Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fireside Chat with Dan Sharpio, CEO of Glowforge (Ubiquity Dev Summit 2016)

Recently, I thought what was the last thing I really got excited about.  It was preordering a Glowforge during its original crowdfunding campaign .  Alot has happened since that preorder.  The most devestating was when they made the decision to push back the shipping date due to major issues with their power supply. 

My background is in supply chain in the electronics industry.  Trust me, it’s an extemely critical component.   Any of you who were upset over the delay:  You do now want your investment to fail you within 24, 12 or even 6 months after you started to rely on it?  It’s always better to be late and disappoint your customer then to ship a poor quality product. 

People will alway remember poor quality, they will forgive and forget.

I haven’t been following the progress or the forums so started to search found this insightful interview with Dan Sharpio, CEO

Fireside Chat with Dan Sharpio, CEO of Glowforge (Ubiquity Dev Summit 2016)

It’s worth the the hour long interview!   It wasn’t really about the product but more of the business around managing and working a start up.  There’s so many backers who are still eagerly awaiting this product, so much so, I was shocked to hear statesments of backer sacrifices:

  • This is the car I sold to buy my Glowforge 
  • Oh yeah me too, this is the car I sold to buy my Glowforge
  • I took out a loan against my 401K
  • I already let my boss know I will give my notice when I get this so I can go and start my company

As a CEO owner, the risk is more then just releasing a product, it’s also on his  and the company’s reputation.  He absolutely cannot allow a subpar product to be seeded into the market.  If it fails, there won’t be any future business and support for any of us.

This one statement resonates with me:

Realignment of where some of the skills that made you successful at a large company may in fact contribute to your failure to a small company. 

Then summarized an example of how to manage a beaucracy effectively.  How that is a core skill in a large company to manage your career motives, agendas and directions to make everyone to know how much value you give to the company.  In a smaller company, you create you value for yourself by making your company valuable.

After listening to this interview, what I realized was that I lost passion because I chose not to continue learning and trying to grow.  I was waiting for something to happen that’s completely out of my control.   

Sometimes you need to listen to a innovator who is walking the path that you want to take.  I hope to meet Mr. Sharpio one day on a professional level.    

(Actually maybe I shouldn’t.  I’m sure I’d have illogical geek fangirl moment)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Economical Alternatives to Canada Post

If you are a Canadian running a online business, I’m sure you heavily relied on Canada Post like I have when fullfilling orders for Cindy Ho Designs.  The threat of a union strike this past summer literly struck fear in my professional being. 

What the hell am I going to do now?

Using alternative couriers like UPS and FedEx wasn’t really an option as the prices for the package types I have would have been 5 times the cost.  If I’m shipping a light weight print that normally be $5.00, would you really pay $50 if I shipped it by FedEx?

I didn’t want to stop just because Canada Post Union wanted to hold us hostage to their dispute.    I did alot of research and found two companies that would suite my business needs.  Click on the company name to access both their company websites.  Below is just a short summary of comparisons:

  Canvus Express Chit Chat Express


Only serving the Vancouver area

Drop off location is not on the website but it’s close to corner of Chales Street and McLean off Commerical Drive

If you don't leave near Richmond office, they offer fullfillment services

They will pick up your packages and ship for you for a fee

Shipping Prices

Shipping prices are not on the website

The quotes I received is nearly the same as the US Post

Shipping Prices are same or less as US Post

BC, Canada Only

It varies but the average is:

  • $1.00 for parcel
  • $0.50 for letter and rigidmail

It varies but the average is

  • $0.25 to $1.00 for letter & rigid mail
  • $1.00 to $12.40 for parcels - price dependent on weight

Call - they seem to accept packages on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays

Didn't get an answer if open on weekends by time this post was written

Monday to Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday


Which did I chose?

I do most of my shipping with Chit Chats but it’s nothing against Canvus.  It came down to the following three reasons:

  • Location: 20 min drive on highway, less on gas.  Canvus is closer but paid parking
  • Weight of most of my products are less then one pount (500 grams)
  • Convience: They are open every day with set hours

This is the right decison for me.  However, when I have packages that weigh more then 1 pound (500 grams), Canvus looks to be more cost effective.  The Canvus sales representative is helpful and professional. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ask a Manager!

My intention in 2016 was to write more often.  As you notice, the last time I wrote to you was in January 2016!    Not knowing where to start, why not start small and write what I know based on that last few months?  Maybe you might be interested.  If not, let me know!

It got extremely busy at my career job.  For those who don’t know, I do have a current career in supply chain and a high tech contract manufacturing firm.  I buy the raw materials to build circuit boards.  It can be a very stressful job and that’s what happened the first 8 month of this year.   I did take a break from Cindy Ho Designs for a few weeks to avoid the burn out.

The past few months, alot of my focus is working with people and co-worker relationships.  Anyone who works in an office understand that things that will affect yoour performace.   This year it has been tough and it wasn’t about the work.  It was about the people I worked with:

  • chews snacks with mouth open
  • prides to be an expert in everything
  • oversharing information
  • many hours of personal phone calls
  • negative attitutes
  • pawning off work to others
  • bullies

My list is really much more extensive than this but it’s a range for minor annoyances to issues that affect my performance. 

So what can I do about it?

I consider myself a professional level headed office person.  (some of you might snicker if you know me personaly).  I often give advice and coaching myself who reach out to me. However, for some reason, I couldn’t follow my own advice.  I just kept my head down and worked.  This went on for weeks until I was so annoyed that I was unhappy.

There’s lots of ways to deal with these behaviours but I really didn’t want to since all of this isn’t serious enough for me to bring to HR or the boss.   At the same time, it doesn’t make sense to be  frustrated when you spend one third of your life at the office.

So here’s the thing, I really didn’t know what to do (I always knew what to do)  I was so overwhelmed with these people and I didn’t have a mentor or anyone in similar sition to confide in.  So what would anyone probably woudl do:

I googled it

It let me to this great blog of Alison Green whose experience where people ask their work related issues and she will respond.  Boy I’m so happy to find this blog.  Just reading the blog reminded me that of course these issues are common and put my problems into perspective.  The renewed perspective took the feeling of burden off my shoulders literally overnight.  I thought:

You know what, I can handle this.   I can do this.

I thought to start, at least share the blog that reset my thoughts on dealing with issue with the workplace for anyone who might be similar to my position.


If you ever read this, thank you Alison!