Gas station without pumps

2015 June 19

Futuristic Lights office

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:20
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Because my grades are all in and I didn’t have any appointments on campus today, I took the time to bicycle up to Scotts Valley with my son to see the Futuristic Lights office space.  The office is just over 8 miles from our house, near the top of Scotts Valley Drive. The got a pretty good deal on the office space, because Scotts Valley currently has a surplus of office space, and this particular office has almost no natural light (a tiny window into the next office, which has a skylight), but it is in a moderately new building, so is not run-down as I had feared from the rent they were paying. (See the Wasted Talent cartoon series “Office Saga” starting with “Office Saga—The Impetus” and particularly “Office Saga—New Lows” to see what I was fearing.)

Futuristic Lights has a bit more space than they need and they’ve set up folding tables and cheap shelving to make shipping easier.  While there, my son prepared 4 orders for shipping as well as some freebies (batteries and gloves) for some of their sponsored glovers. I helped out by assembling a number of sets of {Kinetic, 2 batteries, pull-tab, case, and diffuser}.  Each Kinetic is given a quick go/no-go test that checks out all three LEDs, the accelerometer, and (crudely) the processor. This tests consists of inserting a pair of batteries and giving the Kinetic a little shake—the LED starts red, but shifts to green and then blue with a shake.  Pressing the button changes the mode and the LED color, giving a button test as well.

The hardest and slowest part of assembling the parts for shipping is getting the flexible case over the board, batteries, and pull tab—there’s no way they would have gotten a commercial fulfillment company to do that right at an affordable price.  There are 6 pieces to make up each shippable Kinetic, and a standard order has 10 of the Kinetics, a pair of gloves, a drawstring bag, an instruction card, and a box: a total of 65 parts.

They’ve set up a pretty good system for the rest of the shipping, though, so they don’t really need a fulfillment company—at least not until their orders are 100 times what they are currently, at which point they might be able to afford one. I think that they do need to look into making their own cases, though, as the commercial ones that they are using have the logo of the company that makes the case, rather than the Futuristic Lights logo, and the cases are a bit of a pain to use every time the batteries need changing.

I did get a bit sun-burned on the ride to Scotts Valley—I’ve not been outside in short sleeves in quite a while, and my usual ride up to the UCSC campus is generally in the morning when it is still foggy, not in the early afternoon. Currently, I’m in a bit better shape than my son for bicycling (he’s not had a bike at UCSB), but by the end of the summer, he’ll be in better shape than me, after doing the Scotts Valley ride 4 or 5 times a week.

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