How to Start a Two-Bit Operation: Small Business Tips

From start to small business. Learn and live vicariously.

Now that summer is here and wedding season is in full effect, I wanted to take a brief moment to announce some recent changes to The Wedding Lens.

New Design

Just to keep things fresh, we worked with Brad, our designer at Vanilla Green, to give the site a bit of a layout facelift.  Many of the content elements on the public pages and in the album remain the same, but the background and container make it feel more like an elegant wedding album.  There’s also a cleaner and more informative front page to explain why The Wedding Lens is the best way to collect thousands of photos are your wedding.

New Plans

Over the years we’ve gotten to understand our customers better and we’ve decided that a Free Trial model would be more fitting to the customer behavior.  There’s now a Standard, Premium and Ultimate plan — each with varying levels of functionality and time commitment.  The plans have been live for a few weeks now and it’s been a very positive response so far.

New People

John and I wouldn’t have been able to execute the new direction without the help of the newest addition to our team — Jenny Fong.  Jenny’s joined us as our Marketing & Business Development Manager.  She has an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and her BS from UC Berkeley (Go Bears!).  Welcome her by leaving a blog comment!

Learn More

If you want to stay up-to-date on all The Wedding Lens news, here are a few links:

Remember, if you know someone getting married, let them know that The Wedding Lens is their best way to effortlessly collect and share full-resolution photos from their family and friends! 🙂

Justin

July 30th, 2010

Posted In: Announcement

Tags: ,

It was more than 4 years ago that John and I quit our corporate jobs at Microsoft and HP to start our Two-Bit Operation.  My how time flies (or does it).  It’s interesting to think back to what you can learn in 4 years of college vs. 4 years of running your own business – one full of academic theory and one packed with practicality.  One is not necessarily better than the other, but there were times these past years when I said to myself “I wish I paid more attention in <that> class.”  But, alas, nothing good ole Google can’t teach us.

As a small business it’s always important to celebrate the milestones and that’s something we haven’t been good at, but we have definitely been better at celebrating than updating this blog.  Some high level notables:

  • Menuism.com continues to chug along profitably.
  • The Wedding Lens continues to grow and have very happy customers.
  • PickFu, being a lean service, is profitable on it’s own.  We could use more growth here, so let us know if you have an ideas or want to try out a beta account.
  • A couple side projects that bring in money but we’re not ready to share 🙂

What’s interesting about this milestone is that it feels like an eternity on the Internet and it’s surreal to watch other similarly aged companies fold due to lack of profitability or pressure from VC investment.  People ask us if taking or not taking VC investment was a hard decision for us.  In fact, it wasn’t a decision for us.  Not taking it was sort of the point of the whole venture.  We didn’t want to work for anyone else and we wanted to run our own business.  Sure we haven’t had the budgets of our competitors but we get to work on:

Flexibility and owning your own destiny is an amazingly empowering feeling.  Here’s to 4 more years!

Justin

April 24th, 2010

Posted In: Announcement, birthday

A few days ago we asked the supportive community over at Hacker News for some feedback on PickFu. We were extremely pleased to see that the overall sentiment was positive and that there were other entrepeneurs out there who have the same need for quicky and cheap polling.  In the spirit of some of the comments, we now offer a few more options for the number of reponses (50, 100, and 200) and for some basic demographic targeting (gender and age group).

If you’ve got some new logos you need to a/b test go give it a try!

Justin

June 6th, 2009

Posted In: Announcement

Tags:

As an entrepreneur, there are many times when you want to get some feedback on something you’re working on or planning to work on.  It might be the name of your new company, the strategic direction of your products, or even just different versions of ad copy or images.  Sure you can annoy your friends with emails or go to a coffee shop and ask people, but in either scenario you’ll be getting a pretty skewed sampling and wasting your time.  

What if I told you that you could get 50 answers to your question in a matter of a couple hours, complete with explanations and demographic info?  All for just 5 bucks. Would that interest you? 

If it does, then PickFu is for you!

PickFu Logo

PickFu is our latest little project.  It’s a simple service that gives you cheap & instant market research into the general Internet-using population.

If you want to learn more, check out the website. the suggested uses, or the demographic info of our users. 

You can also leave a comment if you want be considered for our Beta program.  Beta users get 5 free questions – that’s a $25 value!

We’d love to hear any feedback you have on the service!

Justin

PickFu Yahoo Example

An example of doing a simple A/B test

December 23rd, 2008

Posted In: Announcement

Tags:

Happy birthday Two-Bit Operation! Today marks the one-year anniversary of our last day at our previous jobs. It seems like just last week that, wide-eyed and full of boundless optimism, we started the company and this blog. What difference a year makes! Our eyes aren’t as wide anymore (fatigue-induced :)), but we’re still optimistic. In a couple days we’ll post a Two-Bit retrospective about the past year.

b
One thing we’ve definitely learned is to keep moving forward, and in that vein, we’re super excited to announce the first monthly Menuism Food Fight! You might have heard about it on the Menuism Blog, but a good thing bears repeating: Eat PANCAKES and win prizes! In honor of National Pancake Week (Feb 18-24), we’re looking for the BEST pancake in Seattle, Chicago, New York and San Francisco, and you can win by just eating pancakes and reviewing them on Menuism. You can win even if you’re not a pancake fan – just refer a winner and you’ll win as well. So get out there and spread the word, or check the press release or contest page for more details!

Publicity in all forms is great, and we’re really excited to be getting Food Fight coverage from the awesome guys at Tech Cocktail and WindyBits. However, you know you’ve really made it when your name shows up on a banana, courtesy of the fine folks at BananaName:
banana

This is proof positive that Menuism’s Food Fight is something to go “bananas” over… sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂

– John & Justin

February 4th, 2007

Posted In: About, Announcement, banana, birthday, Brand, Food Fight, HP, Learning, Microsoft, Personal Issues, Startup

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