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I can't believe it has been 8 years since the last announcement! This project had been on the back burner for far too long, but now after several months of laser focused programming effort it is finally ready for some use.
I invite you all to play around, let me know what you think, and report any bugs you find :-)
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I recently did an analysis on the cost of batteries, with surprising results. As it turns out, lithium batteries are now cheaper than lead acid ones!
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An exceptional organization is forward thinking. It consistently asks,
  • What will the world be like in five, ten, twenty years?
  • What will be available then, which is not now?
  • Where will we be able to provide value in this new world?
An exceptional organization isn’t afraid of new territory. It sees the benefit in,
  • Empowering people to be experimental in trying new things.
  • Entering markets which are unfamiliar if, and only if, it can understand how to provide better service.
An exceptional organization understands there is more power in collaboration than competition. In a collaborative environment,
  • Work which would otherwise be done twice-over by multiple organizations is done once and standardized.
  • There is less customer risk in adopting products which are well-supported and trusted.
  • New ideas will reliably form at the boundaries of information and discipline.
An exceptional organization seeks to provide true value. It understands that,
  • Customers favor durability, reliability and compatibility over parlor tricks.
  • Public investors favor reliability rather than showmanship.
  • Value is found in making the customer’s life easier, not harder.
An exceptional organization is inclusive. It does not favor,
  • People from a specific race, country or nationality.
  • People from a specific set of schools or pedigrees.
  • It does favor instead, exceptional people who produce excellent results.
An exceptional organization is not oppressive. It understands that,
  • Its success is strongly dependent on its internal and external network of trust and alliances.
  • Trusting relationships with former members will encourage collaborative futures with those members.
  • Burying exploitative terms deep within contracts may result in short term gain but to the long-term detriment of the organization’s reputation.
  • Continued exploitation can eventually result in an us-versus-them divide among strata of the organization where productivity, trust and happiness become second thoughts to political games.
An exceptional organization recognizes their lasting success is not in maximizing short-term numbers, but in their ability to reliably and continually produce exceptional results. It understands that exceptional results come from a culture where,
  • Happiness and health are prioritized over quotas and metrics.
  • People feel empowered to speak freely rather than “fall in line”.
  • People are encouraged to understand why and how decisions are made.
  • Management seriously considers the input of all people rather than operating on preconceived patterns and beliefs.
  • Decision-making is not deferred to procedures and guidelines, but instead logic and reasoning about the situations at hand.
An exceptional organization believes in the inherent quality of its products, and isn’t afraid to let free markets be an unbiased judge. It understands that,
  • Friction free sales are of utmost importance in gaining new customers and market share.
  • Sales tactics that require closed-door meetings and calling representatives can strongly limit product adoption.
  • Sales tactics that aggressively attempt to up-sell customers will result in a breakdown of customer trust.
An exceptional organization stands by its products, their continued availability, and function. It strives to,
  • Rapidly correct any manufacturing malfunction of its goods.
  • Make spare parts available for customers to repair its products in-situ.
  • Make available information about how to correctly repair its products.
  • Provide a long production life for products it introduces.
An exceptional organization recognizes it has a responsibility as a steward of its community. It understands,
  • The need for life cycle analysis of products to ensure long-term externalities and impacts are net positive.
  • That products which produce toxic pollution will result in regulation of the organization’s industry.
  • Officials should not be corrupted to further the organization’s interest to the detriment of the public good.
An exceptional organization is not penny-wise, pound-foolish. It will,
  • Be cognizant and pragmatic about its operating costs, yet not seek to be miserly in spending.
  • Understand that short-cuts in design and production can and often do result in significant deferred costs.
  • Seek to understand how people spend their time in the organization and invest in tools which assist in execution of their tasks.
An exceptional organization is honest in its communications, and understands that,
  • Double-speak will inevitably result in the organization losing credibility on the public stage.
  • Differing narratives between investors, the public, and members of the organization will cause tensions and broken relationships that can lead to demise and dissolution of the organization.
  • Cryptic communication and omission of details can result in the same end effects as willful fabrication and falsification.
An exceptional organization understands that exceptional integrity is requisite for attracting exceptional people. ∎
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There has been a notable increase in business behavior lately known as regulatory capture, where in principle, government agencies are intentionally and carefully corrupted to further private interests. More recently this has evolved into something perhaps best described as “Crony Capital”.
The behavior is as such:
1. Company raises immense amounts of money to serve as a war chest.
2. Company knowingly violates laws in the markets it wishes to enter, to the surprise of regulators.
3. Company then “welcomes” and “works with” regulators to implement laws that are favorable to the company.
Often these laws are written such that a large amount of capital is needed for new entrants in the market (in example, high permit fees or large insurance requirements). This naturally cements the offending company’s market position using the local, federal or state regulatory bodies as moats to hinder further entrants.
Often the government bodies are amenable to the new regulations, as they can include permit fees or tax revenue from the companies to sweeten the deal. Uber is perhaps the best known example of a company that operates this way, though, the recent scooter-rental companies seem to be following suit.
It’s important for communities to recognize when they are being had by such games, otherwise the unintended externalities may be quite profound.
Whether it be increased evictions for new short term rental units, increased traffic from ride share companies, or in my case, a poorly-manufactured scooter frame which cost a broken arm and wrist –the effects of sweeping change can be difficult to keep balanced if not considered carefully.
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A personal challenge of mine is to elevate the human condition through improving institutional methodologies. Along these lines, it has been my experience that sharing can be more efficient, and more economical than hoarding.
It’s no surprise that large organizations tend to fail at innovation –employees of such firms tend to have little incentive to go above and beyond the status quo, as for their work they are rewarded with wages and sometimes stock options that often don’t reflect the effort they put in. It’s a contributing cause of why people choose to lead startups; when they do so their business feels tangible, as the labor they put in helps it visibly grow.
Part of the reason why capitalism has been so successful in creating wealth, is that in a healthy society, incentive is aligned with production. As this is not always the case for employees in an organization, sometimes the organization as a whole loses its spirit to innovate.
Incubators are a step in the correct direction, but there is much room for improvement with their models. As currently implemented, venture capital can be wasteful as there is often little guidance on how money should be spent, leaving cash squandered on services that don’t help teams succeed. Moreover, traditional models tend to scare away innovators, as short term growth targets often encourage startups to optimize for fast equity inflation rather than true value creation. Such myopia leads to lost productivity, a distrust of the businesses by prospective employees and customers, and disturbingly, loss of passion from the company founders.
In 2013, I co-founded a university student innovation lab, “The construct @ RIT”, with the goal of creating freedom through reducing social barriers to accessing capital equipment. Although the university was well equipped with multi-million dollar tools, they were sitting unused a majority of the time, simply due to politics restricting access to them.
By giving students free access to tools and mentorship, amazing gadgets were prototyped by self-motivated individuals, all without million dollar budgets. Some of them were even useful enough to be turned into viable products, though, establishing channels to do so at the time was beyond the scope of the planned project.
I’ve been exploring ways to do this at a more impactful scale; to create an organization that allows people access to three things;
  • A welcoming community that helps break down the psychological barriers to taking risk, and is open and willing to share experience and wealth among innovative leaders.
  • Tools and prototyping resources, and guidance to make effective use of them.
  • A pipeline to help folks bring their project from concept to manufacture and distribution.
People who utilize shared resources to their economic benefit, could pay a portion of their gains back into the organization. It’s a simple philosophy of putting capitalism to good work to benefit those with the drive to make their ideas succeed. Through this framework less time may be spent reinventing the wheel, and more resources can be rapidly dedicated to building good products, trust among customers, and establishing effective channels for wealth creation.
It’s ironic that venture tends to fail at lasting innovation, but it may not be inherent to the fact that it’s risky by nature. It may just be that the industry misunderstands what successful cooperation really looks like, and with an improved, responsible incentive philosophy, it may become a pathway to success that’s reliable for everyone.
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Lately I've been putting the finishing touches on this website. Some clever java-script hacks to allow the back button to work with endless scrolling. Another neat javascript thing I implemented was loading images asynchronously as you scroll down a page. This decreased loading times by nearly 3 fold! I did the same with youtube videos.
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Look what I got in the mail today; a pair of 4-1000A tubes! These things can handle 1000W plate dissipation, and hard switched they ought to be able to push a few kilowatts w/o any damage. They also have a working lifetime of 30 years, so I sure won't need to buy more anytime soon.
They sure get hot though. Just the heaters alone burn 150 watts (7.5V * 21A), and the tube becomes hot to the touch with no load. Forced air cooling will be a must when I use these for later projects.
In the pic I'm powering one tube's heater with a homemade filament transformer, m&ms and a mosfet included for size comparison. That dirty work-rug makes one hell of a backdrop don't it?
That thing used to be an x-ray transformer, but it caught fire and died. Finally found a use for that nice core though; 0.45V/turn, 16 or so turns gives me 6.8V under 21A load. A bit low, and it looks like I'll need 12 or 10awg wire since this 14awg is getting toasty.
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