Five Things Friday: New Year’s Customization Resolutions

Two thousand twelve has been quite a year.  There’s a very good chance that you had not heard of Bound this time last year.  Rather than write a nostalgic, self-indulgent memoir of Bound’s first calendar year, I’m going to write the post that excites me even more.  ”Where we’re going” is the new “where we’ve been.”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year it is not to become demoralized by a widening gap between one’s current product and the desired future product.  If you measure your progress by shortening proximity to your vision you may end up drinking yourself out of business.

Don’t get me wrong.  After this year I think that one should absolutely measure success based on proximity to product vision.  It’s just that I think the greater the distance, the greater your success.  You should also be always increasing the distance from your original product to your present product.  Here’s my equation. The higher the SUM, the greater the PROGRESS.  I weight the first distance higher than the second to discourage myself from inflating the “envisioned product” by making up features.

[(current product) - (original product)]*2 + [(envisioned product) - (current product)] = PROGRESS

Alright, all that to say, in 2012 we put some distance between our current product and our original product but we’re still a long way off from our envisioned product.  Thanks to terrific customer feedback that envisioned product keeps getting further away.  In fact, from the very beginning one thing that gave me confidence that perhaps we were on to something is how everyone I described Bound to would immediate suggest one or two or ten ideas for additional features.

I often check my inclination to follow customer feedback blindly by remembering the words of Henry Ford.  Post check, I’m excited to say that in 2013 we at Bound resolve to pursue the following enhancements.  We may not deliver them all but it will not be for lack of effort. So, in no particular order:

  • Larger Notebook – I cannot say at this point exactly how the notebook will be bound, how many pages it will have, and what the dimensions will be but we will definitely try to add a notebook larger than our current 4″x6″ max size.  We’re thinking may “comp book” style or spiral bound; maybe 50-100 pages; maybe 5″x8″ or 8″x11″ or something in that ballpark.   No exact details, clearly, but it’s a high priority for us.
  • Cover Customization through Online Builder – We can currently do all sorts of cool things on the covers manually through our bulk order process but we want to allow customers to easily customize the cover online as well, possibly with uploaded images.  Who knows!
  • New Library Content – We’ve gotten some great ideas for new templates to add to our library from sports fields to workout logs to new calendar layouts and we’ve got a few up our collective sleeve as well.  Keep an eye out for some new options in the coming months.
  • Enhance Online Builder Functionality – The biggest thing here is adding the ability to select a combination of templates and have that combo repeated through the notebook.  Right now if you want to do a Weekly Calendar followed by a Checklist followed by a Lined Page you would have to check each one over and over again.  If you know what I’m talking about then you know what a pain it can be.  Arduous is better than impossible but still.
  • Streamline Bulk Order Process – If you’ve completed a bulk order with us you know that the finished product is great and we’re a-ok to work with but it is not at all an optimal process.  It can be a drag on customers as much as it is for us.  We want to make it much easier for you to order a couple or a couple thousand customized notebooks complete with bulk discounts.

Well, that’s five.  Truth be told there are more than five things on our list but it’s not Five Hundred Things Friday for a reason.

If we started 2012 with “original product = 1,”  I’d like to think we’re at least up to “current product = 5″ right now with “envisioned product = 20.”   If you’re doing the math, our PROGRESS score is 23.   My goal for December 2013:  current product = 18, envisioned product = 35 for a PROGRESS score of 71.

This post will hold me to that.  We’ll see…

Happy new year,

Joel

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