Saturday, 3 October 2009

Technology and the (almost) virtual company

Well, we've reached that time in our home renovations where we're ready for new flooring, and we thought we'd use the same people as last time, who are basically a hard working family of asian migrants, and who source their material direct from China and VietNam.

Last time, which is four years ago now, they were in a short term temporary lease shopfront in Dickson, in ChinaTown, but that's now a stylish VietNamese restaurant.

Googling for them brought up their website and their current address, now in a rather tatty industrial unit in Mitchell.

Well we went out there, looked at the flooring displays, chatted about costs, etc etc.

But what struck me was the sheer minimalism of the operation - a storage unit, a painted out office with the displays, a couple of mobile phones, and a wireless broadband connection - and I'd guess a skype account, both for overseas chats with suppliers and to provide a skype in number for people to call as if to a landline.

And that was it. The website, some technology, and the flooring. Yes sure they had stock, storage and a truck, but basically the whole enterprise would have fitted into the truck, enabling them to move from one cheap short term leased facility to another, and as all their technology was mobile no disconnection, reconnection or cabling fees.

And of course, as people only buy wood flooring a couple of times in their life, almost every customer is a first time customer, so the fact they keep changing physical addresses isn't a problem.

Strangely impressive as a business model...

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