This is the third article in a series about the company values of MakeStickers. It describes the underpinning of our value “we succeed and fail as a team.”

This isn’t high school

No matter who you are, you probably remember high school — GPA, class rank, test scores, figuring out what the teacher wants, etc. Our high school experiences have trained most of us to operate in a world of artificial rules, made up points, bell curves, and sucking up to the “teacher.”

This attitude can lead to a range of different problems when it extends beyond the classroom into the workplace. Why doesn’t…

Photo by Alex Powell from Pexels

On March 17, 2020 I told the employees of MakeStickers that everyone who can work from home should work from home. At the time we thought maybe it would be for weeks, possibly a few months.

In the summer when we decided we’d keep requiring work from home through the end of the year I still wondered if we were being too pessimistic. Many still held out hope we’d be able to have our annual company Christmas party.

As we head into the end of 2020, there’s a vaccine on the horizon. People might start receiving it before Christmas.


This is the second installment in my series on the company values of MakeStickers. You can read the first here, and learn about the simple but radical approach we take with our policies to show empathy for our customers.

Think of time as a conveyor belt, and all the things you need to do as pieces of chocolate. All things being equal, would you rather be grabbing chocolate off the beginning of the conveyor belt or the very end, right before it falls to the ground?

It’s the same amount of work to stand at the beginning vs. the end…

Halloween is right around the corner, and with COVID-19 still around, it’s important to deliver all that sugary goodness in a safe and socially distant way. Some have suggested using a long section of PVC pipe as a sort of candy slide, and that’s a great idea, but things are always more fun when they’re over-engineered.

One thing I’ve come to learn is that Arduino and Raspberry Pi-powered gadgets make holidays more fun, so I came up with the Arduino-powered contactless candy dispenser.


A distance sensor on the front watches for eager hands or a candy bag to move into…

What it feels like when a company’s policies actually help you. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

This is the first in a series about the MakeStickers company values. Our values live far upstream in all of our decision-making processes. They describe the kind of company we want to be — whatever it is we’re doing. They describe how we do our work, whatever that work happens to be.

Since we’re a custom printing company, how we relate to customers is extremely important, so I‘ll begin my series on company values with: Have empathy for the customer.


What does it mean for a company to have empathy for its customers? You need to have great customer service…

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

Every company has a paid time off (PTO) policy, but how many have really thought deeply about their policies? What does your policy reveal about your company’s beliefs and attitudes towards time off? Does the policy assume trust or deceit?

I took the journey into the philosophical underpinnings of my company’s PTO policy, and I was shocked to find inconsistency, a lack of trust, and a blind acceptance of the status quo. Hopefully my journey will start you on your own.

The Status Quo

If you asked me before my PTO journey, I would have told you that MakeStickers has a pretty generous…

This is a very uncertain time for everyone around the world, and we’re all trying to figure out how we get on with our daily lives while at the same time social distancing and even sheltering in place in some cities.

Fortunately for us, we’re able to keep operating in a way that protects the health of our employees, their families, and the community. Below are some of the ways we’re adjusting our “business as usual” so that we can continue to provide high quality custom stickers with record speed to our customers around the world.

Working remotely

A large number of…

You, at work. Your talent seen by all.

You’ll find no shortage of helpful articles about how to get recognized at work. If you take the time to read them, you’ll find advice like

  • have confidence
  • speak up
  • claim credit
  • network
  • give others the kind of recognition you would like

Like most advice on the internet, it might work. Or it might not.

But I noticed a trend across many of these articles. They focus too much on you, the person looking for recognition, rather than the people who can do the recognizing.

Much of the advise out there doesn’t embrace the fact that your company can’t give…

It spread across the Internet like wildfire: Microsoft tested a four-day workweek and productivity went up 40%.

Stories that confirm what we’ve always hoped seem to be popular. You know, things like “chocolate is good for you,” or “aaaktually red meat is good.

So, are we on the cusp of the greatest change to labor since the industrial revolution? Or is this a case of bad research getting spread by the media and consumed by the public like a kid left alone with his Halloween candy?

The Study

Let’s move beyond what the journalists have been writing and look at the actual…

My simple Christmas countdown ornament went viral on Twitter thanks to retweets from adafruit industries and the Raspberry Pi Foundation Twitter account.

A few folks asked for a guide. This is the requested guide :)

The Hardware

I’m using a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, but just about any model should suffice for this.

The LCD is a common 1602 (16 characters per row, 2 rows) model that has an integrated I2C module. (like this:

The Software

First things first — the code is all Python.

I’m using a library written by Denis Pleic to handle the details of communication with the…

Adam Feil

Educational Psychology Ph.D., business analytics nerd, computer scientist, President @MakeStickers

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