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An Inventor's Quest for the NHL Pt. 20
Rethinking My Goals
This series follows my attempt to develop a product that I dream of getting into the NHL. Previously on the Quest: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19
Holy macaroni, have the last two months been a struggle for me.
My project has suffered as a result, moving forward only in sputters and stalls. I’ve tried to get back on track by flipping back and forth between self-flagellation and waiting for inspiration, neither of which has worked. And so, I’ve added a healthy sprinkling of guilt as garnish, as if my sole reason for existence is to be productive.
O Deathless One, forgive your humble servant for not working diligently on this equipment which might make some people slightly better at a children’s game.
Luckily, it seems my prayer was answered. My brother reprised his role as brain-unclogger and helped me realize that parts of this project don’t align with my goals anymore.
The problem is not on the engineering side. There, I wanted to see if I could make a modern and high-performing design that didn’t rely on simulations and spreadsheets and I think I’ve succeeded.
The problem is on the business side of things. The end goal of the project no longer interests me. Not the goal of getting my invention to the NHL, which I still want to do, but the more implicit goal of building a sports equipment company. In fact, I don’t think I want to create a traditional consumer business at all. That’s been my dream for a while now, so that feels strange to say out loud.
I feel a little bit like Zuko in this scene [contains spoilers] from Avatar: The Last Airbender, where he’s struggling between two paths: doing what’s expected of him or doing what he wants.
Do I actually want a consumer business? Or is that simply the only path to creative freedom that I was exposed to? Why can’t I find my own way on this too, like I’ve been doing in finding my own style of engineering?
It’s no wonder I had no motivation to finish when the best possible outcome – a thriving business – felt restricting. My reward if I were to come up with something that people love? Being stuck with the same idea for a few years, making it incrementally better, improving manufacturability, adapting it for different helmets, etc. I’d much rather haphazardly work on things and be free to abandon them on a whim.
A part of me does feel like I’m being soft and shying away from difficulties, but on the other hand, who cares? I want to spend more of my energy building interesting things rather than building a big business.
So what does this mean for this project in particular? I’m still going to try to get my cage into the NHL and PWHPA, because that seems like fun. Beyond that, if I get lucky and there’s broader interest, I’d like to focus only on making cages for that top tier of goalies. That’s a small enough number that I should be able to own my work without it owning me. I realize that this might be similar to saying, “When I win the lottery, I’m going to buy a Ferrari instead of a Lamborghini.” But it feels like an important shift to me.
In other news, I’ve made some updates to the cage. Last time I said “I know I’ll need to add some grommets or something to prevent the strings from chafing, but I’m hoping this will be good enough as a proof of concept to gauge interest.” Turns out, it wasn’t good enough, so I did add grommets.
I also switched the crossbar from a tube to a laser-cut piece from stainless steel sheet, since I wasn’t able to thread the rope through the tube anyways.
All that remains now is to make a video showcasing the cage.
Thanks as always for reading,