I’ve been MIA on the blog this week but certainly not for lack of things to write! A quick update on what I’ve been up to.
1) Wind Sensors – The three locations for a wind sensor that would get use the most attention are Waddell, Gazos Creek and Pigeon point. The issue with Waddell is that our sensor would probably need to be solar powered and connected to a cellular network which makes things tricky and more expensive. The Gazos Creek grill was enthusiastic about having some kind of sensor or cam on their roof which could be the best option for us because they offered to let us tap into their power and wifi. The Pigeon Point Lighthouse is another good option but we are waiting to here back from our contact with the park service (in his defense we dropped the ball and didn’t contact him as soon as we could have). In terms of the sensor itself we are looking into an IP sensor which automatically uploads to a server via an internet connection without the need for a onsite computer. Prices on these start around $350. This would be convenient but it might be cheaper to go find an old computer and hook it up to a stand alone sensor. I have been talking to the creator of www.ob-kc.com for technical advice.
2) I spoke with Fletcher at Patagonia/FCD and he was supportive but not into the idea of partnering. He liked the idea of the kite but basically just had too much other stuff on his plate. I think this is going to be the case with any potential partner (at least while we are small) so that strategy has been put on the back burner. Fletcher’s main suggestion was the licensing the patent to pre-existing companies might be a much simpler and more profitable way to move forward.
3) On Wednesday I spoke with David Hassell which was incredibly helpful. One of his main suggestions was that I find a mentor or team of advisors that know the kite industry specifically. He connected me with Don Montague who is a veteran of the kite industry and has a lot of experience with kite related patents. David also connected me with Patrick Buckley, a kiter and designer that he thought would be a good advisor to have in my corner. In terms of licensing vs. starting a company David suggested starting a small company and then getting bought might be more profitable than throwing in the towel and licensing from the start. David connected me to Bill Tai as well who said he wouldn’t be able to meet until April (Wood’s contacted him unknowing I had an “in” via David and somehow got an appt. for March 7th).
4) I have been burning the midnight oil trying to finish the 4th prototype so that I can get something worthwhile into people’s hands and start getting their reactions. The goal was to make a short film of local kiter’s responses to it by Tuesday’s class but I haven’t been able to get it finished quickly enough, expect it for the final presentation.
All in all things have been busy and productive. My goals for the next week are to get a sensor up, talk to Don and Pat, and finish the kite so I can get people’s reactions + try to sell it.