Monthly Archives: June 2013

So Close and Yet So Far

It’s exciting to realize that this is really going to happen, that win, lose or draw giftbug will exist on the world wide web. It’s exciting to sit at my desk everyday and see that giftbug is a working, functioning website, if only on our home network. We’re gratified by the anticipation that is building and the interest that we are receiving. It’s excited to be asked “when is it launching already?!” and trust us, the wait is more painful for us!

Tomorrow we are reviewing our project plan and committing to a launch date. Fingers crossed that “a few weeks” is more honest than simply hopeful.

Today we continue to take small steps forward, Andy is experimenting with how the circles lay out on the screen. Who knew how tedious it could be to translate our circle diagrams from  sketches to screen?? That’s a lie – – we knew – – that’s partly why it’s one of the last pieces we’re addressing. And while Andy curses at circles I’m finishing the ‘editing an  item’ view.

We’re so close friends. We’re so close.

While you sit at the edge of your seat waiting for us to roll out phase 1,  allow us to tease you with a screenshot…

Screenshot of an individual item in my registry (guess who’s the evil genius and who’s the sidekick).

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

T-minus 11 days until Father’s Day and we’re here with a few suggestions for the  special Dads in your life.

1. New Dad

gifts for Dad: Darth Vader Onesie

This one never fails to make me laugh. I’ve seen it on adult t-shirts and as internet  memes, but throw it on a cute little onesie or a bib and you can get a lot of traction  out of Darth Vader asking “Who’s your Daddy?”, especially if Daddy’s a Star  Wars geek.

Etsy: Who’s Your Daddy Onesie/Bib

2. Traveling Coffee Lover


gifts for Dad: Heated Travel Mug

This one was a big hit with my Dad and he still uses it to this day. Maybe Dad  doesn’t need ‘another travel coffee mug’, but wait, this might just be his favorite  travel coffee mug. And especially if we have siblings, isn’t the goal really  to buy those things that turn out to be Dad’s favorites? In this case, it’s a  heat controlled travel mug that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter or power adapter.

Amazon: Heated Travel Mug

3. Thirsty Dads

gifts for Dad: Optimist-Pessimist Bar Glasses

Bourbons seem to be ‘the thing to buy Dad this year’…although admittedly, Dad  should actually like Bourbon. I went through numerous Bourbon picking guides online and settled on one with lots of pretty pictures (so you can find the bottle at  the store) as well as lengthy descriptions about what makes them great. And whether  Dad’s an optimist or a pessimist, he’s sure to love these bar glasses, no matter his drink of choice.

UncommonGoods: Bar Glasses
Tony Sachs: Bourbon Picking Guide

4. Bacon Lovers

gifts for Dad: Crested Duck Charcuterie Bacon Club

I feel it’s impossible to think of Father’s Day gift selections without coming  back to bacon. Most of the Dads/guys/people I know LOVE bacon. Here in Pittsburgh, we have a local charcuterie (meat lovers paradise) that has a bacon of the month club. The membership includes four months of their artisanal, hand crafted bacon with flavors like ‘Summer Hops & Honey’ and ‘Thai Curry and Lemongrass’. As of today they can only ship in PA, but are looking to expand country-wide very soon.

Crested Duck Charcuterie: Bacon of the Month

5. Book Lovers

gifts for Dad: Personal Library Kit

I love this idea for the book lover who has an extensive home library. We’ve all  loaned out our books, never to be seen again. This personal library kit makes it official  if you borrow one of Dad’s books. Plus, depending on his late fees, this gift could  finance his next vacation.

UncommonGoods: Personal Library Kit

6. A Fun DIY Gift

gifts for Dad: DIY Gift: Shrinky Dink Tie Tack

This is such a fun idea, especially if Dad has young kids. You can take family photos and turn them into ‘shrinky dinked’ (yes, I just invented my own verb) versions of family members. The uses are endless: tie pins, key chains, luggage tags, attach it to an air freshener and hang it from the rear view mirror…endless ideas I tell you!

Oh Happy Day Blog: Shrinky Dink DIY

7. Don’t Forget the Card

gifts for Dad: DIY Gift: Father's Day Card from Etsy

There are a lot of great cards out there for the occasion, and we’re sure you can find one with just the right sentiment, but this one spoke to me:

Etsy: Card


Jumping Into the Deep End

Last week I went to a networking event for Girl Develop It that was hosted by AlphaLab. These are two really great organizations here in Pittsburgh that I have much respect for. Several of us participated in ‘lightening talks’ or quick 5 minute presentations, and I decided to share a little bit about how Andy and I ended up taking the plunge into the deep end of the pool and taking a chance on this dream of ours.

Following is the basic story that I shared with everyone. I hope it gives you a little insight into our journey so far…and if it makes you curious about giftbug and excited to use it, all the better! (Remember to follow us on Facebook or Twitter to keep updated on our upcoming launch)

Jumping Into the Deep End
Let me tell you a love story about a guy and a girl. They met, fell in love, got  married and birthed a website.

About a year ago, Andy and I had a conversation, you know one of those conversations that probably should, but doesn’t, come with a big neon sign that says “your life is about to change!” This is the discussion where we decided to stop talking and start doing. What do I mean? Well, for years we’ve been brainstorming all of these great app ideas that we wanted to create, and this was the day that we decided let’s do it, let’s jump in and see what happens. Let’s see what happens when we leave the stability of guaranteed income, let’s see what happens if we’re together 24/7.

We spent about 6 months preparing to take the plunge and in January of this year we started working full-time on our dream; our dream to build something – – and we still weren’t even set on what that ‘something’ would be.  – – “I’m sorry, say what now, you jumped in without a clear plan??”

We jumped in with a plan to create and to try, and with a list of ideas. We had a list that we whittled down to a few. We had the safe, small, roll it out fast idea and the big, hairy, ballsy idea – – and hey, if you’re going to jump, JUMP, right?

So we decided to go with an idea that we’ve actually had for about 5 years, we had been calling it ‘Everyday Registry’, but that was about to change. This ‘Everyday Registry’, a universal gift registry as many are called, wasn’t totally unique – – that’s right, as we were narrowing down our original list of ideas, we started to realize that other people had already had this genius idea of ours. So why did we still go forward with this particular idea? Well, partially because we’d never heard of any of these other universal gift registries, and so that lack of name recognition was definitely a factor. And after hours spent combing the websites of our competitors, we knew we could do it better.

Because of our backgrounds we understand the importance of structure, we didn’t just dive in on day one and start coding, we did the design and planning work, but also tried to stay very committed to being agile – – committed to it, yes – – always able to stay out of the weeds, no. So we covered the walls of our home office in white butcher paper, bought a box of those markers that smell like root beer and grape and blue raspberry, and we did a brain dump of all of the website features. We prioritized what was necessary for phase 1, we wire-framed out a basic design, and started coding. – – ha! If only it was as easy as that sounds. There’s been a lot of learning, like BIG, Everest-size learning curves. And we went into this knowing that it would take longer than we expected, and of course it’s taking even longer than that. We keep each other focused to stay agile and reign in the scope creep. But like I said, it’s hairy, it’s a big, hairy goal. And we’re constantly learning, we make a good team, we’ve got good solid backgrounds in various fields, but we are constantly learning on the fly about marketing and social media and definitely about technology.

We know we’re taking a risk. We know that more of these projects fail than succeed. We know that most people’s first ideas fail, and if ours does that we’ll learn from it, and be better for it and try another idea. – – – But, I gotta tell you, I love this idea, I love the work that we’re doing together and I think we have a winner here. I’m prepared for the fact that this might never take off, but I also really believe in what we’re creating. It’s well thought out, it’s well designed, it’s tested, it’s simple. It’s good.