I don't think I'm alone here, the internet is full of blog postings and even websites dedicated to those companies that fail their customers with such passion that the customer is motivated, no, driven to tell the world just how little they care for their customers and how easily they abandon and isolate them, all while spending millions convincing them to come back and buy more...
Ah but here's the catch, my experience isn't one of customer fail but rather one of customer success, time and time again. I bet if I asked you right now, you could think of half a dozen of those companies that have failed you countless times couldn't you? Now, if I ask you to name off just as many companies that are examples of what customer service should be? Bet you can't! I certainly know I can't.
But I know a company that would be at the top of my list for being the poster child of customer focused operations and service. I've had the opportunity, actually I'd say pleasure to be a customer of adafruit industries for just over a year now and with each business transaction they have exceeded my expectations in some manor or another.
Whether it was shipping my order within hours of my purchase, answering my stupid questions about one of their fabulous products within minutes and even generously providing me a few free plastic parts when one of those fabulous products was mangled by my overzealous need to tighten screws just that little bit too much. Yes, adafruit industries is definitely at the top of my list!
Often and maybe unfairly, I like to compare most companies to RIAA created bubblegum pop-stars who have forgotten that it's their customers (teenyboppers mostly, no offense to those of you who love Justin Bieber) that pay for that $200k dollar Bentley. It would be my dream that CEOs would take their focus off the stock holder and put it back where it belongs, on the customer. Happy customers make happy profits which make happy stock holders.
So all you CEOs out there, minimize that spreadsheet and take a look at a small company adafruit industries which is making a large impact in a small market and perhaps you might just learn about something that would actually have a positive impact to your bottom line...
So I was waiting for this time of year when I first built my "Fake-fire LED" boards last year and now it's finally here!
I've been running this jack-o-lantern for about 20 days now (this board is running off 3xAA alkaline batteries) and the LEDs seem to be doing just fine, the effect is fantastic and I couldn't be happier with the new power-saving firmware I put on the AVR to help with battery life. I keep this one indoors but I plan on putting another board in a real pumpkin I'm carving tonight and putting it outside, I think the effect will be even better with a carved pumpkin. Can't wait! I'll update this post with pictures of it when it's done!
I highly recommend this project, it's a fantastic way to get started with understanding AVRs and the possible power saving modes, I've learned so much from this project and it's super quick to put together on protoboard...
For next year's version, I'll be addressing that pesky constant current draw for the photocell to extend the battery life even more (recommendations are most welcomed). I've posted high-resolution schematics below but you can find all the source code and eagle files in the zip file attached to this post.
Have a Safe and Happy Halloween everyone!