April 29, 2017

Yoga, poker, 9 meetings, and needing to lie down

The meeting room in the basement of CloverHUB had been transformed into a poker den, complete with clamp lights over the tables and steel cases full of poker chips. Andrew, Clover’s training manager, had turned this week’s GM meeting into a poker match, an activity that most of the GMs were unfamiliar with. This sort of thing happens once a month as a reminder of how it feels to learn (and potentially be bad at) a new thing.

Jazz music blasted in the background, although at one point Ayr put on the Moana soundtrack. There were snacks (chips and dip, chocolate-covered almonds) and prizes (Joe won a Baratza coffee grinder!) So what was I doing there?

I got to be the first ever person to shadow Ayr for a day. He wants to roll this out as something that Clover leadership (team leaders, SCLs, etc.) can sign up for regularly, and I was a guinea pig for the whole thing. Here’s what the day looked like:

  • 7am – Yoga (Breathing Room in Central Square)
  • 8am – Meeting with HBS students 
  • 9am – Meeting with Ethan (systems engineer & head of IT) to go over updates to the Clover App 
  • 10am – Meeting with Rob (area manager & creator of the Baja Mushroom Sandwich) and Harvard on construction progress for CloverHSC
  • 11am – Meeting with Lucia (director of communications) about designs for compostable packaging
  • 12pm – Lunch with Gary (realtor from DC) – we had Daikon Radish sandwiches + Brothy Mushroom soups
  • 1pm – Brief meet-up with investor
  • 1:30pm – Meeting with CloverKND leadership about ways to improve operations and customer experience
  • 2pm – Food Dev Meeting (where the Mushroom Scrapple sandwich first appeared)
  • 3pm – People meetings (I did not go to these)
  • 4pm – General manager meeting (replaced by poker game)
  • 6:30pm – Dinner with some of the GMs 

Every meeting was on a completely different aspect of Clover’s business… And Ayr completely immersed himself in each of these aspects before moving on and completely immersing himself in the next. It felt like sprinting through a mental decathlon!

In between meetings were instances that weren’t directly business-related, but equally important to Ayr’s role as founder/CEO of Clover. He met with two HBS students hoping to make their way into the restaurant business. After lunch with Gary, he squeezed in a few minutes to give him a quick walking tour of downtown Boston where we tried a few lattes and espressos from different coffee shops. Right before his meeting in Kendall, he had an involved discussion with two customers about nutrition (all the fake nutrition science from the 80’s) and the healthiness of Clover food. And after the general manager meeting, he took a few of the GMs out to dinner. Seeing Ayr actually take the time for in-depth interactions with customers and coworkers also put my customer interactions into perspective.

I got home at around 9pm after a massive 14 hour day and needed to lie down. I’ve never traveled to so many different areas of Boston all in one day. And I’ve never experienced Clover like this before. So thank you Ayr, for this opportunity. Hopefully more of my coworkers will get to do this soon!

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