Archive for July, 2012

Print Something Great

July 27th, 2012 | Mike

The MakerBot Replicator at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

Our MakerBot Replicator showed up at the store about 2 weeks ago, but we were unable to place it on the floor because a) we didn’t know what the heck to do with it b) we weren’t sure how to price it simply and fairly and c) we didn’t have the right place to put it.

As of this morning, we have addressed each of these deficiencies. We now know how to use the Replicator properly and have been printing – yay! I built a table specifically for the machine and have placed it inside the store for maximum effect. So we now know where it goes.

The pricing aspect was tricky and we’re still not sure we’ve kicked it, but we at least have a starting point. Essentially, the costs associated with the machine are: material (plastic) power, labor, amortization of acquisition cost, and provision for maintenance and repair. Trying to reflect all of this in a pricing model that is clear, simple, and concise is something of a challenge.

Here’s where we are right now. The price is $1 per gram of a printed object with a 5 gram minimum. Thus, you bring in your design, print, we weigh what comes off the platform and if it is >5 grams, we charge you $1 / gram. If it’s <5 grams, we charge you $5. Since the material is pretty light, we're finding you can print some pretty cool stuff under the 5 gram minimum. We think this is a compelling price that still allows us a little wiggle room vis a vis our expenses.

Don’t know what to print? No problem. Take a look at the library of things that already exist the ThingVerse. It’s extensive. Don’t like what’s there? Use one of the existing objects as a starting place and modify it or roll your own from scratch. Bring your file on an SD Card down to the shop and we’ll print it out. Just that simple, no fuss no muss.

Our Replicator is a dual extruded model and we have plastic in black, white, blue, yellow, green, and red. Come on over, give it a whirl!

Zoltar Speaks!

July 24th, 2012 | Mike

Zoltar Speaks at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay. Come visit and discover your fortune!

One of the things we knew we wanted in the shop from day 0 was a fortune telling machine. For fun and adventure. The fortune telling machine we wanted was Zoltar from the movie Big starring Tom Hanks. While the original design with the coin dropping into Zoltar’s mouth wasn’t possible, we were able to partner with Character’s Unlimited Inc. to bring a new version of Zoltar to Half Moon Bay.

You see an image of our version in this post; he speaks, he moves, and he provides fortune-cookie-like wisdom to all comers verbally and in the form of a fortune on a card. He has to be experienced in-person to understand the power of Zoltar.

Logistically, the package he arrived in was over 7′ tall and weighed about 300lbs. He’s a big boy! The 2 delivery guys and I wrestled him into the shop yesterday and then Sabrina and I unpacked the materials, cleaned him up, decorated, and activated him. It was a fun time for all.

Want to know your future? Come visit and give Zoltar a spin.

Your Creations at Oddyssea

July 23rd, 2012 | Mike

One of the things we hoped to achieve when we opened the shop was to have people not only visit and explore, but to stay and create. The 3 photos below show just a fraction of the creation that is possible in the shop.

This piece was the first one created by one of our visitors on the work table in the create room:

The first customer created terrarium at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay.


This piece was created by one of our visitors yesterday, somewhat accidentally. She got the ingredients and wanted to see how things fit together. It started on the work table, moved to the apothecary counter, back to the work table, and finally was packaged to travel.
The Accidental Project - built from scratch at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay


This piece is Mike’s contribution to the terrarium arts. He was helping someone out with sea urchin and sea stars along with some tillandsia. In the process he broke an urchin :-( and had an extra on the counter. About that time, a customer laid a tillandsia next to it and it looked like a jellyfish. Thus the new jelly-rerrarium! Ellen said it looked lonely, so we made it some friends too.
Mike's Jellyfish-rerrarium built at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay


Like what you see? Come on down and show us what you’ve got. We’re happy to work with you as you chart out and execute your creation.

Summer Art Stroll – August 5th

July 19th, 2012 | Mike

HMB SOMA Arts Summer Art Stroll

One of the best things about joining the Half Moon Bay business community has been the warm welcome and support of the community. Within that community, there is specialization and we’re proud to be able to participate in one of the sub-segments of the community, the SOuth MAin Street (SOMA) artists.

Ellen Joseph, of the Ellen Joseph Gallery & Studio, has been the driving force behind SOMA and the events structured to show off all the talent on south Main Street. Having seen visitor behavior now in terms of walking and looking, it’s as though there is an invisible force field on Miramontes that prevents people from exploring further.

The SOMA Summer Art Stroll aims to breach the Miramontes Street force field and make it worthwhile to venture down Main Street to places that people may not have visited before. Aside from the great art and talent on display, visitors can enjoy live music and refreshments.

The event is August 5th 2-5pm in Downtown Half Moon Bay. All of the participants are listed on the HMB SOMA Arts website. Come on over and have some fun. We hope to see you then!

Return of the Register

July 18th, 2012 | Mike

National Cash Register, Model 367, at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

In February of this year, the first thing we purchased for Oddyssea was a 1909 National Cash register model #367. It’s a monster. You can see what it looked like when we acquired it in this post.

Aside from really liking the look & feel of these pieces of technology history, the register originated in the Silicon Valley of the time, the Miami River Valley in Southern Ohio – a hot bed of innovation from the 1880’s to the mid-1950’s. The areas of innovation were broad: flight (Wright Brothers,) automotive (Charles Kettering et al,) and mechanical computers (NCR aka National Cash Register.) And, it’s our ancestral home, so to speak, since Ellen and I both hail from that part of the world.

Initially, I’d intended to restore the register myself. But once I opened it up and started the process it became clear I could a) restore the register or b) build the store. There was no way to do both concurrently. That’s where the good folks at HBAC Group came in – they were able to receive, restore, and ship the register back to us in California. It arrived on a pallet yesterday outside the store.

FedEx was a royal pain in the hind end during this entire process. If not for the creativity of Carlos over at the UPS Store in Half Moon Bay and Barb at HBAC Group, we might not have been able to get the thing shipped there and back safely. The crown jewel was FedEx refusing to bring the register into the store because we have 6 steps in the front.

Fortunately, I was headed back to the store in any case and happened to have a friendly gentleman, Marquis, out in front who offered to help me move it into place sans pallet. We did so and you can now see the register in its natural habitat.

Check out the additional photos below. You can click any image to enlarge. But if you really want to experience the beauty of this register, come visit. Nothing beats the in-person view ;-)


Before:
National Cash Register, Model 367, at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

After:
National Cash Register, Model 367, at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

National Cash Register, Model 367, at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

National Cash Register, Model 367, at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

National Cash Register, Model 367, at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay

State of the Store

July 17th, 2012 | Mike

Create Room at Oddyssea Half Moon Bay.

It has been an eventful July as we sprinted up to the launch line for Oddyssea. We originally intended to “soft open” mid-June; due to some fixture delays the date slipped until July 14th.

While the shop is now open and operational (yay!) there are still significant components missing which will help us secure a sustainable and profitable operation in the long-term. Not the least of which is getting our website up and functional. I’m doing a first pass of this, but will be engaging our friends over at 5Rockets to help boost it to the next level.

We don’t have external signs installed on the premises yet -> that’s a bit of a problem in attracting visitors to the shop. Something to be addressed in the near-term.

Significant internal attractions are still missing, our 3D printer, Zoltar, and our restored cash register.

Our most significant in-house developed product is not complete and consequently is not available for sale. This is a drag in two ways, one we’re missing a big part of the fun and two, it’s a profitable item for us.

All that being said, we do have an embarrassment of riches in and around the shop. We now have a talented and engaged team of people working with us on and in the shop. We have our major fixtures in place and merchandised. We have developing processes and practices that will provide consistency and will enable us to scale.

Most importantly, the visitors we have had seem to really enjoy the experience of the shop and that’s what we wanted to achieve.

For example, one woman visiting with her significant other spent upwards of an hour browsing around, touching, playing, and interacting, and at the end of her visit decided to make her own terrarium securing a 400mL beaker, some colored moss, a raccoon skull, and a succulent plant as the ingredients. She was giggling like a school girl as she collected her treasure and headed home to work on her project.

That is the exact experience we wanted to create when we conceived of the shop. It’s a slow start with many warts to be sure, but the early returns suggest that the concept has merit and could succeed. That’s something we couldn’t know until we opened the doors and started engaging with the public.

Right now we’re trying to recover from last week’s Herculean effort and move toward a steady state of operations. We’ll continue to fill in holes and improve the overall Oddyssea experience as we drive toward our “Grand Opening” Labor Day weekend.

If you are ever in Half Moon Bay, stop in and say hello at 617 Main St.

Soft Opening

July 14th, 2012 | Mike

No picture on this post ;-).

The last few days have marked dramatic progress toward opening Oddyssea. We are now at a point that it’s possible to contemplate opening the doors, soon. Maybe as early as this weekend (hint, hint.)

Even with the progress, there is still a mountain of work to complete and it’s just a matter of prioritization and sequencing. Everyone is feeling a little pressed for time (there’s nothing like a deadline to force focused execution toward desired end-state.)

Assuming prospective customers can enter the store without risk to life and limb and we can actually process a sale should anyone wish to buy merchandise, we will forge ahead with our beta test aka soft opening. Stay tuned!

Significant Strides

July 11th, 2012 | Mike

No picture on this post ;-).

The last few days have marked dramatic progress toward opening Oddyssea. We are now at a point that it’s possible to contemplate opening the doors, soon. Maybe as early as this weekend (hint, hint.)

Even with the progress, there is still a mountain of work to complete and it’s just a matter of prioritization and sequencing. Everyone is feeling a little pressed for time (there’s nothing like a deadline to force focused execution toward desired end-state.)

Assuming prospective customers can enter the store without risk to life and limb and we can actually process a sale should anyone wish to buy merchandise, we will forge ahead with our beta test aka soft opening. Stay tuned!

New Skills

July 8th, 2012 | Mike

In addition to learning how to build cases, mill box joints, cut and thread pipes, build transmissions, lighting design & installation, and fan configuration & installation – I’ve added building window screens to my repertoire.

The shop has windows that we want open, but we’d like to keep the insects and birds in the outside, where they belong. Therefore it was necessary to acquire screens for the windows. However, there aren’t any that would fit our windows.

So, another trip to the hardware store opened up another option: build the screens. Material was then acquired, measured, cut, assembled, and installed today. Much easier than I would have imagined and it certainly served the purpose. Fun, fun, fun!

Working Fans in the Shop

July 7th, 2012 | Mike

Our fans arrived at the shop about 2 weeks ago and between consulting and travel, I hadn’t been able to get them fully installed until today. After what seems an eternity, they are up and active. View the video on YouTube.

Apparently I’m very easily amused because I love to just stare at these things. Kinetic art so to speak. Besides serving a very real need to circulate air around Oddyssea, we are also able to sell these beauties! If you’re interested, drop in and see us and we’ll help you out.

The countdown to beta test aka “soft open” in retail-speak has started. Stay tuned for launch within the week.