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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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The reason "why" I make things

This morning I accidentally stumbled across a review of my Alpha pen. A review about that owning my pen "is like," not just what features is does (or does not) have. It's how all reviews should be structured :) Anyway, the rest of my post will make more sense if you read the review, but no pressure.

Here is the link:

Sure, I'm sharing the post because it makes me look good. However, the real reason I'm sharing it is because creating this kind of experience for someone is exactly why I do what I do...repeatedly pour myself into a humble object, put it into a box, and send it across the country (or around the world) to a complete stranger. It's kind of like a blind date: scary.

Most days each package, while visibly filled with product, is actually filled with the fear of failure. That is what makes running your own business hard, not the long hours or meager pay, it's doubt. The fact is, and the fact that I embrace daily, is that you can't make everyone happy. By way of advice to others, I'll take it a step further. You shouldn't even try, because there is greater value in making a few people exceedingly happy than making the masses ambiguously content. By definition, it means that you are doing something at least a little bit unique. A teacher of mine used to say, "if you aren't pissing someone off then you aren't doing it right." Cheers.

Most of the time my reward for taking this risk is a transaction, you paid me for the thing: thanks for your support! Very (very) infrequently I get slapped in the face by someone who thinks my work is the worst thing they have ever had the displeasure of paying for: no no, it's not you, it's me. Slightly more frequently someone sends me a nice note (or I stumble upon a blog post) from a person that thinks I nailed it: my humble thanks for a little bit of validation.

It's nice to get a little boost once in a while. So, this morning at least, I go to work with the confidence that what I do has value, purpose, and made a positive impact on at least one person's daily existence.


  1. Jason, that is a wonderful review of your Alpha Pen. At least someone truly appreciates what you do and this makes the late nights, lost of sleep and scarred up fingers worthwhile. I would love to have "runningwithstethoscope" as my personal physician" He is highly articulate, extremely observant and appreciates the finer human efforts in life and also writes beautifully. Just the kind of doctor I would like to have. By the way, my regular doctor is inspecting his patients throat with your Alpha light and writing prescriptions and medical reports with your your Alpha Pen. He too said he would be lost without them now. His comment was he didn't know a sore throat can look so good! LOL

  2. I replied to the Docs Blog and thought after the fact to copy that here for your readers. Might suggest the Doc get his name on his pen clip if he didn't already. Love my pen and pen light! Jim
    Reply to RunningwithaStethescope:
    I concur and I see you concur as well…we both concur! I got my Alpha from the source a few weeks ago and had a chance to meet Jason and see all the stuff he has going! Wow…got the Alpha matching QD keychain flashlight too to make it a set.
    Sometimes I just take it apart and put it back together for fun. Loving the medium rollerball as much or more than the fineliner. Just so ya know Jason has copper flashlights and gave me a brass front piece for the alpha for fun so a copper Alpha is a request away. We shall carry on with style my friend. Smiles, Jim

  3. I stand by what I said in my review - it is a great pen, and the threads in particular are wonderfully smooth (especially compared to some of the other machined pens I now own after being inspired by your initial effort). I took the liberty of backing your beta QR as well: it hangs from my stethoscope and sees daily/nightly use in the emergency department. Sadly I missed out on the lambda top, although admittedly it is unlikely to be as useful in my day-to-day life as the pen/torch.

    I will be keeping an eye out for further kickstarters etc you create. Keep up the great work!