The Vendor Client Relationship In Real World Situations

Clients… gotta love them.

Bootstrap Maryland: A Conference For Entrepreneurs

Bootstrap Maryland

A group of technopreneurs made it out to the University of Maryland campus for Bootstrap Maryland.The aim of the conference is to teach budding entrepreneurs “the necessary tools for running a lean and successful technology business.” The event had 4 main panels covering a variety of topics from marketing and public relations to picking the right technology. I learned a lot from the anecdotes of the local entrepreneur panelists. While I ‘m more HTML than MBA, the event inspired me to keep thinking about the business angle on the projects I take on.

Panelists of the third session at Bootstrap Maryland

Panelists of the third session at Bootstrap Maryland

Since every seat in the business school lecture hall had a power plug and the WiFi was strong throughout the entire event, I managed to take a copious amount of notes on my wiki. Here are some of the highlights:

  • When it comes to a business plan, do you need one? Whole panel answers “Meehh… not really.”
  • Recessions are a great time to start a business because everything is cheaper and there is a ton of talent available.
  • Businesses don’t fail because of the technology, businesses fail because they don’t understand their market.
  • How to better understand your market: Experiment, Evaluate, adapt.
  • MYTH: Experience in the corporate world translates to the start-up world. The start up world is a totally different beast.
  • Want to get rich quickly? Rob a bank. Sell crack. Don’t start a company.
  • Best brand right now is “swine flu”, “susan boyle”
  • If considering outsourcing, go with a brand name firm.
  • Don’t under-estimate the value of play.
  • The MD/DC/VA area has tons of groups and events

That last point is big. If you are looking for a local group of people who are interested in media/technology/business, the DC metropolitan area has something for you. After all, where else would 200 people get together to share ideas and stories about starting businesses on the cheap on a Saturday. Jared Goralnick did a great job organizing everything and I would expect the attendance to double for the next one.

Jared Goralnick polls the audience of Bootstrap MD

Jared Goralnick polls the audience of Bootstrap MD

Drinking a Diet Coke with pizza and salad for lunch.

Drinking a Diet Coke with pizza and salad for lunch.

Genius Rocket (lunch sponsor) distributes fliers while everyone is out in the hallway eating pizza.

Genius Rocket (lunch sponsor) distributes fliers while everyone is out in the hallway eating pizza.

Panelists mingle with the audience after the 2nd session at Bootstrap MD

Panelists mingle with the audience after the 2nd session at Bootstrap MD

More of my photos from Bootstrap MD: Picasa / Flickr / Facebook

Other coverage of Bootstrap MD:

Update: Last Zune In The DC Area

Microsoft Zune 80 Package

It has been nearly a month and I thought I would update everyone about the last Zune in the DC area. I managed to sell the digital media player on the Amazon Marketplace for $329.99, a 32% markup over the original price. I still needed an MP3 player for my daily commute and with the profit I decided to buy another Zune 80 online via Amazon.com instead of in person at Target. In this situation buying online was a much better deal for the following reasons:

  1. Buying the player in person results in sales tax being tacked on. Here in Maryland, the sales tax is 5% so that would add an additional $12.50. Amazon.com doesn’t charge sales tax for Maryland residents.
  2. Amazon.com offers a 30 day price match on it’s own products. If the price drops within 30 days of a purchase, Amazon will refund the difference. When I ordered the player on December 2nd, it was $249.00. Today it is being sold for $239.99, a difference of $9.00. Claiming a refund is easy. Just go to Amazon.com/refunds and send customer service an e-mail. If you don’t want to keep track of the price differences yourself, check out PriceProtectr.com which will send you an e-mail if there is any drop.
  3. Both Amazon.com and any local store are sold out of the device, so I would have to wait either way. I don’t mind waiting which is why I decided to sell my first one when the demand was high.

Here is a final breakdown of the math:

1st Zune Bought at Target
$249.99
+$12.50 Sales Tax
= $262.49 Total

Sold on Amazon.com Marketplace
$329.99 Price Sold
+$7.48 Shipping Credit from Amazon.com
– $10.35 Actual Shipping Cost (Added insurance to the cost)
-$28.14 Amazon Fee
– $262.49 Cost to Acquire
= $36.49 Profit

2nd Zune Bought on Amazon.com
$248.99
+$5.58 Shipping and Handling
-$5.58 Free Super Saver Shipping
-$9.00 Price Difference Refund
= $239.99

Final price for my Zune
$239.99 for 2nd Zune
-$36.49 Profit From 1st Zune
= $203.50

Not bad for waiting a little bit longer and taking advantage of a unique situation.