Archive for the 'Sunday Morning season one' Category

Attack of the auditors

Fig 1: Numbers people

So it’s that time of the year where we have to submit our accounts and have them verified by the auditors. Lilaine and I have no gift for numbers and frankly, it scares me that there are people out there who are into these sort of things.

Edwy, our most patient and long-suffering accountant, has been asking all sorts of questions we can’t answer, i.e. How many did tees did you sell last year? What happened to all those unaccounted for tees? Where are the suppliers receipts? What disease did cured ham actually have? 

From his line of questions (and the fabulously vague answers we keep pulling out of thin air), this business is obviously doomed to failure. Lilaine, to her credit, has been spending late nights tying up all the loose ends and making sense of the various scribbles on pieces of paper that passes for our ‘stock chart’.

Not a good month, this.

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Sales update

There was no emotion from her face. “I just picked up our cheque from Canaanland” she said. “There’s good news and bad news.”

Unsure of what to expect, I decided to get the good news first.

“Our tees are all sold out at Canaanland in Centrepoint,” she said. “And they decided to order 150 more units.”

“Uh, wow. That’s great. But what’s the bad news?”

“Guess who’s going to do the sorting and packing?”

Penang, Kota Kinabalu and soon in Singapore

Together with our distributor Canaanland, we’ve just sent out a shipment to stores in Penang and Kota Kinabalu. We’re also finalising arrangements with outlets in Singapore, and will let you know where and when as soon as possible. Spread the word and thanks for your support. Right, now back to the leaflet for the email blast I was planning …

I remember 2009 as if it was yesterday

Welcome to the new decade. Except it doesn’t feel quite so new and 2010 still looks like 2009.

One year ago, Laine and I started this blog to chronicle the adventures of starting a new company. There were many things we could have written about: travelling up and down every 3 weeks; opening and then closing an online payment account after several months; receiving, lugging and storing the tees; devising a basic stock tracking system etc. Fortunately, we didn’t get around to it – it would have bored everybody to tears I think.

Instead, I discovered a latent humor writing skill (if letting your mind wander can be called a skill) and a profound ability to cut and paste from other people’s blogs to make up for the fact that I’m too lazy busy to post something original. What all this has got to do with starting a new company, I’m still trying to figure out.

Meanwhile, business is a little slow but that’s ok – we’re in no hurry. Canaanland is graciously helping us distribute the tees to East and West Malaysia (50ish stores in total), we’ve got a couple of contacts in Singapore and are looking for distributors in Jakarta, Manila and anywhere else willing to take the tees. 

Our accounting system is probably/ definitely in a mess (Laine and I have the accounting sense of a turnip) and that’s something we need to sort out before handing our books to the auditors – if there’s a book to begin with.

We also realise we don’t quite know how to handle an online business. Plus, the site itself needs a makeover. The two parcels we sent by post never reached their respective destinations and there are probably other problems we don’t even know about yet.

Nevertheless, I’d say it’s been an amazing experience. 2009 will be fondly remembered. Hey, we launched a t-shirt brand and are glad a lot of you like them. Laine and I are especially grateful for all those who went out of their way to help us (setting up appointments, lending your car, designing, selling and buying the tees) – you know who you are.

We are now in back in Malaysia (after 3 wonderful years in Singapore) and looking forward to what the next few months will bring. Lukas starts nursery on Monday 4th Jan, and I’ll have to do a bit of travelling workwise, hopefully not too much. In between, we’ll need to sort out the housekeeping for Sunday Morning and start prepping for the next set of tees. A lot of work but worth it, in the end.

To all regular readers, thank you for support and encouragement over the past 12 months. It’s been a privilege and an honour.

“Behold, I am making all things NEW” Revelation 21:5.

Find us at Canaanland


Sunday Morning tees are now available at Canaanland bookstores throughout Malaysia. Just in time for Christmas. Addresses here, if you don’t already know where they are. Thanks to all the friendly peeps at Canaanland for your support!

Protecting your ideas

For the benefit of all those thinking of or have already started a creative enterprise, and are paranoid about their ideas being ripped off in China. An enlightening article by marketing guru Seth Godin.

How to protect your ideas in the digital age
Seth Godin

If we’re in the idea business, how do we protect those ideas?

One way is to misuse trademark law. With the help of search engines, greedy lawyers who charge by the letter are busy sending claim letters to anyone who even comes close to using a word or phrase they believe their client ‘owns’. News flash: trademark law is designed to make it clear who makes a good or a service. It’s a mark we put on something we create to indicate the source of the thing, not the inventor of a word or even a symbol. They didn’t invent trademark law to prevent me from putting a picture of your cricket team’s logo on my blog. They invented it to make it clear who was selling you something (a mark for trade = trademark).

I’m now officially trademarking thank-you™. From now on, whenever you use this word, please be sure to send me a royalty check.

Another way to protect your ideas is to (mis)use copyright law. You might think that this is a federal law designed to allow you to sue people who steal your ideas. It’s not. Ideas are free. Anyone can use them. Copyright protects the expression of ideas, the particular arrangement of words or sounds or images. Bob Marley’s estate can’t sue anyone who records a reggae song… only the people who use his precise expression of words or music. Sure, get very good at expressing yourself (like Dylan or Sarah Jones) and then no one can copy your expression. But your ideas? They’re up for grabs, and its a good thing too.

The challenge for people who create content isn’t to spend all the time looking for pirates. It’s to build a platform for commerce, a way and a place to get paid for what they create. Without that, you’ve got no revenue stream and pirates are irrelevant anyway. Newspapers aren’t in trouble because people are copying the news. They’re in trouble because they forgot to build a scalable, profitable online model for commerce.

Patents are an option except they’re really expensive and do nothing but give you the right to sue. And they’re best when used to protect a particular physical manifestation of an idea. It’s a real crapshoot to spend tens of thousands of dollars to patent an idea you thought up in the shower one day.

So, how to protect your ideas in a world where ideas spread?

Don’t.

Instead, spread them. Build a reputation as someone who creates great ideas, sometimes on demand. Or as someone who can manipulate or build on your ideas better than a copycat can. Or use your ideas to earn a permission asset so you can build a relationship with people who are interested. Focus on being the best tailor with the sharpest scissors, not the litigant who sues any tailor who deigns to use a pair of scissors.

Namecards

ed's

the missus

Just in. They’re either going to be some sort of collector’s items or a continual source of embarrassment. Namecard designer: Zoe Ong