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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About Me

It's against my nature to be this public with a business (or design) project at stage zero. My need to look like a jerk in front of a lot of people isn't very high. However, that's not the world we live in anymore. It's connected and digitized, and whether I can make this work or not depends entirely on the person reading this right now.

A business does not exist without customers, and I’m hoping that by putting everything out in the open it will create something more compelling than just another commercial enterprise. I’m doing this because I’m excited about it, and I want you to be excited as well. For me, a lot of being excited about a product or company is getting to know the people that make it happen. So a bit about me...

I was born in Hong Kong and grew up on a ranch in Montana. That kind of sets the tone for the rest of my life. I can drive on the wrong side of the road in the world's most densely populated city, but I can also build a "one match campfire" and rope from horseback. I've lived on both coasts. I like to understand both sides of an argument. I'm a machinist with an MBA. You'll get the idea as this goes along.

One thing everyone knows about me, I’m a maker. I love the satisfaction and challenge of working with my hands. I want to know how things are made and where they come from and who made them. I got into product design because I could put something on a piece of paper and then I could see it on a shelf. I was in a store once when someone was buying a watch that I had designed. I thought that was pretty cool, but after a while I realized that drawing on paper (or mostly on the computer) was fine, but I wanted to actually make the things that I was designing.

So, one snowy Boston winter I started taking welding classes. Turns out that welding is awesome so I moved to California to start school full time and work towards a masters degree in Industrial Technology and Management. At the same time I was attending another school (full time) for machining and welding. That summer I landed an internship that turned into a job offer, and I left school for the glamour of Hollywood! I spent about a year and a half working at Eddie Paul's custom fabrication and special effects shop in Los Angeles. I worked on everything from animatronic sharks, to back country fire trucks, to hot rods, to casino chip vaults, to the Automotive X-Prize. 

It was the most fun I'd ever had at work, but I came across the MBA Design Strategy (dMBA) program at California College of the Arts. It blends the disciplines of a traditional MBA program with a curriculum in strategic innovation and I wanted to get a better grasp on how design + business could lead to better solutions and better companies. I graduated in May and have decided to put my money where my mouth is...literally.

Sure I hope this will be profitable, but it's not the end game. I'm undertaking this venture because I want to put my skills to the test and build a business that reflects what I think is important and what I believe in.

If you want even more gruesome detail you can check out my portfolio website that features some of my past design and fabrication work.