This is an open love letter to Monoprice.com. I love Monoprice.com and I'm proud to tell everyone.
It's also no secret that I love Amazon, but that is a blog post for another time.
Monoprice does something that any tech nerd like me would love - they offer tech knickknacks at rock-bottom prices. In fact, I first heard about Monoprice from a contractor who I was going to hire to hang my TV above my fireplace. He had asked me if I had a bracket to mount the TV. I said no, I've been shopping around but I have not found the one I want yet. He recommended that I should definitely check out Monoprice because they have a solid selection and the lowest prices. I was a little curious at first because the name sounds a little too techie. I was blown away by what I found, and I have been a loyal shopper there ever since.
Buzz feed just today posted an article about how Monoprice first got its start. The CEO started wholesaling direct consumer HDMI cables. The thing about HDMI cables is that they are data cables. They transfer ones and zeros from your TV to your source and back. This is very different from the previous generation of cables that were analog and transferred a signal that could be degraded by a crappy cable. This does not happen with digital cables because as long as the ones and zeros get to where they need to go, the quality will be the same no matter how much you pay for your little cable.
Best Buy, who I have an unending hate for, was fleecing people on HDMI cables. Their Monster brand of cables were great. once upon a time when I worked there. when they offered high-quality heavy gauge video cables for component and composite setups. The colors were never washed out and you could count on getting the best signal from your source to your TV. When the digital age rolled around and HDMI set the scene, their primary value proposition evaporated overnight. As mentioned above why would you pay for expensive cable that did the same thing as a cheap cable? I'm sure there are some people out there who were duped by Best Buy associates based on the claims that Monster brand continued to make on this new technology.
Monoprice hit the scene with HDMI cables of every color and length possible at a fraction of the cost. No longer retailers pulling a fast one on consumers. Unless there was some sort of HDMI emergency, there was no need to go to Best Buy or target and spend $30 or $40 on the exact same cable that you can get from Monoprice in the mail in three days for two dollars. And it would be a pretty blue or green to boot.
At this point, you're probably asking me what Monoprice and this HDMI story has to do with this startup blog. If you have not figured it out already, Monoprice saw an opportunity to solve a problem. They solved the problem so well, they are putting the hurt on brick and mortars and continue to kick ass.
Just this month, they announced they were going to self brand an IPS monitor. When I saw this in my inbox, it definitely gave me a double take. This sort of monitor is definitely new-ish technology, in-plane switching (IPS) monitors are used by graphic artists and rich kids with too much money and too many video games. Monoprice has transitioned from undercutting brick and mortars on accessories to undercutting them on the sort of products that keep the brick and mortar doors open. If Best Buy's margin disappears, Best Buy disappears.
The moral the story, Monoprice started as a warehouse full of HDMI cables. Humble beginnings. If you solve your own problem well enough, your humble beginnings may turn out to be the next Monoprice.com.
Best of luck.