Business is Social

Last night Agam and I ended our veggie fast and decided to just go for the meat. Being an Indian, my definition of meat is mostly limited to chicken and seafood. I don’t classify one against the other. All classifications are overrated, and are usually the root of all evil. My bland taste (caused by fever) was craving something spicy. It is amazing that as soon as I get sick, the first thing that I lose interest in, is food. No I am not asking for any prolonged illness. I am just citing an observation. I was under the weather for the last few days and that helped me ignore the fact that my diet was limited to only vegetarian food. As soon as I felt a little better, my tongue started salivating for something spicy and something chewy. I yelped a few places and picked Da Sichuan restaurant in Palo Alto. Just like a book and its cover, never judge a restaurant by its name. The Lotus restaurant in Fairfax and Da Sichuan have now convinced me of this theory.

Da Sichuan is run by an energetic middle aged couple who are a delight to talk to. They are full of menu recommendations and bear a smile that lightens up your face, even at 9:00pm at night, after a long day at work. They have da best Sichuan food you can get in the bay area. It was super spicy and super delicious, just like it should be.  Agam and I thoroughly enjoyed the food and the company there and highly recommend it to anyone who likes their spice level just a notch above normal.

The experience was even more special for me, because it reminded me of my trip to HangZhou and all the yummy cuisines that I explored there. Sichuan was definitely my favorite and I still remember the restaurant that we went to with the team. Darren was sitting next to me, and as expected was super scared of all those red sichuan chillies that were featured in all the dishes. He ended up eating just rice that night. While I indulged in all the spices that tasted even better when paired with chilled rice beer. Sigh! Those were fun-filled days spent with the team that will be hard to bring back ever again.

Anyway, so back to Da Sichuan and the reason for this post. On our way out, as Agam was paying at the counter, the owner of the restaurant asked him if he worked at Google. That was probably because he was wearing one of his Google swags. This is one of the most awkward moments for him, always. Regardless, he confirmed her assumption and she went on to ask what he did there. This was even more awkward for him, but he finally mumbled some words that she sort of ignored. She then straightaway jumped to her next question, “So how can I get that Google sticker on my door, just like I got one for Yelp?” My eyes gleamed with joy hearing the social aspirations of this fine restaurant owner. She wanted her restaurant to be listed under Google Local and wanted to know the process. She wants the same sticker that other restaurants have that somehow suggest to a customer the restaurant’s association with something social. I applauded her inquisitiveness and promised her that we would find an answer to her and get back to her soon. (Agam, you own this task). This woman was my delight of the day.

Social happens to be the one language that everyone understands, even a Taiwanese woman who runs a sichuan restaurant in the middle of Palo Alto. She understands that business is social. She understands the value of social networks and wants to use them for her benefit.

Everyone who has any sort of B2B, B2C or C2C operations, needs to start thinking of their business in a social way. That according to me is the theme of this century.

No, Marc Benioff did not pay me anything to write this. I believe in this theory and count myself lucky to be a consumer in today’s’ world as businesses around me reinvent themselves and incorporate social as they grow. And, needless to mention, I also count myself lucky to work for a company that enables this vision.

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