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

The Benefits of Distance

Jason Fried recently wrote a really good post entitled Don’t be too inspired about how watchmaker Roger W. Smith benefits from being one of the few watchmakers in the UK. The physical distance allows him to focus on his work without too much outside influence. As Jason notes, distance – both physically and virtually – can have a huge benefit: I love that notion  —  it’s one I’ve tried to hold dear myself. Don’t be influenced too much. Be aware of what’s great, but don’t… Continue reading

10/26/16

Do Facebook Page Likes = Customers? A Quick Estimate Using Audiences

On my never ending quest to understand our customers and our marketing efforts better, one connection has always eluded me: the link between our customers and those who Like us on Facebook. I want to know how many of those fans/followers have purchased from us, and do those people spend more than a typical customer? By understanding the lifetime value of these customers, we could effectively put a value on a single Facebook Like, and from there better determine the value of putting time and… Continue reading

10/19/16

The Business Press Problem

In a recent Tim Ferriss podcast with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Matt was asked about failure (this quote is at 35:17): Especially in business press, we just see when people hit the home runs, we don’t see all their at bats. And, very rarely do we even know about all of the at bats they’ve had. So, just remember that. No matter how bad a day you think you’re having, there’s probably someone you admire who’s probably also having a bad day right this second,… Continue reading

10/12/16

We’re Literally Under Construction

Over the years we’ve improved a lot of things about our warehouse since first moving in back in 2008. We’ve gone from using a 3G hotspot to having a high speed connection, we’ve remodeled and improved our small office, added better lighting, and of course upgraded our horrible heating system. The space has gone from pretty run down to a decent space, however it’s still been the same space and recently we’ve been feeling really limited by our ~5,000 sq-ft. We don’t have the space… Continue reading

10/6/16