Pricklysauce is a year old.
Twelve months have flown by, and also it seems a lifetime ago when I stepped back out into the big world of working for myself.
It has been a hugely stimulating, exciting, creative and relaxed year...relaxed! not in kicking back and doing nothing, though relaxed in that I can do what ever I want when I want.
How many times in your life does that happen. I can have time with my family, work hard, think, be creative, play a little and have my dog with me all the time.
I come up with an idea and I try to make it. Its as simple as that. One of the most successful so far being the skateboard hangUp. I knocked up some really hideous hooks to get our skateboards up from rolling around the floor and neatly onto the wall and I didn't even see them as a product until my wife said I could sell them. Some design later a nice bent ply hook became the hangUp range of hooks.
Its not all been plain sailing with the guitar hangUp still not having come to the website. I thought I had it designed and tested and sent out a couple to a friend only for an unseen fault to crop up. I have a redesign and will find time to prototype it this coming year.
Other products like throwUp are still in the design stage. On the face of it a really simple product that has taken a massive amount of development and is tricky to get the unit cost as low as possible. This one I hope will become my first Kickstarter campaign later this year.
Packaging and rubbish have become a big theme for me, now that I have become a 'producer' of product I have to tackle the question of packaging and my hate of excessive amounts of the stuff that we throw away every day. The area of re-using packaging and the reduction of packaging is of great interest to me and may lead to interesting places.
I have dissected electronic devices for a few years now to see what is inside, which often is more beautiful than the outside and it has led me to start to try to re-use this throw away stuff in some way, to give it a second life.
It has also been about big products as well with the first Addition+ garden room to be designed and constructed. I enjoyed it so much that I really didn't want it to end!
I am so excited as I have only last week received confirmation to build my second one this spring/summer, the wiggly tin black one above. Its so cool to see a project all the way through from thought to actual building. People have told me you can't design and be hands on building, I'm proving them wrong.
There have been moments of just footling around maybe playing one of my guitars or learning to solder and put simple electronics together...or both by hacking an old 12 string guitar with a cheap car boot transistor radio to make a cool black acoustic guitar with its own built in amp and speaker.
It has been a year of learning... to weld, electronics, acting!, 'movie' editing and at last I have realised how Sketchup truly works.
The internet has become important to me this year in number of ways. I've set up my own website and I have found a load of great sites that help me in all sorts of ways, from tutorials for learning new skills from Hack A Week to Mr Carlson's Lab, to my daily fix of design from Designboom that has given me a greater breadth of what is happening now than any magazine could ever do, to sites like Pinterest that allow me to graphically bookmark sites from across the web and also give a view of whats out there, to inspirational talks from entrepreneurs on 99U and the odd thing that just makes me smile such as Tommy Edison a blind man who tells us what it is like and who has such an infectious laugh, worth it just for that.
To keep me going whilst on the computer I sometimes catch a song being broken down by the artist themselves on Song Exploder or listen to music and bands that I have found on my ramblings on the internet, this years stand outs Chet Faker, First Aid Kit, John Butler and the brilliant Aesgir.
The internet has been pivotal for one other reason and that is for YouTube. Sure you could spend all day watching cute kittens on it though I have become an avid watcher often catching channels such as Smarter Every Day, Vsauce and Veritasium that are so interesting, thought provoking and frankly make you 'smarter'. These channels all have very high production values and I have found that I watch very little TV now as the content coming out from these channels is just better, its not just bubble gum for the eyes, you feel that you are learning tings, even if the maths on Numberphile is hardly understandable, at least it gives you a chance to look further into the ideas.
I have also set up my own YouTube channel and have a few videos with the tongue in cheek hangUp Kids! and also my infamous Carrier Bag Charge video which I admit isn't very good though based on an interesting thought. It has had to date 229 views which I think it is just amazing, that so many people from potentially around the world have bothered to watch it. This has shown me the potential reach of pricklysauce to such a large group of people.
Making videos is hard especially for an introvert like me and I am slowly learning that I have to be a bit more hyper as if I am speaking to my kids and that I have to heavily edit them to make them more punchy. I believe that YouTube will be important for me in the coming years and as will be revealed in my next blog I have a little series of videos that I will be uploading that I hope you and the great world of the internet will enjoy and find interesting.
This twelve months has been all that I had wished for and has opened up new ideas and directions that I hadn't perceived. I have taken it all without worrying too much, just letting it come, just with the belief that if it feels right then it probably is....and that's exactly how I hope the next twelve months will be as well.