Tag Archives: madcap

Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1)

The internet is full of information.  And a lot of it is useless.  It’s almost a science to know how to find helpful information.  You would think you could type  __________ manufacturing into the mighty Google and a plethora of useful links would pop up.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Many of the search results that show up at the top are the companies that pay top dollar to get that position.  These companies can pay big bucks to get there because they are hauling in big bucks.  They do business with well established brands that have deep pockets.  Developing a product for a complete amateur isn’t exactly on their to do list.  In fact, it’s not on it at all.  Manufacturers, especially oversees ones, deal in minimum orders.  They usually require you to purchase at least 2,000 units.  So, let’s say each unit is $10 from the factory.  You’re in $20,000 deep for just the first order.

Not to mention, oversees manufacturers are in foreign countries.  Slight problem; they speak a foreign language.  How the heck am I supposed to communicate with them?  I don’t even know any of the important terms for this type of industry.  I was ready to give up and roll back onto the ground.

I stuck it out for a couple more searches and struck gold.  So I thought.  Here we go, a manufacturer that is only about 5 hours away and works with start ups.  How lucky am I . . . they do consulting and construct prototypes.  Everything on their website looked good and I liked what I was seeing.  I did a little research about the company in a couple forums and everything check out alright.  I decided to email them to see if they could help me out.

It’s kind of amazing now a days with social media and information overload that everyone has to have some comedian in them.  You’ve got to stand out a little if you want to get someone’s attention.  (It’s too bad because it creates the annoying “one-upper” type person.)  I realized that this manufacturing company probably got hundreds of emails a day from people like me that thought they had a fantastic idea.  They were pretty much the only company I found after hours of research that stated they work with amateurs.

So, the subject line of an email becomes your audition.  You’ve got to pass the eye test and compel them to click on it.  I went with “College student with an idea so good I will no longer have to sleep my way to the top.” A little long?  Absolutely.  But, they responded.  And God, how I now wish they didn’t . . .

It’s funny how sometimes you think you caught a lucky break and it really turns out to a shitty situation.  Kind of like having a toilet siren for an alarm clock . . .

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Lets hear from you . . . do you get frustrated with researching on the internet?  When you really want a response from someone via email, how do you prepare your subject line?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from In Bloom)

I woke up to the glaring sunlight streaming through my window.  My head felt like it got into a fight with a brick wall, and lost.  As I was cringing to the repulsive taste in my mouth, I squinted and saw that the clock read 10 Am.  Aw, hell naw.  Way too early for a night dweller like myself.  I had made the rookie mistake of leaving my blinds open.  They must be closed, at once.  Like a wounded animal, I rolled out of bed and slowly made my way to the window.  From my back, I reached up and spun the blinds closed.  Laying there, catching my breath from all of the barrel rolls, I felt like I too could see Blue.  Contemplating whether or not to just set up camp there for awhile, the post it on the wall caught my attention.

It was funny to see how crappy my hand writing was after having a couple of beverages.  I was relieved that I did it, though, because I didn’t remember the observation I had made about the group of girls.  Yeah, pinning it to the wall was a little unnecessary, but . . . yeah.  Really have nothing else to add on there.  I really wanted to get some people’s opinion of my product idea.  But, my room had just turned into a dark cave.  So, that was gonna have to wait  for a couple hours.

Most people wake up to the birds chirping.  Not me.  I am awaken every afternoon by a much less delightful noise.  The wall in my room is connected to the bathroom and I am reminded of that with each blaring toilet flush.  It’s usually a series of 5 or 6 flushes because of the 12 pack and 4 chimichangas my roommate had the night before.  It gets even lovelier when he bangs on my door and proclaims “Put some wings on me, I can fly now that I’m so much lighter!”  I can’t believe that this is my alarm clock . . .

I usually would have told him to f off and went back to sleep.  Not today though.  “Come in here batman”.  He opens the door and attempts to jump on my face; ass first.  Fortunately, he misses and bounces onto the ground.  “Dude, listen to this.  I came up with a brilliant idea last night.”  “Doubt it“.  “Screw you, listen.”  I disclosed the privileged information to him.  “That’s stupid.  Drive me to Burger King“.  Are you serious, it’s a great idea.”  “Yeah, not really.  I’ll be waiting downstairs.

He’s a guy, he doesn’t understand that girls will like it.  I then decided to call a trusted adviser.  She’ll get it.  I told her about the product.  Not bad.”  “That’s all you got?”  “Well, it could work.  But, it takes a lot of money to start up a business.  And you’re broke.”  “Thanks for the positivity.  I’m going to get a prototype made.  You’re going to have to test it out for me.”  “We’ll see.”  I already knew from the little time I spent brainstorming about the idea that it was going to be a long process to get the product on the market.  But, I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get people to buy into the idea.  I knew it was a good idea and people would realize it; they just needed something tangible to look at.  I absolutely hate doing research but knew I had to find a manufacturer to make a sample.  This is going to suck . . .

Continue to Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2 . . .

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I’m interested to hear from you about your college experience.  Did you also have hilarious roommates?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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The MadCap Effect

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

(Continued from The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart)

A couple days after I came up with the idea, I was casually having a drink outside and held up my glass to finish off the last drop.  At the bottom of the glass, I saw the 5 tiny letters that are engraved on most of the items in your house: CHINA.  Along with kitchenware, the industry my company is going to be a part of is dominated by Chinese manufacturing.  Before doing any research or asking anyone, I already knew that it was a given to produce products like mine in China.  And I really thought, and hoped, that there was someway I could have it made in the U.S.  Freshen up your drink and allow me to explain why I have come to find out that it is impossible.  At least for now . . . .

The whole reason I keep harping on about this is because it is a major issue within my product’s industry.  My view of the respective manufacturing situations that the U.S. and China find themselves in is directly responsible  for a challenging goal I have for my company. I have wanted to produce my product in the U.S. ever since I first came up with the idea.  I thought then and still think that it is the most moral thing to do.

My desire to do this increased even more after learning about the violent labor strikes going on in China.  I know that if my product took off and sold really well, I wouldn’t be able to get any satisfaction driving around in a car that was essentially paid for by oppressed Chinese workers who can barely afford to get by.  After being immersed in this project for so long, I’m shocked that this matter is such an afterthought.

If a riot policeman slugged a pregnant worker (near bottom of article) here in America, I’m sure every news pundit on TV would be screaming about it.  Especially Nancy Grace.  But, so long as it is a worker making the blue jeans outside the U.S. border, who cares.  We all rally around the rights for Timmy working at Wal Mart, but don’t give two shits about the 14 year old girl in China stitching the jeans for 12 hours without a break.

I do want to be clear that I don’t think this is the consumer’s fault.  I am a consumer and just about all of my clothes are foreign made.  All of the blame belongs on the company’s shoulders.  They certainly comply with the labor laws for their employees working in the U.S. stores, but it’s quite a different story for the workers across the Pacific who are making the products for the stores.  That minimum wage salary seems to get lost along the 8,000 mile distance from here to there.

Within my company’s industry, a lot of ethical issues get swept under the rug.  That is for those CEOs to live with though.  And sure, some might absolutely have to manufacture in foreign countries for practical reasons.  But, I bet some of them do it to make more money.  There is no accountability for their actions.  They take advantage of the cheap labor and want to reap the benefits without getting called out.  I don’t want my company to operate like that.  Take a look at this video; you’ll see what I’m saying about the zero accountability part at the 15:35 mark.  And this one.

I am in the process of heading a company and I have taken all of this into consideration.  Upon finalizing the mock spec for my product, I asked my consultant to price out sample costs from American factories.  Come to find out, it’s simply impossible to have my product mass produced here in the U.S. because I wouldn’t be able to turn a profit.  That is alarming.  Voola, just like that, I had to accept my product being made in China.  I was reassured by my consultant that they have worked with this factory in China for 15 years and they have great working conditions.  They visit the factory a couple times every year and the workers get paid fairly.   Just turn a blind eye to it, that seems to be the protocol anyway.

I do realize that I am guilty of being a mild hypocrite right now.  I have been up on my soap box yelling about how deplorable Chinese factories are and now I’m doing business with one.  Trust me, if I had it my way, it’d be USA all day. However, I’m not going to let this roadblock deter me from meeting my goal.  If I’m lucky enough for my product to become a fad, I believe that I would have the capability to open up a factory here and mass produce my product.  There would be many things to consider, especially being able to keep the product at the same price point and turning a profit.

If I would be able to meet those requirements, I would definitely do it. I understand the potential hot water situation I am putting my company in right now by declaring all of this.  Like the girl said in The Social Network, on the internet, everything is written in ink.  But, I stand by it now and will in the future.  If it can financially work opening a factory and producing units here, I by all means will do it.  Some may consider it wishful thinking, but I like to think of it as forward thinking.

Considering China is the manufacturing powerhouse right now, they need to do some forward thinking of their own.  To reiterate my point from the last post, their labor cost is going to go up and all the companies are going to move to countries like Vietnam.  This trend is already beginning.  In 50 years they very well could be in the same situation the U.S. is in right now  and having to outsource for manufacturing.  It’s almost just like the infamous Domino Effect.  Once the cost of labor goes up in one country, companies will move onto the next cheap one.  Maybe this explains the sudden skedaddling of the rich Chinese out of their homeland.

That’s why, along with the U.S., China should get ahead of the game and set regulations for the companies selling products within their country.  They should make these companies abide by labor laws that protect the rights of the laborers who are manufacturing the products, even if they are outside of the country.  This would be in their best interest and a giant step towards equality throughout the world.  It would knock down the next “domino” in a much more positive fashion.

My company will never be a major player in the industry by any stretch, but I want to do my part.  What’s right is right.  Maybe opening a factory here would encourage the big wigs that it could work for them.  Nonetheless, creating jobs for fellow Americans is good enough for me.  Just maybe, we could create a positive domino MadCap Effect.

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What are your thoughts of the labor strikes going on in China?

Let me hear your responses here, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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Waiting at the Doorstep

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

Yesterday, I rushed to the mailbox like a kid expecting Santa Claus.  The long awaited day had finally come; the delivery of the sample.  I’m on the cusp of being welcomed inside;  I will no longer have to be waiting at the doorstep.  My goal was almost complete.  I could almost taste the round of Big Bourbon that The Exec was to going to have to buy for our bet.

Tearing open the package like a rabid animal, I sensed that all of my frustration from the past couple months could finally be let out.  All of the struggle was worth it.  The countless hours of research,brainstorming, phone conferences, hundreds of emails, traveling, and thousands of dollars were suddenly paying off with each tear. And, oh yeah, some redemption for getting royally screwed by the Fox Bros. (I’ll get to this story later).

Damnit, this thing is harder to open than those stupid plastic packages for action figures.  It was sealed extra tight because it had been sent from a world away.  It boggled my mind that a couple days ago my sample was being crafted in a Chinese factory 8,000 miles away and now it was in my hands.  Fascinating times we live in. (We’ll be discussing this in the next post).

All of the mounting anticipation and difficulty of the package just added salt to the wound after I saw the sample.  It was terrible.  Not even close to being ready for the market.  There really is some universal law that everything has to be difficult, isn’t there?  We have come so far but are still so far away.  Now, I had to contact my consultants and be like the guy at Subway bitching about not getting enough salami on his sandwich.  This isn’t acceptable!  I hate being that guy.  But, it is a role you have to fulfill if you want to produce a quality product that people will buy.  I think. 

Of course, my consultant was positive as usual.  It takes a couple runs of samples to get it right.  The next one will be market ready.  I get that, but I can’t keep forking over money for crappy samples.  The budget is running dangerously low.  I am convinced, after these past couple months, that being successful in whatever field of business, half of it is being able to spin things. The ability to deflect dissatisfaction and spin a positive  solution is an invaluable skill to have.  Especially when dealing with clients.  Every client presents their own sets of demands, vision, and budget for what they want from you.  Being able to absorb their frustration and presenting a “its no so bad” speech seems key.

I thoroughly explained what needed to change.  Okay, great.  I’m telling you the next sample will be magnificent.  We’ll see.  Back to the waiting game.  Great, Madam Moola is going to be pissed . . . (that’ll make sense later on).

The guy who answered the door now looks confused and is asking who I am.  With my shoulders hunched, I respond “still just the Madcap.”  The door closes.  But, it seems as though he left it ajar for some reason . . .

Continue to The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart . . .

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Have you ever been eagerly awaiting something and then were highly disappointed?  Please comment!

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The Christening of the MadCap

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

The Night It Became Practical:

The hourglass overseeing his cozy charade had only a few specs of sand remaining.

Crumpled paper that once had illustrious ideas written on it filled the trash can next to his conjuring chair.

It was begrudgingly the time to call a seize fire with his imagination.

With his cap in hand, he went to join the crowd.

Defeat weighed down his presence,

even the guy doing a keg stand could sense it.

His wondering eyes ventilated his broken spirit.

The cap grew heavier in his grasp and fell to the ground.

While grabbing the damned thing, a girl caught his attention.

A faint flame began to take shape.

A scene from his memory bank jolted to center stage.

The flame began to vehemently sizzle.

His eyes frantically searched the room.

Synapses began to rapidly fire.

A surprise attack ensued.

The sand in the hourglass started trickling into the empty end.

He put his cap on and departed in pursuit of a pen.

Continue to In Bloom . . .


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The Exec – Part 1: A Nightcap with the Madcap

(Posted in The Exec)

Pull up a seat my friend.  What’ll ya have?  I’ll get this one.  I’m August Chimera, nice to meet you.  What do I do . . . ?  Well, it’s an interesting time for me right now, to say the least.  I graduated from college a couple months ago and am starting a company in an industry I know next to nothing about.  I agree it’s crazy, but I always have been a bit of a madcap.

Well, I am forming a company to sell a product that I conceptualized during my senior year.  I just met you friend, I can’t tell you exactly what the product is.  Maybe further down the line I can . . . you seem trustworthy.  I’ve got to keep it sub rosa until I have the product ready to sell.  You see, I’m just a roadrunner in a desert full of coyotes, I have to tread cautiously.  There are products on the market that are maybe 50, 60% like mine, but nothing exactly like it.  If one of the big companies caught wind of my concept, I’d be royally screwed.

Well, alright.  I can tell you that the primary target for the product is girls in college. Your right, it is a big market.  Well,  I know college girls will want the product because that is where I came up with the idea.  Staggering around at a party, the idea hit me.  I put a couple muddled observations together and realized the potential the product has.  Yeah, I do realize that everyone thinks they have a million dollar idea, but I’ve got to try.

You know, the famous author Hubert Selby admitted that he started to write because he feared he would die before he accomplished anything.  Yeah, I know I’m way too young to be thinking like that but its motivation to see this project through to the end.  I want to be able to showcase at least one of my ideas before I kick the beer can.

Business plan . . . well I don’t exactly have one.  Kind of like a educated guess, I’m educated winging it.  I’m good at trucking along half knowing what the hell I’m doing.  It’s an acquired skill from all the years of figuring out the parameters to achieving the bare minimum in school.  I disagree.  The lack of business plan hasn’t left me like a chicken with its head cut off.  I’ve got everything together up here.  I’ve also got some people in my corner.  It’s funny the things in life you have to do to make things happen. After a long search, I finally found some reliable consultants.  Upon disclosing my idea to them, I oddly thought of Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire.  I had to depend on the kindness of strangers.

I’m putting together a website to sell the product on.  No need to hire anyone to do that, I’m going to build it.  No, I don’t know any of your secret mumbo jumbo codes but I bought a web design book.  Yeah, I’ll be able to pick it up, I’m a quick learner.  How hard could it be?  It might seem like I’m feeding you a bunch of bull, but you’ll see.  Mark it down . . . 6 weeks. In that time, the product will be mass produced and there will be a lot of buzz about the product.  Trust me, I know what I’m going to do.  That’s exactly what I’m planning on doing, don’t try to take credit.  I am going to launch a teaser campaign and generate interest.  Let’s see, around October 10th we’ll say, the site will be live and selling the product.  Alright, a friendly wager.  Winner gets a round of big bourbon.

What is going to get me from this in- flux state to heading a company and selling the product is my perseverance. My faith in the products potential.  My desperation to achieve something.  You can’t embody all of that in a plan.  You carry that on your shoulders and outlet it in your actions.  That’s going to be the fun part and where I’m going to be front and center.  I know exactly how I am going to market the product.  That was my major.  I know what works and what doesn’t.  No, I never have worked on an actual ad campaign, I just entered the real world remember. That’s a current trend that needs to be put to rest; people not believing you or wanting to hire you unless you have already come up with something amazing.  What happened to appreciating raw talent and good ideas?  Really . . . no way.  Fancy that, you’re an ad exec.  Now I get the Mr. skeptic shtick.  Let’s be sure to keep in touch so you can see the benefit of taking a leap of faith in someone.  I’d be forever grateful if you did that.  You spreading the word about my campaign would help out tremendously.  Don’t look now, but check out that girl over there.  In the red.  She could really use my product right about now.  Cheers to her and good ideas.  Clink.

Continue to A Moral Formal, Madcap Welcome . . .

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Have you ever randomly met someone who helped change your life?  Please comment!

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