Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Innovation, Micro-funding, and Seeing in the Dark

We Minnesotans are finally going to say aloud, "It's Spring 2013". It was a long, cold, lonely winter. We had snow beginning in October of 2012, and basically added more every single month including early May 2013! Yeesh.

But the world keeps turning, and it seems we're finally going to see some green again. It was a long wait.

That being said, I'm always on the lookout for ways to deal with winter running. I am an early morning runner, which means that I'm out there at 6am even in the dead of winter. It's cold, it's lonely, and most of all it's DARK! I've tried many ways to deal with that last one. I always try to wear light-colored outer layers, with reflective strips. And I'm a big fan of screw shoes when things get icy. But illumination is problematic for me. I've tried head lamps, but they are not very comfortable and anyone wearing them (including me) has an annoying tendency to look at other people, thus blasting a blinding light into their eyes - not exactly a nice move, but it's a human instinct to look at each other and very hard to stop oneself. I've tried a backpack that has a chest light on it, but who wants to run every morning with an empty backpack? I've attached a headlamp to a belt, and that is probably the best solution I've found so far, but it's hard to keep the darned thing aimed at the ground in front of you. What to do?

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Into these gaps in functionality come innovations. There's an opportunity here, isn't there?

I just heard about these: Night Runner LED shoe lights. Hmm. Maybe they've nailed it? Hard to say until I can actually run in a pair, but notice that this is a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to move toward production. Kickstarter is one of the most-successful micro-financing operations around. You add some money to the pot, you often get some small benefit in return, and you help Innovators to realize their dreams. Very cool.

I'd like to be able to see in the dark while running. No, I don't mean night-vision goggles, I'm not hunting anything. I just want to see the path in front of me, and do my best not to wipe out on icy patches or trip over snow piles lurking in the shadows. Maybe these Night Runners are the answer. I think I'll go lend a bit of financial support to the product right now. Join me if you are so inclined. I realize their timing is a bit odd (hey, guys, where were you last October??), but innovation is rarely a carefully planned thing.

Now, if only they could invent some kind of magic pill that fixes all running injuries ... sigh, a guy can dream, can't he?

1 comment:

  1. I ordered one from Kickstarter and can't wait to get it. Running in the dark is problematic.


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