TL;DR: OpenBeam sales will be handled by ZT Automations, a company jointly owned by myself and Mike Ziomkowski of Z-Designs, created to handle the Kossel Pro project. This move allows me to focus my energy on OpenBeam R&D work while bringing new help on board to help with critical organizational improvements, keeping the shelves stocked, etc.
2015 had been a challenging year for OpenBeam. First and foremost, I accepted life's ultimate promotion to fatherhood, when my wife and I welcomed our son Zachary into the world.
Fatherhood certainly brings its own unique sets of challenges; it certainly gives me a different perspective on things and teaches me to be a better person. Well, it also helps that we have a really cute kid, and his happy giggles makes cleaning up 3am diaper blowouts more bearable.
On a professional side, things have been pretty rough. We got screwed big time by our contract manufacturer / sourcing agent - long story short, after checking their references and wiring a significant chunk of money, it took them months to order what should have been 2 week lead time items. We wired the money in July 2015 and didn't get our goods until early January of this year; during this time we were constantly lied to about progress and on top of that, they had the audacity to hold our goods hostage until we paid them thousands of dollars in fees that we never agreed to in the first place. We will be writing up a full expose and publishing it far and wide as a warning to other Maker businesses about what happened, but in the mean time, we are focused on rebuilding the business, taking care of customers and our workers.
On the organization side, we have a big organization change coming down the line. In order to focus my energy (and my diminished amount of free time) on product development, I have decided to entrust the daily operations of OpenBeam to my good friend, Mike Ziomkowski of Z-Designs / ZT-Automations (of which I am 50% owner). We have already commenced the transfer of sales of all OpenBeam items to ZT-Automations, with the goal of shutting down OpenBeam's Amazon listings by end of February.
One of those enlightenment moments in running a business, is learning one's strengths and weaknesses, and for the things you are bad at, hopefully figuring out whether it can be made someone's problem with a reasonable amount of money. In my case, although I am a pretty decent design engineer, my organization skills leaves a bit to be desired and it's became apparent that the business had grown beyond what I can reasonably manage while holding down a day job and being a good father to my son. I am very fortunate that I have someone whom I trust (Mike and I have been friends for almost 2 decades) whose skills complement mine well, and I'm 100% confident that Mike will be able to handle our businesses's growing organizational needs. For me, the most immediate gain is the ability to focus my energy on what I do best - design engineering. We already have a collection of new products that are on its way to our Amazon web store, and we'll be updating the blogs with new product announcements soon.
Thank you for your support,
-=- Terence, Rachel, Zachary & the furry monster puppy