How We Structure Paid Time Off For Full-Time Employees

One of the many decisions that requires some effort when hiring full-time employees is how to structure paid time off. We put a lot of thought into these decisions in 2010 when we brought on our first full-time employee. Since that time we’ve found that these policies have worked out really well for a small company like ours. PTO vs Sick Time + Personal Time + Vacation Time This, I think, is the first choice we made. Should we divide up sick, personal, and vacation… Continue reading

1/9/17

Diversity In Tech, Sports On The Brink Of Collapse, & Beautiful Efficiency – Link Roundup

Since I no longer post often on Twitter, I’ve decided to do a regular roundup of all of the interesting and thought provoking content that I’ve come across recently. I really enjoyed doing these link roundup’s in 2016 and plan on continuing them in 2017. In addition to being an outlet to share interesting stuff that I’ve come across, it also acts as reinforcement for me. I find that revisiting a story and summarizing my thoughts about it really helps my recall and retention, and… Continue reading

1/4/17

2017 Writing Goals

I’m on an eternal quest to improve my writing skills, particularly the skills that influence my work, such as writing copy for our websites, writing emails, and writing web content like this post. In 2016 I had two goals: write more regularly on my blog and write shorter emails. This will be my 59th post of 2016, the most since 2011, so I think I definitively accomplished the former. I’m doing a pretty good job on the latter as I alluded to in that post,… Continue reading

12/28/16

Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet Review

Amazon got me with one of their Black Friday deals. The Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet without special offers was marked down to a remarkably low $74.99 (it’s $104.99 as of this writing). Despite enjoying reading books on my phone recently, I’d been casually looking for a dedicated tablet reader. I like the form factor, and I like having a dedicated device that I can use without the possibility of getting interrupted by a notification. Now that blue light blocking apps have become ubiquitous, I… Continue reading

12/20/16

Post #1,008

The other day I thought to myself “I wonder if I’m close to 1,000 blog posts?” I checked and realized that I had blew past 1,000 without even realizing it! This post is officially number 1,008. My first post was 11 years ago on November 20, 2005. The first 296 posts were on the old Blogger theme and hosted on SportsLizard, before moving over to Adam-McFarland.net and then AdamMcFarland.com. It is literally impossible to read through the posts, which is why I created the Best-Of… Continue reading

12/13/16

Our New Customer “Self Service” System Is a Game Changer

The massive project that I referred to a few weeks ago is what we’re referring to internally as “customer self service” because it allows customers to instantly resolve a variety of issues without needing to contact our customer support team. It’s been live now for a few weeks and we can already see the huge impact that it’s going to have on our business. What It Does There aren’t very many online retailers with functionality like this, and I’m sure one of the reasons why… Continue reading

12/8/16

The Most Fun I’ve Had On Cyber Monday In Years

In looking back at my Cyber Week posts, as far back as 2010 we had started to “figure it out” and in recent years the week became less hectic madness and more of a big sale that we were entirely prepared for, similar to some of our larger Spring sales. Last year I wrote Pushing Towards a More Relaxed Cyber Week: Next year, we’ve decided that on Black Friday we’re going to have everyone come in an hour later in the morning in an effort… Continue reading

11/30/16

How a Single Meeting Can Derail an Entire Day

If I’m not careful I can find myself spending my entire day performing tasks associated with running the business: checking email, taking phone calls, scheduling meetings, communicating with our employees, documenting processes, and the like. As we’ve grown it’s been harder and harder to carve out uninterrupted time to program and work on other important projects that will help grow the business. I’ve had to work harder and harder to guard my schedule. In doing so I often think back to an essay from 2009… Continue reading

11/22/16

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

The Disasters of Chipotle, Theranos, and Hampton Creek – Link Roundup

Since I’ve mostly stopped posting on Twitter, I’ve decided to start doing a regular roundup of all of the interesting and thought provoking long-form stories, books, podcasts, and videos that I’ve come across recently. Articles Chipotle Eats Itself – this is long form at its best. Months of digging and exclusive interviews paint a picture of what it’s really like inside Chipotle. It’ll take some time to read, but it’s worth the price of admission. My takeaway: they simply grew too big, too fast. [Fast… Continue reading

11/3/16