Vendder, gets a new face

May 18th, 2010 § 0

More info about this stuff at vendder.com

Others’ recrunched

May 5th, 2010 § 0

after some other re-crunch it’s BigCartel time

Today is Big Cartel’s second birthday! It’s been a wonderful and rewarding two years for me and Eric, and we’d like to sincerely thank all of you for that.

Also, by some freaky coincidence, this morning we opened our 10,000th store. WTF?! It took us 18 months to hit 5000 stores and less than 6 months to double that.

Big Cartel FTW!

on Matt on October 4th, 2007 via http://blog.bigcartel.com/page/6/ and some time later

Today is Big Cartel’s third birthday, and we can’t believe how truly big it’s become:

30,000 fine folks like you have a Big Cartel store.
Millions of dollars have been paid directly to stores.

e-commerce : a brief long story.

April 18th, 2010 § 0

This Sunday I have done something diferent for a lazy day like this: hosted an informal presentation about e-commerce at Cooltiva-te at Clube Literário do Porto. It’s a very light presentation browse you from the early days of Ebay and Amazon to the last trends in e-commerce, like Goupon, Facebook and Manpacks. Check it out and share if off.

Etsy numbers “re-crunched”

April 15th, 2010 § 2

As y ‘all know, our business is e-commerce, e-commerce for small companies or solo traders, like shop.bolaneve.net, so Etsy is the “de facto” case of study for this solo traders. They’re generally one person or a two person team (like couples or relatives) working on handcrafted items working from home, most of them part-time but all some full-timers.

Let’s re-crunch their March statistics

$22.4 million of goods were sold by our community in March, roughly 11% higher than February’s $20.2 million.
That represents 1,302,597 items sold for the month, 10% higher than February’s 1,186,311.
2,008,387 new items were listed in the month, 9.7% higher than February’s 1,830,825.
246,834 new members joined the Etsy community in the month, up 10,800, or 4.6%, from February.
718,635,940 page views were recorded on the site this month (or unique visitors as some stats announce)
The $22.4 million of goods sold by the community represents a 84% increase from March 2009’s total. At the same time, items sold were up 65%.

and combine them with their fee pricing

  • 20 cents for each item listed (one time fee)
  • 3.5% sales fee
  • items on Etsy are listed in US Dollars

And assuming 1,000,000 active users (asserted from blogs and advanced statistical knowledge)

  1. ( ~4,000,000 listed items x $0.20 = 401,677.4$ ) + ( 22.4 million sold x 3.5% = 784,000$ ) = 1,185,677$ / 874,070.77 Eur of direct user sales revenue to Etsy
  2. $22.4M of goods sold / 718,635,940 unique visitors = 3.11% sales conversion
  3. $22.4M of goods sold / 1,302,597 items sold = $17.2 average product price
  4. 22.4M / 1M actives users = $22.4 average monthly sales by user
  5. 1,302,597 items sold / 1M actives users = 1.3 products sold by user per month (means most do not sell at all)

10 points to check before the “entrepreneur” thing

February 20th, 2010 § 0

The world of “entrepreneurship” is just bloated. From the “entrepreneur” itself, this small world lavishes with “business angels”, “business plans”, “seed capital”, “ramen profitability”, “break-even point”, “market forecasts” and other endless jargon concepts.

I have been thinking on writing this post for a long time and, truthfully, there’s more to say than I am willing to write today. I will try to focus on a part of it. Let’s limit it to 10 bullets. While can’t (still) write on how to sucessfully IPO a company or digg into startup personnel management advices, I will approach the first step or the 1% of inspiration because, and paraphrasing Lau Tzu, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” and some other random folk “Success is 1% of inspiration, 99% of transpiration”.

1. Idea vs. Implementation

Vendder, our main company product isn’t properly born out of a new idea, similar projects have already been sucessfully accomplished. Of course, there are a lot of space for innovation and we are leveraging Vendder with new concepts, like social/distributed commerce and by building our services over an already tested open-source framework, enhancing our development cycle.

Nevertheless, the perfect idea badly implemented is always worse than a simple, well executed idea.

2. Carefully choosing your partners

A startup is like a marriage, except you’ll spend more time awake with your partner. I have been working, traveling and being friends with Filipe for a long, long time. Remember, this is important, don’t choose your business partner mainly on technical skills, most co-founders will trade social/soft skills for pure technical.

3. It’s a marathon, not a sprint

Don’t blow yourself up in the first months, or even years. Startup world moves fast but remember sucess is, in this case, made of trial & error. Be prepared to let go blood, toil, tears and sweat.

4. Use your connections

Your best startup friends are also your friends and contacts. They, and most importantly their own contact network, will provide you importan feedback, get you valuable business leads and ultimately be your first clients. Don’t be afraid to ask for favors, some server space, a new monitor, a logo or helping you on acccountacy, or other tasks you’re clueless about. Most, if not all, good stuff that happened with our company has been induced by our contact network.

5. Demand critics

Your friends will provide your support but you’ll also need critic feedback, mentorship and conselling. I am not expert by any means on all e-commerce details, from shipping to cross-country taxes, customer relations… there are so many specific areas and someone will always excel in at least one of them. Ask for sincere opinions about your ideas, the more humble you are the better responces you’ll have.

6. Startups are not sexy

Social acceptance sticks mostly with standards. Standard is a nine to five job. Standard is working for the boss. Standard is being in a bad mood on week days and drunk on weekends. Standard is the missionary position. Creating your own, self sustaining business takes no missionary position, no one will be openly waiting for you.

Paul Graham states, and I confirm, go and find a nice, big and reputable company to work for if you want to impress chicks. Working 10+ / day, without fix income and predictable outcome is not sexy at all.

7. Be strong spirited

It’s a up and down. Expect happy, happy days and dull, dull moments. Every thing you’ll achieve, from a nice word from a happy customer, a 1.000 Eur contract or finished on time milestone takes you to the moon. But the downside is awfull, you can be dragged into endless emotive discussions with your best friend/co-founder, shout ‘what tha fuck do you know?’ when your consultant/angel investor turns you down you break your lapto when you cannot merge your code into the code repository and destroy all team work. Think well if you are suited for string emotions. Waking up without a reason at 9.00 everyday is not so bad.

8. Prepare yourself

“Fuck business plans” is a common thing I read around the startup world.

I would add, “Fuck business plans, if you already have no plans”. Before you fully commit to your idea you should prepare yourself. Spending time writing down the concept of your idea, how to achieve it, exploring the market, guessing how to fund and a why to sell it to the market is valuable information for your decision on leaving you Herman Miller chair and got back to your mom’s garage. It will question your motivation and make you reflect and, ultimately, save you from a big investment on a poor idea.

9. Are you a Jack of all trades?

Nothing better than Robert Heinlein to explain why you cannot be a “specialist” in a small group of people while wanting to change the world upside down…

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, conn a ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve an equation, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”

10. Love.

I will leave this one to you.

Etsy founder approach to busines, build then pitch!

February 6th, 2010 § 0

Job Culture

December 3rd, 2009 § 0

Paul Buchheit (Google, FriendFind and now Facebook) posted:

Here’s a good link about the “Job culture“:

The cultural assumption of a true free enterprise system would be: “Individuals are responsible for their own lives and labors. They trade as equals, but are beholdin’ to nobody.”

Free enterprise isn’t anything like big-corporate capitalism. We’ve been told the two are equivalent, but that’s just another bit of cultural brainwashing.

Think about it. Job holders by definition aren’t capitalists. Job holders, no matter how well paid they might be, function merely as the servants of capitalists, just as medieval serfs functioned as the servants of lords. They are beholdin’. They function in a climate of diminished responsibility, diminished risk, and diminished reward. A climate of institutional dependency.

The daily act of surrendering individual sovereignty – the act of becoming a mere interchangeable cog in a machine – an act we have been conditioned to accept and to call a part of “capitalism” and “free enterprise” when it is not – is the key reason why the present Job Culture is a disaster for freedom.

James Madison, the father of the Bill of Rights, wrote:
“The class of citizens who provide at once their own food and their own raiment, may be viewed as the most truly independent and happy. They are more: They are the best basis of public liberty, and the strongest bulwark of public safety. It follows, that the greater the proportion of this class to the whole society, the more free, the more independent, and the more happy must be the society itself.”

Madison was speaking specifically about independent farmers, but he was also a believer in the independent entrepreneur – and for the same reasons.

Madison (and his like-minded friend Jefferson) knew that people who are self-sufficient in life’s basics, who make their own decisions, whose livelihood relies on their own choices rather than someone else’s, are less likely to march in lockstep. Independent enterprisers are far more likely to think for themselves, and far more capable of independent action than those whose first aim is to appease institutional gods.

Living in the Job Culture, on the other hand, has conditioned us to take a “someone else will deal with it” mentality. “I’m just doing my job.” “The boss makes the decisions.” “I’m just following orders.” But if someone else is responsible for all the important choices in life, then we by definition, are not.

I reminds me of my favorite part of Paul Graham’s essay on “Why to not not start a startup“:

16. A job is the default

This leads us to the last and probably most powerful reason people get regular jobs: it’s the default thing to do. Defaults are enormously powerful, precisely because they operate without any conscious choice.

To almost everyone except criminals, it seems an axiom that if you need money, you should get a job. Actually this tradition is not much more than a hundred years old. Before that, the default way to make a living was by farming. It’s a bad plan to treat something only a hundred years old as an axiom. By historical standards, that’s something that’s changing pretty rapidly.

Now we look back on medieval peasants and wonder how they stood it. How grim it must have been to till the same fields your whole life with no hope of anything better, under the thumb of lords and priests you had to give all your surplus to and acknowledge as your masters. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day people look back on what we consider a normal job in the same way. How grim it would be to commute every day to a cubicle in some soulless office complex, and be told what to do by someone you had to acknowledge as a boss—someone who could call you into their office and say “take a seat,” and you’d sit! Imagine having to ask permission to release software to users. Imagine being sad on Sunday afternoons because the weekend was almost over, and tomorrow you’d have to get up and go to work. How did they stand it?

I have a plan to fix this, but it’s a little difficult to describe because people have a hard time thinking outside of the surf mindset, the assumptions that underlie the “job culture”. It will take some time.

And so it shall be.

September 30th, 2009 § 0

imag01341.jpg JPEG Image, 1344×2016 pixels - Scaled 27%.imag013411


OutSystems puts it better and clearer than most. Give it a shot, specially if you’re Tuguese.

Price of money

September 30th, 2009 § 0

Some things are better when they’re not free.

If Craigslist charged a dollar for every listing, what would happen?

Well, the number of bogus listings and repetitive listings would plummet, making the site far easier to use.

The number of scam artists using the site would go down, because it’s more difficult to be anonymous when money changes hands.

The revenue of the site would soar, which means that the people running the site could get far richer, or fund digital journalism or change the economy of an emerging nation.

Money creates a sort of friction. In the digital economy, magical things can happen when there is no friction. You can scale to infinity. On the other hand, sometimes you want friction.

If you lead a group that allows anyone to join, for free, your group might be large, but it’s not tight, it’s not organized to make important change. Commitment slows things down in the short run, but ultimately aligns interests.

via Google Reader 1000+.

Seth touches a very good point, good does not mean free and vice-versa. There are things were people should pay. Do you think that bottle with tap water you buy would taste so good if you hadn’t pay for it?

Speak Up Archive: AIGA/NY Smart Models: 37Signals

September 27th, 2009 § 0

I somewhat vividly remember the first time I saw the web site of 37Signals: I was at the lumbering internet consultancy of USWeb/CKS sitting anxiously in my “creative” read, made of steel with gruyere cheese holes cut out of it cubicle with nothing to do,

via Speak Up Archive: AIGA/NY Smart Models: 37Signals.

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