Thoughts on friction from 2019 and 2022

I’ve been going through some of my other blogs and finding things that I forgot I wrote. For example, I wrote something on my Empoprise-BI blog entitled “When retailers INTRODUCE friction.”

It’s not surprising that I was writing about frictionless experiences in 2019. After all, my then-employer IDEMIA was promoting the touchless fingerprint reader MorphoWave and its use in places like dining halls.

By Tim Reckmann from Hamm, Deutschland – Frau mit Einkaufswagen, CC BY 2.0,

But I was surprised that my Empoprise-BI 2019 post started with a discussion on online shopping cart abandonment.

And there’s a dramatic financial incentive to make shopping frictionless – roughly 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned without the customer purchasing anything, a potential loss of revenue for the company. The same thing can happen at old-fashioned physical stores, except that in this case the abandoned shopping carts are real shopping carts – and if there’s frozen food sitting in an abandoned shopping cart, you have to deal with both lost revenue and lost inventory.


Why was I surprised? Because three years later Allen Ganz (a now-former coworker at my current company) discussed shopping cart abandonment, emphasizing the need for a frictionless experience.

In identity proofing, friction results when it takes significant effort for a person to prove who they are. If it takes a user too long to prove their identity, the user may become frustrated and give up. This hurts businesses that depend upon digital onboarding for their customers.


Whether you conduct business online or in-person, it’s wise to take an audit of your business practices to make sure you’re not throwing up roadblocks that keep your customers away. And not just the identity stuff; are there other things that make it hard for customers to buy from you?

Maybe your business hours aren’t convenient for people, like the restaurant that wasn’t open during breakfast and dinner hours, or…

…or the business consultant that wasn’t open weekdays.

Don’t count your bears, and don’t forget them either in Upland

I recently talked about planning for various scenarios, but I didn’t image something like this. Consider the following:

  • Amazon delivery drivers are measured on their ability to deliver packages. Kinda like U.S. Postal Service employees, but Amazon has better measurement tools.
  • Upland, California lies just south of a sparsely inhabited mountain range. Even though the mountain range has semi-desert conditions, the mountains are teeming with wildlife.

Put those two together, and you have this story from Los Angeles’ ABC station.

Yes, that’s an Amazon driver in the foreground, raising his hands to try to scare a bear away so he can make his delivery. He was successful.

The full Storyful video can be found here. (And of course it’s a Ring video. You didn’t expect a Nest video, did you?)

By the way, if your business has a story to tell, Bredemarket can help. (Psst: Upland businesses should scroll to the end of this page for a special “locals only” discount.)

If you would like Bredemarket to help your business tell your story…

Don’t count your chickens, but don’t forget them either

Six eggs.
Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. By TudorTulok – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

A business owner needs to prepare Plan A and Plan B, and usually several other plans besides.

  • What if one part of the business takes off beyond the business owner’s wildest expectations? (“Bredemarket will NEVER have to hire any employees…what, HOW many documents?”)
  • What if that part of the business instead becomes an abandoned haven for crickets?
Seemingly empty paddy field.
By Thamizhpparithi Maari – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

It’s important that the business remain as flexible as possible to prepare for possible eventualities, or at least the most likely ones. Don’t worry about the unlikely scenarios – for example, I never have to plan for a scenario in which Will Smith slaps someone and cusses the person out on live TV…wait, what’s that?

Planning…and writing

At Bredemarket, I’ve had business spring out of nowhere quickly, and I’ve had business not spring out of nowhere quickly.

  • In one case the time from initial contact to completed work and invoice was less than a day.
  • In other cases it took a little longer; it took me nearly eleven months to land a particular contract.
  • In other cases…I’m still waiting.

But that was the past, and now I face the future. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, especially as I explore various ways to reach my goals for 2022 (including the super-secret unpublished third goal). And I’m wondering how various events could affect these goals…and how the events can affect other events.

  • If event X occurs, how does this affect goal 1 and 3?
  • If event Y occurs, how does this affect goal 1 and 3?
  • If event X and event Y occur, then what happens?

Because I’m a writer, I have to write, and I’ve already started thinking through some of the “what ifs” attached to some of these events, and writing some draft communications that deal with the various events, should they happen.

But I’m leaving them in draft mode.

Because maybe neither event X nor event Y will occur.

But I’ll be ready if event Z occurs two years from now.

Planning…and planning

So how do you plan for events that may or may not occur?

Like any project, you start by taking a step back and examining the potential event at a high level.

And you start questioning, with not only “so what?” questions, but also with repeated “why?” questions (five whys is popular, but it can be any number). If you’ve never seen the five whys in action, watch this video. (H/T Mark Paradies at TapRooT.)


OK, maybe not that video.

But the important thing is to think about a potential event, what it means, and what ramifications emerge from that event if it occurs.

And then proceed accordingly…if the event happens.

Coffee and hair styling in Ontario, California

My local area is undergoing a transformation, with a number of new businesses appearing in the area. Oddly enough, I keep on seeing two distinctly different types of businesses appearing here.

Over the last couple of years, a number of coffee shops have opened in downtown Ontario (California, not Canada). I’m unintentionally going to leave many of them off this list, but a few of the new coffee shops include Mestiza Cakehouse and Cafe, Special Needz Coffee (with a second location inside 4th Sector Innovations), and Starbucks.

At the same time, a number of new hair stylists and barber shops have opened in downtown Ontario. Trust me, there’s a bunch of them.

I don’t know if this is public knowledge (it’s been discussed at the Ontario IDEA Exchange and other B2B forums), but downtown Ontario is even on track to have an establishment that combines the two business types. (Of course, a few of you have already figured out who I’m talking about.)

I guess that’s real life.

If you have a business and need to stand out from the crowd:

Also see

How can small and smaller businesses market themselves?

While Bredemarket sends its solicitations to a (targeted) group of businesses, Bredemarket itself receives solicitations from other businesses. However, sometimes it seems that the solicitations that I receive aren’t targeted that well.

(Of course, perhaps some of the recipients of my solicitations would claim that my targeting attempts are also deficient, so I should watch out about casting stones.)

If you ignore the completely off-the-wall solicitations that I receive, some of the more serious solicitations just do not match Bredemarket’s needs.

For example, I’ve received at least one pitch from a company that offers to provide all of the human resources services that Bredemarket needs for a low monthly fee.

By Alan Cleaver from Whitehaven, United Kingdom – Interview, CC BY 2.0,

A fine service to be sure…but since Bredemarket is a sole proprietorship that doesn’t engage other people as either employees or subcontractors, a human resources service would be overkill.

The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a “small business” as a company with fewer than 1,500 employees and an average of $38.5 million in average annual receipts. My one-person company certainly has fewer than 1,500 employees, and I’m probably not revealing any confidential information when I say that Bredemarket’s average annual receipts are less than $38.5 million.

So I guess Bredemarket is a “very” small business.

But there are even smaller businesses.

Nano-small businesses of the past

Just to put things into perspective, Bredemarket has a city business license, has filed a fictitious business name statement with San Bernardino County, has a published address at which it receives mail, has received an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and files quarterly estimated taxes with both the IRS and California’s Franchise Tax Board.

Years ago, I operated a much smaller business that didn’t have any of those things.

Specifically, I was a paperboy.

Several decades before my time, but you get the drift. By Ruddy, Marjorie Georgina (1908-1980) – Whitby Public Library, Reference No. ruddymg_050_002, Public Domain,

Way back in the Dark Ages (before the Kardashian/Jenner women became famous independent of O.J. Simpson), newspapers were delivered by people under the age of 18. These days, the few physical newspaper deliveries that I see are performed by adults driving cars and throwing papers out the window. Former papergirl Molly Snyder explains the shift:

The shift in carriers’ age was due partly to the disappearance of evening newspapers that provided student-friendly delivery times. The accessibility of internet news, growing concerns for the safety of un-escorted kids, and new distribution procedures also affected the change.

“To remain profitable, we phased out the ‘neighborhood shacks’ and home drop offs and migrated to larger distribution centers dealing solely with adult distributors,” said Ronald Zinda, distribution supervisor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel of 45 years.

Nano-small businesses of the present

Even with the disappearance of paperpeople, there are a number of jobs today that fly under the radar of the Internal Revenue Service, city business license departments, and other government regulatory bodies. Here are a few examples; while some of these types of business may actually comply with government reporting requirements, many of them don’t.

By Nalbarian – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
  • The person on the street corner selling fruit treats.
  • The person on the street corner selling flowers.
  • The teenager who comes up to your door selling candy for a school club, a sports team, or as part of a supposed program to keep kids out of trouble by having them walk around neighborhoods and sell stuff after dark.
  • The person who sells homemade crafts.

Bredemarket can’t really serve these nano-small businesses. When your products (fruit treats, flowers, or whatever) only cost a few dollars, you’re not going to pay Bredemarket hundreds of dollars to create content for your website or social media outlet. In fact, you probably don’t even HAVE a website or a social media outlet.

Which businesses NEED Bredemarket’s services?

Let’s move up a step and look at small businesses that have an established online identity, do their best to comply with business requirements, and meet the IRS definition of a (non-hobby) ongoing concern.

Now any of those businesses COULD use Bredemarket’s services…but many of them don’t NEED Bredemarket. A number of small businesses are doing just fine in meeting their business goals, and are perfectly capable of taking care of the written communications necessary to keep the business profitable.

But what about the businesses that have particular goals that they can’t meet? Specifically, what about businesses that need targeted, regular online content to make customers aware of the business, but the business owners don’t have the time (or the inclination) to create the necessary online content?

By Unknown author – postcard, Public Domain,

If you own a business and need a consultant to help you create online content for your website, your Facebook or LinkedIn page, or for another communication method (even paper), Bredemarket can help. My “What I Do” page lists the types of written content that I can create for your business, including both short length (400-600 word) and medium length (2800-3200 word) content. (No, I don’t author individual tweets, but I guess I could author a thread if you like.)

If you’re interested in using my marketing and writing services, talk to me. I can collaborate with you to ensure that your business goals are met and your business messages are disseminated.

COVID is no longer profitable (for a few, anyway)

In the spring of 2000, the COVID-19 crisis brought vast changes to economies throughout the world. Some businesses completely ground to a halt, such as sporting events, while a number of new businesses sprang up.

Now that COVID is (hopefully) receding, some of those newer businesses are fading away.

Take Maskalike – please! as of June 29, 2021.

Before COVID hit, you generally only saw people wearing masks in operating rooms, unless you visited Disneyland and saw Asian visitors walking around with masks. All of a sudden EVERYONE was wearing masks, and you had people getting creative in their design. Maskalike’s gimmick was to create masks that looked just like the portion of your face that was being covered by the mask.

But Maskalike is closing down in a few short days.

It’s been an amazing run bringing thousands of smiles to people, but this project was always supposed to be temporary and we’re getting busy with new ideas. If you have any questions, or want to acquire this company, get in touch. Otherwise, get your order in!

Let’s face it: people aren’t going to be buying a lot of masks any more. In fact, I’m sure that some people never want to see a face mask ever again.

Perhaps some novelty company will buy Maskalike and include it in its catalog, along with other gimmicky things.

If not, it was good while it lasted.

And I’m still keeping my Rodrigo’s mask that I won on Instagram, even though I have no idea where I’m going to wear it.