Hey all, I’m Jason Stoddard, the co-founder (with Mike Moffat) of Schiit Audio. You may have seen some of my posts on Head-fi. But you haven’t heard the full story of Schiit…why we started the company, how we’ve grown from June 2010 to today, the good stuff…and the bad stuff. So, in a burst of insanity, I thought, “Why not turn this into a book?” Why? Well, in addition to Schiit, I’ve written plenty of stuff, including about 30 published stories and 3 books. Jude and the team at Head-fi were kind enough to provide this space for me to serialize this story. The plan is to post a chapter a week until it’s done, which should take us through the summer. Now, you may be wondering, “Why the heck should I read some crazy book about Schiit?” Well, there’s nobody forcing you to. But if you’re interested in the inner workings of a true by-the-bootstraps startup (did you know we started in a garage, with no external investment?) or if you’ve been thinking about starting your own business (beyond the usual platitudes of “hey, you should incorporate, and there’s this stuff called ‘cash flow’ and stuff), or if you’re just curious about how a modern audio company works (from who’s actually engineering the gear, to how it gets made, to the ups and downs of the day to day working of the company), you may enjoy it, or find it helpful and informative if you want to start a company yourself. I have no illusions that this will be the next business best-seller—if it ever makes it into print—but I’m having fun writing it, and I’m hoping you’ll like reading it. Disclaimer: there’ll be plenty of technical stuff in here, because, after all, I am an engineer. You won’t have to understand it all, but you may be more entertained if you have a techy side. Later on, there’ll be some early photos from Schiit, as well as a video or two, that have never been seen before. For ease of reference, I’m putting the outline here. The chapters will be linked as they are added. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy it! All the best, Jason Stoddard Schiit Happened: The Story of the World’s Most Improbable Start-Up By Jason Stoddard Co-Founder, Schiit Audio Dedications: To Mike, for going along with this crazy idea. To Rina, for support, naming the company, and tolerating the whole mess. To Eddie, for helping us really get started when we needed it most. To Tony, for testing dang near everything we’ve made. To Alex, for taking over, making things right, and running the show. To Dave, for doing the hardest stuff. Content: Forward: Christmas Presents Until the End of Time? Chapter 1: The Line is Down. Here’s an Undocumented Test Rig. Fix It. Chapter 2: 15 Years On the Marketing Front Lines Chapter 3: From Death, Rebirth: Armageddon 2009 Chapter 4: “You Always Say You Have Schiit to Do, Why Don’t You Just Call It That?” Chapter 5: $800 In Screws? Chapter 6: The First Order Is…For Something We’re Not Selling Chapter 7: Metal Debacle, Valhalla Style Chapter 8: We Screw Up Sennheiser and Insult Some Big Guys Chapter 9: Powering Up: Lyr Chapter 10: Our First Employee, Our First Boardhouse Chapter 11: USB Sucks! Or, Mike Joins the 21st Century Chapter 12: Schiit Goes Evil? Chapter 13: “Isn’t the Symbol for USB the Long Flat Rectangle?” Chapter 14: Technical Help Via Time Warner, and The World’s Most Irritating Failure Mode Chapter 15: DAC in a Toilet Paper Roll Chapter 16: Growth, Garage Style Chapter 17: Resurrecting the Circlotron and Other Mid-Centuryisms Chapter 18: The Pinch-Off Problem Chapter 19: Every Road is a Dead End: Early Adventures with Magni Chapter 20: The HOA Problem Chapter 21: You Catch a Cold, We Die: Bigger Products, Bigger Problems Chapter 22: Introducing the Schiithole Chapter 23: “I Didn’t Know People In the Private Sector Were As Lazy and Incompetent As the People In Schools” Bonus Chapter: Perspective Chapter 24: Getting Our Schiit Together Chapter 25: Dead Media Ain’t Dead: NYT Strikes Chapter 26: Finally, the $99 Solution Chapter 27: Twilight of the Gods—Ragnarok from 2009 Until Today Chapter 28: “You’ll Never Do Any Upgrades Anyway.” Chapter 29: Worst. Customer. Ever. Chapter 30: Death of a Product Chapter 31: R&D Sometimes Means, “Try It, See if it Works” Chapter 32: Name Me One Non-Standard Format That’s Succeeded, Ever, Or, A Trickster Cometh Chapter 33: No Sample Left Unchanged: Digital Today Chapter 34: Black Friday, and How One Company Out-Did Us Chapter 35: You Want to Pay How Much? Or, How We Moved Again Chapter 36: A Real Company? Chapter 37: The Value of Diversions Chapter 38: Wyrd Schiit Chapter 39: Unto the Second Generation Chapter 40: Schiit Goes Vinyl Chapter 41: Completely Fulla Schiit Chapter 42: One Year, Twelve Products And now... Schiit Happens: The Ongoing Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up I had so much fun writing this book that I've decided to continue it on a roughly every-other-week basis. This part may end up being more nuts-and-bolts business, since that's what I'll be dealing with on a more consistent basis this year (rather than launching 10000 more products.) And so, here we go...starting with a "selling on Amazon" primer like none you've ever seen. Chapter 1: The Trials and Tribulations of Amazon Chapter 2: When to Listen, When to Act Chapter 3: Our Favorite Scammers Chapter 4: Bridging the Gap Chapter 5: A Life in the Day Of... Chapter 6: So You Wanna Get Into the Biz? Chapter 7: The Yggy Circus, Tidal Uprisings, and the Unknown Future Chapter 8: Reacting to Now vs Planning for the Future Chapter 9: Hints, Teases, and Solicitations Chapter 10: Knowing Our Place? Chapter 11: Food Scientists vs. Michelin Stars Chapter 12: Measurements (With a Side Order of Sanity) Chapter 13: Detours in Balanced-Land, or "Improving On 'Perfection'" Chapter 14: We Launched a DAC and Got a Movement Chapter 15: How Not to Start an Audio Company Chapter 16: When to Say "When" Chapter 17: The Multibit Revolution Gets Cheap Chapter 18: Death (and DNR) of a Product Chapter 19: The Most Difficult Design Brief Chapter 20: Looking Forward to 2016 _ 2016, Chapter 1: A Longer Discourse on Marketing 2016, Chapter 2: What To Do While Waiting For Ragnarok (Or, Alternate Strategies For Creating Your Own Well-Capitalized Company) 2016, Chapter 3: The Importance of Service 2016, Chapter 4: How We (Didn't) Move Again 2016, Chapter 5: The Subjectivist/Objectivist Synthesis 2016, Chapter 6: Being Comfortable with What You Are 2016, Chapter 7: On Modding, Hubris, and Reality 2016, Chapter 8: A Perspective on This Moment in Digital 2016, Chapter 9: The Elephant In The Room 2016, Chapter 10: Because We Can 2016, Chapter 11: The Road to Jotunheim 2016, Chapter 12: Word of Mouth at the Speed of Light 2016, Chapter 13: The Saga of Saga (and, um, Freya too) 2016, Chapter 14: Why You Can't Always Get What You Want 2016, Chapter 15: The Vidar Chronicles, Part I 2016, Chapter 16: Even More Fulla It 2016, Chapter 17: A Directional Assessment — 2017, Chapter 1: Why We Do What We Do 2017, Chapter 2: "Obsolete." 2017, Chapter 3: Leaving Marketing 2017, Chapter 4: Deprogramming 2017, Chapter 5: Back to the Past 2017, Chapter 6: Conversations With a Stubborn Engineer 2017, Chapter 7: Learning New Tricks 2017, Chapter 8: The Vidar Chronicles, Part 2 2017, Chapter 9: Skipping a Generation 2017, Chapter 10: Failures and Flyers 2017, Chapter 11: Audiophile Confessions 2017, Chapter 12: Third Time's The Charm 2017, Chapter 13: Sailing Off the Edge of the World 2017, Chapter 14: Slouching Towards Kaizen 2017, Chapter 15: What We Did Right 2017, Chapter 16: What We Did Wrong 2017, Chapter 17: Where We're Going _ 2018, Chapter 1: Adventures in 3D Printing 2018, Chapter 2: Engineering, Part 1 2018, Chapter 3: Engineering, Part 2 2018, Chapter 4: Engineering, Part 3 2018, Chapter 5: Where Do I Start? 2018, Chapter 6: Amplifying the Future. Maybe. 2018, Chapter 7: Engineering, Part 4 2018, Chapter 8: How to (Maybe) Succeed in Engineering (Without Going Insane) 2018, Chapter 9: David Byrne, Progress Interrupted, and an Ode To DIY 2018, Chapter 10: Third Time's The Charm, Part 2 2018, Chapter 11: Class A. Ish.