Hello. I'm one of the co-founders of Pure Adapt, Inc, located in Albany, NY. Our primary business is Detailed Image, an online retailer of high quality car care supplies. We do almost everything in-house: design, programming, marketing, inventory management, warehouse operations, and more. Since our inception in 2006 we've bootstrapped all of our growth internally. No outside funding, just hard work and reinvesting profits.
I spend most of my days programming for Detailed Image, analyzing data, and overseeing our web marketing initiatives. But like a lot of business owners I also spend quite a bit of time on HR, customer service, and anything else that's needed. I have two partners, Mike and Greg, who do a tremendous job managing the other aspects of the business.
We've operated from our warehouse in Guilderland Center, NY since 2008. It started out as a 5,200 sq-ft space, which we then expanded in 2016, 2019, and 2021 to over 22,000 sq-ft to accommodate our growth. We have an exceptional staff of full-time employees, part-time employees, and contractors that help make the magic happen. Every day we strive for fantastic customer service, a great website, efficient warehouse operations, a strong culture, and building a company for the long haul.
The Albany Business Review named us one of the Best Places to Work in the Capital Region. We were also named to their list of the Fastest-Growing Companies in the Albany area from 2016 to 2019. And for five straight years from 2015 to 2019 we were named to the Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest growing private companies in America.
Community involvement is important to us. For over 10 years we have offered college scholarships to students of Colonie Central High School through the South Colonie Dollars for Scholars program. I've guest lectured on entrepreneurship at several universities, including SUNY Albany and James Madison, where I co-taught a Web Venturing class to seniors.
I'm originally from Albany. I attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (aka RPI) in Troy, NY and graduated in 2004 with a degree in Industrial & Management Engineering. After college I worked for the razor company Schick in Milford, CT as a quality control engineer in their R&D department for a year before leaving to pursue my own ventures. At the time I had a growing sports collectibles site SportsLizard.com. In early 2006 I left Connecticut and by the end of the year I had connected with my partners to form Pure Adapt.
What I'm currently working on
We're in the process of improving a lot of the infrastructure on Detailed Image. We have legacy code and systems dating back to 2007. Now is the time to make improvements to ensure that we can have a modern, fast, and secure site for another 15 years.
We launched Notify My Team in early 2021, but didn't give it the marketing attention that we had planned. It works great for us internally and we have some really good paying customers. 2022 is the time to see if we can grow it into a business.
In 2019 I started working on an exciting software project. Then the pandemic derailed our plans. I'm hoping to get back on track and launch a demo in 2022.
- 6/21/22 - One of the things that I've noticed about our business lately is that we're spending quite a bit more time on "defense" these days than on "offense". The result is that we haven't really had any exciting announcements this year, but it doesn't mean that we're not doing great work.On the tech side of things, we've been adding more sophisticated layers of security to our website to improve how fraudulent purchases/attempts are handled. As the person who usually responds to those types of issues,... Continue Reading
- 12/15/21 - We celebrated Pure Adapt's 15th anniversary. I'm extremely grateful for the success that our company has had, the people I get to work with every day (especially my business partners), our prospects for the future, and the quality of life that I'm able to live.
- 12/2/21 - We renewed our warehouse lease and agreed to our third (and likely last) expansion. What started out as a 5,200 sq-ft space in 2008 will be over 22,000 sq-ft once construction is completed in 2022. In addition to more space for products, we're adding another office, a new break room, new bathrooms, and an improved shipping dock.
- 11/24/21 - We recently completed a project that we internally called a "design refresh" for Detailed Image. One of the big challenges with having an e-commerce store that dates back to 2007 is keeping it fresh and modern without breaking what works. The design aesthetic of our 2013 launch, which included a fully responsive design, was largely intact. After all of these years, it was starting to show its age. So we decided to embark on our ... Continue Reading
- 10/25/21 - One small-but-meaningful productivity improvement that I've made recently is to remove daily newsletters from my inbox. What I noticed happening was that I'd get distracted by a headline while sending a work email. Or feel the need to read the newsletter just to clear it from my inbox. These are by no means that urgent. My solution: I set up Gmail filters to archive and forward them to an Outlook account I set up specifically for newsletter reading on my phone when I have downtime.
One of the things that I've noticed about our business lately is that we're spending quite a bit more time on "defense" these days than on "offense". The result is that we haven't really had any exciting announcements this year, but it doesn't mean that we're not doing great work.
On the tech side of things, we've been adding more sophisticated layers of security to our website to improve how fraudulent purchases/attempts are handled. As the person who usually responds to those types of issues, automating these systems has become a top priority for me over the past two years so that I can spare myself the on-call work.
Internally, we've taken steps to secure our workflows and migrate much of the team over to Chromebooks, which pair well with our Google Workspace account.
We've seen this in other areas of the business too: HR policies, accounting precautions, and insurances have increased in importance.
I'm pretty agnostic about this type of work: I'd be lying if it's as exciting as developing a brand new idea, but it's also satisfying in its own sense because you're protecting all of your hard work, protecting your employees, reducing future headaches, and hopefully reducing the chance of some catastrophic event crushing your business.
Still, you can see how "playing defense" all day can lead to a different type of business threat. You become susceptible to competitors playing offense, you miss out on changes in the market while you're playing defense, or your offensive skills become rusty.
So as we enter the second half of 2022 reasonably caught up from the two-year chaos brough on by the pandemic, I'm hoping that we can strike a healthier balance between the two and start playing a little more offense.
The 2021 Detailed Image Design Refresh
We recently completed a project that we internally called a "design refresh" for Detailed Image.
One of the big challenges with having an e-commerce store that dates back to 2007 is keeping it fresh and modern without breaking what works. The design aesthetic of our 2013 launch, which included a fully responsive design, was largely intact. After all of these years, it was starting to show its age. So we decided to embark on our "design refresh" with the explicit goal of modernizing the aesthetic without changing the customer experience in any notable way. I've read plenty of tales of successful sites that launch a complete design overhaul, move a bunch of things around, and then are scrambling when sales dip by 25% or more. Our sales were strong, conversion numbers were good, customer retention right where we wanted it to be, and - like it or not - those returning customers have a familiarity with our shopping experience, and changing that carries enormous risk.
With that said, I couldn't be happier with the end result. The site looks and feels like a modern site, while also still feeling like Detailed Image. Here's an example of the header before and after. The background image has changed, everything is tightened up to get more content above the fold, less images are used, and the button/tab/nav design aesthetic is cleaner. The first time that a long-time customer visits the refreshed site, they should notice that something feels cleaner or looks better without being able to put their finger on it. From a usability standpoint, everything is right where they remember it.
Executing on this took much more time than expected. We combed through every page of the site, placing particular emphasis on important-but-long-untouched pages like our registration, cart, and checkout pages. Form fields have better spacing, buttons are larger and flatter (gradients are gone). Less bold text and less borders are used for a cleaner look. And a whole slew of other changes improved the responsive design usability at various sizes.
Early returns have been encouraging. There haven't been any reported issues. The few comments that we have received have been positive. And after a full month the checkout page converted at a notably higher rate than the previous month despite it being a slower time of year for us. That may normalize over time, but the main reason I track it closely is to ensure that it doesn't get worse, and we appear to be safe there.
Where is your blog?
I wrote over 1,000 blog posts on this site between 2005 and 2021. If you took the time to read those posts, thank you! I have all of the blog posts and may republish them in the future.
I decided to replace the blog with this simple website. I built a very basic publishing platform that enables me to post short updates to this page and have them published to my RSS feed. Some updates will also post to my entrepreneurial timeline dating back to 2003, which I preserved from the old site.