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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Why Flashlights?

Yep, flashlights. I know it’s not exactly saving the world, but I've never heard of anyone who can see in the dark, and flashlights help you see in the dark. So, at least I have that...and that's where the "dark sucks" name comes from. I was talking to my friend Henry about "why" the flashlight business seemed viable and he said (in the parlance of our times), "oh I see, because dark sucks." Seriously though, I chose flashlights for a few reasons.
  1. There isn't a person on earth who can see in the dark, and people need to see when it's dark. There are dozens of solutions that meet this need, and flashlights are only one of them. So, don’t consider this as a “flashlight” company, but an entrée into the world of illumination. Where this goes is anyone’s guess. Good business models are flexible, and this is crazy flexible since any solution will utilize the same core set of knowledge, technology, and manufacturing processes.
  2. I already have everything I need. The design, engineering, and manufacturing of flashlights fits nicely into the scope of my current interests, skill sets, and equipment. I like to design things. Even better, I like to make the things I design. I also have a fabrication shop in Mountain View that is wondering why the fabrication business is so slow at the moment. So, let’s get into micro-manufacturing my own products instead of working on other people's projects.
  3. Economics. In just the last two years LED efficiency, battery capacity, and open market price have come into alignment. A lot of new industries follow the same model. Right now the LED lighting industry is in the same place the cell phone industry was when the Motorola Startac came out...about to blow up. The other critical factor is the availability of reasonably priced CNC machine tools and CAD/CAM software. Even though I do all my CNC programming by hand, I still design in CAD and this speeds the design workflow by a factor of...ohhhh...say 100 times.
  4. Flashlights are awesome. I wasn't really into flashlights before I started making them. In fact, I'd never even purchased a high performance light. The first time I tested one was after I built my first prototype. To be honest, the result was astonishing. Absolutely immense amounts of light that you have to experience to understand. I'll walk down the street, looking for the darkest alley just so I can point my light down there and BOOM, daytime. It's just awesome to be able to utterly dominate the darkness. I mean it's taken humans millennia to master the dark and now I can create daylight with the push of a button - and stick it back in my pocket when I'm done. Take that Helios. The lights I'm building compared to what most people are familiar's like comparing 12MB broadband to dial-up.        

1 comment:

  1. I have this plastic crappy flashlight in my car that is made with a electrostatic battery. And to power it, one cranks a flywheel a couple times. This type of flashlight is really convenient and has limitless range. Prob good for outdoors or places nowhere near civilization.