I am diligent about starting a project and finishing it the same day whenever possible. However, this is not always possible with most of my work as designing, prototyping, and then putting a new product into production is often a multi-day or even multi-month endeavor. This reality creates challenges that keep my mind active on multiple challenges every single day. Finishing the project is the goal, but it is completely necessary to start dozens of projects and finish them in a logical, not chronological, order.
Essentially, my life and work is a giant balancing act. I have an idea that's either based on a problem I, or my customers, have encountered or it comes to me subconsciously in my sleep. Then I sketch and define the idea on paper before discussing it with anyone. Jen is usually first to hear about these concepts as she is great at listening, even if she sometimes gives me no feedback. Then I either file it away in a notebook or dive in to make it reality.
In the case of Momentum, which was a spinning top I invented a few years ago, I jumped into this idea full force as a mental exercise. I had suffered a disabling stroke a few years earlier and my cognitive skills were still re-developing. I woke up one morning and told myself that I must do something challenging today. I designed, programmed and built the entire Momentum system without touching pencil to paper (and no computers). I did every bit of the math and engineering in my mind with my eyes closed to prove to myself that I was gaining mental strength after my brain trauma. The sketch you see above was made after I finished the entire system to document the dimensions.
I did something similar two years later with the Muse Modular trumpet design. However, this system was far more complex than Momentum so after months of designing and prototyping in plastic with 3d printers, I moved into more intense software (Inventor) to work out the details. The initial design of the modular leadpipe, brace mount system, bell crook/choke modular system and dimensions were done entirely in my mind with my eyes closed. For the Muse, this took me roughly two full days of silent meditation. Entering everything as imagined into the CAD system took roughly two months! If only I could program as easily as I can construct in my own mind.
You may now begin to see why I have more projects in progress than time as I do come up with great solutions to problems. Yet these solutions require a great deal of time and energy to put into production as physical products. Am I a product developer? A problem solver? An educator in brass playing? A machinist? An inventor? A businessman? An artistic designer? A production process developer? Or maybe I'm someone with a lot of ideas. What I do know is that my ideas have helped tens of thousands of brass players overcome challenges and that I love working with all of you.
It's been twenty-five years of progress from where I'm sitting and I want to experience another fifty years of this amazingly inspiring creative energy! I always take one thing at a time on each project, but am always working on dozens of projects at the same time. A paradox or progress?