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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Monday, October 24, 2011

VIDEO: intro video

Hi folks! I'm excited to say that I have a new intro video for my landing page. My friend Chris Whitmore shot and edited this piece. This is basically an intro for a longer segment that will be coming along in a few weeks. Mainly I wanted a quick hook for the landing page, not to explain everything in detail, but to give people a feel for what is going on. Hope you like it and don't forget to leave feedback!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Use Case: Bake bread with an Alpha (sort of)

People often ask why they "need" a flashlight. In my mind, flashlights are intended for those times when you don't know what you'll need it for. Take this example. My friend Jon sent me the photo below. He and his wife bought a bread maker and quickly realized that, despite the glass top, you couldn't really see what was going on in there. Now, if you didn't have a flashlight, you'd probably just accept the fact that you couldn't see inside and live with it. In this case dark doesn't suck, it's just lame :)

Why aren't good flashlights more popular? Most people have never seen a state-of-the-art flashlight. Flashlights have been around since the late 1800's and most modern flashlights still use the same bulbs and the same batteries. No joke. It's hard to seek out something you don't even know exists. I didn't like flashlights before I started making them, and I quickly realized I never cared about flashlights because I'd never seen a good one. Modern LED flashlights are unimaginably better than that thing you keep in your junk drawer for emergencies.

Do you need a car? No, but it makes it easier to get around. Do you need a blender? No, but it makes it easier to turn chunky stuff into smooth stuff. So, do you need a flashlight? No, but it sure makes it easier to see in the dark.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Recommend: PIAA wiper blades will change your life...

Bold title right? I'm not joking around though. PIAA wiper blades will change your life. There, I said it twice. Sometimes when I'm zooming down the freeway surrounded by a sea of cars going 80, I wonder how so many people manage to successfully pilot a vehicle when it takes so little for all of it to go wrong. Then it rains...the veil between order and chaos draws a bit thinner. Suddenly those little things you've been ignoring are (in the case of wiper blades) staring you right in the face. People ignore their wipers until it's too late...and at that point its often dangerous.

Buy the standard PIAA Super Silicone wipers. DO NOT buy the fancy new types...they screwed up the engineering and the wiper will not touch the windshield with even pressure and that causes streaks! 
Put on some PIAA wipers and you will actually look forward to driving in a downpour. Once again, I'm not joking around. PIAA wipers arent just going to work well because they are new. Any wipers work well when the are new. The magic of the PIAA wiper (I know this is going to sound like infomercial BS...but it's not) is it actually conditions your windshield to repel water like a duck's back.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's official, Dark Sucks is now Prometheus Lights

Don't worry though. My tag line still says Dark Sucks! Thanks so much to everyone who voted. It makes my process a lot more fun and I hope you enjoy the fact that you get to participate in the creation of my venture.

I'm not going to post an image...because you can just look at the header of this page to see the winning logo/text combination. It was actually a pretty close race. In retrospect, it occurs to me that maybe the choices were just too similar, but hey, it's still a result :)

The paperwork for the name is still being processed but I thought I'd at least change the name on the blog to break in the new branding and see how it sits with me...and you. Thanks again!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

VIDEO: Drop testing the Alpha

I guess I forgot to post the YouTube video from a while here it is! I hosted a Candlepower Forums gathering at my shop a few months ago. Just to spice things up I asked everyone in attendance to help me drop test one of my lights. I'd never actually done this before so it was pretty frightening to do in front of a crowd. Makes for good TV though right?

So as you can see, after 37 drops and some pretty massive hits, the tailcap switch broke. Does that mean the light failed? I don't really know. It would still turn on in momentary mode...but the switch would not latch. So, you decide. I think the bottom line is that if your own flashlight ever sees that much probably have some other broken stuff that is higher on the priority list.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the McClicky switch is literally the best aftermarket clicky switch that exists. Since my light is designed for easy repair, putting in a new switch is really easy and (if you have strong fingers) can be done completely without tools.


This disclaimer is present in order to manage your expectations. Impact is a funny thing and people often have unrealistic expectations with respect to dropping flashlights. For example, in the video above, we dropped the Alpha 37 times and the UCL glass window did not break. I put the light on my bench. When a friend visited the next day I dropped the light from waist high...and the window shattered. Why? Impact is a funny thing.

Flashlights are not meant to be dropped. They are meant to produce light. A good light is engineered in a way that will minimize the statistical probability that something (anything) will break. Engineering is largely balanced by practical considerations like cost and physical size. They key (and the point of my previous anecdote) is that pesky statistical probability. When you drop a light, even from waist high, about a bazillion dice get together to determine the final outcome. Could I make a light that is guaranteed not to break, ever, when dropped from an airplane? Sure, you show me $10,000 and I'll show you an indestructible light. In fact, I'd welcome the challenge :)

I have seen tons of messages on Candlepower Forums where people are irate that they dropped their light, it started working funny, and now they think the light and the entire company are terrible. Do you drop your laptop (or your phone) and then complain to the manufacturer that it broke? No, BECAUSE YOU DROPPED IT. If you drop your light, you should expect it to break. If it doesn't, send the manufacturer a nice letter.

Of course I talked to someone the other day that was really mad at Apple because their iPhone had broken. I said, "What happened to it?" They said, "I dropped it." I had a hard time not saying something really rude in response.