Things I’d like to do in 2013

Over the past 10 days I’ve spent 20+ hours in airplanes… the result of living on a different continent from family during the holidays. The vast majority of this time was spent watching movies and reading magazines, but as my mind wandered for the first time ever I found myself compiling a variety of New Year’s Resolutions.

This resulted in a list of 6 resolutions, which I intended to whittle down to one key objective for 2013.

As I contemplated the relative importance of each item, it dawned on me that I could achieve the full list in 2013 if I put my mind to it. In fact, the items ended up being things I wanted to do more – opposed to the typical metric-driven resolutions. So, the following is my “Things I’d like to do in 2013″ list:


I want to bring back music to my life. Although I love not having a car in London, I do miss the hour of radio inherent in a typical US commute I’ve played piano for more than 20 years and just last month I received a keyboard for my 30th birthday – so not only do I want to listen to more music, I also want to play more music.


I want to wake up earlier. I am naturally a night owl and often most productive after midnight. However, I feel like allowing extra time in the morning will result in a more calm and focused day ahead.


I want to eat more protein for breakfast. My energy level is always higher when I substitute eggs for cereal or a protein smoothie for a granola bar. It’s just a matter of time. Waking up early will allow me to make a healthy, balanced breakfast for my wife and I.


I want to travel more. I’ve been living in London for 2 years and failed to make a serious effort to prioritize travel. This will change in 2013 as I intend to plan trips further in advance and utilizing more of the glorious vacation time allotted in the UK. Columbia, Turkey, and Greece are just the beginning…


I want to think more often. Not just the typical daily task-based thinking… but really stepping back to ponder things I find important. This could include anything from weighing the pros and cons of an interesting startup during a leisurely museum stroll, to thinking through all aspects of an topic while wandering through a park.


I want to take more short breaks during the day. In my opinion too many people correlate time sitting at a desk with the amount of work being done. I’m a true believer in quality over quantity, and my preferred way to achieve this is through short bursts of high-quality activity followed by down time. Sitting for more than 90 minutes isn’t productive, and I intend to do less of this in 2013.

Razor usage tracker

Razor usage tracker

Like most people, at times I come up with what I believe are “bright ideas.” I typically place these ideas safely in an Evernote folder to sit for eternity. This folder now consists of 20+ ideas that to date have not seen the light of day.

Well, my bright idea for today was to post these ideas on my new AndyinLondon blog. This way there’s an off chance some entrepreneur will be in the position to pursue said idea. So here goes nothing…

The Razor Usage Tracker

I hate shaving. The hairs on my neck grow in crazy directions, and inevitably I walk away bleeding from most shaving encounters.

Electric razors work well on my face, but I’ve found a standard 2-blade razor is best for my neck. It’s not full-proof, but the first 3-4 razor uses I walk away relatively nick-free.

The problem – if I use a razor more than 5 times, I start bleeding profusely (believe me, it’s bad).

I try my best to remember how many times I’ve used a razor, but seeing as I shave every 2-3 days this requires me to track my shaving for over two weeks. What typically happens is I only throw a razor away when I bleed excessively – I’m guessing this averages the 7th or 8th shave.

The solution – a simple way to track my razor usage. I could envision this “tool” would be able to attach to any razor and include a simple counting mechanism up to say 10 uses (some people use razors longer than I do).

I’m actually surprised manufacturers don’t just design an integrated razor tracking system. Brita does for their water filters – in essence two stickers. I for sure change my water filter more often because of the sticker. Wouldn’t the razor manufacturer sell more razors if users were reminded to change often.

So, there’s my first bright idea – a simple way to track razor usage. It might not change the world, but it’s surely a problem that I would be willing to pay for a solution (and am guessing others do as well).

My neck awaits your brilliant solution to this problem…

Where’s the McUpsell?

I love McDonald’s sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffins. Not only are they tasty, but with 23g of protein and 430 calories they’re a relatively healthy breakfast and keep me full until lunch (1).

My week consists of 2-3 McMuffin stops. I order exactly the same thing in exactly the same way: “I’ll take a sausage, egg, and cheese McMuffin, please.” To my seemingly specific order, the McDonalds employee responds the same way every time:

“Do you want just the muffin, or the meal?”

The question is typically asked in a slightly hesitant tone, almost inferring that my order is the first in history to exclude the obviously desirable meal deal. The thing is… after eating at least 500 McMuffins in my life, I have no clue what a McMuffin meal deal includes. And I only have a vague idea what a McMuffin meal upgrade costs (I’m guessing $1.50). To this I say:

Where’s the McUpsell?

I am a proud owner of McDonalds stock. Yes because of the company’s unbelievable brand value. But I’ll admit – mostly because I love my McMuffins. After owning MCD for a while, I’ve started to recognize a phrase called “same store sales” is a big deal. Most of the time same store sales vary because of the economy or different menu options. Well, here’s my suggestion to McDonalds:

Train your employees to convey what an upgrade cost and the additional value it includes.

Train your employees to convey what an upgrade cost and the additional value it includes. Click To Tweet

By informing customers about a meal deal’s value proposition, I’m guessing there’s a high probability many (including myself) would upgrade. I understand memorizing all possible upgrades isn’t easy. Upselling takes strong product knowledge and the incentive to go above and beyond. But think of the rewards.

  • The average McDonalds restaurant serves 1584 customers/day who pay approximately $4.75 per order – resulting in annual restaurant sales of $2.7m. (2)
  • Let’s estimate a strong McUpsell would convert 2% of customers (3) to purchase a meal deal (4). This doesn’t seem like much, but if these 32 customers pay 60% extra for a meal – each restaurant would make an additional $33,300/year in revenues (5). That’s like adding 4 days!
  • I estimate a McUpsell would increase global revenues by $225m/year (6). This equates to 12% of McDonalds total revenue increase between 2011-12. In addition, because meal deals include higher margin items (fries, drink, etc.) they’re great for profit margin.

I’m guessing there are a variety of industries that would benefit from instilling more of an upsell mentality. Gas stations? Movie theaters? Restaurant servers and car salespeople have been employing the upsell – but then again they’re compensated as a % of revenues.

There are a variety of industries that would benefit from instilling more of an upsell mentality Click To Tweet

It’s a difficult task to supply the training and motivation required to instill a McUpsell mentality, but I’m guessing over time the benefits often far outweigh the initial hurdles.

Thanks to @FranciscoGtrz for diligently checking my math skills (I was awarded a C+)

(1) I am now actually told that a .78 protein to fat ratio may be “nutritionally poor”
(3) I could see 1/50 customers go for a really solid McUpsell
(4) Assumed minimal dropoff from longer waiting lines
(5) $.65 increase x 32 customers x 365 days
(6) McDonalds operates about 6775 of it’s own stores X $33,300

30 today, time to go big time!

Yep, today is my 30th birthday.

And I’m thinking there’s no better way to celebrate than start something I’ve always wanted to do – in this case my own blog.

At the moment I don’t have really a goal in mind for blogging, so much as a desire to aggregate my thoughts in one central place. I figure, why not share those thoughts with the world?

Worst case scenario – nobody cares.

Best case – a few people other than immediate family care (hi mom).

So, we shall see what the future holds. From here on out I’m going to shoot for 2-3 posts a week. More is very much acceptable. Less would be unfortunate, and likely means I’m not trying hard enough.

Hopefully something valuable comes from these thoughts…