The Great Detailed Image HTTPS Migration

In mid-January we finished migrating all of Detailed Image to HTTPS. We’ve now got the shiny “Secure” badge in Chrome on every single one of our pages: This project should have been simple, but it sure wasn’t, in large part due to the fractured nature of various organizations on the web and within Google. While the technical implementation is relatively straightforward, the business decision to do so can be downright scary. A Little Background When we launched our shopping cart in 2007 (and did major… Continue reading

2/6/18

Ken Burns’ Mind-Blowing 18 Hour Documentary, Lab-Grown Meat, and Second Chances [Link Roundup]

Articles They Started With $10,000. Now They’re Taking on ESPN – I still think that professional sports as we know them today could conceivably fall apart. FloSports seems uniquely positioned for that future. [Inc] Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance – this guy is amazing! [Businessweek] Facebook Makes You Sad, So Try Using It Less – Facebook’s worst-case future is one in which it becomes widely believed that it’s bad for you. [Lifehacker Vitals] Why This… Continue reading

1/30/18

Information Overload: Cutting Back on the News

As last year wore on, I noticed myself steadily reading more and more of what I would consider general “news”, something I’ve written before that I try to avoid. Previously, Twitter was the worst culprit for me, but after giving it up I didn’t even install it when I got my new phone. This time it was more subtle. I noticed myself adding a lot of feeds to my Feedly, to the point where there was always new stories if I pulled and refreshed. I… Continue reading

1/18/18

My Garmin Vivoactive 3 Review

After reviewing my Pixel 2 XL and the free Google Home Mini that came with it, I figured I’d wrap up my new tech reviews with the piece of technology that I researched more than anything else – my Garmin Vivoactive 3 watch. I bought the better-looking “Black with Slate Hardware” model, which typically retails for $30 more at $329.99, but I picked up mine on Amazon during Black Friday for $274.99. Smartwatches haven’t exactly taken the world by storm. Fitness trackers aren’t necessarily the… Continue reading

12/28/17

Google Home Mini Review

When I pre-ordered my Pixel 2 XL Google threw in a free Google Home Mini. I’ve resisted buying an Amazon Echo not because I thought they were creepy or invasive, but because I just couldn’t think of a good use case. I’d hear over and over again that “you just need to have one” and then it will make sense. So I was kind of curious to see if the light bulb would go off once I received my Mini. The short answer is, it… Continue reading

12/21/17

Peak Smartphone – Reviewing My Pixel 2 XL

One of the downsides of using Project Fi is that your phone choices are pretty limited. But the phones you can buy are the best that Android has to offer, and once you’ve used pure Android it’s really hard to go back. In October I pre-ordered a Google Pixel 2 XL on the day it was announced. My Nexus 5X was showing its age. In particular, the battery life was horrible and the camera was slow. The latter has suddenly become more important now that… Continue reading

12/13/17

Misc. Thoughts on Another Successful Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Last year’s Cyber Monday was thrilling because we vastly exceeded expectations based upon comparatively low 2015 sales. We were left scrambling around to pack and ship orders while our warehouse was mid-construction. It was hectic and stressful, but also fun and rewarding. I think that’s the only time in our history where we’ve been extraordinarily off (in a good way) with our sales projections. I wrote that getting all of our orders shipped out on Cyber Monday “felt like we just won the Super Bowl.”… Continue reading

11/29/17

Amazon Has Quietly Started Delivering Packages

Amazon Flex. Does that service ring a bell? It didn’t for me, not until I read Gizmodo’s exhaustive piece last week entitled Amazon’s Last Mile. It begins: Who delivers Amazon orders? Increasingly, it’s plainclothes contractors with few labor protections, driving their own cars, competing for shifts on the company’s own Uber-like platform. Though it’s deployed in dozens of cities and associated with one of the world’s biggest companies, government agencies and customers alike are nearly oblivious to the program’s existence. Flex is in 50 cities… Continue reading

11/21/17

Constructing Great Support Emails

I want to expand a bit on my last post about customer service as a competitive advantage. In the past I’ve written about our customer service workflow, our “self service” system, and how we’ve begun “auditing” specific functions of our site based upon our support emails, but in this post I want to focus primarily on writing great emails. In particular, emails when a customer has a problem. At this point they’re already frustrated, annoyed, and possibly angry. While it’s important to write back in… Continue reading

11/14/17

Customer Service as a Competitive Advantage

In the first season of the Masters of Scale podcast I heard Reid Hoffman tell a story about the early days at PayPal. I couldn’t figure out which episode it was from, but he told the same story to the Harvard Business Review last year: We faced this issue at PayPal. In early 2000, payment transaction volume was growing at a compounding rate of 2% to 5% per day. That kind of growth put PayPal in a deep hole as far as customer service was… Continue reading

11/7/17