Doing the annual usage of hometown tax in Japan (see below) and I just love this option in a survey from one farming community, from which we are ordering a monthly subscription to 5kg of rice:

Connection to $TOWN: "It begins today."…
(I gave most of ours to Ogaki, my adopted hometown, and to Togo, the town Ruriko spent most of her life in, but we have a lot of tax to distribute so I did end up picking up a few things from other places while doing it.)
As mentioned in the above writeup, there is heated competition from basically everywhere in Japan for these "donations" (functionally they're redirection of tax payments at behest of the taxpayer), and some places optimize for competing in the national market for delicious goods.
"Do you ever worry you're stiffing Tokyo, Patrick?"

Without going into an inappropriate level of detail, I'd just say that the McKenzie family loves living in Tokyo and, if one oversimplified and modeled Tokyo solely as a revenue-seeking entity, Tokyo should love us right back.
I find myself loving this program even more after they nerfed the ability for cities to bid for donations with gift cards and other cash equivalents from 2019; a lot of places got much more creative and, while absolute value-for-yen declined, execution is much more thoughtful.
e.g. The three farming communities we're using all had a monthly subscription option for things produced locally, and they sound like e.g. "A rotating box of seasonal fruits produced in our town. Here's the schedule: January, 500g of... February, a box of..."
The aesthetics of that are brilliant; fruit on our table will have come *from a place.* The economics are brilliant; probably half of the fruits are things we, like a typical Japanese family, wouldn't generally choose to eat in a year.
And if they get us hooked on e.g. the locally produced niche longtail melon in June where are we very naturally and obviously going to get our niche longtail melon from? It's brilliant.
The economics are pretty attractive too; I assume it's somewhere on the order of $20 to $50 of fresh fruit a month, $5 to $10 delivery, for a $1,500 donation.

(Which is, again, effectively paid for by Tokyo.)
So that probably works out to something like 60% to town, 30% to farms in town + logistics network, 6~7% to the e-commerce site (what a great business to be in at scale), remainder to credit card ecosystem.
I've got to say this is operationally pretty brilliant, too; the town knows with total certainty by the end of December exactly how many boxes of e.g. strawberries it will buy from Tanaka Farms, can tell them "We're going to need 6,302 boxes in June", pay upfront, and...
... for delivery presumably they can just mail over a package of pre-addressed pre-paid labels for whomever the local package carrier is, who can go on *one* day to pick up *all* the strawberries the minimum number of trucks, then put them in the nationwide logistics system.
Which makes the process at the farm's end about as time-efficient as wholesaling / delivering to the farmer's cooperative which handles distribution normally, but presumably at a price point much closer to retail than the wholesale price.
(In the ordinary course, the more typical method of distribution is "wholesale the food to JA; JA takes care of introducing it into distribution ecosystem."

Decent writeup in English:… )
You can tell that I did *not* spend most of my life in an agricultural community, right.

(Strawberry season in Japan is from approximately December through May.)
And in a very its-a-small-world-after-all development, the e-commerce site I always use for this system is headquartered only a few hundred meters from my house.

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More from @patio11

23 Nov
In a sign of the times, the city of Ogaki (where I lived for about 10 years) is offering free Zoom calls with city officials for anyone considering (internal) migration to it.

They'll answer questions about e.g. childcare, schools, etc, and give you honey for showing up.
This is pitched as a response to the pandemic, which it surely is, but this also dovetails with Ogaki's interests in preventing the depopulation that is hitting much of Japan's regions. (Ogaki is definitely regional Japan, but is a "sleeper town" for Nagoya, a large city.)
If you're in Japan and interested in hearing the pitch:
Read 9 tweets
23 Nov
One of the less sung benefits of platforms is that you can have people who are very good and very specialized at business/marketing/product/etc create “pits of success” for the creators using the platforms.

This is a partial unbundling of the traditional employment transaction.
For example, every platform should have both pricing experts and creator education experts, and both the platform and the creators benefit enormously from nudging default pricing (generally upwards) versus letting creators just pick a number.
One of the things @delk used to do for Gumroad users was run through a deck with essentially two takeaways:

1) Charge more; you will make more

2) Have 3 things to sell not 1 for a given product, at price ratio X/1.8X/5X; you will make a lot more
Read 5 tweets
22 Nov
I just participated in a US-based family member's baby shower over Zoom and have some rather pedestrian observations on technology, culture, and 2020 colliding.
A coinage I can't get out of my head since hearing it on Twitter is the "Zoom class", and it was immediately obvious which family members were in the Zoom class and which weren't. First five minutes were corralling the non-members and dealing with IT issues.
Zoom is clearly the wrong tool for organizing a party, but at the same time it made a party possible during a coronavirus epidemic, and that party affirmatively included several family members abroad whereas no party prior to 2020 ever has, so I feel indebted to it.
Read 8 tweets
22 Nov
I find myself in a weird position where all of my credit cards think I'm a churn risk because no travel in 2020, and so their marketing departments are doing their best to retain me, and the best optimization I can do is buy pre-pay several years worth of U.S. Amazon purchases.
I keep waiting for Amazon to offer checking accounts but in the meanwhile it seems like the financial industry is synthetically offering me interest-bearing checking on balances up to around $5k with an APR in the 2.5% range?
Another way of thinking about it is "If our card is inactive in his wallet he is paying the annual fee of $350 to $450 and getting no value; how much of that are we willing to rebate to convince him not to churn? Should be all of it and then some, right, look at the history?"
Read 4 tweets
19 Nov
Email is one of the most important skills that isn't, you know, actually taught anywhere, except maybe by apprenticeship in sales and consulting organizations.

This seems like a missed opportunity for every organization which sits downstream of email.
"What do you mean 'email'?"

Literally everything. Inbox management; filters and tags. How to write well for different audiences. The social art of pinging. Difference between a query and status report. How to know what to never ever write in an email. etc, etc
Forward to legal, mark as Privileged and Confidential in subject line and at top, and say:

"Seeking your professional opinion with regards to this email I got [from someone who clearly didn't get the memo we didn't send about what not to write in an email]."
Read 6 tweets
18 Nov
So my two favorite companies (Stripe and @twilio) published a case study together about everyone's favorite topic, credit card authorization rates.…

I want to zoom in on what creates a tenth of that 10% uplift, because it's sort of wild. Image
Have you ever wondered what a credit card transaction looks like to the computers handling it, at the closest-to-the-bare-metal level of detail? Feel they're unlikely to be JSON given we've had them for 50+ years?

You're right. Meet our friend ISO 8583.
As a grossly simplified level of detail, the Internet is a network on which whose commerce gets reflected on other networks, which sometimes crisscross the Internet, shipping ISO 8583 messages between various parties.

Most relevantly from the perspective of declines, to issuers.
Read 20 tweets

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