Monday, October 16, 2006

One of those days

Its been one of those days today. Loads to do and everything conspiring to stop you doing anything. Not helped by the on-going problems with BT's ADSL service.


Everytime it rains our ADSL service goes into spasm. I thought originally it was because the junction box which leads to us was buried by some helpful (not) person ... who then dropped it into a hole that filled with water whenever it rained. But the engineers have moved it again and say it is OK now.

I tend to believe them - BT engineers are great - the problem is BT and its deliberate attempts to make sure customers cannot talk to them on any "helpline". It takes, on average, five minutes to navigate through the menus on their 150 service before you get close to speaking to a person.

Anyway the ADSL line went into spasm again today - even though it wasn't raining here. I found out later it was raining in the nearest town - and that is where the exchange is ... interesting.


What I was trying to do today was get ready for the Cotswold Inventors Fair on Thursday of this week (19th Oct). It should be fun. But there is a lot to do and loosing the ADSL line for most of the day did not help. Luckily I had most of the content, etc that we needed here already so I could at least get on with some stuff.

Its always the same with shows - regardless of the audience - you plan and plan but when you actually get there two things happen (1) you change the layout / display / arrangement of the stand; (2) your stand doesn't look as good as the others and you start to worry. I'll bet we do the same on Thursday even though we have done loads of shows now and should know better :-)

I'll take some photos and post them up here for comments - it would be useful to get feedback.

The other thing I am trying to get my head around is the animations we want to make of the SlideTite characters. On the website / packaging / etc you will see the small figures doing various things ... fishing, hiking, skiing, surfing and so on. We want to get these into 3D so that we can create movies of them and hopefully then make a few people (a) laugh and (b) notice us. Publicity is the hardest and most vital thing to get for a business of our size and stage of growth and we think films of the characters may help in this?

I've created a few of the characters using Minimates and customising them. The first still images are here ... better ones will follow and once I have some good ideas for topics for the films they will follow too.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Volumetric and other stuff

Interesting day today - the courier arrived a whole day early to collect an order! Luckily because of other committments we had packed it a day early :-) Who says you can't manufacture luck?

Anyway I was going to try and explain "volumetric" ... basically you measure the items you are sending. Then you multiply them all together to get a volume and then divide by a fixed amount to get the volumetric figure.

So, for example, if you have a box which is 100 x 50 x 10 cm this would be a volume of 50000. You then have to divide this by a figure given to you by the courier - normally this is either 4000 or 6000. (I believe its something to do with road versus air.)

In our example if we divide 50000 by 4000 we get 12.5 - which is then the weight the courier says this box is - 12.5 Kg. So if what we have put in the box is light and only weighs 5 Kg we will still be charged for 12.5 Kg by the courier. However, if what we have put in the box is really dense and weighs 20 Kg the courier will add a fixed amount per Kilo to bring the charge up to the full 20 Kg.

So be aware - if you have big light stuff to send via courier (especially if it is going overseas) then make sure you work out the volumetric weight and don't think you can send it using the actual weight. It can take a while to get this right in an on-line ordering system :-)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Name of the product

Forgot to say yesterday we have called the product SlideTite - cunningly I also derived the name of this blog from the name :-)

Busy day today ... got to get a reasonably large order ready to go to the Netherlands. That's one of the things we've had to learn really quickly - you can't just send stuff - there are lots of small, but important, things you need to consider. Also there are numerous terms which - again - you have to know about and which matter. One of our particular favourites is "volumetric". If I get bored one evening I'll try and explain it but the in the meantime I have some paint drying which needs to be watched ......

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why am I doing this?

Not sure why I've decided to post to a blog. Like most things ... lots of reasons, lots of influences, nothing you can really put your finger on. It just feels "right". Plus my wife (Anne) suggested I do it - and most of her ideas generally turn out to be good ones!

Perhaps an explanation of what this is going to be about might help here. I invented something - a small slot - doesn't sound much but it holds rope and bungee securely and safely. (More on this at a later date.)

Anyway it works so Anne and I decided to set up a company to manufacture products based around it and sell them. We've been doing it for nearly two years now. And really I suppose that's why I am writing this. It can be lonely running a business - even when there are two of you doing it :-)