January 2010 Archives

15 Productive Hours

I’ve instituted various time management and task management “systems” for myself over the years. I’ve almost always had a daily task list with automated reminders for routine things like “remember to check on backups”. I’ve grown into being very strict with how often I check and answer my email. Those things are pretty steady. But how I go about accomplishing the bigger projects changes based upon all sorts of variables, like how busy we are and what types of things I’m working on. During the… Continue reading

1/28/10

No Longer Shipping Internationally

Effective yesterday we are no longer shipping packages internationally. This also includes US Territory addresses and APO addresses. Much like closing down Tastefully Driven, there were a lot of reasons behind our decision, but it can all pretty much be summed up by saying that it was too much work for how small of a part of our business it was, and that we’d rather focus our time and energy elsewhere. However, unlike with Tastefully Driven, I think this will get a little backlash from… Continue reading

1/26/10

How One Book Changed My Career

I don’t know why, but I found myself thinking about this the other day and it kind of blew my mind. Above is a picture of PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Websites by Larry Ullman, my very first web development book that I purchased in the Summer of 2004. I bought it for $24.99 at a Borders in Colonie, NY that has since closed. At that point I was heading into my final semester in college, on my way to getting an engineering degree from… Continue reading

1/22/10

Customer Service Quote of the Year

From Small by Choice, Whether Clients Like It or Not, a New York Times article about a successful small Chicago pizza shop that only opens 4 days a week, doesn’t do deliveries, has an owner that makes every pizza by hand, and refuses to allow customers to customize their own pie (emphasis is mine): Q. In online reviews, some customers have complained about rudeness or arrogance. Where do you think that perception comes from? A. Mr. Lessins: I think that perception of arrogance has to… Continue reading

1/20/10

How I Worked Last Wednesday

Most weeks I go to the warehouse on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, leaving Wednesday and Thursday to – in theory – work from home. I say “in theory” because those days always get filled with errands and the gym and lunches with friends, especially lately because during the holidays I was at the warehouse more often and didn’t get around to a lot of that type of stuff. Case in point, last Wednesday. Here’s how my day unfolded: 6 AM –  Wake up, shower, eat…. Continue reading

1/17/10

Decision Making and the Competition

One more thought on us shutting down Tastefully Driven. I find it interesting to ponder how little we factor our competition into making decisions like this. Clearly shutting down our Amazon store will help our detailing competitors. They will sell more products and probably will sell more at a higher margin since there’s one less competitor in the fold (many times it was just us and one other company bidding each other down on a product). But we never mentioned that in the decision making… Continue reading

1/14/10

Goodbye Tastefully Driven, So Long Amazon

In an effort to become more efficient, more profitable, and more flexible, we’ve decided to close Tastefully Driven and stop selling our products on Amazon. Effective March 1 the e-commerce store will be closed down and we will sell any remaining inventory (non-detailing of course) on Amazon. We’re running a 30% off sale to try to blow out as much of the inventory as we can before that date. We’ve already pulled all detailing items down from Amazon and have no plans on listing them… Continue reading

1/12/10

This is Why I’ll Probably Never Pursue VC Funding

From Rand Fishkin’s post about his long, expensive, and ultimately unsuccessful journey trying to raise VC money for his company SEOmoz (emphasis is mine): I tell this story about our VC experience to a lot of people – it seems to be a subject that attracts great curiosity and I, of course, love to share. Most of the time, folks follow up by asking “are you disappointed?” and my answer has been the same since October. I’m not disappointed we didn’t get funded. In fact,… Continue reading

1/11/10

Looking Forward to 2010

I’m not really a big New Year’s Resolution guy. I mean, what’s the real difference between last week and this week? All that changed was the calendar. But in business it’s a little different. When your fiscal year aligns with the calendar year like ours does, it just makes sense to take a step back and evaluate 2009 vs 2008 vs 2007 and then put together a tentative game plan for 2010. Last year we did a good job of setting realistic goals. We got… Continue reading

1/7/10

How I Handle Customer Service on a New Feature

Graceful error handling is something that all good web developers pay attention to.  There are too many weird scenarios out there for everything to work perfectly.  Too many browsers, too many flavors of operating systems, and too many people that will do things that you never could have dreamed of. When we were developing the new Detailed Image we weren’t sure what to do with people who were trying to place an order so large that we couldn’t return a shipping quote from the FedEx… Continue reading

1/4/10