A More Typical Startup Story…

It’s easy to become infatuated with Startup Culture. Attention grabbing headlines, founders dating Victoria’s Secret models, fast cars, and giant houses.

If it all sounds a bit cliche, well…it is. It’s a story as old as the idea of free enterprise itself except that today entrepreneurs can do it without building a skyscraper, laying down a transcontinental railway, or putting a million cars on the road.

Heck, Slack went from $0 to $1,000,000,000 in 8 months – with a messaging app! Anyone remember AIM?

The reality of a small business journey for 99.999% of the entrepreneur population is very, very different. It’s a lot more like our story, 10 years in the making and still going – still growing.

Read the complete article here, from our friends at Chargify.

Employee Spotlight: Meet Damarcus, Operations Team Member & Scan Champ

Earth Class Mail is built on the passion and dedication of our employees. In this series we’re offering a glimpse at the wizards behind the curtain.

Meet Damarcus Clark, Operations Team Member. Damarcus holds all of our scanning records and has scanned literally millions of pages for our customers in the last 8 years.

Tell us a bit about your history here and the responsibilities you manage each day:

Since I started in 2008 I’ve scanned over 2.3 million pages. I come in every morning to open up the facility, and am usually here alone for the first hour or so.

I get some coffee going, create the work orders for the day, and then get to work. Most of my day is spent at my scanning station, just scanning documents for our customer.

I currently hold the record for most scans in a day, at 853.

But, I’ve also done the most in a week, a month, and a year. The average scanning performance is about 82 pages per hour, but I’ve been timed doing nearly 142 per hour. Last year was my biggest year yet, I did around 130,000 scans.

What do you think is the key to your success?

I really enjoy being the first one here in the morning, it gives me time to focus and get going. I’ve always worked like this at any job. I try to assign little challenges for myself so that I can keep moving, for example: I’ll look at the clock and say, “by this time I need to have done this many scans”.

I’m always trying to think a few steps ahead too, and keeping my station and equipment optimized for efficiency helps a lot with that.

Those half second movements really add up over time.

I’ve worked here so long that I know how to organize the workload to make it the most efficient.

What are you most passionate about here at ECM?

I love what I do. Being able to improve on a process and find little areas to optimize efficiency makes it fun. It’s great to be a valued part of a growing business.

Any good lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?

Trust the process you’ve created and keep working toward your goal. If you’re persistent, eventually you’ll get there.

Don’t just look at a current process and accept it as it is, but instead understand what works about it and how you can improve it. There’s almost always a way.

What keeps you driven and motivated each day?

My girlfriend, Elaina, and I have been together for ten years this month, and we have two young sons together. They are my main motivation in life.

My goal is to provide them with a better life and more opportunity than I had. I’ve had a good life, but as a father I want to be able to offer them even more.

What do you do in your free time?

Elaina and I recently started an organic beauty supply business and we’ve just started selling inventory. We started setting up at bazaars and now we have customers ordering online from all over the country.

We’re still in the beginning stages, just a couple of months actually, but it’s already starting to take off. It’s pretty exciting.

Elaina has a degree in business and I’m on track to complete my degree this year, so we really hope to put or knowledge to use and grow the company together.

That’s great! Where can we buy your products?

The easiest way is probably to follow us on Facebook or you can check out our online shop

Please do check it out! I use the products myself everyday and I wouldn’t if they didn’t work. I’m pretty picky about stuff like that.

Any parting words or advice for our readers?

Working here at Earth Class Mail has been a great opportunity and has surrounded me with people that have pushed me to move my life in a positive direction.

I’ve learned a ton about growing a business, the goal is to always improve.

Return. To. Sender.

By John Horton, Contributor @ Earth Class Mail

A package at your door doesn’t raise many eyebrows these days. Heck, the UPS guy in my neighborhood already knows where I leave my returns and where to drop off my wife’s HauteLook box – a rather frequent occurrence, might I add.

Lest we forget, that wasn’t always the case. Travel back to the 19th century and that package at your door is much less likely to contain a Three Wolf Moon shirt, and much more likely to feature a…kidney?

At least that was the case for George Lusk one evening in October, 1888, when he recieved a package on his London doorstep. Expertly wrapped, I presume, it included half of a human kidney. 

Umm… return to sender please.

Much like your Amazon Prime order, the box included a packing slip. This one was different though, bloodier. It was a letter from Jack the Ripper.

Lusk, a local builder, was the chairman of a group of volunteers known as the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. 

They patrolled the streets equipped with a police whistle and a stick, leaving no bustle unruffled, searching for the person responsible for murdering London’s ladies of the night. 

The kidney, preserved in wine, was half eaten and apparently “very nise” (sic). The letter, sent “From Hell”, is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors like these.

Despite many pop culture representations, evidence suggests Mr. Ripper was neither highly educated nor a skilled surgeon. 

History and Hollywood don’t always align. Ahem, Alexander.

No, this is the writing of an uneducated lunatic! Or, wait…

Those misspellings seem a little too sophisticated. An uneducated writer probably wouldn’t have included the silent “k” in “knif” or the “h” in “whil,” an indication that perhaps the author was trying to misdirect authorities. 

Investigators had received many letters claiming to be from Mr. Ripper, though most were considered attempts at dark humor. 

What made this letter different, more convincing, was that Catherine Eddowes – London’s most recent victim – had been found down a kidney. Coincidence? 

Well, maybe. It could’ve been a journalist, trying to milk a sensational story – although the source of the Kidney is still disconcerting. 

It could have been medical students playing a prank. To them, yanking out a kidney is just in a day’s work.

Still, many believe this to be the only authentic letter sent by Mr. Ripper. And this isn’t a dead case, either. Amateur and professional sleuths worldwide have devoted countless hours studying and analyzing this case. 

As recently as 2014, DNA evidence had been studied by scientists tracking down historical leads. The world still wants to know.

Or do we? I don’t, really. 

I like the murkiness, the unfinished, trailing tendrils of if’s and therefore’s. It’s exciting to have a pantaloons clad, high tea’ing, kidney snatcher that evaded police and the best efforts of the public. 

I don’t want an actual face for Jack the Ripper. I prefer the face I’ve created myself, a tall, lanky dude with a long face. Kind of Lincolnesque, but with a dash of pig farmer, you know?

I couldn’t think of anything more disappointing than finding out Jack the Ripper was really a stout, pathetic little guy with orange hair and mommy issues.

Then again, truth can often be stranger than fiction. Scarier too, perhaps.