As an investor, founder, CEO and business book author, I write about startups, design, how to build a good business, and I like to muse about culture in any form.

Working to build that next great e-commerce company

Rob Go of Spark Capital recently posted his ideas about the next big opportunities in e-commerce.  He’s thoughtful and I think he’s on the right track.   But I am biased because the third point in his post succinctly summarizes the opportunity we’re addressing at Daily Grommet:

Rob says he is interested in seeing “new customer acquisition and aggregation models.  Retailers are always looking for new, more cost efficient channels through which they can push their products.  Over the last several years, merchants have mastered the art of SEM and SEO and are very comfortable managing a number of disparate channels.  I think companies like Woot and Vente Privee have shown that there are some very different and creative ways to aggregate traffic that retailers or product companies would love to tap into.  But given how social the web has become, it’s amazing that we don’t have another customer aggregation model that is much more interactive and viral than what these companies (and their imitators) provide.”

Like Rob, I am continually amazed at the virtual absence of e-commerce in social media.

We completed our first fundraising in June–a seed round.  So we finally are building product.  Being a designer, this is the part that I’ve been dying to get to.

And hey…here’s our hot-off-the presses logo.  We wanted something that suggested real people are behind this enterprise, a bit of mystery, humor, storytelling, handcraft.  Anything but impersonal, swoopy, lime green Web 2.0 bubble type. We’re not about aggregating pixels…we’re about real products with interesting stories.

Our design firm, Alphabet Arm, gained a couple pretty good “crazy client” stories when we kept using a Grommet sculpture as inspiration for the logo (a scupture which I hadn’t yet built, so they had to imagine it), and from our continual pressing to “make the grommet heroic.”  (And yes, we know that most people don’t know what a grommet is.) This, my friends, is exactly why I avoided logo design like the plague when I was a designer.  Too subjective.  And you have to deal with clients like me “who only know it when they see it.”  Hats off to head designer/owner Aaron Belyea (who really does have an alphabet tatooed around his arm), designer Ryan Frease, and their team of young guys who persevered.

(And I promise to replace the jpeg on this post with the more refined version, Aaron.  I just couldn’t wait to share it.)

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