Tech, behind the scenes!
So I have to admit one thing before I start this post, I'm a bit of a tech nerd. Not like the guy who can set up your DVD player and fix your computer, way-way beyond that. When Lewis and I started dreaming up Cold Drip Co., most of what I'd talk about was the tech side of things, and Lewis, the experience.
I knew that the tech should be hidden from sight, and I've worked super hard to keep it that way. Nowadays we're surrounded by tech, saturated by screens with ads on them. We both believed that Cold Drip should be a break from all that. Of course we still use tech to the extreme, but it should be behind the scenes, it shouldn't distract from the experience we were trying to create for people, it should remain a silent partner, enhancing the experience, but without any credit.
So what happens behind the scenes? Well; I'll break it up into a few parts, The Drip, The Data, and The Distribution.
Traditional cold drip machines are operated by a manual valve that controls (poorly) the drip and can be adjusted to speed it up or slow it down. When you're making a lot of something, you don't have the privilege to be that artisanal; you need to hand over some of the control to an algorithm, something that will ensure quality 100% of the time. So we hooked up our drip system to an Arduino, and a Particle Photon (both microcontrollers), to control the drip, log our data, and allow us to have a variable drip profile over the 8 hours.
When you're making a lot of something, you're trying to get everything as consistent as possible every time you do it. To keep consistent, you need to collect data. Every time we drip we have a host of sensors that collect everything from the humidity of the air, the flow of the water, temperature of the ice, and drip rate over time. We'll use this data over time to ensure a consistent product, and be able to track the production of each bottle digitally.
If you've ever started your own business, you'll know that logistics are a fucking nightmare. Couriers lose packages; they destroy packages, they treat some well, and throw others around. In starting Cold Drip Co., we decided right at the start to integrate our order system with a courier system. We decided to use Sendle, and Shipstation to automatically create pick-up instructions and shipping labels. We've got these hooked up to a label printer that rolls off as we get the orders. This allows us to pre-box the bottles and then slap on a sticker when you order, and have it picked up as soon as possible. Everything is connected to our accounting software, so we don't have to do much at all.
If you're thinking about starting a business, and you're dreaming of great experiences, find someone that's kick-ass with the tech, to make the whole experience seamless. If you're kick-ass with the tech, find someone who can dream up amazing experiences, and use your tech skills to make that happen without showing too many wires!
Digitally enhanced experiences are the way to go, stop building apps by themselves, team up with someone who can make it an experience. Bryan