Mocat Review

My opinion on eCommerce, business models, and more!

MoCat Review TV 12/30/13

“What the MCF?” Some recent multi-channel fulfillment orders didn’t go 100% smooth, but you can still learn a lot from these stories.

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Jeff Bezos and the Rogow LEGOs

This post was featured in the Lego Investing Facebook group.


Ok, as a Friday treat, you get to hear one of my crazy life stories:

I got my undergrad degree at the University of Hartford. When I was there, I worked multiple jobs, one of them as an assistant Box Office manager that still did ushering duties.

In 1999, the university launched a series of lectures called the Rogow Lecture Series (named after a family trust).

One of the guests was Jeff Bezos.

OK, let’s pause. What was like in 1999? The buying experience was very different then. They did open up third-party selling of books, but it was not the go-to-place to get cheaper textbooks. We were either buying them at the campus bookstore, or going to Barnes and Noble to shave off 5%-10%.

So, as a present for the lecture, they gave Bezos a bust made out of LEGOs.

Jeff Bezos a UHartford 1999 legos

I saw this presentation on stage, and Bezos looked surprised an perplexed. I don’t remember any signature cackles. Maybe because I and the other staff were too confused as to why that was the present they chose.

I mean, it’s sort of cool, right? Was it some weird foreshadowing? They weren’t selling any toys on the site back then.

I’m thinking it’s the universal playfulness that LEGO offers. Nostalgia, creativity and kindness all in one.

Let me tell you something else. This photo, the one you saw here, was VERY VERY hard to find. There were no camera phones back then, let alone any that a college student could afford. Good luck digging through any archives in the Hartford Courant. I found this on an archived page of the University President’s 10th anniversary celebration. This was a FLASH file, and I had to make a screengrab.


Sometimes life is so surprising to me. Back then, in 1999, when I was studying music, I never knew that my 2011 business was reaching out to me.

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Entrepreneurship and the Craft

I just read yesterday that Brad Guigar, a Philly webcomic that writes Evil Inc, has now fulfilled one of his dreams and is starting to teach a class at the Hussian School of Art in Philadelphia:

He writes that, in his observation, many art schools are steering students to jobs that are hard to come by or no longer exists. The new emphasis should be on how an artist can thrive while developing a freelancing business or self-publish his works.

When I went to the Hartt School of Music, there was a good amount of instruction for musicians, composers and studio techs on other opportunities beyond full-time employment with an orchestra or studio.

The missing piece I felt was needed at the University of Hartford were opportunities to collaborate with departments OUTSIDE of the Music, Dance and Theatre school. There were also projects from the film and art departments that could have had original music or performances. Those types of projects were left up to the extremely ambitious. I was already a double major, and I had enough project performances to waive my Student Recital requirement (something I comically found out days after it was already scheduled – it was well received, by the way).

I am very happy that Mr. Guigar is teaching this class as I share his vision and message.

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Twist and Trade: EcoATM

Part of the Series – Twist and Trade: A New Spin on an old or existing business model!

Last week my family and I were walking around the King of Prussia mall. I was trying out the Shopkick app that I downloaded recently (mostly for the embedded Target coupons). So, I had to walk to Old Navy on the upper level. That is when this caught my eye:


As much as this EcoATM looked weird, it fascinated me. So, when I caught up with my family, we talked about it and did more research. I found this instructional video on how it works:



Scott had pointed out that it was probably installed just in time for the iPhone 5C release. Ironically this EcoATM, located in the Court, was not near the Apple Store, which is located in the Plaza (non Philly locals: follow the King of Prussia link to find out what I am talking about). It was placed above the food court towards the Twentysomethings’ clothing stores.

In my opinion, it is more of a statement of the following:

1. The United States mobile device market is becoming more developed, even though it is still far behind Europe and Asia. There are now many more models of mobile devices and smartphones. Cell carriers are now competing with each other by providing better device upgrade plans.

2. It is taking the existing electronics trade-in model, a la Gazelle, eBay Instant Sale and uSell, and making it localized or “offline.” Plus, it is faster to payout by dispensing cash.

NOTE: If you plan to sell/trade-in your old phone, PLEASE BACKUP your data and then make sure to COMPLETELY erase the device.

I found this article helpful in my research:  How to sell your old cellphone

If I end up using this ATM, I’ll write a followup on the experience.

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SCOE Philadelphia 2013: Cliff Ennico and Building a World Class e-Commerce Business

I was able to meet Cliff Ennico for the first time while attending the first East Coast “Seller’s Conference for Online Entrepreneurs” (SCOE) in Philadelphia. It was nice to meet him after hearing him on many podcasts, mostly those posetd by Kat Simpson and Janelle Elms.

Cliff’s recent article, published in his syndicated column Succeeding in Your Business, features highlights of his excellent keynote speech from SCOE Philly 2013. The full lecture featured a comprehensive strategy on expanding your e-commerce business to become more sustainable in today’s retail market.

In fairness to Cliff, if you are interested in more details about his keynote, please contact him and subscribe to his publications since I have not found that presentation in a public link yet.

Also, I want to publicly thank Cliff for sharing the link to this blog and mentioning Beat the Rush! on his column and on the That Kat podcast recorded on September 23rd, 2013.

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Free worksheet available on the Beat the Rush Facebook page

I want to make sure that you all know about the free offer on the Beat the Rush Facebook page.

You’ll see a button that says “free download.” Click that, and if you like the page, you will be able to download the Shipping Worksheet for 2013.

This worksheet has instructions and guidance on how to calculate your deadlines to have your inventory shipped to FBA or ready to ship (if self-fulfilling) in time for the major holidays of Quarter Four. Those holidays are listed on the sheet, and it can be easily printed, completed and hung in a visible location. I hope it can be a help as you prepare for the busiest time in retail!

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Beat the Rush! Spreecast Interview today 2pm EST September 5th, 2013

Chris Green will be interviewing Maureen at 2pm EST today (September 5th, 2013). You can watch it live here:

If you cannot join live, the replay will be found on Chris Green’s Spreecast channel (same link).  I hope that you can join live because we will have the ability to take questions and answers.  Stop by and listen while you prepare for Quarter Four!

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Book published; Amazon Kindle version available now

My first book “Beat the Rush:  5 Ways a new Online Marketplace Seller Can Prepare for Quarter Four and the Holidays” is available now for purchase on for the Amazon Kindle.   The paper copy of the book will be available in about a week.

This book describes 5 easy things that an online retailer can prepare to do before Quarter Four arrives and consumes all of your energy.  Better read it now while you still have some spare reading time!  I  applaud you for being proactive!



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Welcome to the MoCat Business Review!

Welcome to the MoCat Business Review site!

In addition to bringing you great stories from around the business world, both online and offline, I’ll provide my analysis, opinions and insights.  Be sure to sign up for updates through either the email mailing list or through our RSS feed.

Be talking to you soon!


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