CMP
AN ONLINE MOGUL is buying a
grocery store chain. Wow, I
know something about this
phenomenon and am willing
to give you investment advice.
For free. Here's how it goes.
Once upon a time I invested in
Amazon. I was in an executive
MBA program, and my study group
decided we'd all open up e-trading
accounts for a couple grand
each (ouch, but gotta keep up). I
proudly researched and decided
Amazon was a promising idea, so
I bought in at the very beginning.
Even got the original coffee mug
they sent out to all their early
investors-when they made no
money. Well, they continued to make
no money for so many years, and
I played the cold-hearted analyst
and considered it unprofitable
cost and sold out. All of it.
Lesson 1: Don't sell behemoth
online retailer stock too soon.
About that time Webvan comes
along. You do not remember
Webvan, but it was an online
grocery service that was a great
product. My wife and I were both
working and liked good cooking.
That requires food. We discovered
the technology-disrupting Webvan.
Their website was stellar, you
ordered all your groceries online,
and you could even keep your usual
order on file for a starting point
the next week. Plus, now get this:
they showed up at your door at

the appointed hour, brought the
groceries into your house and put
them on the counter. Let me repeat
that. Some smiling man in a uniform
brought the groceries into your
house and put the grocery bags on
your kitchen counter. One more
time: yes, from the van onto your
kitchen counter, and no tipping
accepted. I was so impressed
I bought 500 shares that day.
Webvan went bankrupt inside of
two years. The analysts said that
this idea had been tried before back
when you could phone in a grocery
order. Apparently, that doesn't
last for some reason. The analyst
further said that they didn't have
anyone with grey hair working
at Webvan-only hotshot techno
wonder kids who didn't get how
to organize and deliver a tangible
product. Oh well.
Lesson 2: Don't buy online
grocery store stock too soon.
All of this was around the turn
of this century, and some bubbles
were growing inside the stock
market; the business professors

were saying some fundamentals
were being violated-something
to do with dotcoms. During this
time, my newly minted MBA put
me into a new job as a CFO in an
expanding association. One of my
many duties was overseeing the
small association's reserves-a
portfolio worth about $4 million.
The legacy investment advisor
and I didn't hit it off, so I had
the portfolio turned into cash
temporarily and put figuring it all
out on my to-do list. The to-do list
was huge, and I forgot all about
the portfolio, which was no real
portfolio at all, just a pile of cash
sitting around not doing much. I
was busy hiring, firing, procedure
writing, and so forth. I would
get to the portfolio in due time.
Then, the dotcom bubble
burst, and there was a market
crash. The president of the
association called in a panic,
"How much did we lose?"
"Lose?" I said, not sure
what he meant.
continued on page 30
connections >

29



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Connections - Summer 2017

GSAE News & Events
New Members
Living Legends: Lori K. Spear, CAE, Ragan Cohn, CAE, Karl Kirsch, CAE
A Win/Win Week for Restaurants and Their Customers
Meetings Thought Leadership
6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Media Coverage
Standing Out Among the Clutter
GSAE Rock Stars Gather in Macon for the 2017 Annual Meeting
Summer Luncheon
Destination spotlight: Savannah, Jekyll Island & St. Simons Island
Choices: A Taste for Online Groceries?
Advertiser.com
Index of Advertisers
Index of Advertisers/ Advertiser.com
Connections - Summer 2017 - Intro
Connections - Summer 2017 - bellyband1
Connections - Summer 2017 - bellyband2
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover1
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover2
Connections - Summer 2017 - 3
Connections - Summer 2017 - 4
Connections - Summer 2017 - 5
Connections - Summer 2017 - GSAE News & Events
Connections - Summer 2017 - 7
Connections - Summer 2017 - 8
Connections - Summer 2017 - 9
Connections - Summer 2017 - 10
Connections - Summer 2017 - New Members
Connections - Summer 2017 - Living Legends: Lori K. Spear, CAE, Ragan Cohn, CAE, Karl Kirsch, CAE
Connections - Summer 2017 - 13
Connections - Summer 2017 - 14
Connections - Summer 2017 - 15
Connections - Summer 2017 - A Win/Win Week for Restaurants and Their Customers
Connections - Summer 2017 - 17
Connections - Summer 2017 - 18
Connections - Summer 2017 - Meetings Thought Leadership
Connections - Summer 2017 - 6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Media Coverage
Connections - Summer 2017 - 21
Connections - Summer 2017 - Standing Out Among the Clutter
Connections - Summer 2017 - 23
Connections - Summer 2017 - GSAE Rock Stars Gather in Macon for the 2017 Annual Meeting
Connections - Summer 2017 - 25
Connections - Summer 2017 - 26
Connections - Summer 2017 - Summer Luncheon
Connections - Summer 2017 - Destination spotlight: Savannah, Jekyll Island & St. Simons Island
Connections - Summer 2017 - Choices: A Taste for Online Groceries?
Connections - Summer 2017 - Index of Advertisers/ Advertiser.com
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover3
Connections - Summer 2017 - cover4
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