Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My New Work

I was meandering around Barnes and Noble the other day looking for a book that might hold all the answers to the questions that keep popping up in my work life. I scanned the titles of the section in which I was browsing...

Awakening the Entrepreneur Within: How Ordinary People Can Create Extraordinary Companies

How to Make Millions with Your Ideas: An Entrepreneur's Guide

How to License Your Million Dollar Idea: Everything You Need To Know To Turn a Simple Idea into a Million Dollar Payday

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

I was looking for ideas and answers. I was looking for inspiration and guidance. I was hoping to find a book that would help me to help my clients succeed better and faster. I haven't really talked about it here, but my new little business, The Rafters Group, is starting to really grow. The Rafters Group, like rafters under a roof, help support a peak, reach for the sky, and help companies reach their potential.

Today marks the advent of my first ever estimated quarterly taxes payment (which had me a bit freaked, truth be told, NOT a math person). I now have four solid clients, a few subcontracting employees and feel like I have found the perfect balance between relaxed work hours and decent pay. Hooray!

The clent I am currently most excited about, and this does change on an almost daily basis, is an inventor. He has invented a process for treating wood that impregnates a design or logo into the wood grain. It's really neat! And, after years of selling services and paper contracts, it's very reassuring to be out there selling something that is a cutting edge idea, aesthically pleasing and tangible, has real application in the world, and is made of real wood.

Here is the general overview presentation I recently prepared to take this idea to various markets. I created this presentation using my cousin's new company, Sliderocket's software.

Now, comes your role in all this. About a year ago, I read a definition of a term called "crowdsourcing" on Wikipedia. I "dogeared it" (aka bookmarked it) for future use. Well, this dog is having its day. Here is what crowdsourcing is:

Crowdsourcing is a neologism for the act of taking a task traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, and outsourcing it to an undefined, generally large group of people, in the form of an open call. For example, the public may be invited to develop a new technology, carry out a design task, refine an algorithm or help capture, systematize or analyze large amounts of data.

I am looking to you, my daily-average-of-28-readers, to help us brainstorm other applications for this wood process. Any "out-of-the-box" ideas are welcomed. Merely leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas!


Lisa said...

Oh, how fun! I have nothing for you right now. Except this did remind me of some wood panels that had religious designs inlaid in them that we saw at work not too long ago.

And I suppose instead of a pattern, companies, groups, organizations etc. could have their logos made on the plate and put their design right into wood. I'm thinking this would be reserved for big things...it wouldn't be very cost effective to do on a small scale, would it?

Here's a crazy thought. What if you took that wood veneer stuff and cut into small pieces and sold it to jewellery (why can't I spell that?) makers.

Wooden dishes? Serving platters?

I know some of these are strange...but I'm trying to think outside the box a little.

Hey! How about boxes? :-)

Lisa said...

I guess I did have something, after all.

Amelia's moms said...

This is awesome for modern designy stuff. Take a look at http://www.zuenoriginals.net When I ordered one as a gift it was so cool to set up a custom color, custom art and quote engraving, etc. Products like these would probably love to have a wood option - people would go beserk. Of course there's the problem of figuring out how to wrap the wood veneer around technology, but some clever enginner can figure that out.

Home appliances- the stainless steel thing has waned, but what about ovens/fridges/dishwashers with custom engraved beautiful facades? When I say custom engraved I mean original artwork like on the site above, not just someone's initials :)

Look at partnerships with interior designers/furnishers. This could be a real differentiator.

Have fun!