10/4/19

Big Red Car — Fast Site

About a month and a half ago, I got hacked. That made me focus on the Big Red Car website. It was very frustrating. Lots of time on the chat with support from a bunch of different places — talking to you, AWS.

I changed a lot of things — hosting, security, analytics, CDN, cache, backup, image optimization, fonts, SSL, subscription, SEO — had to. I had let the site get a little overgrown and spindly.

So, I have been doing some work on it. Have three or four more things left to do, but today, I got the speed where it needs to be.

The site is loading in less than a second. For a site this large, that is a superb speed.

I use GTMetrix to measure performance and keep my results. It has taken at least a month, but to see an A-96% on PageSpeed and an A-90% on YSlow with a 0.8 second load time, is pretty damn good.

The smartest thing I did was to turn loose WPSpeedGuru in the person of Alexei Kutsko.

I cannot believe how much better the site does on search rankings. I never really configure it for that, but the speed makes all the difference.

I hope you enjoy it.

If there is some change you’d like me to consider. Drop me a comment. It feels like you do when you finish tying a big, fat, beautiful Monkeys Paw.

 

 

 

09/30/19

Rent The Wrong Way

I have never rented anything from Rent the Runway, the unicorn women’s “unlimited closet in the cloud” fashion site, your secret door to the latest in the rag trade.

You can rent clothing by the one off, on a subscription basis, and buy the clothes at a discounted post-rental price. They send you (gratis) a second size to make sure you can fit into their clothes. It is a first rate business.

Though I have never rented a dress (don’t carry the right size for Big Red Cars), I have always loved the business concept, their financial model, their innovative business development, their founder story, and their web site.

The company was founded by a couple of Harvard MBA women in 2009 — Jenny Fleiss and Jenn Hyman (bit of irony, no? couple of “Jens”). It is a profitable unicorn.

However, if today you go to their website, you will find the following message:

Currently all one-time Reserve rentals must be scheduled for delivery after 10/15.

Thanks for your patience as we upgrade our system!

Imagine the conversations within the company that resulted in that sentence appearing on the website. In addition, the company  is not taking any new “members” for any of their programs.

In essence, the unlimited closet in the cloud is out of business for 2-3 weeks. Closed for tech remodeling! Never saw that happening!

How does a company weather a 2-3 week unannounced cessation of their business when they are an immediate gratification B2C, cutting edge fashion business? 

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07/28/19

Tech, Taxes, Tariffs, Trade — And French Wine

France has imposed/threatened a “digital services tax” on the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — all American companies.

The tax is 3% of gross revenues from digital services earned in France, but only for companies with more than 25MM Euros in French revenue and 750MM Euros in worldwide gross revenue. The tax money goes to France.

When you work through the math it puts a bullseye on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google while giving a pass to many European companies who collectively are just as big as these digital behemoths. This is not an accident.

This tax was discussed for some time period, but its enactment caught a lot of folks by surprise. One who was not caught by surprise was President Donald J Trump.

President Trump had spoken to the French President Emmanuel Macron cautioning him that such a tax would be met with an American response.

Image result for images macron

President Trump, in his inimitable fashion said, “Don’t do it because if you do it, I’m going to tax your wine.” Macron blew him off. French wine is a huge industry.

The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, sniffing at the ruffian DJ Trump, suggested that taxes and tariffs were completely unrelated. Good luck with that, Bruno.

Taxes and tariffs are core elements of trade while technology, digital services are a critical element of American commerce.

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03/20/19

The Unions Come For Tech

Bit of a gray day out here in the ATX which is a great day to be viewing the bluebonnets. Bluebonnets do not belong to a union. If they did, they would require more rain, no?

Today, however, we speak of the unionization of tech companies. A pal of mine (tip of the hat to LE of the City of Brotherly Love) sent me an article announcing that the staff of Kickstarter is going to become members of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153.

In announcing this bold step, the union had this to say:

Kickstarter United is proud to start the process of unionizing to safeguard and enrich Kickstarter’s charter commitments to creativity, equity, and a positive impact on society. We trust in the democratic process and are confident that the leadership of Kickstarter stands with us in that effort. Kickstarter has always been a trailblazer, and this is a pivotal moment for tech. We want to set the standard for the entire industry. Now is the time. Come together. Unionize.

Kickstarter is the first notable tech company to embrace the idea of a union, but in the last few years employees have begun to speak with a louder voice at some of the other companies on issues such as sexual harassment [talking to you, Uber] and selling technology to the Pentagon [talking to you, Amazon, Sales Force].

These louder voices are what has attracted OPEIU to come calling.

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