February 4th, 2009

Walter

Moving Sucks.

Originally, it seemed like an unfortunate waste of money to start moving into a new apartment on February 1st when February at the old place was already paid for. Now, though... I'm not sure how any other schedule could have worked.

And as is the case seemingly every time I move, I am astounded at how much crap I own. You wouldn't necessarily know, because while there's stuff on the desk, and stuff in the bookshelf, the other 100 cubic feet of junk is very efficiently Tetrised into the closet. It never gets old... I try to take everything out of the closet for inspection and packing, and it always boggles my mind that, spread out, it doesn't all fit in my room.

And I always run across some forgotten item or paper that makes me feel nostalgic (or depressed, or old, or all of the above.) Invitations to weddings, old letters from friends, jotted down diagrams and ideas that seemed extremely awesome at the time... And various and sundry other things that probably wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, but that I lose several entire minutes to in a staring contest, when I remember what they are.

(Like that playbill to A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Eastman Theatre in Rochester... It would take a long time to explain, but, wow. Back in the day.)

I guess things are moving along pretty well, considering; All the furniture and heavy stuff (except my home office itself) have been professionally moved to the new place, and everything got there in once piece, and up either the incredibly steep (or 60s-batman-villain-lair-esque half-spiral) staircase into the new place. Well, except for certain pieces of Ikea furniture, but they got up in pieces, and eventually they will be whole again. (And thank you again, IkeaFans.com, for satisfying all my Furniture Assembly Instruction PDF needs.)

But I still feel pretty depressed. I am going to miss having my own bathroom, central air conditioning, a garbage disposal, and the really nice view of the Boston skyline from my bedroom window, which I now wish I had pulled up the blinds on and enjoyed a little more often than I did.

The new place is cheaper, though, and it has more space... Two porches, an attic, and a storage area in the basement. There is the small issue of the utilities (it needs natural gas, oil, and electricity for everything to work), the absence of three prong outlets in the room that was supposed to be my office (whoops) and the moving expenses, setup fees, and other charges, which are starting to add up impressively. But in the long run, I'll be saving money, even if it doesn't really feel like it right now.

But everything considered, it's a lot of progress for four days.
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Walter

Branching Out

So, while I try to keep this journal personal and very much separate from anything that might lead back to my job, I do have a vaguely work related question for you guys.

Very work related, I guess, but phrased vaguely.

My company makes business management software, and for a long time, we were specialized to a particular industry. But for a variety of reasons, we've been trying to branch out... The problem is, we're not really sure where to start knocking.

After all, there are a lot of cheapo options out there these days... Quickbooks is probably the best known, and one of the most popular, as it is fairly affordable and covers accounting as well as the basics of inventory management, sales, statistics, and so on.

The thing with us, though, is that we're really good at customization. Thanks to more than ten years of dealing with clients with their own bizarre ways of doing things, we have learned to deal with a lot of different methods of business. Maybe you also manufacture or assemble things, and need to order parts in different ratios based on the demand for your finished products; Maybe you resell things and need to keep track of their value over time. Or maybe the value (or some portion of the value) of your inventory varies over time due to exchange rates or gold prices... Or you might be selling hours of service (at different rates!) by various employees or other sub-contractors as part of, or along with your goods. Or you're interested in having a touchscreen kiosk display in your office that ties into your system, so customers can search through your inventory without bugging your staff to loot through the boxes in the back room.

It also gets interesting when you want a website for your business that ties into all this stuff. With the proper permissions, of course, so your employees can track their accounts and orders, or at least the parts of their accounts that you want them to. Or you might also be interested in tying parts of your business into other websites or online services... Listing items on Amazon or EBay, or tracking events and appointments through Google Calendar. Whatever you got, really, because unlike the business software you can buy at Staples, we wrote it ourselves, and we have a lot of experience with people who need to do things "differently". Oh, and we support MacOS. And Linux. And Windows. All together on the same network, even.

Recently, we've talked to some boutique clothing shops, a high end shoe store, and (I really should have thought of this one earlier), a tattoo parlor.

If you have any other ideas, or you know someone (or some company) who might be interested in our services, please let me know! While we're definitely more expensive than some of our brand name competitors, we're interested in expanding into other fields... And if you can introduce us to the industry of courier services, piercing shops, or alpaca farmers, or whatever, really, we can probably make it worth their while.
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