2007 will be big year for Design Sojourn
Dear readers, I need to first apologize for the lack of postings here at Design Sojourn. This is simply because in the last few weeks I have been busy to the point of exhaustion. Before I can explain why, let me wish you all a big belated Happy New Year! Now as we all settle into the new year, I can finally breath a sigh of relieve and give you a special treat by telling you why.
I would like to share with you 3 huge events that are in the pipeline for Design Sojourn. Other than the usual perennial pillar favorites “How to be a better designer” and “Design Theory“, these events, something that I have been nursing for the last 3-4 months, will likely become the mainstay discussion points here on this blog.
Design Sojourn + Phunk Studio
Design Sojourn is all about doing good design and creating clever products. Not only that, Design Sojourn is also about Design-Entrepreneurship, or how designers can make their own products to sell. Following in that line of thought and spurred on by my latest Design-Entrepreneurship success, Design Sojourn will have a unique opportunity to collaborate with fellow Design Entrepreneur Phunk Studio!
I’m sure some of you know who they are, and how much of a design-gasm I got when they agreed to collaborate with me on this project. Those that don’t do check out their website and be prepared to have a similar design-gasm!
The collaboration project is currently in uber-secret mode but what I can tell you is that it’s a product designed specially for designers. The project has just completed its initial feasibility study and we will be moving into the Industrial Design and prototyping. Right now we need a good software architect and programmer. We hope to get something out to touch and hold by the middle of 2007. So if anyone can recommend one please let me know ASAP?
This little project have been thru many highs and lows, the main reason was due to the loss of funding that started it all out in the first place. The institution that indicated it would support the project, suddenly went quiet when I asked for the money to be put where the mouth was. Well that’s too harsh, but the procedures and hoops I had to jump through were so elaborate that the offers of help felt insincere.
The Firmwareproject was started as a means of a non-profit social entrepreneurship exercise to show case emerging local Singaporean Industrial Design Talent. Unfortunately it turned south after many of the designers did not continue to follow up with the project. We started out with 20 or more works, but we are now left with less than 5.
I have to say this was partly my fault. But to my defense I have to say that it was all done part time and I had really too many projects of things going on my plate. (the next reason will attest to it too!) As a result the follow up and project continuity were few and far between. The long gap in project updates, I think, was the main reason many designers decided not to spend any more time on this project.
However in 2007, and after much leg work, there is a good chance that The firmwareproject will be funded by another organisation. Nothing confirmed yet but the chances are high, as the business plan has an interesting angle. Speaking of business plan, the core of it has not changed much, well actually that’s not entirely true it does depend on how you look at it, but essentially we will now be “for-profit”. In a nutshell The Firmwareproject aims to be the world’s first on-line design incubator. Run very much like the way a Venture Captialist (VC) runs, the Firmwareproject will fund promising Singaporean (at this time) designers to create and sell their own stuff! I can’t say too much more but do stay tuned for the press release on Jan 10.
On the side I’ve actually wrote an email to Guy Kawasaki to be my mentor for this project (I bet he gets tons of requests on such matters), so far no luck but I hope with the power of the internet he will decide otherwise. I did get a nice email from his personal assistant though. Anyways if you are a VC or have some VC experience and is interested in mentoring me please do drop me an email: dt[at]designsojourn[dot]com. All I really need is some answers to some funding and equity allocation questions, really just 5-10 minutes of your time? Guy?
Last but not least, the biggest reason behind the blogging slow down in the last 1-2 months is that I have sold my home, car and been busy packing! Why? Well the reason is that on Jan 02 2007 I’ve moved, together with my wife and 16 month old son, to Sydney, Australia. In fact, this is my first blog entry written in Sydney! I have left Singapore for personal reasons and for what I like to call my sabbatical (no its not bumming at the topless beach). It will only be for a year, and then I’m back to Singapore because I feel all the future Industrial Design action will be in Asia.
Fortunately, thank god, I am still employed by my present company and I will continue to manage my design team from Sydney. It will be interesting and hope my trials and tribulations will make interesting blog posts on how I plan to run my design team from “down under”.
All in all, when I first created this blog, I wanted it to be an outlet of my thoughts on how we should do great designs and create clever products. On the outset it became a very article based blog with much how-to-design information that I hope (secretly) could become a bases for a book. I like to continue with this successful technique (traffic has increased from 4K to 15K unique visitors a month) and add a slightly more personal touch for Design Sojourn in 2007.
I did notice the more popular blogs have a very personal angle to their entries. In other words the entries have a lot of personal takes on many various issues the people face in the day to day life. I will try to make my posts in such a direction, especially now with my projects such as The Firmwareproject, collaboration with Phunk and my offsite design management woes, I do hope you will continue to enjoy my little “tasty morsels of design goodness”! (Thanks Niblettes for the quote)