July 8, 2015

Can I hack the CloverPOS

This was the subject of an email I received back in November 2014. Ethan was an employee at CloverKND that I had not yet met. His email signature said was was MIT, Class of 2014, Course 6-3. I thought we should meet.

POS is an acronym for “Point of Sale.” It’s what the retail industry calls fancy cash registers. In our case it’s a pretty serious order management system that allows us to serve many customers. I first developed our POS back in 2009 when I became frustrated that our paper system couldn’t get to more than 1.2 customers/ minute throughput and the existing electronic systems were dumb. Course 6-3 means Ethan knew more than a little bit about building really cool software.

At the time we were using a distributed team of 3rd party engineers to build out POS and I wasn’t sure where Ethan would fit in. But I thought we should meet. I listened to what he found interesting about Clover, and learned why he took an hourly job at our restaurant ($10/ hour is good starting pay for our industry, but it’s a bit different than his other options out of MIT).

A week later I had a proposal for a solution for our dynamic displays and hired Ethan as a contractor in addition to his hourly role. Then this past May I felt we were at a point where we could create a serious role for him and was thrilled that he decided to join us. So Ethan is the newest member of my staff.

This is a really big deal for Clover, but more than that I think it’s a really big deal for all of you. It’s not hyperbole when I say that Clover could not exist 10 years ago. The technology we need to run our business didn’t exist then. And I think the positive future of food that we’re bushwacking toward will require a bunch more cool new tech. And this is in the face of an industry that is a serious technology laggard. Which is why we’re going to have to build our own.

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