As we process the bad news there have been several thoughts and discussions that made me stop and consider my investment (financial and emotional) in Glowforge. On the one hand, from the promo and the hype and the cost saving for pre-ordering an as-of-yet-unfinished product, I came to the conclusion that some patience and what seemed like some negligible risk (companies can fail, after all) could net me a machine with features that it would cost me a lot more to duplicate through another vender - at least the features I was most interested in.
Over the past few months, however, I’ve found my investment has grown to be substantially emotional too. I normally don’t do that, emotionally invest in a company. I think the last time that happened it was with a little company called “Dublin Dr. Pepper.” I spent a couple of years collecting old Dr. Pepper Bottles - that was the only way you could get true Dublin Dr. Pepper that was actually bottled in Dublin Texas. Dublin was the oldest bottler of Dr. Pepper in the country and was still using the original formula. That franchise was built before any other plant, even before the inventor went on to set up his own bottling operation. Less than a year after I had managed to collect my case worth of 1960’s Dr. Pepper bottles Snapple filed suit and managed to remove their franchise for selling out of their 40 mile franchise radius. It was nothing more that Corporate greed and stupidity. There is no way Dublin managed to change a small decimal place in Snapple’s register, but Snapple had a crew waiting and the old Dr. Pepper sign was gone within 15 minutes of the court’s decision. For some reason I don’t trust companies and corporations very often
So why the emotional investment into Glowforge? There are two things, I think. First is the way Dan has interacted with his community. It has created a sense of camaraderie and community as we’ve watched the company and the product grow. There will always be debates about how much to communicate and when, but I can at least appreciate the spirit of the communication when it happens, and to some degree it happens a lot.
I think for me the biggest cause of my emotional investment however is they (Dan and his team) are living something that I’ve always dreamed about doing myself and I want them to succeed as a small proof that I might one day as well. Can you go from a great idea to a great product and company? I hope so. Can an outsider come in and totally disrupt the status quo? All outsiders dream of doing just that. When I step out in pursuit of a vision can I see it through to the end with all of it’s hills and valleys? That’s the question. And I guess for the moment I am living out that question vicariously with @dan and his team.
So yea, part of me just wants the really cool toy and the potential income I might generate off of it, but part of me wants to see a success story as re-affermation that success stories still happen.
Don’t get me wrong, am I disappointed? Yes. From my arm-chair quarterback’s position do I think that things could or even should have happened differently? Yes. Do I want Glowforge and @dan to succeed. Yes.
I realize this will probably cause a flame up, so air assist is on, flame away!