Creating an LLC in Washington State

It is usually a good idea to set up a legal entity when you are embarking on a new business venture. But, you have a million things to do, so this gets tacked on to the list – usually a bit near the bottom because you think it is going to take a long time.

Instead of adding this to your to-do list, just spend ten minutes knocking it out. Here is how:

  1. Create an account at https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/UserRegistration (chose User Account > Individual)
  2. Create or register a business https://ccfs.sos.wa.gov/#/businessFormationIndex
  3. Select WA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY (there are a lot of options…so spend weeks learning about those differences, or just chose LLC).
  4. Defer initial report for 120 days. Add a reminder to your calendar for 3 months out so you do not forget!
  5. Specify yourself as the executor and authorized person.
  6. Chose a name with LLC in it (e.g., RANDOM STUFF LLC – that is the LLC that Oliver and I set up to license PuttMate) – you may never even use this business name (you can operate under a “DBA” or doing business as, so do not spend time/energy worry about it).
  7. Pay $200
  8. Get a FEIN (Federal Employer ID Number…basically the SSN of your business) https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/employer-id-numbers
    1. In honor of the 1990s, the FEIN website is only open Monday – Friday, 7AM – 10PM eastern time, so tough luck you weekend warriors!
  9. Complete a Business License Application http://www.bls.dor.wa.gov/ > https://secure.dor.wa.gov/home/ (note: you will need your SSN as well as the SSN of any of your partners).
  10. Pay $20
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PuttMate : Gravity-Powered Putting Ramp

 

Perfect your 5-foot putt with PuttMate. This is a new product that helps golfers of all levels perfect their short putt. Place the ball 2.5 feet from the front of the ramp–about the length of your putter–and PuttMate’s half-sized hole emulates a 5 foot putt. If you miss, PuttMate’s unique design guides it right back to you, without the power cables and without the noise of conventional putting devices. And when you make it, PuttMate stores up to 6 golf balls, keeping things nice and tidy for the home or office.

How can I get a PuttMate putting ramp?

Request Loaner : $5

Send your street address to matt at dyor dot com, and I will mail you a PuttMate so that you can try it in the comfort of your own home or office.*

Purchase Prototype : $20

Purchase a prototype PuttMate putting ramp from Amazon, and I will send you payment instructions and get a hot-off-the-3D-printer PuttMate in the mail for you.

Pre-Order via KickStarter : $20

Pre-order a production-grade PuttMate. The Kickstarter campaign is targeted at getting an injection mold built for PuttMate. The cost for the injection mold is a little over $10,000 (I will cover the difference). The more pre-orders I get, the quicker I will pull the trigger on making the injection mold.

Investment Options : $50 and up (hypothetical)

If you are interested in investing in PuttMate, check out our hypothetical investment round. If you are interested, you can request to be notified should I open up an actual investment round.

Tell me what you think of PuttMate.

*If I do not know you, I may ask for you to purchase a prototype, and I can refund your money when you get the prototype back to me.

GoDaddy, you broke my heart

For starters, you broke my website.

Recently, I have sporadically seen random characters being appended to my domain redirect URLs, so that when somebody types in this:

www.puttmate.com

They end up here:

https://inventoselive.azurewebsites.net/Prototypes/Details/35/UMheZ/

Instead of here:

https://inventoselive.azurewebsites.net/Prototypes/Details/35

Notice the random 6 characters that are being appended to the first URL: UMheZ. Since my server does not have a path/page/route that maps to these random characters, it does not render a page.

It seems like I am not the only one having this problem:

https://www.godaddy.com/community/Managing-Domains/My-domain-name-not-resolving-correctly-6-random-characters-are/td-p/60782

So why do I claim that GoDaddy broke my heart, and not just my website? Because of the absolute apathy, borderline antipathy, they have shown to their customers. I would expect them to fix this. But I get it-the solution may be complex, it may be caused by somebody else’s issue, the Internet is a complex place.

But there is simply no excuse to say “not my fault” and consider the case closed. We are your customers. Tell us “sorry this is broken, we are working to fix it and will let you know once we do; in the meantime, adding a ? to the end of your redirect domain usually solves the problem; I have sent you a screencast of me doing that if you want to see exactly how it is done.” The fact that they are so eerily quiet on this thread brings me to a sad realization: the love has gone from our relationship, and it has been for years now. We are only together because it is too expensive for us to break up.

But I think it is time for me to get back in the game, and find a domain partner who really likes me, who brings me unexpected surprises that make me happy, and works hard to make it right when something bad happens. Yep, we are breaking up.

If you have had a positive experience with GoDaddy that can offset this experience, I would love to hear about it. If GoDaddy broke your heart too, tell me in the comments below.

Have a great day.

Matt

Fixed: Failed Publish to Production on Azure

For some reason, my deployments to my production service on http://www.inventose.com stopped working. It looked like some automated process had made a change to my deployment scripts, so I deleted them and started over. Then, I ran into this annoying problem….which I had resolved before, but had just deleted the solution:

Error Code: ERROR_FILE_IN_USE More Information: Web Deploy cannot modify the file ‘INV.dll’ on the destination because it is locked by an external process. In order to allow the publish operation to succeed, you may need to either restart your application to release the lock, or use the AppOffline rule handler for .Net applications on your next publish attempt. Learn more at: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=221672#ERROR_FILE_IN_USE. Error count: 1.

This time, I am going to store my solution so that when this happens again, I will know exactly what to do. The solution is actually quite simple:

  • go to your visual studio website (e.g., https://inventose.visualstudio.com/)
  • Navigate to the appropriate project > release
  • Click on the ellipses (…) next to the release definition (on the left side) that controls your failing deployment, and select edit
  • Click on the tasks tab, and select the environment that you are publishing to (probably Production)
  • Click on Deploy Azure App Service
  • There is an option for “Additional Deployment Options” that appears on the settings page for the Deploy Azure App Service. You guessed it: click that!
  • Finally, check the “Take App Offline” checkbox and save your way back home.

Up and running with TensorFlow on Windows

I was having some problems installing TensorFlow the way that is described on the webiste https://www.tensorflow.org/install/install_windows

I tried both pip and Anaconda, and failed.

The pip installation gave me this error:

Importing the multiarray numpy extension module failed. Most
likely you are trying to import a failed build of numpy.
If you’re working with a numpy git repo, try `git clean -xdf` (removes all
files not under version control). Otherwise reinstall numpy.

The Anaconda gave me this error message:

tensorflow-1.2.1-cp35-cp35m-win_amd64.whl is not a supported wheel on this platform

and later

ImportError: No module named ‘tensorflow’

I then tried to pip using this:

pip install tensorflow

And, if I used an Anaconda command prompt, everything worked like a (sort of) charm. You can test it out by:

activate tensorflow

python

and then running this in the python console:

>>> import tensorflow as tf
>>> hello = tf.constant('Hello, TensorFlow!')
>>> sess = tf.Session()
>>> print(sess.run(hello))

Not sure if one of the original 15 attempts set this one up for success, but if you are having a hard time getting Tensorflow installed on your windows machine, this mine be the trick for you as well.

Regards,

Matt

New Product Development Process

There is no one-size-fits-all process for new product development, but I liked this one:
New-Product-Development

I saw it while reading CTL.SC1x Key Concepts􀀁MITx MicroMasters in Supply Chain Management (link), and I believe that it is extracted from “Cooper, Robert (2001) Winning at New Products.”

I am hoping to do a write up on how this conventional product development pipeline struggles to add value to an enterprise. The primary challenge is connecting an unpredictable, non-linear invention process with a corporate framework that requires predictability. More to follow soon.

Setting up an Azure Data Lake and Azure Data Factory using Powershell

Login-AzureRmAccount
#first ensure that you have an Azure Data Lake that you want to use for ODX
#$resourceGroups = Get-AzureRmResourceGroup
#$azureDataLakeNames = "";
# foreach ($resourceGroup in $resourceGroups) {
# $azureDataLake = Get-AzureRmDataLakeStoreAccount -ResourceGroupName $resourceGroup.ResourceGroupName
#$azureDataLake
# $azureDataLakeName = $azureDataLake.Name
# $azureDataLakeNameLength = $azureDataLakeName.Length
# $azureDataLakeNameLength -gt 0
# if ($azureDataLakeNameLength -gt 0) {
# $azureDataLakeNames += " " + $azureDataLake.Name + " (resource group: " + $resourceGroup.ResourceGroupName + " & location: " + $resourceGroup.Location + ")"
# }
# }
# "-----------"
#"DataLakeNames: " + $azureDataLakeNames
#-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#REQUIRED: you must enter a unique appname which will be used as the security principal
$appname = "inventose"
#OPTIONAL: change the password for the security principal password
$password = "Xyzpdq"
#run the above script, and replace DATALAKESTORENAME with the appropriate name/rg/location from your existing data lake store; or enter a new name to have a data lake created
$dataLakeStoreName = $appname
$odxResourceGroup = $appname
$dataLakeLocation = "Central US" #Central US, East US 2, North Europe
#recommended to use the same resource group as the data factory for simplicity, but you can use any resource group or enter a new name to create
$dataFactoryResourceGroup = $dataLakeStoreResourceGroup
#specify where you want your data factory - current options are East US, North Europe, West Central US, and West US
$dataFactoryLocation = "West US"
#-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#create odxResourceGroup, if it does not exist
Get-AzureRmResourceGroup -Name $odxResourceGroup -ErrorVariable notPresent1 -ErrorAction 0
if ($notPresent1)
{
New-AzureRmResourceGroup -Location $dataLakeLocation -Name $odxResourceGroup
}
#create data lake, if it does not exist
Get-AzureRmDataLakeStoreAccount -Name $dataLakeStoreName -ErrorVariable notPresent2 -ErrorAction 0
if ($notPresent2)
{
New-AzureRmDataLakeStoreAccount -Location $dataLakeLocation -Name $dataLakeStoreName -ResourceGroupName $odxResourceGroup
}
$homepage = "https://ODXPS.com/" + $appname
#create security principal, if it does not exist
$app = New-AzureRmADApplication -DisplayName $appname -HomePage $homepage -IdentifierUris $homepage -Password $password
$app = Get-AzureRmADApplication -DisplayName $appname
$servicePrincipal = New-AzureRmADServicePrincipal -ApplicationId $app.ApplicationId
Start-Sleep 10
New-AzureRmRoleAssignment -RoleDefinitionName "Contributor" -Id $servicePrincipal.Id -ResourceGroupName $odxResourceGroup
New-AzureRmRoleAssignment -RoleDefinitionName "Data Factory Contributor" -Id $servicePrincipal.Id -ResourceGroupName $odxResourceGroup
New-AzureRmRoleAssignment -RoleDefinitionName "Reader" -Id $servicePrincipal.Id -ResourceGroupName $odxResourceGroup
#Set-AzureRmDataLakeStoreItemAclEntry -AccountName $dataLakeStoreName -Path / -AceType User -Id $app.ApplicationId -Permissions All
Set-AzureRmDataLakeStoreItemAclEntry -AccountName $dataLakeStoreName -Path / -AceType User -Id $servicePrincipal.Id -Permissions All
Get-AzureRmDataLakeStoreItem -Account $dataLakeStoreName -Path /ODX -ErrorVariable notPresent3 -ErrorAction 0
if ($notPresent3)
{
New-AzureRmDataLakeStoreItem -Folder -AccountName $dataLakeStoreName -Path /ODX
}
Set-AzureRmDataLakeStoreItemAclEntry -AccountName $dataLakeStoreName -Path /ODX -AceType User -Id $servicePrincipal.Id -Permissions All
#Start-Sleep 60 #there seems to be a lag between when these permissions are added and when they are applied...trying 1 minutes to start
$subscription = Get-AzureRmSubscription
$subscriptionId= ($subscription).Id
$tenantId = ($subscription).TenantId
#ensure there are permissions
#Get-AzureRmDataLakeStoreItemAclEntry -Account $dataLakeStoreName -Path /
#get information on datalake
$dataLake = Get-AzureRmDataLakeStoreAccount -Name $dataLakeStoreName
#here is a printout
"---------------------------------------------------------------"
"---------------------------------------------------------------"
$text1= "Azure Data Lake Name: " + $dataLakeStoreName + "`r`n" +
"Tenant ID: " + $tenantId + "`r`n" +
"Client ID: " + $app.ApplicationId + "`r`n" +
"Client Secret: " + $password + "`r`n" +
"Subscription ID: " + $subscriptionId + "`r`n" +
"Resource Group Name: " + $odxResourceGroup + "`r`n" +
"Data Lake URL: adl://" + $dataLake.Endpoint + "`r`n" +
"Location: " + $dataFactoryLocation
"---------------------------------------------------------------"
"---------------------------------------------------------------"
Out-File C:UsersMattDyorDesktopDataLake.ps1 -InputObject $text1