Karen Boyd

  • Title: Karen Boyd
  • Address: karenboyd.org
  • Author: Karen Boyd
  • From: Normal Heights
  • Blogging since: January 2009

Post Title: Be Honest: Those Yellow Smileys Give You The Willies, Too.

Post Date: August 9, 2011

From a business major’s perspective, Wal-Mart does what they do very, very well. They have become the go-to example for price-cutting, scalability, success through operations excellence, and market power in a retailer.

From a human perspective, Wal-Mart is a boon for low-income families. People can buy almost anything they need there for way less than they could find it anywhere else, saving them time, money and gas.

I do have some issues with Wal-Mart…First, I find Wal-Mart stores pretty medium creepy…Price is the thing. Really, the only thing. It’s written in giant numbers everywhere, reducing the value of your experience with the brand to exact dollars and cents.

Wal-Mart is arguably the only retailer with true market power. To everyone else…a supplier can say, “Look, the price of this or that input has changed and we need to raise our price” and the retailer will have to give at least a little. Wal-Mart, however, makes up a huge portion of almost all their suppliers’ business…

The manufacturer scales up to meet the new demand, and they make tons of money. But they absolutely, positively cannot lose Wal-Mart as a customer… Wal-Mart can and will go to any supplier at any time and say “Sell these to us for a half-cent less per unit, or we’re dropping you.” Never mind that they have already bid their absolutely lowest price to get into Wal-Mart in the first place; they can’t risk losing the volume now that they’ve built the capacity: they have to. This kills no small amount of companies.

Additionally, Wal-Mart helps kill smaller competitors…[But] what’s worse (to me) is that Wal-Mart often kills non-competing businesses by shifting the center of town…It has also reduced both the quality of new goods and the difference in price between new and used goods enough to basically kill second-hand markets…If I may offer an alternative, I’d suggest the model employed by stores like Big Lots, GTM, and Marshalls: buying seconds and overstock of new merchandise from other retailers. It creates a low-price alternative without the built-in burden on communities.

Post Title: Signed, Sealed, Delivered – I’m Employed!

Post Date: May 4, 2011

I’m delighted to announce that after two months of interning I’ve signed an offer to work at Anametrix [in Sorrento Valley] full-time after graduation! YAY (!!) for employment! I’ll be doing marketing with a focus on leading our social media efforts. My job involves an embarrassing amount of Twitter.

[Sample Anametrix Tweet: “67% of decision-makers say they are using <1/2 of valuable data in their org. 96% use less than 75%.”]

I love entrepreneurial culture, which is why I chose the Rady School [at UCSD] for my MBA, but working full-time for a start-up means facing real risk to my financial livelihood every day. That hasn’t changed, but I’ve learned to channel that thrill into work ethic…

I’d like to give you a case study to illustrate my confidence in the team. On Friday afternoon, we participated in a tradition that our CEO has carried from his previous company: Champagne Friday. We met in the engineering room, as always, and opened two bottles of champagne and a bottle of sparkling cider while he talked about the week…

While we chatted about the company and our ideas, he selected two people to pull pieces of paper out of a ceramic mug: this is a new tradition. Each week, two employees are randomly selected to go out to lunch on the company’s dime to get to know each other and learn about what they each do.

Post Title: These Jeans Are Too Long

Post Date: April 2, 2011

I’m 6'1.5": taller than 99.9993% of women. (I just looked that up!)

This company [Buckle] sells jeans that are too long for me.

Obviously, I purchased them…at three times the price I’d ever paid for jeans. And even though the XLongs fit, I bought the XXLongs. Two full inches of glorious excess: I can cuff them and feel blessedly normal or wear even my tallest heels without issue.

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This is the best/rantyiest thing I've ever seen. Nice work!

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