Business, Coastal Stuff, Oddyssea

Mother Nature does build them Pretty

05.19.12 | Permalink | 1 Comment
Skull of a mature coyote from New Mexico

I’ve been attempting diligently not to share too much about the actual product we’ll have in Oddyssea, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. This morning we got a shipment in that I’ve been waiting impatiently to arrive and the contents pushed me over the edge.

While it was difficult to select just one to share, in honor of Wile E. Coyote aka “Super Genius” aka “Carniverous Vulgaris,” the coyote skull was the winner. I am so ready to have our doors open to share the cool stuff we’ve been collecting with the world. But alas, we’re not there yet. Argh!

So, we’ll just have to be content with little lapses in security like this one. 😉

Business, Coastal Stuff, Oddyssea

Messing About with Products

05.15.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Messing About with Products
Potential Items for sale at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay - Explore. Create. Discover.

The stocking at Oddyssea is continuing apace. We’ve got stuff from all over the place coming arriving at the store daily.

One of the challenges we face is that we’re attempting to find things that are a) interesting b) rare or unique c) fit our themes and d) we can profit from. Achieving an optimal mix on all 4 dimensions means a great deal of thought is going into each product and an even greater effort on procurement – because you can’t just go to the local warehouse and pick up a dozen “mumblefratz” with our model.

One of the things we’ve been messing around with is looking at how different things from different departments may fit together (or not) so that multiple use on specific items is possible. You can see an experiment (humor intended) in the image on this post. I have a certain weakness for borosilicate laboratory glass and suffice to say, we have some of it for use/sale in the store.

What you see in the image is a mashup of left-overs from the nature department combined with items from the science supply department, amethyst and citrine remnants displayed in Erlenmeyer flask and lab beaker respectively.

We have contracted with a local artist to help with a distinct installation on one wall of the create room – can’t wait to see what she cooks up. We have another local business woman that we’re meeting tomorrow to attack another wall with something unique too. All of this takes time, but boy is it fun. And maybe even people will like it!

The store does seem to have a little buzz developing around it, particularly since we covered the windows and the new stuff is coming in. We got an invitation to speak to the local Rotary Club about what we’re up to next month for example. Can’t wait to share what we’re up to with them.

Business, Coastal Stuff, Oddyssea

Why Did We Choose the Name Oddyssea?

05.14.12 | Permalink | 2 Comments
Oddyssea Half Moon Bay - Explore. Create. Discover.

So, why did we choose the name Oddyssea (and don’t we know that we misspelled it? ;-))

A little back story is required before we get into the core reasons for the name and spelling. As we contemplated (soberly) if/how/when to enter the retail business, we realized that it was stupid to enter without some basis for competition that didn’t rely on lowest price or largest selection as the key drivers. Why? It should be self-evident, but I’ll say it anyway. If you are competing on those axes, the volume that is pumped through big-box stores and online marketplaces means it’s impossible to even match, let alone beat those prices, while attempting to stay in business.

That being said, we wanted to shift the basis of competition to revolve around the in-store experience where big box stores and online only outfits couldn’t reasonably compete. (Ikea aside for some readers, do you really want to go to a big box store and spend time there? On the online front, sure it’s great to browse on your phone, but don’t you want to interact with the merchandise and sometimes with knowledgeable people?) That’s the whole hypothesis of what we believe is necessary to not only survive, but to thrive with a small independent retail store in the second decade of third millennium.

Coming back to the name, knowing that we wanted an experience, we gravitated toward “adventure” as a theme. We cycled through many, many different candidates and disqualified them right and left. Ultimately, we selected odyssey because of its definition as “an epic journey.” In order to make it memorable and protectable (since we noticed people weren’t great with spelling odyssey in any case) we wanted to tweak the spelling.

We knew that some of our store themes would be ocean related (duh, given that we’re in Half Moon Bay on the Pacific Ocean) so we substituted “sea” for “sey.” We knew some of the themes and products we were attracted to carry were not, shall we say, directly normal and in the main stream thus we opted to replace “od” with “odd” to reflect that element. A little casting around for the various domain names, twitter handles, facebook accounts, etc and we came to Oddyssea as a replacement for odyssey. And thus far, it has been an epic journey.

The last bit is the visual representation of the name and establishment of the brand. We have a narrative that describes what we want the store to be and this naming exercise was central to establishing our core thesis for the business. This narrative was shared with our friends over at 5Rockets to help us find the right visual expression for the store (you can see the result in the logo posted in this entry.)

In any case, I thought I’d share this as it was noted in a conversation last week that it was interesting to understand the level of thought and meaning we intended when we chose the name. Hope it was interesting to you too.

Business, Innovation

Building Awesome Products Interview

05.13.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Building Awesome Products Interview
Kathy Klotz-Guest uses story telling and improv to demonstrate creative concepts

A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure to chat with Kathy Klotz-Guest, a “marketing story teller” who leads the practice Keeping it Human.

Kathy and I were both speakers at Product Management Bootcamp earlier this year and were able to keep connected after the event. I’ve really enjoyed the interactions with Kathy and have come to appreciate her intelligence, wit, and creativity.

Last week Kathy posted a 2-part series on our conversation to her blog. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2. Hope you enjoy reading them!



05.09.12 | Permalink | Comments Off on Finally
North Carolina KKK sign. Bigots will be bigots as they discriminate against their fellow citizens.

Just as North Carolina becomes the 41st to use the popular vote to discriminate against a class of citizens (see sign to the right, they are still fighting integration and communism,) President Obama showed some leadership coming down on the side of democracy, the rule of law, and equality for all citizens in his support of same-sex marriage. What does it mean practically? Nothing in those 41 states (including California) and it will legislatively change nothing in the near-term.

Symbolically, in an election year, it means something very important. We have one candidate, Mitt Romney, who is at least consistent on this issue, who is an avowed bigot in favor of limiting certain citizen’s rights. We have another candidate, President Obama, who has declared (finally) that he believes in equality for all citizens. That makes a core part of each candidate’s value system visible for all to see.

Now for my friends (often religious) who say “the bible defines marriage as one man and one woman and it’s our job to protect traditional marriage” I say that’s a feeble defense for 3 reasons:

  1. The bible defines at least 8 different kinds of marriage: polygamous marriage; levirate marriage; marriage between a man, a woman, and her female property (slaves); a man, one or more wives, and one or more concubines; a male soldier and female prisoner of war; a male rapist and his victim; a male and female slave; and finally a monogamous union between one man and one woman.

    Don’t believe me? Read your own holy book. You don’t get to pick and choose if you truly believe what you say with the bible defense of marriage. Furthermore, the confusion and lack of awareness of the people using the bible defense invalidates the claim of one traditional marriage type in the bible’s own words.
  2. So called “traditional marriage” between one man and one woman has been abused hugely in our society. Divorce rates are sky high, and that’s the true threat to marriage of all flavors.

    If proponents of “traditional marriage” really believed in it as they claim, instead of banning same-sex marriage they would alter the law to criminalize divorce. To single out same sex marriage highlights the lie of the stated desire “to protect traditional marriage” as it ignores the core threat to marriage: divorce.
  3. Finally, if one were truly conservative in their outlook, one would see this issue in a Constitutional light. It’s about “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and “all men (people) are created equal.” We don’t legislate discrimination in our society. It’s antithetical to the core of our philosophy.

    Forget about the specific issue of same-sex marriage, substitute something like “a citizen may not own labradoodle mixed breed dogs” to protect the pure-bred labrador retriever and poodle populations. Not only would most citizens say this stance is ridiculous, they would laugh it out of any government setting. This is not a place for government intrusion except for the protection of the class of citizen that is targeted with biased legislation that curtails their Constitutional Rights. If you can legalize bigotry on one issue like same-sex marriage, why not on another with people who want to own labradoodles?

I predict, much like Prohibition in the 1920s, that as a nation we will look back on this issue in the future and wonder how such a large percentage of our population behaved like asshats over such an obviously silly issue. So, my message to you if you are one of the bigots that wants to ban same-sex marriage: stop behaving like an asshat and get with the program.

Why? Because some couple’s same-sex marriage has the same impact on your marriage and life as a person somewhere in the world drinking a beer has on your sobriety. None. Nada. Not a single thing. Live and let live.

By all means, be true to your ideals: don’t marry someone of the same sex. But stay out of the lives of people who do want to exercise their rights as citizens. It’s simple really. It’s obvious. And it’s the morally correct path.

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