whole foods peeled oranges

Whole Foods’ Irony is an Example of Making it Easy for Customers

It was a true irony when Whole Foods started selling peeled oranges by replacing the natural peel with a plastic container. For an organic and natural food retailer, this was a cardinal sin.

Whole Foods quickly recognized their mistake and retracted the product.

It should be obvious how critical it is to meet BOTH the tangible needs and core values of your customers. Selling plastic-packaged peeled oranges makes very little sense when you evaluate that product from the point of view of their customer’s core values (generally, they value natural, organic materials and wish to minimize their burden on the environment). At first glance, this seems like an obvious mistake of Whole Foods; a moment of insanity by the produce manager. 😱

But less obvious from Whole Foods’ mistake is a hidden lesson: What can we do to make it as easy as possible for customers to consume our products/services? 💡

At this point in my life, I would never purchase a peeled orange. I don’t want to spend the money on it, plus it doesn’t seem as sanitary, and it does seem wasteful to have to throw away the plastic packaging. However, for a segment of customers with specific needs (use-case) the peeled orange was very helpful. Assuming it’s easier to open these plastic containers, pre-peeled oranges can be a great convenience to people who have limited use of their hands from injury or diseases such as arthritis or rheumatism. And for customers who have a preference for traditional, non-peeled oranges, those are still available for purchase.

The lesson I learn from Whole Foods’ mistake is to make it as easy as possible for customers to access your product. The easier it is to consume the more people will buy AND/OR you’ll attract new customers who will now be able to buy your product.

What do you learn from this?

remote controls commercials and team cadence

What I Learned about Team Cadence When My Wife Had the Remote Control

If you’re a sports fan with DVR, you usually have a queue of recorded sporting events to catch up on before you accidentally come across the scores in the ticker tape, headlines, get a score notification on your mobile device, or a text from a friend ruining the surprise. 😖 And, if you’re going to get through that queue of excitement quickly but without missing the action, you have to be skilled with a remote control to skip the commercials and intermissions.

There is Skill to Using a Remote Control

I have mastered just such a skill.  I have a sense of knowing when to start and how long to 4xfast-forward (>>>>) the recording before I need to push the play button again just as the commercials end and the sporting event resumes. I have the muscle memory for knowing how many taps of the fast-forward button and how long to let it fast-forward before pushing the play button. This muscle memory has developed because the commercial breaks are predictable enough that I can almost anticipate when they start and stop.

It wasn’t until I let my wife hold the remote and be responsible for skipping the commercials did I realize that she was still learning the higher ways of using the remote control. She didn’t fast forward right at the beginning of a commercial break, so we were stuck watching lame commercials for a while. Then, sometimes she fast forwarded too much and we missed part of the game when it came back on. If you’re Type A like I am, it is a little painful to refrain from taking over. 😱

Are You That Familiar with Your Team’s Cadence?

Because of enough experience with television programming, commercials, and the remote control, I can skip commercials with ease. I also have a sense for my team’s cadence of accomplishing tasks. Do you have a sense for how fast your team is moving? Does your team have a rhythm, a fairly consistent burn down rate or velocity? Would you notice when things change? I did.

We have a new project that is running over time and over budget. This new project has been particularly challenging because it has required a new development skill-set, new tools and new service. It’s an important project, but our approach has taken us out of our normal expertise. We had a chance to re-evaluate that project and decided to slow down development on that project and re-focus on our core projects.

Within two days of redirecting our development toward the tasks that we normally work on, I noticed we were completing the development we are more familiar with at a much faster pace and more predictable rate (cadence).

I also noticed a change in the demeanor of those affected. We had added motivation and energy because we were able to get things done.

When I have the remote, we watch fewer commercials and more sports. When my wife has the remote, we watch more commercials and less sports. Likewise, when your team is taking on tasks that they are not familiar with doing, you will get less accomplished and perhaps be frustrated.

My Wife Helped Me Connect the Remote Control and Team Cadence

I’m not throwing my wife under the bus. She is amazing. ❤️ She just wasn’t doing what she does best (baking cinnamon rolls is where she really excels). She was actually trying to help me relax and watch games while my hands were full typing blog posts. But then she also taught me something:

If your burn down rate or development velocity is not what it normally is, then you might reconsider whether what you are doing now is what you are best at doing.


A Free Spreadsheet to Track and Measure A/B Marketing Campaigns

When you are new to using A/B testing for your marketing campaigns, the whole process can be a little overwhelming. There are software service platforms available that can help manage the A/B testing process, but those are often expensive. And if you don’t know what those A/B testing platforms are doing in the first place, you can waste a lot of time and money by mis-configuring your campaigns and platform fees.

If you are new to A/B testing, I’d recommend you start your A/B testing campaigns by tracking the performance manually.

The Basics of A/B Testing – One Split for Each Change

I won’t get into the statistics of A/B testing, but one very critical thing you need to realize is that you must change only one element of a campaign at a time. You can only change the discount amount, or the color of a button, or a title of a campaign, or the elapsed time before an ad is shown, etc. For example, you will need to setup a campaign with one discount amount and then another advertisement where the only change you made is the discount amount. You can setup as many campaigns as you’d like, but each campaign and each variation can only be different by one parameter. 🤔

That one principle is essential for the A/B testing to be accurate. If you need more clarification, please ask a question below or get into a statistics course (I took two or three of them). 😀

Free A/B Testing Spreadsheet

Now that you understand the statistics of A/B testing, or at least how to get started, here is a free A/B testing analysis spreadsheet that can help you track and measure the performance of these campaigns. Please take a look: 👀


I’ve included some example data to help you get started. The advantage of this spreadsheet is that you can keep track of your A/B testing over time, not just compare campaigns one at a time, manually.

Here are the instructions:

  1. This document is Read Only, but you can Copy/Save this document to your own Google Drive account to make changes.
  2. Replace the example data in the green columns with your own data.
  3. Choose which control group to compare against in columns U9:AA9 (yellow cells).
  4. When you want to add more campaigns, add an additional row and copy and paste the cells from one row into that new row.


  • This spreadsheet will help you measure visits, clicks, conversions, refunds, revenue, statistical significance, etc.
  • If the “T @ 90%”, “T @ 95%”, and/or “T @ 99%” trigger to “YES” that means that campaign is statistically different from the control group.

Credit to EventEspresso.com and EventSmart.com for letting me share this with you.

Again, if you have questions, feel free to ask below.

If you find this helpful, please share it. 🤘

counting priorities

3 Factors to Quickly Set Short-term Development Priorities

There are an unlimited number of factors you could take into consideration when determining what projects or tasks should be a priority. You will likely use different factors when considering long or short term priorities too. What factors you actually use will be a reflection of the mission of your organization. Recently I spent a little time setting priorities for our Event Espresso and Event Smart developers for the next week. During this process I used Speed, Impact and Strategy to make the process of setting short-term priorities more practical. 🔨

Most Factors Distill Down to the Mission of the Organization

If the organization has a mission to make money, the organization will focus on what will drive money now and later. If the organization is focused on a different specific purpose, then the purpose of the day will be whatever can forward that mission.

Sometimes the “Mission” is Too Ambiguous to be Helpful

However, sometimes using the mission of the organization is not clear enough for the day-to-day decision making to be very helpful.

Here is a mission statement for Coca Cola that is probably less than helpful for a manager or programmer to decide what software code to work on today.

The Coca Cola Company Mission. Our mission is: To refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.

If you’re a programmer could you justify doing yoga to support that mission statement? 🤔

And if you’re the manager of that programmer, you won’t be very happy with the progress of your software project at the end of the week.

We have a mission statement and vision for Event Espresso, but that’s not necessarily enough to tell us what we should work on today, tomorrow or next week. For the real short-term planning I favor: speed, impact, and strategy.


Speed is important because sometimes a developer can complete a task (or several tasks) that can collectively improve a customer’s experience. Sometimes a few quick wins can increase your team’s morale, momentum and energy.

Getting a batch of issues resolved quickly can also clarify the fewer remaining tasks.

Even if a task has a lot of impact (discussed next), it might take a long time to get done, which can delay other enhancements.

So, the speed or velocity of completing the tasks is important. The faster a developer or development team can get something done the more likely it will be a priority today.


Some of the tasks you might consider will be trivial or significant. In the short-run, I favor projects that can have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time. We often categorize tasks by the amount of work we expect it will take. So when we are evaluating a task we can get a sense that if we invest a little in that task it will be done pretty quickly. That gives us confidence that we can make customers happy and increase our chances of gaining market share in the event registration and ticketing software space.


Even if there are features or bug fixes that customers want addressed, and we can do that task quickly, that still doesn’t mean those tasks should be a priority. In the software business you want to avoid throwing every little suggestion into your program. Unnecessary features and code creates technical debt that will have to be maintained and will impact future development (for good or bad). So, only when a task fits into the purpose of your software should you consider investing resources into that code.

What factors do you consider?

There are a lot of other great factors that could also be considered, such as marketability, popularity, etc… but I’ve discussed just a few of the more easily understood factors I use to help set development priorities in the short-term.

Give some encouragement and share a little…What factors do you use to quickly set short-term priorities? If you haven’t thought about it specifically, pause for a minute then tell me what you think.