limited production :: hand crafted :: high performance :: rechargeable :: premium flashlights

This is my blog about creating a startup LED flashlight business. I'm a designer, fabricator, and strategist and I'm passionate about making ideas real. I believe that products are about people, that they should be built to last, deliver real value, and that we need to do a better job than we have in the recent past.

Most of my career has been contract or freelance work and I've crafted products and strategies for both big international companies and startups. I also used to work in the "industry" fabricating special effects for film and TV, along with the occasional hot rod. Bottom line, I love making things.

I'm starting this blog so you can follow along, from day one, and see what it's like to start a business, or fail in the process. Only time will tell, but I hope you find this interesting enough to stay tuned, comment, link, like, tweet, and (most importantly) participate in turning this idea into something tangible and valuable.

For a good place to get started with general info about who, what, why, etc., check out the "Stickies" on the left side of the page. Thanks for stopping by and please don't hesitate to ask questions and get involved!

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Name/Logo: I Need Your Vote! (only six days to vote)

Okay folks, this little project is in a time of transition. As you know, I just did a big overhaul on the website. You might not know that I'm on the edge of a big "all or nothing" marketing push. I'm going to be sending lights out to some big national magazines and top tier blogs. It's pretty hard to do that since I'm going to be flushing a bunch of lights down the toilet, but hopefully one or two will generate some badly needed big press. Yes, it's psychologically difficult to send out a bunch of my (very few) lights to someone who might just throw it in a drawer and never look at it again...but I know I need to suck it up and do it.

It's kind of like dating...hey, call me back...okay? 
Anyway, the last piece I need to put in place (immediately) is becoming a "real" company and incorporating a business. This also means I need a grown up name and a new logo. I was hoping to have you, dear public, pick my new name; but time is not on my side. So I bit the bullet and I'm going with "Prometheus Lights." I hope it doesn't suck...too late now anyway. In case you don't know, Prometheus is the Greek titan that stole the secret of fire from the gods and gave it to man. Of course he was severely punished for this but let's just ignore that part of the story for the moment. In Greek, the name also means "forethought" which seems appropriate in light of Wired Magazine's latest article on the future of LED lighting.

I was also hoping to have you, dear public, help me pick from a variety of logos I've been working on; but that pesky time thing is still a problem. I need to have all this sorted...say, in the next week. So, I spent a few days beating myself up about my lack of community engagement in the business design process, but here we are.

Click this image to see a full size version
What I need your help with now, is the final refinement! I've provided 4 versions for your viewing pleasure. Which one do you like the best?

Which combination of logo and text do you like the best?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wired Magazine agrees with me: LEDs are the future

Check out the latest edition of Wired and their article on LED lighting. About time someone with sway picked up this story!  I don't know if this will have any effect on industry (or my business) but I have to imagine that greater public awareness can only help.

Wired must have some budget for cool photography: this image is from their article
Honestly I'm not sure why it's taking so long for companies with millions of dollars in development funds to make a decent LED light bulb. Liquid cooling is a pretty cool idea. That's one reason why the first flashlight I ever made was liquid filled. No, I'm not smart enough to come up with that on my own. My computer uses liquid cooling and there is a lot of research around "submersion cooling" of of power electronics.

One thing I am curious about is how they are keeping the liquid filled bulb from exploding when it heats up. I calculated that my liquid filled light would exert over 700PSI of pressure with each 10(F) rise in temperature. I had a couple of solutions to this but maybe I shouldn't share them yet. Hey "Switch", give me a call. I hear you are down the road. Anyway, the linked article below is worth a read.

"The future of light is the LED" -- Wired Magazine"

"Brett Sharenow is presidingover the Pepsi Challenge of lightbulbs. The CFO of Switch, a Silicon Valley startup, Sharenow has set himself up in a 20-by-20 booth at the back of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, and he’s asking passersby to check out two identical white shades. Behind one hides a standard incandescent bulb, the familiar lighting technology that has gone largely unchanged since Thomas Edison invented it 132 years ago. Behind the other is a stunning, almost art- deco-style prototype that holds 10 LEDs and a secret fluid. It’s a liquid-cooled bulb, as radically different from Edison’s invention as anything that’s ever been screwed into a standard socket and, Sharenow hopes, the next big thing in the $30 billion lighting industry. The challenge: Can you tell which is which?"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Economics of Purchasing

As consumers, we spend a lot of time looking at price tags but we don't spend very much time thinking about the cost of ownership. Perhaps because those costs lie in the future and we're not very good at visualizing something as abstract as five years from now. Perhaps it's because we just take the cost of ownership for granted. Do you think about how much gas you are going to buy over the life of the car? Do you think about how much your iPhone plan is going to cost you beyond the purchase of the phone? If you are like me...not really.

However, when you break it down, that doesn't make much sense. Just because you are paying less money "today" doesn't really make the price lower tomorrow. I've been thinking about this a lot. People often ask what makes a $200 light special? I think my new answer is going to be, "because it doesn't cost $1000." Let's take a look at the math.

pop quiz: 20 vs. 2,826...which one is smaller?
One lithium battery is good for about 300 charges. In the Alpha, that equates to about 471 hours of operation on the brightest setting. Think that $30 2D Maglite is a good deal? What if I told you it was going to cost you $283 in disposable batteries to get the same amount of use? Maybe you have an exotic light like the Surefire M3LT (400 lumens & $500.00) or the Fenix TK41 (630 lumens & $130.00). You better be willing to fork out over $2,500 over the life of the light (either one) to pay for the batteries you are going to use. $200 is starting to sound cheap isn't it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

MAJOR website overhaul

Hi everyone, I've been slaving away for the last week on a new website. Prototype #4! Basically a never ending work in progress. The hope is to make things a little more clear and easier to navigate. Please take a look at the site and let me know if you have any feedback on things like layout, content, or navigation.

This is the link to Dark Sucks

Look Ma! YouTube videos!
Also, please let me know if you discover any buggy behavior or broken links. You might have to "refresh" a couple of pages to get a recent view if your browser has cached the site in the past. I attempted to implement a fix for this (it shouldn't happen) so let me know if it does.

One of the main reasons for the update is I also discovered a pretty major compatibility issue with Internet let me know if anything appears really crazy in a visual sense. It's probably a bug and not just because I'm an idiot...though I never rule out the latter ;)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

VIDEO: Table Top Review

So I got an email from a guy named Trent a couple weeks ago asking if I'd do a "table top review" of the Alpha. Here it is! I couldn't afford to spend a ton of time editing so please excuse the roughness. I hope to be doing a bunch more videos in the future so please let me know if you have any requests!

WIN! Alpha Ti clips also fit Surefire, Solarforce, Elzetta and others

I had a pretty amazing (and fortunate) discovery the other day. It turns out that the stock Alpha clip fits a large variety of tactical flashlights as well. If you'd like to order one, just click this link. I'm also offering flame coloring on these clips as well. Let me know if you have any questions!

Each clip ships with 1x black o-ring and 1x GITD o-ring...

An o-ring (included) is needed for proper fit
Add a locator to your light with the GITD o-ring option! 
These clips are confirmed to fit the following lights. Please let me know if you discover others!

  1. 6P
  2. G2X Pro
  3. 6PX Pro
  1. L2
  2. L2T
  1. 2 cell
  2. 3 cell

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Flame Colored Pocket Clips

Is this cool or what? I've done some flame coloring of Ti before so it occurred to me that I should play around with these pocket clips. They are so small it's hard to accomplish but I've never seen anyone do this with a Ti clip before. The colors go great with the natural warmth of the nickel coloring. I'm more about photos than blabbering on these days so here you go.
Reminds me of a peacock! 
This looks pretty awesome if you ask me! I've decided to offer this option for $5.00 with the purchase of any clip. Since these are done by hand, each one is a little different and a unique work in it's own right. As such, I don't take requests for a specific just get what you get. I know, it's a little risky. Feeling crazy though?

Don't forget to click for a larger image!