If you’ve been following this weblog, then you may have noticed that things have been quiet around here…
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first one which triggered it all, was an unfortunate – but ordinary – flu, which swept me off my feet for a couple of days, and then sapped all my energy for a few more. I’m sorry about that, and I’m happy that this is all behind me now.
But there’s more to it than that.
In the beginning, I often had a queue of over a week of weblog posts pending and ready to go out on a daily basis. At that time, the weblog was working out exactly as planned: as a way to report on my adventures in the fascinating land of Physical Computing…
However, over 730 posts later, that buffer has been steadily decreasing, and I’ve often been forced to write a weblog post on the day before its publication. Sometimes this was ready only minutes before the deadline. No fun, and in the past month or two, this ended up happening more and more often. The reporting task became a recurring “what shall I write about today?” challenge. Somewhere along the way, the adventure got lost.
And finally, there’s the web shop, which has taken off much faster than I expected and anticipated. In a way, that’s good: a well-running shop means it provides funding for everything else – from keeping that shop going to being able to start new projects and work on fun stuff. Which is the point of JeeLabs after all.
Except… I’ve been swamped. It’s been a while since I’ve actually been able to “start new projects and work on fun stuff”. And some products added to the shop haven’t gotten the attention they need and deserve, such as writing more software examples and documentation to make things interesting, useful, and practical for everyone. Not to mention some stock problems (there are still a few right now).
One solution would be to “scale up”, i.e. to invest in larger amounts of stock and bring in more people to help with production, packaging, and sales. That’s probably what most people would do when presented with such an incredible “business opportunity”, right?
Ah, but there’s the rub… you see, my goal is not to create a large business and become the boss of something “big”.
Let me tell you a story I heard many years ago…
There’s this guy somewhere on a island, sitting under a tree. He takes a little branch, and patiently carves it into a magnificent little flute. He loves making his flutes, and does it all day long, day in day out. His family and friends enjoy what he’s doing, and everyone’s happy. Then, one day, a visitor comes along and sees him sitting there under his tree, amidst his branches and flutes. He walks over and says: “Wow, that’s amazing what you do. You ought to make lots of flutes, I think you could sell tons of them!”
The guy shrugs, and continues with his flute.
The visitor goes on: “Imagine how much money you could make, and how rich and famous you could become. Man, you could teach others to make these flutes, set up a factory, hire a workforce, and rake in the money! You’d be free to do anything you like. Wouldn’t that be incredible? Now tell me, if you were rich, what would you really like to do most of all?”
The guy looks up and says: “Me? Oh, nothing, just sit under a tree and make flutes.”
I’m not saying I’m exactly like that guy. But close. I want to spend my days exploring new things. And for a while, it’s been happening less and less.
Don’t get me wrong. I do want to share. I do want to encourage others to explore and learn more about all sorts of new and fun technologies. And I do want to continue with Open Source Hardware and Software. The mix of software, hardware, and electronics is absolutely fascinating and oh so worth sharing, and I love to be able to encourage people in those directions. But I don’t want to let the weblog or the shop run my life. My life is not about business, revenues, power, or even success. Heck, it probably wouldn’t be, even if I tried ;)
Just for the record: JeeLabs is not going away. On the contrary, I intend to find a way which makes sure that it will last and stay around for many years to come. I want to keep the weblog, as a source of unique posts with 100% original content. I want to keep the web shop going with kits and products which help anyone interested in Physical Computing to try things out, experiment, explore, and learn about it all.
But I need to take care of the inner fire and energy source which drives me. And that requires time to concentrate and the liberty to run off in lots of directions. I’m back into a bit of that right now, and it’s doing wonders for me.
There will be only a few more posts on the weblog this month. I’ll respond to emails and forum posts as before, and I’m committed to keep the shop running in a responsible way, with proper support and doing my best to maintain sufficient stock levels to keep everything listed available for people who want it. In fact, I expect this activity to increase, as more and more larger projects are starting up and several workshops are currently under way. But my focus will be on streamlining things, so I can recover that precious time I need for the longer term health of everything at JeeLabs, including myself.
Take care, and please don’t let the radio silence on this weblog affect your plans and activities. There are lots of old posts to go through which might interest you, just use the search box or go through any of the archived months at the bottom of this page.
When I figure out how to best take this all forward, you’ll be the first to know.
PS. Thanks for all kind emails and encouragements. It makes a very real difference.