Decision Making

Responding to Raw Ideas

Ryan Singer, designer and developer at Basecamp, recently released a web-only book entitled Shape Up: Stop Running in Circles and Ship Work that Matters. I’ve been working my way through it, and one passage about responding to new product improvements stood out: Responding to raw ideas Our default response to any idea that comes up should be: “Interesting. Maybe some day.” In other words, a very soft “no” that leaves all our options open. We don’t put it in a backlog. We give it space… Continue reading

8/12/19

Programming Debt Paid

I’ve been working tirelessly the first half of 2019 because I saw a major goal in sight: for the first time since we launched the Detailed Image shopping cart in 2007, I could be caught up on all of my programming projects. Early in the year I set a goal to accomplish this by Memorial Day, giving me the summer to dial back and relax a bit. This morning I pushed out the code for my last project and hit my goal 10 days early!… Continue reading

5/17/19

Using Twitter for Our Weather Delay Notifications

This morning I awoke to a pretty sizable winter storm, especially for the middle of November. Due to the warmish weather we’ve had recently, the 8-10 inches of snow that we received felt more like 8-10 inches of sleet. It was heavy and wet to move, and the roads were not great this morning. I’ve advocated in the past for employers to be smarter about days like today. Unless you’re a doctor or a police officer or some other job that’s critical to society, stay… Continue reading

11/16/18

Now Running On Our New Server Cluster!

Two Saturday’s ago, after a lot of preparation, we migrated Detailed Image to a much-improved server configuration. Thankfully, this wasn’t prompted by any sort of major issue. Rather, in the process of disaster planning we identified a few spots where our redundancy wasn’t as strong as we’d like, the most glaring of which was our server. Since the total chaos of our move in 2008, we’ve been on a dedicated server. We upgraded once in 2011, and that machine lasted us right through this migration…. Continue reading

9/25/18

Tuning out the Noise, When Not to Finish a Project, and Planning vs Doing

In the comments section of my last post Rob left a comment with some really good questions that I thought were worthy of an entire post. These are all things that I constantly struggle with, which makes them great questions to think about, write about, and discuss: How do you tune out the noise? How do you manage to avoid the Firehose of great ideas from every direction – colleagues, friends, yourself, the internet? There seem to be opportunities around every corner. I have a… Continue reading

4/11/18

Opportunity Cost

One of the concepts that we apply to our decision making almost daily is the idea of opportunity cost. Opportunity cost is defined as: the loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Often times a decision to tackle a new project doesn’t cost us anything monetarily, or the cost is negligible. Examples would be programming a new feature, trying out a new type of promotion, or even picking up a single new product for a product line we already carry…. Continue reading

4/11/17

Programmer vs. Business Owner

This week I’m wrapping up one of our more ambitious programming projects (which I’ll be posting about when it’s launched). I often find my roles as both a programmer and business owner at odds with each other. It’s easy to get caught up in writing perfect code, programming for every single possible scenario, adding additional features because they’d be cool, or writing code that will scale to handle 100x the volume that we’re currently at. It’s easy to turn a two week project into a… Continue reading

11/7/16

Why It Took Us 8 Years To Add Wishlists

Over on the Detailed Image Blog I wrote a post describing some new features that we added last week, including the addition of a wishlist, easier ways to reorder products, and more personalized product recommendations. The latter two are the most intriguing features with some creative potential for expansion, but the decision to finally add a wishlist after all of these years is probably more noteworthy. Back in 2010 we added a feature called Saved Carts. After adding items to your shopping cart, you could… Continue reading

11/16/15

Navigating the Sunk Cost Fallacy

Ah, sunk costs. They can totally mess with our brains, hence the “sunk cost fallacy.” If you’re not familiar with the expression, here’s how Wikipedia describes it: More recently the term sunk cost fallacy has been used to describe the phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision, based on the cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the cost, starting today, of continuing the decision outweighs the expected benefit. Such investment may include money, time, or even — in the case of… Continue reading

3/26/15

Guest Checkouts – The Feature We Should Have Had 5 Years Ago

Today we launched guest checkouts on Detailed Image. A guest checkout just means that the customer isn’t required to create an account to make a purchase. Every single article or study we’ve ever seen has said something to the effect of “if you don’t have guest checkouts you’re basically burning money and pissing off potential customers”. A few weeks ago I realized that I’d be able to launch the feature before the holiday shopping rush if I hustled. Presumably guest checkouts are most important during… Continue reading

11/20/14