Pssst… Business “Secrets”!

I’m going to let you in on a little “secret” today…

If you already own a business – then you probably already know what I’m about to say. Actually, even if you work in someone else’s business, you probably already know what I’m about to tell you.

However, you might find this interesting:

Most business do their best to give the impression that everything is running smoothly and the delivery of the product (or service) is trouble free. But, man oh man, there is always chaos going on. And sometimes absolute carnage!

And, as you can expect, my whole setup is no different. Yes, really, it’s true. My “slick operation” is what’s left after I shamefully hide all the messy stuff that goes wrong. This includes useless packaging I have to throw away (thousands of pieces of it), failed prototypes, never-ending surface finish testing (and failing), chasing-up couriers for late shipments and every other thing I can never seem to predict.

Want a more recent example? Well okay…

As you may know, I’m bang in the middle of fulfilling the Rewards for the Kickstarter project for The One – Titanium Pen.

The “Stealth” (Matte) finish has been good to do. All of those 1000+ or so pens are finished and ready. But, the “Semi-Polished” finish, dear Lawd! We’ve just spent the last four days solid (50+ hours) trying to get it right.

You see, here’s the thing…

Doing a “production run” is a completely different beast to making, say, two or three. You think you’ll get the same finish when you put 20 pens into the tumbler as when you put three in. But, unpredictably, it all kind of goes to hell… and the finish isn’t even close to “Semi-Polished”. Then begins the long, frustrating process of figuring out what the hell is going on!

Thankfully we’ve managed to get this sorted (and, not to blow my own trumpet, but the finish is really, REALLY good now – which is why I have the time to write about it here :-D).


Yes, I know, there is an “odd pen out” in this bunch. Don’t keep going on about it…. 😛

So, yeah, one problem down. But you can’t rest at that…

I’m still trying to get hold of mailing envelopes (3000 of them) fast. But, here in New Zealand, quantity can very often be an issue. So this could be a major bottle-neck in shipping the Kickstarter Rewards.

Also, for the Kickstarter Rewards for the HangKey, I’m having major issues trying to get the “Gold” finish I offered. So much so that I may not be able to do it (which, if it comes to that, I will absolutely own-up to the Backers and work something out with them all).

And a bunch of other little things that just seem to never end.

Don’t get me wrong…

This is not a complaint. It’s good. In fact, having these “problems” means boundaries are being pushed and progress is being made! You gotta put a positive spin on it, right?

I’ll leave you with a few more photos of progress (just to show you that, even though there is chaos, the end result is almost always attained):

A sea of finished titanium pens ready for some caps and then packing and shipping to lucky people! :-)

A sea of finished titanium pens ready for some caps and then packing and shipping to lucky people! 🙂

Scalper with a bead-blasted finish (hard to see - but it has a really nice "textured" feel to it)

Scalper with a bead-blasted finish (hard to see – but it has a really nice “textured” feel to it)

Some Matte HangKeys with a flawless finish and ready to ship.

Some Matte HangKeys with a flawless finish and ready to ship.


  • Aaron says:

    For the gold, have you tried anodising at about 12 V?

  • Kris says:

    Will the “Scalper with a bead-blasted finish” be available for purchase? 🙂

  • Mike from Germany says:

    Hi Magnus,

    as a customer of your website and a backer of two of your kickstarter projects (so far) I have to say that I really like your honesty about what’s going on. – Thank you.

    Best regards,

  • Steve J says:


    I would happily buy at least 8 sets of chopsticks with that magnificent blue finish you achieve.

    Just say’n. I know you’re working hard on other stuff, but I getting really hungry!

  • Yes, honesty rules.

    Also, Magnus is smart in that he does not try to make it look like he’s a big glosse business. I myself did that in the beginning when I started as a webtrepreneur in 1997. But I learned (from that it’s not wise.
    Firstly, nobody is impressed. The world is full of “glossy” companies, and does anybody these days trust them anymore than individuals? No way.

    Also, just one point alone may do it: if it’s clear you’re an individual, it’s much less likely that you’ll attract trouble like lawsuits. People sue corporations with money, not individuals working from the second-bedroom office.

    And it’s just more fun. I’ve gotten so many friends from people who could tell from my web sites that I am approachable.

    • Yeah, I know when I go to a website, for example, that I just want the information. I don’t really care how the website and such looks…. but, the titanium products, that’s another story! 🙂

      What did you learn from Did they try having a fancy look in the past?

  • Bob Lukach says:

    You are right on the money with your observations Magnus. Being in business, any type of business, is hard work. But there is redemption in the mistakes that are made, whether as a result of our own doing, or that of those we empower to do a certain job or task. It always makes us stronger, our business stronger, and able to do a better job going forward.
    The buzz word I hear over and over again is “transparency”. You have surely demonstrated this quality time and again on all your projects. Your openness and honesty is your trademark for all you do. That, along with the wonderful products you produce, is why you have a following. Please continue on your path and your success will always follow you.

    • Thank you for the kind words Bob – really appreciated.

      I must admit that secretly, in the background, I constantly kick myself for not communicating enough and being consistent in communication through email, blog posts, videos and so on.

      Am always striving to improve on this – because I need to for sure.

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