A Call Out to Lighting Designers

Posted: November 10, 2020 in General Commentary, Uncategorized

Just ran an interesting analysis of social media connections and found an aberration I would like to understand.

Of all invitations and connections requests sent, I find that Lighting Designers specifically stand out as a group that does not respond or accept – more than any other.

I find this truly strange for several reasons.

First, when I moved from lighting design consulting to pursue product development, I did so with the motivation of creating new products that met lighting designer’s needs, that I found missing as a designer myself. This has been successful – based on sales response and growth realized for the companies I worked with, so I evidently provided something of value to the specification community. But my true satisfaction has been in bringing new value to the market that might not have otherwise been realized.

Next, when solid-state technology emerged, I took on the task of educating tech producers on what the specification community needed, decision making approaches, and what products were needed – not to mention the effort of educating them on lighting terms and applications basics they were deficient in. I also dove into the technology in the effort of sifting the hype from the applicable reality, to offer insight to the specification community of the coming new stuff coming at them. This included numerous articles written, presentations at technology conferences, DOE meetings, and regional lighting shows – frequently without compensation, in addition to participation in building trade conferences agendas themselves. I also played a role in the creation of the first specification level publication focused on lighting design with SSL technology, and contributing to it for 12 years, Architectural SSL. All of this was pursued through advocating for the lighting specification community often conflicting with those who believed they could ignore or bypass it, as well as those who were earnestly interested in serving the community well.

Additionally, I have spent a significant amount of uncompensated time and resources (money) experimenting and testing products, test gear, and components, to understand and offer insight into various technical aspects of SSL technology as it applies to using it in actual application. Between this blog, Architectural SSL, and other publications, I have written hundreds of articles that range from exploring end uses, to white paper insight on technical pitfalls and fails, all with an interest in seeing the lighting specification community realize the best results, and avoid some of the worst. I have also authored and assisted in the creation of dozens of CES credited courses. Most all of this has been done with no monetary gain to offset the time invested.

Finally, I have never attempted to re-enter the specification business as a competitor, choosing in stead to stay on my side of the fence in product development/creation and education. For this, I bore the insult of being thrown out of the IALD for my taking a position with a manufacturer, even though I remained committed then, and have since, to serving the specification community through deployment of products that met current needs in a way that manufacturers at the time struggled to – such as ADA compliance, adoption of efficient sources (fluorescent, HID and later LED) in glare-free, visually attractive products. I did these things to provide the market usable relevant product in an altruistic way, beyond just profit margins and sales conquests. In this, I have quit organizations I realized were more interested in profiting from sales of questionable product than advancing lighting through development of new value. I am even named in 14 patents for introducing novel new ideas into the market.

What am I missing here?

I believe that I am known well enough that most will at least recognize my name. I can say here that if you are a lighting design professional, I am your professional friend, in that you are central to much of what I do, and the business I run. I don’t want to connect or be connected to abuse anyone with annoying marketing campaigns (I am as sick of them as everyone else), although I might communicate when I have made a product available, or posted an article here about SSL technology in general. I do need to make a living – like everyone else.

My motivation is to be connected with the community I have served for over 40 years, that has been on my mind, and in my daily life, that I pattern and plan around every day. I seek feedback, insight, and the critique of peers.

Let me know what I can do for you. Give me some feedback as to how I might improve or make myself or what I am bringing to the table more valuable to your design effort. I am not trying to become a mega conglomerate with thousands of employees. My goals are more modest – to provide a small discerning population of designers products, information, and service. Yes, I want to sell products I create, if they are a great fit.

If you wish to share your thoughts on this, you can comment here (no connection required), or on social media, as you feel comfortable. For those who have already connected, I thank you, and appreciate your comments over the years.

In any case, for everyone else in the business of lighting specification, let’s connect!

Comments
  1. I agree that large corporations abuse of social media networking has made it extremely difficult for small businesses and people who actually care to gain trust among peers in forums such as LinkedIn. I know you’re working in earnest and your invitations to connect are sent in integrity. I’ll vouch for you, Kevin! M:)gan Mazzocco a.k.a.@megatorial

  2. Doug Paulin says:

    When I was a Product Manager (“one foot in Engineering and one foot in Marketing”) I had a lot of success bringing specifiers into the design process. Things have probably changed some since the mid-nineties, but I’ll be happy to talk to you about it sometime.

    • kwillmorth says:

      I had no issues in the ’90’s either. Today, very little interaction, except for a few good friends I have known for some time. Beginning to believe the better route is to go direct to their customer(s) and make my own way.

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