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As writer Mark Bittman continues his transition from New York Times food columnist to entrepreneur, as he works as chief innovation officer for startup Purple Carrot, described as "a meal kit delivery service for vegans," he's been chronicling his experiences for Fast Company. And we've been linking to them here on MNB.

The fourth column in the series is out, entitled "Yikes - Does My Startup Need To Become A Tech Company, After All?"

An excerpt:

"The main challenge of customer acquisition is lowering the cost of our product without sacrificing our quality or our values," Bittman writes. "But in almost every business that’s even remotely akin to ours—from supermarkets to magazines to online retailers—it’s customer retention that really matters, and for that we’re going to need to know our not only our current but our future customers.

"This will take sophisticated data collection and analysis, and I’m not sure anyone has packaged what we actually need here (email me if I’m wrong please), because the notion of a mission-driven, for-profit meal kit company is a relatively new one ... We’ll know if we’re connecting with our customers, of course, by analyzing user churn and our staying power. But we won’t know whether we’re maximizing those relationships, marketing to the right new customers, and generally being the best company we can be for them without making a series of data-driven judgments about how to best make those connections."

It is a very interesting and relevant analysis, and you can read the entire column here.
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