Solid-state lighting technology is poised to cause an explosion of artistic lighting design that eclipses all before it. The opportunities to do great things is limitless, with a great many interesting applications have already come from utilizing it to great effect. LEDs and OLEDs open doors to creative work like nothing before them. While the technologists focus on saving energy and other metrics to satisfy any number of codes, comply with regulations and meet objective demands – artists are now finding ways to apply the technology to delight customers. This is what keeps me interested in this industry.

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Background

My background in graphic arts was founded on a deep desire to delight people with creative work. As NCOIC of Graphics on Anderson Air Force Base, Guam,  I included art in otherwise mundane officious graphic presentations. There was a level of thrill when, as a lowly sergeant, a starred-up General seeks to you out to express his delight with a presentation.

The move from graphics to lighting design 36 years ago was fueled by the same desire to realize delighted customer response. Architects, Interior Designers and property owners, from home owners to casino operators, were the new delight-able generals to me. The addition of product design and development followed delight-able customers in manufacturing, coupling my design interests with my passion for making things with my hands. I’ve invested the last 11 years in solid-state technology in lighting for one reason – I see it as a new frontier in creating applications and products that delight customers.g_nugget_ac_spa_3_wv

I have been criticized for lacking focus. I write, design lighting systems, design products, engineer, prototype, build things, as well as fix and tinker with machines. How this can be seen as negative is beyond me. So, in an effort to understand, I read several contemporary business books, which advise focus as the key to success – the narrower and more concentrated the better. Sounded boring to me, until I realized that I have a focus – to delight customers, more narrowly – lighting customers. To accomplish that requires more than a singular focus on any one aspect of the business.

Differentiation

The key to success in any commercial endeavor is differentiation, standing out among competitors. For some time I have done business in service of manufacturers, designing, marketing, and assisting others in the design and marketing of products. In this, I have purposefully limited direct involvement in lighting application design (except when employed to assist a manufacturing customer to serve their customer.) The idea was to avoid conflicting with lighting designers, who I had hoped would engage us to assist in the deployment of solid-state lighting in their own work. This, coupled with our work with manufactures seems a nice match-up. What we learned by working with lighting designers could be used to assist manufacturers in development of better products. What we learned from manufacturers and access we gain to technologies involved, can be applied to assist lighting designers in use of the technology.office conference

As it turns out, this was a flawed approach. Lighting designers, with a very few exceptions, don’t see us as an asset to their efforts. Forget that we can modify products, refit older products to new technology, help in building truly unique components to supplement off-shelf products to deliver unique results, or assist in the application of the technology to reduce field problems. We can create customized optics, suspension components, brackets, wiring harnesses, connectors, and adaptations of products that manufacturers are shy to bother with. That’s what we do, it’s what we built our shop around. Yet, it’s never really be adopted by the customer we hoped to serve – the lighting design community.  Oh well…

A Fresh Approach and Value Proposition

We’re no longer restricting service offerings in our search for delight-able customers. With more than a decade experience in the trenches of product development to meet application needs, we have accumulated a level of expertise and understanding of solid-state technology that virtually no other lighting designer can approach. With in-house capacity to modify and tweak off-shelf products, adapt standard products in unique ways, as well as test, evaluate and qualify products before we specify them, we are uniquely qualified to produce excellence for customers in ways no other lighting design entity is capable of – especially when it comes to integrating solid-state lighting technologies.pendant

Of course, we can do all of the normal AGI32 evaluations, lighting plan work, specifications and selections, on-site inspection, controls layouts, code/regulation compliance paperwork, etc… as any other lighting design entity. We’ve been doing that for more than 30 years all along, directly and indirectly behind the scenes. Nobody is excited by code compliance, so it’s not something we spend a lot of time crowing about.

While our approach is not widely applicable to large projects around the world, that is not our market focus. These attributes are very applicable in mid-scale and small projects for discrimitating customers looking for a personal touch, a market generally under-served. These are also the customers that value direct personal interaction, and clever adaptation to meet special design requirements – which means direct experience in their delight with the end result. For me, that is a great pairing of capability and end use customer.

Evolve or Die

The lighting market is evolving. Technology is changing everything from access to information to controls integration, and light source performance. The evolution is also changing the relationship between designer, producer, and customer. The closer the collaboration, the better the end result. This means finding ways to meet special application demands without full custom solutions, re-thinking the relationship between purchased hardware and delivered light, and redressing the interaction between occupants and the building itself, at every economic level.birds

The time is also right to see a new class of design entity emerge that can delight customers who do not have deep pockets, with excellent design, coupled with effective application of off-shelf products adapted to serve unique purposes, coupled with full custom designs that utilize available modular components that do not demand the expense in time and capital of full-blown custom products. The end goal should be to deliver the highest value, and biggest smiles all around. We are just such an entity, and are actively seeking new customers ready to be delighted.

While we are at it, if there is a need for a custom gadget, a sculpture, detail, or unique piece of furniture we might help with, lighted or not, we are here to serve. We don’t believe diversity and lack of singular myopic focus is a liability at all. We embrace it.

 

 

 

 

I’m going to go right at this one head on. The assumption of quality being equated to price paid is a marketing strategy. There is no irrefutable fact or reality associating price with quality. This does not mean that high quality is not a value worth paying for. I am also not saying that there is no justification for paying a higher price to attain a higher level of quality. What I am saying is, the connection between cost and quality is not inseparable. You can achieve high quality at a low price, and you can suffer low quality at a premium. The region between bargain and rip-off is vast.

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Design is the work of assigning an appropriate level of quality in application and product selection, within the need and desire of the customer.

To get a handle on this, let’s take a moment to define quality in minimal terms. I believe product and design quality is a composite of three core factors.

  1. Performance that meets the intended demand. In other words, does the product and/or design serve the need and desire of the customer?
  2. Physical integrity. Does the product and/or design include a high degree of fine fitment and refinement of finish, with minimal or no flaws appropriate to the intended use and application? Is the product and/or robust enough to endure or exceed the intended service lifetime?
  3. Service after Sale. Does the provider of the product and/or design stand behind the product, resolving any unforeseen error or failure in a timely and satisfactory manner?
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There are a great many pleasant, long-lasting, efficient, quality environments designed using modestly priced products well-selected.

All of these components of quality can be attained over a wide range of costs. However, unlike ethics, quality is conditional. No all projects require the highest achievable quality of product, or the highest priced design expertise. Nor does hiring the highest priced designer, or applying the highest quality available product result in the highest quality applied design. Applied quality is based on three primary variables:

  1. Subjective customer priorities. Every customer sees each of the many components of a project or application differently. Some place aesthetics over cost, others see ultimate performance as energy-saving, while others see performance in terms of lighting effect. Others see the overall effect of lighting on an environment as critical, while others consider this secondary to other concerns, as long as there is enough light to function comfortably.
  2. Objective performance. Every product or design can be placed in a hierarchy of performance. However, what objective metric is used is not universal. Optical performance, color quality, color consistency, efficacy, applied efficiency, environmental protection, and longevity are just a few objective metrics used to differentiate products and designs.
  3. Suitability to the task or application. Every product and design can be judged on its suitability to its application. The highest quality approaches are those that bring to bear the most appropriate combined qualities of product and design, within the context of a specific application. There are no absolute rules in product or application design that transcend application suitability.
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High degrees of performance can be achieved with strategic application of the right products in the right role.

Design quality is highly subjective. Some would look at the new Apple retail luminous ceiling system, which is very costly, and say it is wonderful – worth the money. Others might say it is a mundane effect that can be achieved at a significantly lower cost using far less proprietary components with no expensive patent attorney involvement. I regularly see great designs cleverly accomplished with inexpensive components. Conversely, I see a lot of very expensive designs – using the best products available – that are offensively bad for the customer being served.

Now, that being said, we can get down to whether achieving a high quality end product or design demands spending more money. I contend it doesn’t. In fact, my design career is founded on delivering to customers the highest quality I can provide them, at the lowest possible cost. Examples of my approach to this includes:

  • Avoiding the use of high-end products in applications where well qualified mid grade product, provides a suitable end result.
  • Carefully weigh the evolution of technologies and the costs of leading edge products, against overall design objectives. Applying the most expensive early adopter level technologies to projects that do not require the ultimate up-to-the-second performance levels is inappropriate.
  • Use off-shelf solutions where possible, to reserve expensive solutions only to those areas where the additional costs are rational and of greatest impact.
  • Design around available products over idealistic visions that demand expensive custom solutions, unless the goal is of very high value to the customer.

The responsibility of any designer is to deliver to the customer a product and design solution that meets their needs, even if the customer does not fully recognize their every need. For example, not all customers consider the long-term impact of choosing a too-cheap product that will require replacement too soon, or consume more than necessary energy from poor performance. However, we must also remember that we are not keepers of the universe. It is not the responsibility of any designer to force a customer to comply with some idealistic perfection in performance or sustainability. If a customer is properly informed, and chooses to pursue a shorter term solution, that is their right, and the designer is then responsible for delivering the best solution and selections within that boundary. As long as the end result is responsibly considered and well executed, whether or not it represents perfection or state of the art, is irrelevant. There is also no justification for forcing a customer into a lighting system they don’t need, in order to win an award or accolades.

Further, utilization of products that are over-kill to an application, is irresponsible. Professionals put the customer first, and every customer wants the highest value they can attain for the lowest attainable cost possible. For example, I’ve done a lot of casino and hospitality work over the years, where a great deal of the product installed is ripped out and discarded to make way for the next remodel. In many of these applications, the spaces were going to be redressed in 7 years or less. Putting high-end, long-lived, expensive products into these environments is a waste of time. However, within these spaces, there are instances of permanent product locations that demanded the highest quality to survive the rigors of frequent remodeling around them, as well as extended service life and sustainable performance. Finding what applied to which product is a neat trick in design of these spaces.

I have found that there are some rules to achieving product selection objectives.

  1. The lower the cost of a product, the greater the scrutiny and pre-qualification required. There are a great many low-cost products of very high performance and integrity. However, they live in a population of products that are decidedly not of the same caliber. The trick is in ferreting out the ruby’s in the pile of garnet, glass and paste jewels that exist in the lower cost segments. This is a responsibility of quality design – delivering to the customer a level of quality they would not find for themselves. Anyone can specify high-end products as quality. The real designers specify the highest value products (lowest cost for appropriate levels of quality = value).
  2. High end products demand scrutiny to weed out brand premium strategies. There are a great many high-priced products in the market that are not worth the premium demanded. Often, a high priced product is a marketing game founded on branding, that delivers no new value. Very frequently, a product of identical quality can be found, without the brand premium, at a lower cost, equating to a higher value.
  3. Costly proprietary products often have no basis. Another brand strategy is to create products that confound competitive comparison by including features or details specifically intended to hold them apart of competition.  This can often result in a fresh approach that is indeed a value worth a premium. It can also present an end result that can be achieved by re-dressing the design in such a way as to utilize more conventional products at a lower total cost. Separating these two, again, is part of quality design, that is impossible for customers to do for themselves.

I use my own rating system to qualify products within these parameters, as well as other performance categories, part of which I described in the LQC article. Beyond the basics of getting the design right for the customer, I see product selection one of the most critical responsibilities of designers, as this is work that customers are the least qualified to do for themselves.

If we take all of this together, the question then becomes, what is a higher priority? High quality design? or, High quality product? The answer is both and neither. They are one and the same. High quality design considers the need of the customer, and all of their specific subjective and objective needs, fully and without prejudice. This includes selection of product to fulfill this objective. Leading the customer to the highest quality design for their application, is the work of a quality design effort. Ultimately, whether or not the customer achieves some esoteric ideal of design, or utilizes the best possible products, is irrelevant. Informing customers, often teaching them if necessary, and guiding them through the thousands of decisions they face, without imposing overly idealistic myopic judgement is the most difficult and highest responsibility of a quality designer.

My dad, an Electrical Engineer, once lamented that his very best work was buried in walls, and invisible to the end users, who experienced satisfaction in not being aware of how and why things around them worked so well. I could not agree more. I’ve applied this to projects as large as the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, the the smallest tract home model. This, to me, is the magic in design. It delivers what the customer and end users need in a way that is intuitive and as painless as possible.

So, does high quality equate to high cost, or demand a higher price?

The simple answer is no. There is nothing in the definition of quality that demands a price premium. However, there is a caveat. There are very few designers capable of delivering high quality design than considers all of the aspects of value matching to customer need described here. These designers are in their rights to ask a premium price for their services. Yet, those that understand the dynamics described, do not inflate their costs so high that they fail to produce a high value to their customers.

The proportion of product manufacturers and designers delivering high quality is overwhelmed by those offering products and service of questionable quality. There are a lot of junk in the market priced to conceal poor value, a great many products of questionable reliability that present what appear to be high initial quality, and more than a few high-priced products not worth the price they command. Digging through this pile of dog droppings is not easy, nor is it intuitive – especially for lighting customers.

A high quality design, and products utilized, will perform well, last longer than promised, will be backed by excellent service, and serve its customer well and as expected. The better the match between the needs of the customer through the application of appropriate design features and products selected, the higher the ultimate value. That is the definition of quality, no matter what price is paid.

I have taken a break from publishing to this blog for several months for a reason. I needed some time to stand back and observe and listen without intent to respond or contribute, and to seek counsel of others. The lighting industry has been in a state of flux for more than a decade now. As a veteran spanning over three decades, there is nothing new in this. Here’s a bit of news for those new to this business – the industry has been in flux for over three decades now, the intrusion of solid-state technology is just one more in a long series of adjustments. However, the most recent decade has brought a new character to the industry that, frankly, stinks.

There is now a level of combined ruthlessness and aggressive marketing that has never existed before. This is aggravated by the reaction of the specification market against the lies and deceptive claims of unscrupulous marketers. Coupled to this are economic conditions and intrusion of regulations that has made offering products into the market more difficult than ever. Add to this the profiteering of Underwriters Labs that has made listing LED products a nightmare. Bleed in a large number of new players with unprecedented funding from outside sources, expecting unrealistic results, offering up products of highly questionable value. Pile on corporate level expansion that has elevated IP protectionism (exploiting the antiquated patent protection system) to squeeze the market. Now, add to this the confusion of too many new products and new brands into a market already overwhelmed by too many products and brands. Wedge in the intrusion of the DOE, and the emergence of the DLC and Lighting Facts, not to mention Energy Star, LM-79, LM-80, now TM-30, to mention just a few. Layer on the deployment of a plethora of products invented before defining what market need they intended to serve, and forwarding of theories based on anecdote with little or no scientific founding. Pour in a mess of new influences and corporate leaders who have less interest in design and light itself than they have in profiteering, backed by technologists who have little or no respect for design. Splash into this new formula the plethora of source level products that change continually, and the presence of the internet that has exploded exposure to everything at once. Now, stir all this up in a frenzy of activity spanning just 10 years, and you have a confused messy stew that no longer resembles what preceded it. Like a pot pie, let’s cover all of this with a thick crust of China sourced components, products and contract manufacturing that transforms the whole mess inside out. Lighting has changed, for better and worse – over a very short period of time.

Lighting 2017 is profoundly changed from Lighting 2005, and a distant memory of Lighting 1981 when I entered it as a rookie graphic artist convert to electrical/lighting designer for an electrical engineer. The days of design free-for-all that drew me into the business 36 years ago and sustained me for 20 years are over. Period. Sold-state technology and the players behind it saw to that, while unscrupulous marketers, the economy, and government influences (local and national) hammered it home.

While discussing this with a trusted peer (who entered lighting in this recent transition, who has zero experience of what preceded it), I was advised that it is what it is, that I need to simply accept that, or get out of the business. The advice was that to compete and participate in this new market space, I need to be more ruthless, that business is business, separate of who I am otherwise. I need to set aside my personal desire and ideology may have to be set aside to profit from the market in its new state. There is some truth in this, and I accept the advice at face value. I see this in the faces and acts of the fresh PhD’s and MBA’s I experience in management positions. I see this in the acceptance of made-in-China as the new norm of lighting, shoving the once home-brewed market aside. I see this in the reliance on exploited labor markets to drive costs down to advance profits across the entirety of solid-state technology. I feel this in the de-personalization of this industry. That does not mean I accept it as matter-of-fact, or agree with it, I just see and feel it. The idea put forth that I must come to accept this, or get out of the business, made me think a great deal about doing just that. Then I thought…

Quit Lighting? Not a chance.

My business is at a point where I have come to the end of a business model that lasted longer than I expected, while opportunities for new pursuits has left me in the proverbial state of disarray. In this, I have been exploring several new ideas in an effort to suss out ideas that might lead to new business. For example, following a customer’s lead, we’ve developed a line of light-cure products for use in fiberglass fabrication and repair, potting material curing, adhesive and coating cure application. We also created an LED source color evaluation tool for designers to view and compare LED CCT’s and the impact they have on project color samples. I also have a line of industrial grade task lighting that out-performs the junk coming from China in every measure save one – price. We even make a version of our task light that is designed for Navy ship bridge map lighting, with red/white selector and integrated dimmer with special swivel base. None of these have been heavily marketed to date, so have not realized any real sales success. There is a reason for that – we were busy meeting the needs of our consulting customers.

Over the last eleven years, my time was absorbed helping others see their dreams and aspirations. The companies I have helped make the transition are now experiencing growth of more than 27% year over year, have experienced a relatively smooth transition from conventional lamps to LEDs, and have rebuilt themselves to address the changes in the market, with out help. We have assisted electronics product manufacturers as they deployed solid-state component development of entered lighting for the first time. I’ve deployed LED technology to replace HID in UV light curing. I have also assisted in the development of LED based photographic lighting, another market being transformed by solid-state technology. I’ve been part of evaluating market opportunities for venture capitalists, and trained hundreds of new market entries in lighting, lighting market, and solid-state integration into lighting. I’ve even assisted a major glass manufacturer in evaluating opportunities in lighting. I have thousands of hours of personal investment experimenting, testing and evaluating solid-state technology to be ready to meet customer needs. I even built a shop facility specifically configured to enhance our capacity to prototype and test products for customers without facilities to do so for themselves. This has all been put ahead of my own interests and product development and marketing, as supporting our service customers was put over our product pursuits.

In addition to this, is ten years as a contributor and editor at Architectural SSL and now NZB. Further, I have delivered dozens of presentations, at my expense, at conferences across the country. Lighting is a part of who and what I am, and is the foundation for the value I bring to those I interact with.

Quit lighting? No way.

There is a fallacy individuals and businesses frequently fall into. It’s called the “Sunk Cost Fallacy.” It goes as follows:

The Sunk Cost Fallacy. The Misconception: You make rational decisions based on the future value of objects, investments and experiences. The Truth: Your decisions are tainted by the emotional investments you accumulate, and the more you invest in something the harder it becomes to abandon it.

To this, I have come to ask: Am I committed to lighting because I’ve been in the business for so long that I am irrationally emotionally committed to it? Am I a victim of the Sunk Cost Fallacy? Is the future value of my contributions and potential profit realization realistic, founded on past investment and experience?

Quit lighting? No. Redress how I have approached it for thirty years? Absolutely.

In reflection, I have pursued lighting in three basic ways. As a lighting consultant I served hundreds of design customers with designs they enjoy in their spaces. As a designer I served employers and consulting customers with product designs that have resulted in their realizing over $32MM in combined annual sales (through 3 manufacturers as an employee, and others as product consultant) over the last 27 years – more than $864MM total (translating to approximately $80MM in net income to company owners), while facilitating additional sales success through marketing contribution over that (and the value of branding over that), while obtaining 14 patents for those I have been employed by (without royalties). Finally, as consultant I have assisted numerous others realize their goals in developing solid-state products, helped transform companies to meet the needs of the lighting market, provided technical support that enabled manufactures to succeed with a unique blend of product and service tailored to their needs. In all of this, I have not demanded residual benefits, royalties, or bonus payments beyond what was asked in salary or fees, to make my living from the effort. Not only do these companies capture value from contributions made, they do so under agreement that I not divulge my involvement with them, to protect their privacy and image as innovators.

From a business perspective, I have not been ruthless at all. I served as a consultant and employee as I was asked, for fair compensation. In retrospect, it may seem a naive approach. A more ruthless approach would have been to demand compensation commiserate with the ongoing value realization by those I was involved with over that time. I am sure that there were opportunities to apply this strategy that I missed. Certainly, in the market as it stands today, there are a few who have become wealthy by being more diligent in negotiating a longer term payoff from their contribution.

There is another dynamic to my past effort in the sharing of ideas. There are many dozens of instances where I have created, then developed, concepts presented for new products and product strategies, that have become the property of customers and employers.  These ideas are then tied to those entities, their property, whether or not they act on them. I am not allowed to share them, pursue them personally, or take them any further. Over the years, this has resulted in a significant inventory of shelved concepts that have since been realized by other entities (without my participation.) Ideas rarely originate from a single point, so if it comes to me, it will have come to others. The difference between who has good ideas and who profits from them is frequently based on who finds a path to market first, over who comes up with the idea first. It is truly frustrating to have ideas first, only to see them lay fallow, as others put them into the market. While patent protection could have prevented this dis-association, when a customer or manufacturer sets aside a concept due to other priorities, time constraints or budget, investing in patent protection to capture that concept for future application is just not on the agenda.

In addition to the authoring of product ideas that were lost, there is an overly altruistic sharing of information, technical discovery, and observation through this site, my web site, and magazine editorial content. While I was pounding the keyboards, or making presentations, other more ruthless players were equally committed to keeping their secrets, protecting them through patenting or royalty contract. Over-sharing is not a path to profitability.

I have always believed it was impossible for manufacturers to share too much information for decision makers to base decisions on. I also believed that making presentations and sharing information was the responsibility of everyone in the market, to give back to the industry that serves us with profit to make our living. In the last decade, I have come to see this has been naive. If anything can be gleaned from the teachings of our new partners in this industry, it is that factual information is susceptible to two factors. The first is need relative to realizing maximum profitability. The second is on conditional ethics.

Conditional ethics are often described as Hume’s Gillotine. The philosopher David Hume proposed that ethics does not rely on fact, that a value judgment must be made at some point, which is essentially arbitrary. The concept is that facts do not directly relate to ethics or vice versa. Facts alone are not sufficient to to define what is bad. The concept is also known as the ‘Is-Ought Problem’, as there is no way to infer what ‘ought-to-be’ from ‘what-is’ (the source of this and a more complete description can be found here.)

In other words, once an idea is presented to the market as fact (even if it a complete fiction), it becomes fair game to pursue as real, even by those who know it isn’t. In other words, once an idea becomes a what-is, there is no ethical requirement of profiteers to revisit what ought-to-be. This is expedient, as it allows a falsehood that is widely accepted as intuitive, or supported by biased anecdote, to prosper – regardless of its merit. As each marketing entity picks up on this, and forwards this as a foundation for their efforts to profit from the sentiment attained, there becomes no ethical prerequisite to redress the falsehood, and every reason to forward it to profit from the momentum gained as others pile on and the market is moved. An example of this is the current concept that because humans have evolved for millions of years under daylight, which has warm sunlight in the morning and evening, and bright cool light in mid day, that lighting that mimics this behavior is good for human health. There are no facts, no objective studies, and zero objective evidence this is true, but it is widely accepted. Thus, there are no ethical limits to any marketer to look any further when forwarding this concept as a foundation for claims their product promotes improvements to human health. This is also more obviously employed in a similar ethically challenged market space – the homeopathic products market, which has virtually no scientific foundation for 90% of its claims to cure ED, growth in the size of ones manhood, grow hair, remove wrinkles, or any number of maladies promised to be resolved by consumption of any blend of herbs or garbage in capsule form one can imagine.

Conditional ethics allow those who would otherwise not consider lying for personal gain, to lie to the market when selling products. Conditional ethics forgive those who insist on being provided objective fact to base decisions on at home and exhibit fair treatment to family and friends, to conceal facts, and treat those that purchase their products unfairly. Conditional ethics support marketers in applying anecdotal information based on biased and unqualified “facts” to promote products. With no requirement to reveal the lack of scientific credibility and integrity, it is fair and acceptable to forward any idea that might sound right in promoting a product. Facts are irrelevant, sales are. This is what we get in markets controlled by Masters Degree Administrators and PhD’s. There becomes a level of academic rationalization of short cutting fact, to avoid having to invest in forwarding sophistication of the market as a whole, to realize profits in the shortest period of time. It is far easier to make a market believe an idea that sounds right, than it is to increase understanding of the market. There is more money to be made from an ignorant compliant market, than an informed, insistent factually driven market. Thus, it is ethical to pursue the expedient capitalization of a deluded market, even if it is understood that the market is acting out of ignorance.

This leads to the conclusion that the only option is to accept what the market is and ignore what it ought to be, in order to feel comfortable with it going forward. Certainly, those invested in conditional ethics, who profit from this approach, would suggest this. There is no profit in fighting the status quo, and there is little hope the market can ever be transformed. I agree. The mass market, as a generality, will continue to make decisions based on anecdote, marketing promises (no matter how false) and subjective opinion without factual backing. I get that. However, I won’t participate in it, nor do I believe that conditional ethics is an acceptable foundation.  Further, I reserve the right to expose where the industry is being fooled by those employing conditional ethics.

Quit Lighting? No way. I’m just getting started.

With the epiphany that I have been reticent in pursuing maximum value capture in support of others, I will be more aggressive in future business models. Making money for customers, or providing them a value in product that improves their work or life, is an ethical pursuit. I should be compensated for this in proportion to the value of that contribution. Even in a market surrounded by those who are short cutting ethics to realize easy profit, there is no reason that I cannot succeed by offering solutions built as much on fact as possible, over anecdote and populist opinion forwarded by ruthless marketers.

I also reserve the right in editorial production, here and in publication, to call out the falsehoods, half-truths, and fake science being employed in the market. It’s time to be more ruthless in exposing the falsehoods too many marketers are relying on. For many, this will be meaningless, they will continue as lemmings do, taking short cuts to decision-making for their own reasons. For others, there is value in attempting to push for what ought to be, regardless of what is.  This is a not-for-profit pursuit in the interest of giving back to a market that has provided me a livelihood for more than three decades, and a way for me to strike back against those I believe are damaging it.

Quit Lighting? Well…. I have certainly thought about it. It is in every professional’s best interest to consider options in and out of this industry, that’s rational. If I find a path that leads to greater reward for invested effort, it would be irresponsible to ignore it. It is my duty to set aside the Sunk Cost Fallacy, and recognize that years invested in this industry may need to be abandoned, no matter how hard that might be. I have no delusion of being a martyr to the cause of a better, more ethical lighting industry. My existence would barely be missed if I disappeared overnight. A few out there might like to see that happen, as we’ve culturally become enamored with the failure of others. There are also parallel paths to the mainstream lighting market that are more profitable, less fraught with ethical conflicts, with fewer encumbrances than the general illumination market has built for itself in its confused state. I wish it were different, but it is what it is. I would be an idiot to expose more here. With no ethical boundaries to protect anyone from ruthless attack for competitive fun and profit, sharing too much publicly about strategies and next steps is no longer a responsible activity. Let’s just say that my customers will know where I am and what value I intend to deliver. That’s a fact.

 

 

 

 

SLA printing uses laser light to cure resin in a bath to generate 3D parts, one layer at a time. The finished parts are smooth, with finer detail than what can be accomplished using (Fused Deposition Modeling), which extrudes plastic that is deposited in layers to build a part on a build platform. However, SLA printed parts require post processing to make them usable, even for model creation. Each part required excess uncured resin to be cleaned away, usually in an alcohol bath. Further, to eliminate surface stickiness and improve overall strength, it is necessary to use light cure conditioning to complete the curing of the finished model.

For desktop printer owners, the search for an economical post-process light cure solution leads to low-cost solutions. One such solution is to purchase tape light strips. These are inexpensive and operate from simple low voltage power supplies. They can be purchased from e-bay for a few dollars, and proclaim high-efficiency and violet light. Most use a standard mid/low power 5050 LED package and deliver anywhere from 395 to 410nm of violet light.  Another approach, which we have attempted, is use of 5mm LEDs in arrays on a simple custom circuit board.

Before I go any further, I will state now that after extensive testing and experimentation attempting to discover a super-low cost light cure conditioning solution, none of the low-end, low power Read the rest of this entry »

passion

Follow your passion and success will follow you

I find these “inspirational” vivications irritating and shallow. At the risk of being pedantic, allow me to explain.

In this case, the words evoke images of everyone loving what they do, and succeeding for it – with the inference of success pointing  to fame and fortune. Certainly, if you look at successful people in the public eye; actors, musicians, athletes, motor sports champions, internet and social media innovators, software developers, wealthy investors, etc…, they Read the rest of this entry »

 

 

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Money does not buy happiness.

We’ve heard it before, and it is a compelling sentiment. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to assume that the basic needs of sustenance, shelter, security and comfort are a given. These cost money. Without food, protection from the elements, security from harm, and a modest degree of comfort, even a basic level of happiness is not possible. We live in a world Read the rest of this entry »

dazor-front

The ubiquitous Dazor Desk lamp. There has to be millions of these still in use. But, there is only one that can do what this one does!

Task lighting is a passion, so that means gathering my share of collected old-timer fixtures that are iconic, or representations of a product that is familiar and comfortable. In this case it is the Dazor desk lamp. I have these in drafting board mount, and have made on floor lamp from a similar foundation. I don’t use fluorescent tubes in any of them, and Read the rest of this entry »