In August of 2021 we visited the Currier Art Museum, located in Manchester, New Hampshire, to tour two Frank Lloyd Wright homes that they own – the Zimmerman Home (223 Heather St, Manchester, NH 03104) and the Kalil House (117 Heather St, Manchester, NH 03104), located a short walk down the street. Both are accessed via a tour bus that departs from the museum (150 Ash Street, Manchester, NH, 03104).
The Zimmerman home was built first, and fits many classic Frank Lloyd Wright tropes:
Squares and ratios in the design
Repetitive tiling, architectural details
Interesting use of glass and interior landscaping to bring the outside indoors
The Kalils were friends of the Zimmermans, and after enjoying their neighbors home, purchased a Usonian design that re-used cast concrete blocks. While the layouts are similar and familiar to anyone that has toured a Wright home, the stark concrete design comes across like a brurtalist Eastern European building from the 1960s. The Kalil home is unique in that:
It is the only Frank Lloyd Wright home with a guest house, albeit one that was never inhabited. It is the only Frank Lloyd Wright mother-in-law suite.
The concrete forms were re-used to make a taller main room than other Wright homes.
Both homes have excellent samplings of some of my favorite items to look for in architectural tours:
Music and musical instruments of Frank Lloyd Wright homes (sheet music, pianos, music stands)
Appliances of Frank Lloyd Wright homes; Ovens, Toasters, Mixers, Stoves, Washers and Dryers, Refrigerators, etc. (Westinghouse, General Electric, etc.)
Libraries and book collections of Frank Lloyd Wright homeowners
[written on my iPhone while at SeaBase as one of three boats – 24 total / 7 adults / 17 scouts – this is a bit of a ramble as we took and shared notes on what we found at SeaBase.]
You will sleep on the boat for six nights and have seven days in and around SeaBase. With perfect weather each day you’ll have the opportunity to; (i) sail, (ii) snorkel (aka ‘dive’), and (iii) fish. There will be days when you can do more – such as paddle board. Most trips have a ‘midweek’ – ours was at a Pennekamp State Park, where we were able to walk around, see an aquarium, and we slept moored to a pier that night.
Why is it so hard to get a sample SeaBase itinerary?
My impression is that they really don’t want anyone to be disappointed – but in doing so, they are so vague it creates its own frustration and complications.
Quote from participant guide: “Where can I find a detailed itinerary? One is not provided. Programs are weather and tide dependent. There are no required destinations other than arrival and departure points. We make every attempt to include Sailing, Snorkeling, and Fishing every day on the water.”
Seabase doesn’t know the boat you’ll be on
Don’t know the captain – why is that?
Don’t know the weather
Also – it’s obvious to them – everyone in Florida has had this experience, and they know that it can vary
When does Scouts BSA ever provide really good transparency? It’s a Scout thing!
“Where can I find a detailed itinerary? One is not provided. Programs are weather and tide dependent. There are no required destinations other than arrival and departure points. We make every attempt to include Sailing, Snorkeling, and Fishing every day on the water.”
Seabase Participant Guide – Coral Reef Sailing
Preparing for life on a boat
Boat = RV = Travel toilet, limited water, etc.
Limited space – not much room to change
Communal living – limited privacy
Conclusion: Just take a small duffel, a sleeping pad and a pillow. Get together as a group and review that nobody is taking too much. Pack as if you were camping for 2 nights at a beach in the heat with mosquitoes, sun, and limited laundry.
What is physically located at Seabase?
Barracks – for adult staff, paid employees, and bunks for visiting troops
Pool for snorkel / scuba training
Pier – 30+ sailboats
3+ scuba boats
Scuba maintenance area – compressors, etc.
Snorkel storage and maintenance area
Outdoor eating areas
Cafeteria (3 meals a day)
Storage lockers – a 4 x 4 x 5 foot deep locker – plenty of room for things that won’t go on the boat
Field – Kickball was a hit
Covered area for games for scouts
Outdoor ice machine
Restrooms for changing for visitors
The Lack of Itinerary Makes Packing Hard
Seabase gives good guidance – captains have read it too. For us, all those cool ‘extras’ that were listed had already been included by our captain. For the other 2 boats we were with – this wasn’t the case.
Different captains, different approaches. Captain style varies a lot – we had a laid back captain who wanted to see what the scouts were interested in each day. Others run a more structured program. You won’t know until you get there.
What about bringing a Hammock?
Sleeping Aboard the Boat:
Start with the count – there are 9 people. The Captain has a private bed in back, and if everyone needs to sleep below deck (rain, mosquitoes, etc.), then that’s a lot of people to squeeze in.
Boats aren’t the same – they are common lengths, and SeaBase ‘specifies’ what they want from captains – but SeaBase could sell every boat they could get in.
Then add the weather – rain, mosquitos
Closing Things out – What is SeaBase?
That owns a harbor
Owns some maritime assets
Brings people together
Under principles of Scouts BSA
A Framework for SeaBase
Rental car company; but different cars
Based on weather
Based on participant skill
What should SeaBase be?
Preparing for the scout-iverse
Accreditation service – trained adults, criteria for ships
Who knows what the future holds for scouting – what this could be is simply an accreditation service that says, “this captain, this boat, and this itinerary make the following a [Seabase] level trip.”
You really should read The Goal, this guide is written to augment your reading, serve as a refresher, and to help highlight areas you might have missed. (Link to the best synopsis of The Goal.)
Written by someone with an MBA.
I’d worked in manufacturing before going back to school.
The Theory of Constraints is designed to be used – which is why there are so many modern references in the summary.
The book is a product of its time – it was written in the 1980s by a brilliant software developer who was frustrated by seeing the same problems at customer after customer – now ToC is widely used in many industries and applications.
The Goal is to be able to use TOC well – and to do that, you must first have been exposed to it.
The number one way to learn The Goal and Theory of Constraints the fastest?
Take a lesson you learned in the book and apply it in a conversation tonight or tomorrow.
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With so many new companies bringing innovative solutions to water and water technology – both startups (thanks Greentown Labs), and mature businesses – here’s a summary of one way to approach making commercial decisions around cleantech, based on my experience with water, indoor air quality, membranes, and water treatment.
There are five key steps:
Pick a regulator.
Quantify the customer’s ROI with your product and benchmarks.
Insert and penetrate (Musso).
Make the product easy to buy.
Serve today’s customers to serve the broader goal.
1/ Pick your regulator and your regulations.
The best Cleantech products pay for themselves with a clear benefit for the user and the end customer – they combine functions, add new functions, reduce cost, or provide a clearer benefit than the product they replace. Products can take years to establish this kind of clear positioning – what are we to do in the meantime?
An ugly truth of many industrial B2B businesses is that if the product wasn’t required by a regulator, or if there wasn’t some incentive payment that improved profitability, many customers wouldn’t adopt new products. Industrial technologies take a long time to vet, evaluations are expensive, fickle global supply chains make manufacturers leery of new vendors, and the teams that are qualified to confirm a company’s great new product are often in high demand.
Pick your regulatory early and pick them wisely. If you pick the wrong one, that’s okay – you can add their testing to your product’s performance stack.
Sometimes all you get from this first decision is one standard to use in measuring your product – this is the first step in making your product easier to buy.
The worse thing you can do is to let an abundance of regulatory options freeze the team or delay measurement. Invest time in understanding the regulations, the regulatory bodies and the standards that come from them.
If it is just too overwhelming – call around and see which tests you can get access to fastest and cheapest. Go take the people at a third party testing center out for lunch or drinks and get their input based on what they see customers asking them for.
In the liquid filtration markets where I’ve spent most of my career, often times the high end regulator is the FDA and then other markets free ride off of the standards that they establish. Many customers don’t even fully understand why they need a specific standard – and they actually do need them, but because of high switching costs, they know to insist on them every time.
The regulator provides a standard, and that standard is how you will benchmark the improvement made possible by your product / solution / technology. Your customers’ goal is to quickly evaluate your product to see if it is better, the regulator and the market accepted standard is the fastest, most effective way to help your customer achieve their goal.
Bonus Question: What if there is no regulator? What if you are early?
Answer: Identify an adjacent or sufficient regulator or approach that is measurable, and that has reasonable ground for adoption – then use that.
Farm vehicle cabins need a standard to protect the driver / operator from aerosols and pesticides, but there isn’t a clear standard – use standards out of HEPA or out of the FAA guidelines for passenger air quality on aircraft.
A new lightweight portable camping water filter needs to show it is effective against a new pathogen, so use the FDA standards around sterilizing grade filtration to measure performance. Use a proxy particle for the organism if needed.
2/ ROI and Benchmark
With a regulator and a standard in hand, it’s time to vet your capabilities to determine what your customer ROI is from choosing to work with your product, and how that stacks up against your competitors.
Often times technical teams and marketers will scour their competitor’s marketing and technical literature to understand their claims – and then compete directly against those claims. Most likely those claims are a best case scenario. The world starts to look very different when you’re buying competitive products off of eBay, interviewing their current customers for feedback, and sometimes even listening to frustrated buyers talk about your competitor’s weakness. Benchmark and measure the product yourself, because measurement is crucial.
Measurement will then be used to integrate with your production teams quality specifications. Quality specs are often a way to differentiate your pricing by capturing value that the market has left on the table, or providing services and insight that the competition hasn’t yet identified.
Know the ROI.
“What if we can’t get our results to match the standard? Or even close to the standard?”
Well if you can’t do it, then how can a customer do it? Figure it out. Why will a customer buy from you if you make them do all the work? If you force a buyer to figure out your product for you, then you are giving away margin and money. Don’t make your customer
If your competitors product requires a metal filtration vessel, a specific skid, specialized installation, and then specific cartridge refills for a liquid filtration problem – then understand all of those costs and break them out.
Walk through the costs that a customer goes through to buy the competition, and then what they go through to switch to your product. One time, we’d developed a high performance material that was a consumable that was about 4x better than the competition – but that material was only 1 / 1000th of the system cost. There was effectively no change in ROI.
If your business washes out on the ROI calculation, then it is better to know now than to wait! Knowing the numbers can help steer market selection and provide rebound opportunities if the original assumptions which got you excited are shown to be false. There are a lot of zombie companies in the cleantech world that are scared to calculate this number, or too scared to bring solutions to investors when they realize that the ROI is out of whack. Don’t be a zombie.
Bonus Question 2: What if I’m missing something on the ROI calculations?
If you’re sitting with an account, and you walk through your calculations with them and you’re wrong – they will correct you. If you don’t have anything, they don’t have anything to correct. A customer that has been this patient with you will either; (1) cut you off, “you’re crazy, this is way too expensive,” (2) correct you, “this is close, but the numbers are more like this,” or (3) purchase from you.
3/ Insertion & Penetration: Get Trials to Get Wins
Most cleantech products aren’t driving revenue by sitting on Walmart shelves, selling through Amazon, or going direct to consumer. The value comes by improving an industrial product or process, which then experiences its own adoption cycle.
“Material commercialization is all about insertion and penetration.”
Your goal is to get insertions – that is under your team’s control. You control insertions by:
Choosing markets with many insertion points. If you go into a big market with a monopoly and they don’t want to buy – the game is over.
Making it easy for customers to buy the product and use it. This increases your hit rate in the market and makes it easy for adjacent markets, and even adjacent spots in a supply chain, to evaluate the product.
With sufficient insertions, you can get penetration as your customers’ products then go on to win in the market. You will watch brilliant, elegant, and superior products launched by Fortune 50 companies that are enabled by your product fail – and given your spot in the supply chain, the best way to mitigate that risk is to be working with many insertions. Even the best can fail at penetration. To survive, you need insertions – it is a numbers game, because as a small player – which every new product starts off as – it is often too difficult to ramp up and take control of the entire supply chain between you and the end user.
How do you get more insertions?
Have a clear ROI and know your benchmarks.
Make the product easy to buy.
If you’ve picked the wrong regulator, or fully addressed your first application – then go to the next market and repeat. Add markets and materials to your performance stack.
Do *not* go on to a next market until you have the first market down with a complete understanding of ROI. Too many companies grow their expenses by pursuing too many markets in parallel. Prioritize and pursue markets in sequence – as leaders you get paid to develop an appropriate sequence and see the product through.
4/ Make the Product Easy to Buy.
Your first step in making the product easy to buy was your choice of regulator and choice of a clear third party, independent, standard or test. In nearly 25 years of manufacturing, I see on average 10 startups a year that put forward results in an initial standard that are completely useless. They’ve developed their own standard, they’ve developed their own concept of the pollution or energy savings they will improve – and often times they benchmark it to nothing. Pitch decks or sales literature without this basic information is totally useless, and it isn’t worth the time to evaluate – because I will spend all my time educating them on what they should know in the first place.
If a potential vendor hasn’t shown enough interest in your market to know the standards, what other lunacy can you expect as you evaluate their product? Show that your not yet another fly-by-night cleantech participant by putting forward valuable information. It doesn’t have to be perfect – and it is why this first step above is so important.
“But how can my product be easy to buy if you just said that the product isn’t selling through Amazon or Wal-mart?”
The sustainability manager, quality buyer, VP global Ops, plant manager, etc that you are courting for your product has a personal life – and in that personal life they know how easy it can be to shop. Don’t be difficult.
Identify your target buyer – follow the Pragmatic Marketing template to make sure you’ve used best-in-class frameworks to get internal alignment, create real buyer personas and think of the problem from your customers’ perspective.
Focus your marketing on high value problems, use content marketing as a proxy to understand interest. If you’re not sure which regulator to pick or which market to sequence next – then put up two blog posts and see which one gets the most clicks.
When customers call – sell to them. Many cleantech companies have a Clean-as-a-Service mindset – which is laudable and will make the world a better place. If the customer has 200 manufacturing sites, wants your product at each one of them, and isn’t yet ready to make that kind of purchase – then structure your contract to mimic the payment structure and help train them on how to migrate to that new world. Take their money, be easy to buy from.
Make the product easy to install.
Make the product easy to deploy globally. Many cleantech companies have competitors elsewhere in the globe – it doesn’t make sense to say “the best X in Brazil” just like it no longer makes sense to say “the best Y in Kansas.” The market is global, even with current supply chain disruptions.
Benchmark yourself to the best-in-class web startups, not to your competitors battling for room on a Fortune 500 website with an IT department bigger than your whole team.
Use case studies to make it easy for others to see the value and the ROI. “What if my numbers are wrong?” Don’t you want to know?
“What if my competitors then know my strategy?” Be good enough to set the pace, don’t let fear of the competition dictate what you do.
Make the product easy to return. If it is easy to return customers will work with you more in those first few installs to coach you to the right solution. Be easy to work with and the customer will make it easy to work with them.
Ship the product the day they buy. “That’s impossible with an industrial good.” Maybe it is, maybe if you set the goal, your team will find ways to hit it.
5/ Serve today’s customer to serve the greater goal.
Many cleantech businesses focus on the great social modern social injustices we see all around us:
Many investors focus on those broader goals – as leaders we earn the right to cure those broader societal issues by being profitable in the interim. Without the profits and cash flow created by building independent, sustainable businesses today – we forfeit the security of knowing our business will be present to thwart those broader challenges tomorrow.
 Talented personnel that can understand, evaluate, and advocate for a new industrial product are often the constraint in the sales process. This is one of the reasons it is so important to make the product easy to buy. The average career stent of this kind of engineer is 4 years, so a sales cycle that takes longer than 2 years is too long.
 Yes, really it is benchmarked to nothing. They have a bar chart that will compare their own product to a worse version of their own product – with no external reference point. Often times the units are of their own making. This is why big companies are loath to entrust any vital process to a new entrant – not only are they ignorant of the customers real needs, they haven’t put forth any effort to resolve that ignorance.
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We’ve had lots of questions about the best way to come and visit New Hampshire and Lake Winnipesaukee, with people asking what there is to do, what the best time of year is to come visit, can they stop by.
The answer is YES.
We’re right in the middle of Meredith about 2 blocks off the water in Meredith Village. It’s a short walk to the town docks and all local restaurants. On days when parking is hard to come by, we often have a spot. Plan a hike, let us know what you’re up to, we’ll meet you for lunch or dinner. If you’ve got little kids and need a stopping point, let us know so we can be prepared.
We recommend the Inn at Church Landing, it is a 5 minute walk, it is right on top of the town docks, and next to The Town Docks Bar (where Everett is busing tables this summer). We’ve also had friends stay at the Center Harbor Inn and they enjoyed it – further North on NH-25 (8 miles, 5 minutes). Center Harbor is where the Mt Washington is based. The Opechee Inn closer towards Laconia is also great.
May: 21 – 23, 28 – 31 [Memorial Day]
June: 4 -6; 11 – 13; 18 – 20; 25 – 27
Bike Week? The 98th bike week is June 12 – 20, 2021. Our house is in the *middle* of everything, so plan ahead, get groceries, enjoy the crowds.
Snow skiing – We are 30 minutes from Gunstock, 1 hour from Loon, 1 hour from Sunapee, 70 minutes to Bretton Woods and near many others. There are lots of snow mobile areas, fat bike / snow bike opportunities, the Pond Hockey Classic (Feb 4 – 6, 2022), the Ice Fishing Derby (Feb 11 – 14, 2022), and many other awesome cold weather opportunities to stay active in the winter.
If you are new to snow skiing – let us know ahead of time and we can see if any of our gear is useful, or the best way to get skis, snowboards, etc.
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From the initial outset of Covid to today in June of 2021 – a few things have been clear:
There is a virus, a disease, it is real and it has done terrible things.
Vaccines are a good thing! I am super, double-plus, pro-vaccines.
Lockdowns have been a horrific public health policy, a debacle of epic proportions.
Through all of this, I’ve tried to capture some of the more absurd and confusing portions of what has gone on. There has been widespread adoption of censorship, which feels deeply un-American and contrary to the principals of Western Liberal Democratic principles.
Categorizing the Absurd
Trying to track categories of confusion, the following four areas have been consistent:
What’s Going on? Media, Censorship and Covid-19
There’s a Deadly Disease.
There are no treatments – therefore Lockdowns are the Answer
There is a Vaccine
1/ What’s going on? Media, Censorship, Propaganda and Covid-19
“Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert who is heavily quoted in the media, and who served on Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, warned that a forthcoming surge in Covid-19 cases would be a roadblock for the president’s plan to reopen schools.” (Link)
The disease now is shown to behave like other Corona viruses; variants aren’t surprises to the immune system.
We’ve completed one year of lockdowns globally for Covid-19, and the effort to curb spread of the virus has created a great deal of unintentional humor and absurd situations. The virus is real, vaccines are good. Silencing people and censoring those with conflicting viewpoints has become more common place. A thoughtful podcast said, “this is the golden age for cults, and now we’ve got Covid.”
The following have been good source of skeptical news;
There are no treatments – therefore Lockdowns are the Answer
There is a Vaccine
1/ What’s Going On?
The top public health official in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is blaming a rise in recent numbers on ‘spring break’ and ‘loose states’ – however, the states with worsening numbers are not spring break destinations and have the strictest restrictions.
A new media company announces that people no longer trust traditional media.
Twitter puts up a warning on one of the US’s leading epidemiologists, who is also a faculty member.
Wildly inaccurate forecasts – always with more deaths and cases than expected. (NYT curves in the example.)
2/ There’s a Deadly Disease
If a deadly disease was spreading rapidly and killing millions, it would be important to understand the origin of the disease and make sure such a threat to society does not occur again.
The former CDC director suspects that the disease was accidentally released from a research lab, however it is difficult to have that disease in public because it is viewed as embarassing to the host country and potentially racist.
Photos (real? fake news? who knows?) circulate of President Obama and Fauci at the lab – because the topic is forbidden, only the most extreme theories are circulated.
Travel measurements indicate that people are ignoring the restrictions from lockdowns; the public no longer believes that the threat from the deadly disease is in line with what comes from public health officials.
3/ There are no Treatments, therefore Lockdowns are the Answer
Texas announced it was not doing lockdowns three weeks ago on March 3, 2021. As noted in many tweets, they are not all dead, and cases there have fallen greatly.
In most countries, schools were kept open. In many parts of the US, schools were closed. This is one of several drivers for elevated suicide risk in children.
Large unions in New York have chosen to select their own physicians to listen to about how and when a lockdown can end.
Lockdowns have served to make several companies and their owners immensely wealthy.
Parents are so fearful of the disease (see 1/ above), that they are not taking children in for regular appointments – this will lead to a worse public health impact in the future than will occur from the current disease.
Wide variety in response to NPIs – Germany with masks.
4/ There are Vaccines
Rich people in Atherton, California are cutting in line to get access to the vaccine.
IBM is involved in promoting a vaccine passport; they were involved in past population measurement and census activities that led to genocide.
Rutgers University will require the vaccine for all incoming students in the fall; they are not legally able to make such a requirement of faculty or staff.
South Africa’s results look nearly identical to Israel – where a great deal was spent on vaccination.
Global vaccine production in 2019 was about 4 billion doses; Covid-19 is forecast to be 12 billion doses, with as many as 15 billion needed. Using some volume estimates for the vaccines, it appears that final process liquid production of the vaccines is between 9 and 35 million liters per year. (Check out past global fluid estimates.)
A typical US household consumes 300 gallons per day (Source: USGS) – which would be 400,000 litres per year.
Strictly on a volume standpoint, global vaccine production is about equivalent to a small neighborhood (20 – 80 homes).