Still Plugging Away
I use a pretty handy email software platform called Sanebox that helps me get through a couple of thousand emails each week without completely losing my squash. One feature that I especially love is that I can forward emails or pictures or anything digital really to an email address that will allow the content to return to me on an exact date in the future. Since I’ve been doing it for a few years, I even have ones coming up that I sent to myself 1, 2 and up to 5 years ago, wondering how I might view it in the future.
The image of me marching with Fast Food Workers shown here was published exactly 7 years ago. “Here’s what former Boloco CEO John Pepper is Working on Now” was the headline.
The article talked about my insights as an Uber Driver in 2013/2014 which led to building a technology product to help workers in Fast Food and other low wage industries use their collective voice to improve their lives and futures.
That was 2015. Today its 2022. And you know what? I’m still working on the same thing. No longer am I relying on myself to do it, that being said. I’ve advised and made a number of investments in start-ups that focused on worker justice these past few years. Worthee, our own solution (at the time called EEApp), is still pretty quiet… the search for that ever-elusive product/market fit still keeping us below the radar.
I always knew I could only stay in the restaurant business for so long, if all I could do was hawk burritos for a little more than they cost to produce. That held my interest for less than a year. But as long as Boloco can serve as a Petri dish for important experiments aimed at empowering workers on a small scale – with the hope that any successes could translate into larger scale – I’m totally happy to use food as the tool to innovate. Chipotle and Qdoba and so many others have long ago beaten us in the classic game of market share, but when a meaningful purpose drives your team forward every day, those metrics mean far less than they might have back in the early days.