This is the longest gap in posting yet, sorry. I’ll be blunt – I burned out in 2018 and I haven’t really recovered. I’ve generally tried to keep a professional veneer on this blog – sorry to mix personal and business stuff. But when you’re a one person business it’s sort of inevitable.
Since launching the Mooshimeter in 2015 I’ve also had a flourishing career in engineering contracting, but was burning the candle at both ends keeping the product supported and delivering prototypes to clients. Why not just focus on the Mooshimeter? Well, in the early days, I needed more money to fund more manufacturing runs. There was no profit from the original crowdfunding, as anything over the material costs was absorbed in the costs of tooling, testing, and shipping. But contracting also used the skills that I think I’m actually good at – design and engineering. As the Mooshimeter matured, it required more of the skills I’m weak on – logistics, correspondence, management. As the Mooshimeter production process got more mature, the whole operation started playing to my weaknesses.
So I was splitting my time between designing new products for other companies and manufacturing my own, and in 2018 it just got overwhelming. To get decent production costs I was manufacturing in batches of 1k units. As stock dwindled, I was faced with increased costs of production and shipping uncertainty (many parts of the Mooshimeter come from China and the trade war was ramping up), as well as increased competition since there were many more bluetooth multimeters available than when I launched in 2015. Meanwhile, my contracting role was getting increasingly high-pressure: I was writing firmware and providing EE support for one of the electric scooter rental companies that were entering the market then, and the scooter wars were reaching peak intensity. So I put manufacturing on hold. Since then I’ve been providing necessary updates to the apps as iOS/Android updates require them, but not actively developing the meter.
But there’s new movement on the Mooshimeter front: in 2019 I started working with a company in the automotive niche who wanted to adapt the meter to add new capabilities to their platform. Our cooperation also means I should be able to restart manufacturing original Mooshimeters in the next few months. I can’t give a precise date because of COVID-19 and how it is wreaking havoc on supply chains and product facilities around the world, but I will update you here when the picture becomes more clear.
As for me, I’ve been on lockdown in San Francisco since early March, finishing a contract from a lab bench in my apartment. Like many engineer/maker types I’ve also been trying to help out manufacturing protective equipment, since we don’t seem to have a working public health system. I developed a technique I’m happy with for making breathing masks with a heat sealer and have been trying to share it. I’ve been distributing masks ad-hoc in my neighborhood, to workers at my grocery store, etc. (I seal them in bags and sterilize them before distribution). I like this style of mask much more than a surgical mask or form-fitting mask because I find form fitting masks have a smothering effect when pushing on your nose and mouth, whereas these duckbill style masks seal well around the perimeter but give room to breath in the middle. I’ve been working with the group Created for Crisis on this design.
That’s all for now, I’ll try to get back in the habit of writing here. I hope you’re well, thanks for reading.