We saw a post on Facebook yesterday about an online outdoor retailer that was engaging in shady business practices, bait and switch, hidden terms and conditions, etc.
Rather than pile on and repost something negative, we thought I'd talk about how The Warmfront does business and how our philosophy came to be.
It's really simple. We understand our product is unique and little different. We rely on our friends and customers to tell us how to make it better. We also understand that buying something on the interwebs sight unseen is not ideal. You can't touch it or try it on. And what happens if I don't like it?
We looked at companies we've worked for, and companies both online and brick and mortar that earned our business. What was great? What sucked?
The ones that stood out - Eddie Bauer, REI, and small local businesses that treated us fair were our model.
Our policy is simple - if you don't like The Warmfront - no problem. No questions asked, we will take care of you.
Your calls and emails beam right here to Colorado. We read them all and respond. We rely on you being fans and telling your friends that ride, run, ski and board. If you're not a fan, at least you can tell your friends that The Warmfront wasn't for you, but at least we treated you like a friend.
A great article from Gear Patrol about keeping your torso warm in the cold, and staying healthy outside.
Not too much riding today @BandidoCross in Colorado, but we sure had a good time.
A friend asked how this company got started. I initially answered with the story about the product itself, but driving home I realized the true origin went back further into history and truly had nothing to with The Warmfront.
In the late 90's I was working as a software engineer in Boulder. I bought this journal at Eddie Bauer to keep lists of songs and movies I liked and didn't want to forget, and started recording ideas for inventions in it.
I was traveling for work and was at Stapleton Airport - probably pre-wireless - and took my company laptop out of the gigantic suitcase that housed it to look like an important businessman. I was probably playing Solitaire.
I was struggling to create a spot on my lap for this clunky piece of machinery, squeezing my knees and other sensitive areas together with little success. The laptop almost slipped off, it was uncomfortable, hot, etc.
After the trip, I wrote this entry in my journal: Laptop strap / leg holder. My little engineer brain was creating a laptop bag that would fold out into a lap desk of some sort. At the time I was disorganized, lacking focus and confidence, and forgot about this.
A few years later, I'm on another business trip and open up Skymall. What do I see for sale in there? My bag/desk idea. The product description sounded identical to my concept.
I hated that feeling. But it was actually the start of my personal growth and maturing. Instead of thinking my idea was stolen, I recognized that I had done nothing with my idea. I resolved that I would design something else and finish it. I didn't know what, how or when, and the Warmfront was still a few years away, but I wasn't going to let an invention sit in my journal and fade away.
P.S. If you look at the first entry in this journal, you'll see Flashing CHMSL. Full geek disclosure, that stand for Center High Mounted Stop Light. You know those brake lights that are in the middle of the liftgate or rear window on cars? That is the official name.
In the 2000s, it was a new invention. I thought they would be more effective if under heavy braking, they would flash. Take a look at some of the newer cars when you're stuck in traffic - the lights start flashing.
The events of this week took me back to my visit to Paris in 2004. A beautiful city.
These are my dad's medals from his time in Vietnam. The Bronze Star, Air Medal, and 2 Commendation Medals. I keep them in the Bronze Star box on my dresser.
I spent a few hours last night watching the final two episodes of The Pacific.
Seeing the needle peg from absolute crushing boredom to sheer terror for these characters was something that put life and November 11 into stark perspective.
I've never been in combat. Others have been in my place. I love my wife and my kids and would do anything for them - including giving up my life for them.
But a veteran has offered that same commitment for everyone in this world, and they will never meet.
My personal responsibility is to understand as much as possible for a civilian, what service and sacrifice really mean at the most basic human level. To read the stories, to become aware, to ask insightful questions, to offer support. To say, "I'll never know, but I can listen. What can I do to help?"
The words thank you don't quite cut it when holidays have been missed. When births, graduations, first steps have been missed. When buddies don't come home. When nobody seems to care. When horrors have been seen by their eyes instead of mine.
Let's go for a ride. Maybe take a walk. Maybe not say a damn word. Then, the first few rounds are on me.
Thoughts and hopefully inspirations from the Warmfront.