A New Home, Best Friend, Resto-bar and Dream

A renowned investor pointed at the fact that I haven’t written anything here for a while, so this morning I decided to take a few minutes and put out an update! It’s been about 2 years since my last update so a lot has changed!

A New Home

I moved back to Waterloo, Ontario a couple of years ago (though kept some roots in Austin). I loved my home office in Austin so I designed a new home office here as well.

GSD RoomI call it the G.S.D. room because that’s what it’s all about – Getting *ahem* Stuff Done!

A New Best Friend

After moving back to Waterloo I felt I needed a someone who could grow to be the future Chief Dog Officer of my new company. He’s now almost 2 years old I’m proud to say he’s grown into becoming an amazingly gentle and loving Golden.

Bentley GT

I couldn’t have asked for a better best friend.

A New Resto-bar

My friend Rami had the idea to launch a restaurant/bar/lounge into a retro-gaming bar so I offered to help with funding and take on co-ownership. It’s called Patent Social.

I’m proud to say that today it is one of the highest rated resto-bars in Kitchener-Waterloo today according to Google! It recently celebrated its 1-year anniversary.

Patent Social

Rami did all the heavy lifting while I have been focused on my own company, so I can’t take much of the credit for its success. He’s a great dude.

A New Dream

Data is the reason why Amazon is able to create better shopper experiences and outprice other retailers. The ability to report upon and segment shopper data is already out there today, but are independent retailers acting upon that data? Well, the answer is most aren’t.

Data is the new retail advantage.

That’s why I created Fera.ai (which I originally launched as Banana Stand). Fera makes it easy for independent eCommerce merchants to use the data in their store that result in better, higher converting shopper experiences. 

Fera does things as obvious as remembering your clothing size as you move from product to product, or showing you promotions only when it believes they’re relevant to YOU.

Real-time Personalization for Shopify and BigCommerce - Fera.ai 2019-08-14 09-25-56

The future of retail sales is in A.I and data. Retail is moving online at a rapid pace and humans increasingly prefer to interact with digital devices rather than other humans.

I want Fera to be the last retail salesperson a store owner will ever need. We still have a lot to go before we hit that point, but we’re headed in the right direction!

Starting Something New

I’ve moved back to Canada to work on my new business (announcement TBA!) and a few other things I’ve been investing my time (and money) into.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunity BigCommerce and the other wonderful people in Austin, Texas gave me over the years. Things I’ll be missing, in order are:

  1. The amazing people of Austin that allowed me to have such a great time while I was there
  2. The wonderful weather that let me wear shorts 11 months of the year
  3. The delicious food that made eating out to places an easy decision every time

Magecredit was just Acquired!

The popular eCommerce store credit system I built that worked for the Magento eCommerce platform called Magecredit was just acquired by a German consulting company.

I’d rather not disclose the acquisition amount but I can say that I am very happy with the result.

The acquirer does have technical expertise so I’m confident they will continue work for the current Magecredit clients to improve and grow the product with new features. I will remain available for the next 6 months on an “on-call” basis.

PHP Foreach Preserves Last Item

I thought I’d blog this because it’s something that comes as a surprise to me, so it may come as a surprise to you. Let’s consider this code: http://pastebin.com/mxsjMdij

The second time the loop runs it actually preserves the value of the “$app” variable, and thus triggers the if statement’s isset() function to true.

This issue caught me for a loop for a while, but I guess now I know…. interesting PHP….

It’s more than a Magento store credit extension…

Last week I announced my latest obsession: Magecredit. Magecredit is a store credit extension for Magento. It all started a few months ago when I decided to tackle the problem that eCommerce stores experience a large amount of refunds in their lifetime. For some stores, this kills their performance. In fact, analysts have seen eCommerce store return rates of up to 25%¹, especially in the clothing industry.  That’s a 1/4 of all sales!

So what are merchants doing right now to combat this issue? Well, they’re basically giving customers back their money and hoping that the customer decides to chose another product… In my calculations I’d consider this a lost customer unless you can find a way to keep the money in your store. From an accounting stance, returns look ugly as well (especially with the credit memo system native to Magento).

Magecredit helps solve these issues. If you can create credit memos and returns that go directly to store credit, you can incentivize customers not only to continue to shop at your store, but to also potentially increase their purchase size (as suggested by Tony Hsieh of Zappos in Delivering Happiness).

The first step of this journey to retaining customer value is to build the store credit extension for Magento. I’m focusing on Magento store owners simply because I know the Magento ecosystem very well and I can keep close to the merchants using store credit in their store so I can learn and adapt the system to be the best that it can be for merchants. Later I’m going to look at implementing the system for Shopify and BigCommerce, and even some of the larger platforms like Demandware.

So you see see, it’s much more than a Magento module to me. Magecredit is about increasing customer happiness and loyalty. I’m excited to see merchants succeed with it on their side.

¹ Old school vs shiny new technology

Smart Habits

I always recommend that people read the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book has taught me a lot. If you don’t have time to read it or at least read the lesson summaries on the Wikipedia page for the book.

Someone brought up the issue that if you practice the principles discussed in the book in real life it may make you seem fake or forced. This is absolutely true! (See video above). The fact is, it’s really, really hard to pretend to like someone. So how do we solve this?

The answer is to create habits out of the good practices taught. A habit is something you do without a conscious awareness of doing it. If you create a habit out of never criticizing people, then the next time they say something really, really stupid, you’ll look less like you’re holding in a fart resisting correcting them and more like a naturally nice person.

I recommend you read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is an excellent read after you read How to Win Friends. It talks a lot about the creation of habits and how we can use habits to improve ourselves.