Common Sense in the Land of Unicorns
Spend any time in The Bay Area and you’ll hear tales of unicorns and overnight billionaires. These mythical successes are no longer considered magical; they’re the status quo. But history has shown that great companies — especially those that are as committed to doing good as they are to doing well — rarely spring up overnight. They are carefully built piece by piece, goal by goal, year by year. Sure, super-sized valuations, big checks and shiny press can be intoxicating. But take a step back and you start to see what is lost when we focus too narrowly on valuation over real value: We lose sight of the purposeful path to greatness.
Good Eggs had just learned this lesson firsthand when I joined as CEO last December. The company had scaled too quickly, to too many cities and needed time to refocus. As someone who’s spent the last decade building values- and customer-driven food companies, and as a relative outsider to the tech world, I was shocked by how they, like so many early stage startups, had ignored the importance of coupling passion with business basics. Improving margins and watching overhead aren’t sexy. They don’t make for great cocktail conversation, but they are the foundational necessities needed to create lasting change.
However, I was deeply inspired by the company’s mission to grow and sustain local food systems and the team’s persistent ambition to transform an established industry. Good Eggs had built a community of zealous customers and extraordinary food producers, now they just needed to fix the fundamentals. With this rare opportunity to recalibrate and refocus, I was eager to begin carving Good Eggs’ new path.
By using a common sense, people-first approach, we’ve been able to reignite our business. For 20 straight weeks, our margins have improved and we’re consistently in the black. We answered our customers’ number one request: adding thousands of quality grocery essentials to our market, so they could rely on Good Eggs for more of their weekly shopping. We focused on operations, and now 95% of orders are delivered perfectly, up from 75% just a few months ago. Our work has paid off over the last 6 months; our existing customers have increased their annual spend by 50%, soaring above other grocery services, including Amazon Fresh, Instacart and Fresh Direct. And we’re just getting started.
Bentley Hall is the CEO of Good Eggs.