The 3 Gs Necessary for Boloco’s Survival

A few weeks ago, I realized that Boloco’s survival was no longer in my hands. Control of our fate rests in what I have shared with a few are the 3 remaining Gs – God, Government, or Gatsby. We used to have other Gs, like Grit, Generosity, Goals, even Gutsy – those still matter, but aren’t enough on their own.

God is simple. An act of God… think vaccine as best example… arrives unexpectedly in the coming month or two and brings customers and consumers, families and workers, back into the cities and streets of Boston. While other cities are already experiencing resurgences as though a vaccine had been found and distributed, we all know that’s not the case. Boston is taking a cautious approach after a horrifying number of Covid cases and deaths in the early weeks of the pandemic… who can blame them for doing so (ok, don’t answer that, I can think of quite a few… not applicable at this. time 🙂

Government is another round of PPP. Especially targeted to businesses that don’t have large cash stockpiles already from private equity investors or public markets which in many cases guaranteed their survival. I’m not sure this would be right. The PPP funds were distributed according to payroll figures, and did not simply focus on survival of those struggling. Which means that those struggling prior to the pandemic are soon to find themselves in the same place if they haven’t already. The PPP funds as structured are a bandaid that essentially pauses the bleeding for a period of time. When the bandaid is pulled off, however, in. most cases the bleeding resumes where it left off.

Finally, there’s Gatsby, the only word that came to mind when thinking about what would actually work to not only keep Boloco afloat but allow it to grow and thrive on the other side of this pandemic. The problem is that the name Gatsby carries some pretty undesirable characteristics, so if I say this too loudly, nobody would choose to be known as such an individual. The Gatsby in my mind is one of the Good Gals or Guys, supports enterprises with a track record of doing the right thing, views a $3-5M check as easily doable and if lost not a consequential loss, and values the lives and esteem of the people doing the work as much as, if not more. than, the product or the profits that ensue from that work. Oh, there are so few of these Good Gatsby’s out there… at one time I might have been one. But the checks I wrote  in these past 5 years since bringing Boloco independent again have most definitely had consequences. Make no mistake, I’m still on the far edge of “lucky” in this world of embarrassing wealth inequality, but I’ve met my match when it comes to investing more in this business I helped start way back in 1997.

So there it is. Out in the open. Ready for support or criticism and anything in between. If you can’t share your truth today, when can you share? One foot in front of the other 🙂

written by John Pepper, co-founder