First visit to Nando’s this week since March 23rd for the government’s free half plateful. Arrived to find a virtual queue nearly two hours long. Put our names down and wandered off to the shops. Half an hour later the call came through. The table’s ready. Here we come.

At the table, I scanned the QR code with the smartphone, which took us straight to the website menu to order our food from the table. No-fuss. Grace,  ‘Very grateful for this plateful’ (especially because half of it is for free – even if we end up paying for it indirectly through increased taxation, still grateful.)

Why am I telling you all this? Well, it struck me how Nando’s new COVID (un)friendly methods actually work better for the customer. Ordering food in a restaurant in such a way as to reduce human contact has resulted in a model that is quicker and more convenient. The staff did bring the food to the table and organised the drinks refills.

The whole experience brought me to thinking about how COVID has accelerated a different approach to working. Companies are piloting different models (because they have no choice) but the result is making a resounding impact on the future world of work, changing working models and inadvertently discovering better ways in the process.

Just consider how working from home has changed many business models and made them more customer-friendly and profitable.

For startups, trying out new methods and products to see what ‘works’ is known as starting ‘lean’ and it helps you rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable before you invest (and possibly waste) resources.

‘In his blog and book ‘The Lean Startup‘, entrepreneur Eric Ries tells the story of Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn who wanted to see if customers were ready and willing to buy shoes online. Instead of building a website and a large database of footwear, Swinmurn approached local shoe stores, took pictures of their inventory, posted the pictures online, bought the shoes from the stores at full price after he’d made a sale, and then shipped them directly to customers.

It worked and Zappos grew into a billion-dollar business based on this model.’ Wikipedia (paraphrased)

No shoe selling humans to measure your feet, help you try on, spend ten minutes searching the stock room for the other shoe in your size, operate the cash register… the list goes on.

This kind of working lean necessitates using technology. Other jobs are created to maintain and service the technology and man the warehouse, so humans still feature, thankfully. The workplace you are left with, however, looks very different.

I ask myself, could I be replaced by technology? Would it be more viable for a machine to write this blog? This week our Research and Development expert, Andrius, sent me an article about GPT-3, a new text generating program from OpenAI.

‘GPT-3 was built by directing machine-learning algorithms to study the statistical patterns in almost a trillion words collected from the web and digitized books…the system memorized the forms of countless genres and situations. It then responds to a text prompt by generating new text with similar statistical patterns. The results can be technically impressive, and also fun or thought-provoking.

Two of the system’s most notable features are that GPT-3 can generate impressively fluid text, but it is often unmoored from reality.’ (Paraphrased)

Apparently, I’m safe for the moment. As the machine hasn’t experienced the world as a human it can’t write like a human, it can only regurgitate a combination of things different humans have already said.

One thing is becoming clear to me… now is the moment to start lean. Using technology to develop a business model to bring your product or service to market, which simultaneously reduces the degree of human contact involved while increasing the level of customer convenience, looks like a winning combo.

At our brand marketing agency, we have started this process ourselves, in the form of our MVP, GenesisBrands, an automated solution for startups needing an inexpensive, time-saving, brand solution. If you are starting out and you need a brand, GenesisBrands will provide you with an automated brand in less than half an hour at an extremely reasonable price, all online!

Failing that, you could always help me in my personal quest for a Nando’s Black Card. Follow the link below to find out more…

https://www.popsugar.co.uk/food/How-Get-Nando-Black-Card-43658245

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