Throwing away $4,133 on purpose
You learn some expensive lessons starting a company. For us, the most costly was when we did our very first Readydesk production run in 2014.
After cutting hundreds of desks for supporters of our successful Kickstarter campaign, the operator of the CNC router pulled us aside to show us something he'd discovered.
A possible stability issue with every single one of our desks.
At this point, we had hauled all the Readydesks from our cutter in El Cajon, CA, to Ben's garage. The interior of our cars were blanketed in sawdust. We were sweaty, stressed, and now had to make a tough decision, quickly.
We could a) send the Readydesks as-is, and just change the design next go-around, or b) Throw out thousands of dollars of materials and labor costs representing nearly 90% of any profit we had hoped to generate.
There was some back-of-the-napkin calculations, and some "brand equity" philosophizing. Neither of us wanted to release a sub-standard product. We chose to start over.
Pulling up Craigslist, we found a disposal guy to come pick up the parts. It stung watching him pull away with a truck filled brand-new Readydesks, but we knew it was the right choice.
Our next phone call was to our engineers. We had to adapt the desk's design to address the issue foreseen.
This incident was one of our first chances to really evaluate how current decisions would affect us long term. Starting a business with "good enough" products isn't going to get you far. It might even shut you down. But by taking it on the chin now, it helped us create an even better product.
It's been nearly two years since we started Readydesk. In that time, we've learned about things we never had even thought of before—the differences in grades of plywood, the optimum router speed, how to ship a pallet of products from across the globe, etc.
But one of the biggest things we've discovered is to look at today's issues through a farsighted lens.