Bigcommerce Insider…I’m sort of a big deal


I am honored to be 1 of the first 10 Bigcommerce Insiders. I’ll be contributing time, knowledge, and enthusiasm to help their community and business grow.


Bigcommerce is an important partner/vendor to me. In January 2015, my business Jigsaw Health migrated from our 10 year old homegrown eCommerce/CMS platform to Bigcommerce. And we did it from start to finish in about 3 weeks.

Here’s the before shot of our old homegrown CMS/eCommerce platform.
Here’s the after shot of new Bigcommerce CMS/eCommerce platform.

Coming Soon

I’ll write more details in the future about why we selected Bigcommerce instead of Shopify, Magento, and a few others eCommerce providers that we considered.

And I also intend to write about how we use Bigcommerce data to create some simple and powerful reports in Google Sheets, including this Inventory Velocity / Forecast report which helps us know the day we’ll be out of stock.

Looks like we’re almost out of Maggie…good thing I know more is already on the way.

I also intend to write about how Coalition Technologies (our Bigcommerce development partner) wrote code to turn Bigcommerce’s bulk discount parameters into a beautiful, well-organized price matrix on our product pages, like this:

Being able to easily explain visually the bulk discounts we offer helps customers save more, and increases Jigsaw’s average order size.

But for now…

…I’m just happy to announce that I’ve accepted their invitation to become a #BigcommerceInsider, and I’m looking forward to contributing! :)

Could Collaborative Email be the next wave?

There have been a number of innovations targeted at improving Email.  For the last 2 years, I’ve been in the proverbial “basement” designing, prototyping, usability testing, redesigning, building, observing users, and rebuilding a new app called Contatta, that aims to innovate with collaborative email for business.

We’ve been relatively hush-hush about the whole thing until last summer when we finally started to take the covers off.  In a short blog post entitled, It’s Time For Something Different, I wrote:

…email is how the business world communicates. And it’s not going away any time soon.  Email itself isn’t broken. But the Inbox and workflows surrounding email sure are crappy.

Over the last 6 months, as we’ve been using pre-beta versions of Contatta internally, we’ve found that what we’ve built is really collaborative email.  Here’s why…

What Happens Today:

1. You receive an email with interesting content that you want to share with your team.  Maybe a it’s a note from a customer or partner.  Maybe it’s a newsletter.  Whatever…you just want to share it with your team.

2. So you forward to with a message like, “I found this interesting and wanted to share with you guys.”

3. Everyone in your company now has to process that email, which sits somewhere in their Inbox along with other emails of various importance.

4. Invariably, someone replies to all with the inane, “Thanks for sharing.  I really liked that.”

5. Not to be left out or outdone, someone will reply to all with, “Me too.”

6. Which causes “the funny guy” to chime in with, “Me 3. ;-)”

7. Which causes “the angry guy” to reply to all with, “We shouldn’t be replying to all on emails like these.  It’s a complete productivity killer to have to process all of these inane replies.”

8. Which causes “the peacemaker” to reply to all with, “Angry guy, don’t freak out all over everyone.  They’re just expressing themselves.”

9. Which causes…

…and on and on it goes!

Stop replying to all, collaborate instead!

Most email clients have long since improved upon this problem by “threading” the reply chain into a single conversation.

Still, some companies have banned the use of “Reply All”, or placed rules around who can send to

Even still, many companies are using IM tools like HipChat, internal social networking tools like Yammer, and / or project management tools like Basecamp to move internal conversations OUT of the Inbox.

But…you still receive “share-worthy” emails in your Inbox.  And there are varying degrees of difficulty trying to get an email from your Inbox into these various other systems.

So what’s a boy to do?

Enter “Collaborative Email”

Because Contatta is also an email client that improves your email experience with features like “Relationship Buckets” for the Inbox, you’ll be able to share an email into a Workroom just as easy as if you were to forward to  But any ensuing discussion happens as Comments in the Workroom, not as future emails in your Inbox.

Sharing an Email in Contatta is as simple as Forwarding, but without the risk of entering Reply-to-All hell.

So I’m hopeful that “collaborative email” will be the next big wave in email innovation.

Removing Friction in the Age of Context

I just posted my first post on Medium called, The “Age of Context” is about Removing Friction.  Thx to Chris Lee for inspiring the idea after he sat through his umpteenth demo of Contatta earlier this week.  :)

Posting on Medium was an interesting experience.  Their editor for creating the post is gorgeous.  It’s 100% WYSIWYG.  When you click Publish, it looks exactly the same.  Talk about removing friction…With WordPress (which I’m writing in right now), the Visual editor uses a different font and spacing than post page.  So my writing/editing process is generally 1) write it, 2) preview post in a different tab, 3) repeat ad nauseum until the post looks just right.  😉

So I think I’m going to write a few more posts on Medium.  There’s two other “design-ish” posts that I’ve been mulling over for a long time.  “Frequency-of-use vs. Ease-of-use” is one.  “The pros and cons of Bolting-on vs. Building-from-scratch” is another.  We’ll see if those ever make it out of draft status.  😉

Double-Negatives in Dialogs, Basecamp Example

I’ve written before about how double-negatives are my kryponite.

When a checkbox is checked, it should signal a positive, not a negative.

This latest example comes from Basecamp, the very popular project management tool from 37 Signals.


This dialog isn’t as bad as other examples that I’ve found in the past.  But it wouldn’t hurt anyone to change this to: “Allow this message to be seen by the client (Jennifer Fiddlerova)” and uncheck it by default.

All the little things add up.

Adventures & mishaps in business, marketing, technology, and design. It ain’t always pretty and the good guys don’t always win.