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What We Learned Building a Company Out in the Open

Originally published on Hacker Noon by Andrew Chapin. When I’m waiting for my order at a coffee shop, I sit and try to totally deconstruct the business. I’ll figure out how many people are in the room, how much they’re spending per order, and how much time they spend in the shop. I’ll consider the day of the week, the time of day, and the real estate in the area. The end result: a quick and dirty profit and loss statement for the business. It’s not just coffee shops — I’ll do this when you go to the bathroom at a diner during our breakfast meeting, if I’m bored in a store at the mall, or if I’m left alone at a...

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Let's Photograph Some Tiny Cables

Originally published June 5, 2017 on the Tiny Cables Medium publication. Everyone knows what a cable looks like. Yawn. Here’s the question: is it possible for us to use product photography to stand out? First, it’s important to share what seems to be consensus best practice in this area: Make sure that the lighting is natural, bright, and makes for an accurate representation of the product. The simpler the background, the better. This doesn’t mean that the background has to be white — a natural background can reinforce the brand — but it should not take away from the product itself. Product fit is an essential component to the buying decision. This has more to do with clothing, but a demonstration of what your...

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Let's Figure Out If We Should Charge for Shipping

Originally posted May 23, 2017 on the Tiny Cables Medium publication. I haven’t been able to avoid talking about Tiny Cables lately. We’re a week or two away from our soft launch and I’m pumped — sue me. Given the chance, I wax poetic about the niche we’re going to address and the need for a quality solution. I talk about offering a lifetime warranty and the benefit of blogging this journey. I share the tidbits I’ve picked up about UPC codes, PayPal, and packaging. And then they run away. Okay, not really. I’m fortunate to have supportive friends who ask good questions. One that totally blindsided me last week: “Are you going to offer free shipping?” I paused for a beat before...

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Let's Build a Launch Strategy

Originally posted May 2nd, 2017 on the Tiny Cables Medium publication. As I type this post, there are 1,800 Tiny Cables on their way to the United States. Tiny Cables has been quite the journey, one that demanded we learn a lot and navigate far outside of our respective comfort zones. And while I knew I would build a robot with Tommy at some point in our lives, I never knew it would be BendyBot. This has been a lot of fun. And we’re just getting started. We’ve got a launch to plan. Once the cables arrive, there are a few major items to knock out. We need to: Photograph the cables for product listings Inspect cables, do testing Build...

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Let's Choose an Online Shop Platform

Originally posted April 26, 2017 on the Tiny Cables Medium publication. One of the great perks of an entrepreneurial pursuit is the freedom of creativity and choice. This freedom means many things, perhaps most importantly that there are thousands of ways to address each challenge along the way. When it came time to build our online store so we could, ya know, sell short cables, there was no shortage of opinion on who we should work with. I spoke with two friends who are launching a high-end e-commerce business and I nearly puked when I heard they were paying a $20,000 for their site. I had breakfast with Ryan Kulp, a talented musician/former programmer/guy who runs an e-commerce plugin called...

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