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4 Case Studies that prove digital is changing how the best do business

Why would Amazon buy a doorbell company for $1B?

Why is Dominos investing in driverless cars?

Apple’s second-highest revenue source isn’t a hardware product. It’s also the future of Apple. What is it?

Why do these companies continue to make business decisions that seem to be outside of their wheelhouse? What do they see that the rest of us don’t?

Winners focus on making their businesses different through technology, not on the technologies themselves. They think different. You can differentiate your company through three broad categories of digital capability:

  • Differentiator #1 – Focus on building an amazing customer experience
  • Differentiator #2 – Focusing on automating your business and overall automation efficiency
  • Differentiator #3 – Maximize revenue through business model creation

Let’s dive into the case studies.

Case Study #1 – Domino’s isn’t a pizza company. It’s an e-Commerce company that just happens to sell delicious pizza.

Google “best pizza in the USA” and Domino’s is nowhere to be found. Not in the top 10 or even the top 100. So, how has Domino’s grown over 5,000% since 2008?

Well, the growth has nothing to do with the tastiness of the pizza. It’s the technology behind the pizza. They get the pizza to you in a way that no other pizza company does, and that is a huge factor behind their growth.

“We used to be a pizza company that sells online, and we needed to become an e-commerce company that sells pizza,” Dennis Maloney, Domino’s chief digital officer for the 14,400-store chain based in Ann Arbor, Mich. “That was one of the big a-ha moments that caused a lot of conversation within the company.” [source]

Look at Domino’s mission:

Leading the internet of food in every neighborhood

Think about that for a second. The word internet is in the mission statement. This is a sign that they have truly embraced digital as a way of life. Let’s look at some of the digital aspects Domino’s introduced to compliment the ordering process.

  1. A pizza tracker – Know exactly what stage your pizza is in at any second.
  2. Self-Driving Pizza Delivery – Ford has partnered with Domino’s to test delivery by self-driving cars.
  3. A feature that allows customers to order via Twitter if they use the pizza emoji.
  4. They even tried drone delivery in New Zealand and driverless car deliveries in Ann Arbor, Mich.


Case Study #2 – Why would Amazon buy a doorbell company for $1 Billion Dollars?

Ring, the doorbell company that famously got rejected by Shark Tank, got acquired by Amazon for $1B. But, why?

It’s a doorbell that has a built-in video camera so you can see who’s at your door. A great idea, sure. Worth $1B, though? A doorbell with a camera?

Well, package theft is a huge problem for Amazon customers and this is a way to reduce that in a smart way. With the acquisition of Ring and their keyless entry program, it sets them up perfectly for getting packages delivered INSIDE your home regardless of where you are at the time. You’ll know anytime someone is at your door, and can explicitly grant access through RING and their keyless program to drop packages off inside your home or even on your porch, whatever your preference is.

Let’s not forget about their purchase of Whole Foods. This allows Amazon to get groceries to you INSIDE your home, even when you’re not there.

For Amazon, it’s ALL about the experience. It’s not about how many doorbells they can sell or making a doorbell that’s better than the next person. Amazon knows that customer experience sells, and that’s a mentality all organizations should have.


Case Study #3 – Would you let a robot make your financial decisions? The resounding answer is surprisingly, yes!

Betterment is one of the leaders in completely automated fintech solutions. As of late 2018, they have $15.5 billion under management and we’ve crossed 400,000 customers.  That’s a lot of trust in a machine, don’t you think?

“Automated investment services are successful because they are automated, not because they are low priced. They are low priced because they are automated, but that’s not why most people choose them.” [source]

What can betterment automate exactly?

  • Account creation
  • Account funding
  • Portfolio management
  • Managing deposits & withdrawals
  • Tax minimization

Betterment has proven that machines make better financial decisions than you and other financially trained humans. Automation isn’t just delegated to backend office automation. Automation paired with Machine Learning can help your business or your customers make better decisions even without their involvement.

So, what can smart automation do for your business?

Case Study #4 – Apple’s second biggest source of revenue is a faster-growing business than Nike

Apple’s #1 revenue source is the iPhone.

Do you know what Apple’s #2 revenue source is? Macbooks? Apple Watch? The iPad? The iMac? Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

Services. Yes. Their second revenue source is services. Apple makes $10B per quarter on services revenue.

Apple’s “services” category has become an incredibly important business for the iPhone maker — services being the category that includes everything from iTunes to the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, and more. This is the segment of Apple’s operation that generates cash from digital content and services, and it’s become such a key driver that it’s now Apple’s second biggest source of revenue after the all-important iPhone.


Tech is building different kinds of businesses, and so will take different shares of that opportunity, but more importantly change what those industries look like. Tesla isn’t interesting because of what it does to gasoline, but because of what it does to the car. Netflix changes TV, but so does Twitch. ~ Benedict Evans

The opportunity to grow your business is bigger than ever before. If you focus on building a great customer experience, automate aspects of your business and identifying new business models, you will see growth in many aspects of your business.