A Long Break, a Close Call, and Course Correction

Posted: July 12, 2011 in General Commentary
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I planned to take a short break from the madness of creating a new product each week… that has turned into half a year, which was not the intention at all. For fun, I offer the following as an insight into what has been going on.

A Too Long Break

The time has been spent looking at the market overall, it’s direction, and areas where there are values to be offered. I’ve also had a chance to look at what I was doing, how it was working for me personally, and for my customers. Among all of this has been my own design efforts, some to satisfy my own needs around the office and home, others to experiment, and still more working with customers to solve new an interesting problems. I wish I could share everything that;s been happening, but that’s not possible due to NDAs and all that top secret tech stuff.

What I can share is that I have been working on a product line of my own, as announced a few weeks ago. I will show more of this soon. Unlike all SSL projects being pursued by others, it is not going to start the universe ablaze, nor is it going to rock the market. Tasca is, a nich market product targeted at customers outside the mainstream, where I can pick off a few targets and provide value. This project has included over a year in experimenting between active projects, and the last 3 months in continuous testing. The first of the tooled components arrived last month, and the first full on prototypes are cooking along in durability testing, as I refine some details. More on this soon…

Tasca aside, the break really was not a break at all, just a redirection of energy used last year to build 52 strange little designs…

A Close Call

Anyone who has ever owned and operated their own business can probably relate to this one. A large organization present an attractive opportunity, promising autonomy, a large budget, the freedom to succeed using their money. Add to this the prestige of that executive position, some lucrative incentives, and well… your mind starts to wander. Even the most committed can be drawn off course by such things, especially when facing the continued drag the economy can be at times. That was Zenaro this April. They are a good group of people, with the new crew building up nicely… Yet, no matter how hard I tried to divorce myself from my little universe (Lumenique), I couldn’t bring myself to a full on divorce – closing it outright. I like my little corner of the world, and the folks who come by and let me play with their toys.

At the end of May, I returned to my own efforts here, and picked up where I left off. Zenaro was nice enough to accept this, and have asked that I continue to help, as consultant. This was a close call, that reminded me just how much I value what I’m doing and how, and all that has been built around that. I’m also thankful that all of my customers hung in and waited me out. Those that knew me best knew what I didn’t at the time, offering some interesting “WTF” emails. This path also led me to inventory the assets of what Lumenique had become, and assess its value to me, and what I can bring to others.

A Course Correction

With all of this now part of history, the next step is to get back to the work of moving forward. With a fairly complete model shop capable of machining, plastic modeling, powder coating, metal forming, photometric and electrical testing, not to mention outright short run manufacturing, I can make all sorts of things. Add a few reliable vendors for optics, LEDs, electronics, and hard tooled parts, and short run manufacturing is in the bag. This will be used to support the Tasca effort, as well as serve customers needs for prototypes and test rigs – not to mention help with strategic product marketing.

Architectural SSL magazine also remains an important interest for editorial exploration. The SSL market is still nascent, making it a rich environment for potential large scale transformation within lighting. I am really looking forward to the coming ArchLED’11 event coming in November, our annual bash.

While all of this seems very much as it was before, the most significant course correction is in maturing the approach to SSL in the lighting market. The technology has grown tremendously over the last 5 years, and will continue to integrate itself into the fabric of the market space. Rather than simply advise others that the time is now to get in, it’s time to put my own neck on the line and jump in with both feet and hands.

A Last Word or Two

I will address this in a future entry here, but just wanted to touch on a subject dear to me – that of the role of small players in the lighting market, and how SSL is impacting them. Of all the subjects that have caused me to loose sleep, this is a big one. If there is a place for small entities to exist, and opportunities to succeed, I want to be there. If not, I need to move on and abandon the thought as obsolete. I’ve vacillated on this topic, from feeling there is no hope (leading to considering moving back into a corporate seat), to visions of conquering small hero’s rescuing the market from the blandness of low cost leadership through massive production capacity from exploited labor. In the end, I’ve settled back on the reality that this market has room for us all, large and small. I’ll share more on this another time.

It’s good to be back on track and re-energized!

  1. James says:

    As always very entertaining. Looking forward to hearing your latest assessment of the world at The LED Show July 27.

    Good people find their way, better than good products finding people.

  2. Hi Kevin,
    Good to see you back in action.! Looking forward to seeing Tasca’s new lineup !

  3. Don says:

    It’s an interesting market for the little guy. Tons of fun and sometimes, just as much frustration. My biggest challenge is finding time for all the new projects in my mind’s pipeline. Someday it would be great to meet & compare notes, at least within the bounds of the NDAs. Please keep writing, you say what I’m usually thinking and you say it better than I ever could.

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