Sterling Hawkins

Co-founder, CART
Sterling Hawkins is out to break the status quo to create what’s actually possible for humanity in our time. He has spent his career igniting new views and inspiring people to act on them. His journey has been non-traditional right from the beginning. Sterling grew up a fifth-generation retailer, having to master the intersection of human behavior and technology under extreme competition. In 2004, Sterling co-founded, launched and sold his first technology company, Convena, where he developed innovative approaches to beat competition, handle high-growth and achieve performance no matter the obstacles. He went on to be involved with the launch, growth or investment in over 50 companies. Today, Sterling reviews over 1,000 new technology companies every year further refining the keys to realizing breakthrough innovation and giving back that experience as a mentor to leading entrepreneurs working through exponential growth. He is the co-founder of CART, a platform to drive adoption of emerging technologies at fortune 500 companies. And he speaks and runs workshops around the world for clients such as Samsung, Criteo, Synchrony Financial and the United Nations. Sterling is an internationally-recognized thought leader and top-rated keynote speaker on innovation, transformational leadership and exponential growth. His keynotes share meaningful strategies to drive change delivered with the inspiration to leave attendees in action. Sterling is a certified yoga teacher and adventure seeker regularly pushing his own boundaries of what’s possible by skydiving, century bike riding, shark diving, and even camping in the Sahara. He brings that energy of maximizing human potential and breaking past limiting beliefs to everything he does. Currently living in Los Angeles, he has been seen in Inc. Magazine, Fast Company, The New York Times and Forbes. Sterling is inspiring a network of entrepreneurs, investors and fortune 500 companies, actively shaping the future for the betterment of business, communities and the human condition. Of course, he’s still regularly found on adventures.
  • Posted on: 01/04/2021

    Will Giant Food’s shelf labels with diversity call-outs drive sales?

    It's a good PR move. And it'd be interesting for Giant to share how much it moves the needle for those products and those communities. If they can show it's actually making a difference ... all the better.
  • Posted on: 12/22/2020

    Is free at-home pick-up of online returns practicable?

    Appealing? Absolutely. So appealing I could see some customers shopping with Walmart explicitly because of the ease of returns. Practical? Probably not given the costs involved at the moment. However if they stay the course, I’m sure reverse logistics costs will drop considerably. And it represents a better customer experience all around.
  • Posted on: 12/16/2020

    It’s time for innovation or stagnation

    What should be clear to just about every company is how fast they're capable of innovating. I've seen projects that would have taken years completed in a matter of months. Continuing that dynamic will serve them well as the outside pace of change is only accelerating. The single greatest place to look for innovation is around problems, issues and obstacles (for the company, for the industry and for customers). Approached correctly, those problems are literally the door to disruptive innovation.
  • Posted on: 12/14/2020

    The North Face called out for ‘virtue signaling’

    Too often the mission, vision, and values of the PR department are far different than what's actually happening inside a company. The North Face can of course refuse business with anyone. Far more powerful though to go to work on actually embodying that mission to "support the preservation of the outdoors" throughout the company.
  • Posted on: 11/24/2020

    To furlough or not to furlough?

    Employees are the most important asset! They're the front line and we need to support them. I don't think it's at odds with digital transformation -- done right, digital transformation should create a better overall experience for employees and customers.
  • Posted on: 11/20/2020

    Walgreens reinvents its loyalty program, launches 30-minute pickup service

    This story, beginning, middle and end, all revolve around effective use of customer data. The data should drive what rewards are offered, how they're offered, who they're offered to and even where new stores are located. Thirty-minute pickup alone isn't a game-changer and based on the complexity of the program they have some work to do. Walgreens has a real asset in their customers and the associated data -- they just have to use it.
  • Posted on: 11/16/2020

    Will pop-up e-commerce fulfillment centers help Walmart manage demand?

    The more flexibility in the RDCs -- the better to keep up with consumer demand changes. Especially if they can "combine inventory" to make sure both stores and individual customers are getting the products they're looking for. It's an easy concept that I'm sure is a logistical monster to get right. Good on Walmart for taking the step to figure it out.
  • Posted on: 11/13/2020

    Should C-suite execs keep their opinions to themselves on store visits?

    It comes down to the culture of the company. If everyone is providing constructive feedback and support to a point where it's normal and expected, who is giving it and where matters less. The parent analogy is a good one... But can you imagine a parent not giving feedback to kids? (I think we've all seen what that can look like.) I do agree that trust is necessary, just that the trust can be built into the culture vs. solely establishing it one on one.
  • Posted on: 11/12/2020

    Will Amazon’s Dash Smart Shelf drive auto-replenishment from SMBs and consumers?

    Amazon is undoubtedly using this as a chance to learn, which is their MO for everything. I can see it adding a small amount of incremental value to certain businesses (I don't see it working much for personal use); however, this isn't a game-changer for anybody.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    COVID-19 Essentials is a startup designed to end with the pandemic

    As Seth Godin says: No niche is too small if it's yours. This chain will have to adjust and innovate as the market changes, the pandemic ends and the consumer needs change ... although that's something all retailers should be doing, too.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2020

    Albertsons offers a new refrigerated take on store pickup

    The incremental added convenience here isn't a game changer. Albertsons now needs to focus on successfully refining the experience in and around the lockers (mobile, online, etc.) that will make or break their utility. True today and will still be true in a post-COVID world.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2020

    Is YouTube a shopping powerhouse waiting to happen?

    It is only a matter of time before YouTube becomes a shopping platform. The user interface is everything so I'm sure YouTube will take their time to make sure it's a seamless, enjoyable (at least not annoying) experience.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2020

    Should Yelp be calling out businesses accused of racist behavior?

    Yelp's intention is in the right place, but the execution is inherently flawed. Guilty before proven innocent will ultimately hurt more than help.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2020

    Are employees or execs holding back data-driven cultures?

    My bet is that the "nearly two-thirds of data teams that have experienced employee resistance to the adoption of data-driven methods at their organizations" aren't just resistant to data, they're resistant to change of any kind. Humans aren't built for change (we're built for survival) and unless you create a culture that embraces and creates change, including how data is used, you've already lost the game.
  • Posted on: 09/28/2020

    Are Amazon’s flying security drones a threat to homeowner privacy?

    The march of innovation is inevitable and this is a very cool product from Ring, although I'm sure not for everyone. Privacy concerns are definitely justified and will turn off certain people; however, for others it will make their lives more efficient and more safe with more peace of mind. I don't see Amazon using the data to support their core retail business, at least any time too soon, but it seems like a logical step for them at some point down the line.

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