What Radio Shack Should Have Become

Fast Company just profiled SparkFun, an online retailer for the makers, hackers and tinkerers. It is an online shop for those with the vision to build electronic projects without having to scour corners of the internet for the components to bring them to life.

Rightfully so, Fast Company called them the ‘Radio Shack for the Maker Crowd’. However, Radio Shack should have been the Radio Shack for the maker crowd.

I remember being lucky enough to grow up in Silicon Valley where mega-retailers, like Fry’s Electronics, were at my disposal. My dad was in tech and would have me rebuilding computers young, and Fry’s became a haven for me. Almost anything you needed you could find.

As I grew up, Fry’s sometimes presented an issue. They were getting so large employees became less informed about the products and the customer. Passion and fire were missing, but Fry’s never pretended to have it so I can’t blame them. They were about the best buys and access to anything in the electronics world that you wanted and needed. And that they delivered against in a big way.

Radio Shack became a nice break from the Walmart equivalent of electronic retailers. They were staffed with fired up nerds like me, and they did help me find solutions, not just products.

However, Radio Shack started to change as well. They never had everything I needed. So, I’d go grab it at Fry’s. The stores continued changing to compete with the ‘big-boys’ and the fellow makers on staff started to fade. Radio Shack became a boutique version of the mega-messes.

It became irrelevant to a very important core consumer set that was low-key rapidly growing. Naturally where did everyone go? Online. And that’s where Nathan Seidle, founder or SparkFun, went as well.

But why did SparkFun work?

sparkfun poster

It worked why every idea worked because it is founded by a fired up consumer who was hell bent on addressing a service that was missing for them.

If you neglect a consumer and that relationship, you’ll watch them run into the arms of another, someone that you should have stayed, become and could have been.

Sprint may have bought the Radio Shack brick and mortars, but it would be interesting if they partnered with SparkFun to help bring their online presence into the real world… where things are made.

It’s a tall order. If I were Seidle, I’d be concerned about my brand, but heck, it seems like it could be a win-win.

The Dance Never Ends

Nice work from the NBA on tying the playoffs back to the Madness. Really like the idea and the execution of Russell’s is hype.

However, some of the others came across kind of soft/goofy… my man Stephen’s in particular.

Steve Nash is Retiring

Growing up in the Silicon Valley I experienced first hand how Steve Nash became the adopted son of The Bay by way of Santa Clara University.

He inspired me and a legion of us local cats that creativity and hard work (on and off the court) can make all things possible.

“Legacy is a word that gets thrown around a lot in sports, often incorrectly. The formal definition – “something received from a predecessor” – is far different than the popular meaning. Legacy increasingly refers to an athlete’s compilation of awards, records and championships. But those are lines on a résumé. Nash’s imprint on the future is his legacy.”



“Don’t feel entitled to anything you didn’t sweat and struggle for.”

Marian Wright Edelman

Straight Outta Compton


I hope the film is as honest as it looks. As it looks to tell the remarkable story of N.W.A., Southern California, music and cultural history. Straight Outta Compton will undoubtedly be controversial.

With the trajectory that Ice Cube and Dr. Dre has made since their N.W.A. days, it’s going to be interesting to watch. Snoop Dogg is slanging Hot Pockets and pretty much welcomed anywhere, Cube has become a family friendly face, and Dr. Dre is now running with the biggest of all tech and business moguls.

If it doesn’t prove to be inspiring, at the very least it will hopefully continue to open up the dialogue of all the things N.W.A. faced in the 80’s that we still face today.

As someone who grew up on NWA and California rap/hip-hop, I’m excited for this film to drop in August.


It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.

– Isocrates