February 2016 Archives

Why I Buy Physical Copies of My Kindle Books

A few years ago I started doing something new: whenever I read a good book on my Kindle* I then purchase the physical copy. The main reason I’m doing this is that I want to own books that I consider great. When you “buy” a book for the Kindle you’re essentially renting it from Amazon. This can go horribly wrong when Amazon deletes the book off of your Kindle because of a licensing issue, as it did with one of my favorite books, the above-pictured… Continue reading

2/29/16

Overhauled DI Packages, Just In Time For Spring

Grouping items together into a package and selling them at a special bundle price has a couple of huge benefits to any retailer: Customers know that they’re getting products that are compatible with each other, a challenge for new customers in many industries, including detailing Customers often save more than they could by buying the products individually Retailers can provide more value to the customer while still working within MAP pricing guidelines (minimum advertised price). This is why you always see Best Buy or Amazon… Continue reading

2/22/16

10+ Years of Blogging, 10+ Years Since Leaving My Job, & New Posting Schedule

A couple of noteworthy personal milestones came and went over the past few months. In November, it was 10 years since my first post back in 2005. In January, I officially made it 10 years since leaving my job in January of 2006. I summed my feelings in my 2011 post at the five year mark: This business, as it stands, wasn’t exactly what I envisioned when I left – in a lot of ways I didn’t know what to expect – but it’s been… Continue reading

2/16/16

Link Friday: Musk vs. Buffett: The Billionaire Battle to Own the Sun

I’m trying out something new. Since I’ve mostly stopped posting on Twitter I thought I’d try posting an interesting link each week to a long-form story that I found interesting and thought-provoking. Who Owns The Sun? [Businessweek] – the story of how Elon Musk’s solar company SolarCity is going head to head with Warren Buffett’s energy company NV Energy in Nevada, and losing. The legislation has changed so significantly over the past few years that solar companies have had to pull out of Nevada and… Continue reading

2/12/16

The Great Warehouse Flood of 2014

Early on a Monday morning in January of 2014 I received a phone call from our warehouse manager. Typically early morning phone calls mean that something is wrong, but usually it’s nothing like this. When our employees arrived that morning they were greeted by a flooded warehouse. Parts of the warehouse were in several inches of water, and most of it was in some sort of standing water. It looked like this: And this: Immediately they started photoing everything, which was a huge help with… Continue reading

2/10/16

“It’s Too Bad You’re Not Using Your Degree”

Last week’s post about college reminded me of something that used to happen to me quite frequently in the few years after I left my job. After explaining our business, people would comment “it’s too bad you’re not using your degree.” This always got under my skin. I understand where they’re coming from (e-commerce != engineering), but I always felt like they were hinting at some failure on my part, or that I had wasted my time and money going to college. I always though… Continue reading

2/8/16

Link Friday: A Father, a Dying Son, and the Quest to Make the Most Profound Videogame Ever

I’m trying out something new. Since I’ve mostly stopped posting on Twitter I thought I’d try posting an interesting link each week to a long-form story that I found interesting and thought-provoking. Playing for Time: A Father, a Dying Son, and the Quest to Make the Most Profound Videogame Ever [Wired] – how a father and game developer coped with his son’s battle with cancer and eventual death by developing That Dragon, Cancer, a video game that IGN called “a crushingly intimate game that left… Continue reading

2/5/16

Taking Advantage Of Our Slow Season

As one would expect, January and February are not exactly peak months for selling car care supplies. Over the years we’ve adjusted various aspects of the business to align with our slow season in the winter. Along with a few things that just happen to luckily fall into this time period, we end up spending a decent amount of our time in the winter working on once-yearly things like: Any server maintenance or software upgrades, as I discussed in my Update Season post. Employee reviews…. Continue reading

2/3/16

If I Were 18 Today Would I Still Go To College?

College is one of my favorite topics. It’s true that education correlates strongly with earnings. On average, the further you go in school, the more you’ll make. But that really means nothing to the individual. We all know people with no college who are massively successful, and everyone I think knows a few people with master’s degrees who can’t get their act together. I also don’t necessarily assume that this trend will continue on into the future, although we won’t know for sure until it’s… Continue reading

2/1/16