Coopitition

You know how things seem to make more sense as you talk them out?  That is why councilors are trained to have their patients “talk things out”, and why job seekers are told to find some one and “talk it out” after an interview.  Your thoughts and ideas are planted more firmly and you gain better understanding of what you are thinking by talking things out.

Well, that is exactly what happened (quite by accident, I must admit.)  I was discussing my business with [Old Bit Collector] ([OBC]) over on his forum at PropellerPowered.com and found that one of my posts (http://propellerpowered.com/forum/index.php?topic=525.msg3103#msg3103) expressed some of my thoughts very well.  I would like to copy the main ideas from that post here for your edification (and maybe entertainment, too.)

[OBC] had mentioned that he was starting up a Hackerspace type organization in his local area (about 2 hours west of Pittsburgh) and asked for help from any of his readers in the area (PLUG – if you live in, or near, East/Central Ohio, check it out; it will be pretty cool, working with this.)  I mentioned that I am willing to offer assistance (check out my tag line at the top-right of this page.)  And, [OBC]’s response was:

“You are welcome to participate as much or as little as it suits you.   I know you are working toward some similar goals in your neck of the woods.   Anything I can do to help, don’t hesitate to ask.”  A true gentleman, and smart businessman.

My response to his acceptance and counter-offer was:

“Thanks for the offer – I believe that coopetition, rather than competition, is good for business growth.  That is the idea of coopetitors continually working to provide the best product to their customers, thus raising the level of both sets of products, as well as the customer’s satisfaction.  (Yeah, yeah, I know, I live in a dream world.)

I think that this may have come from my time in the military: Jeff, you are the squadron Commanding Officer (CO) for the Propeller Powered Sqdn, Chris is the CO of the Savage///Circuits Sqdn and I am the CO of Granzeier Consulting Sqdn.  We each provide our own way of supporting the mission (providing the best products that our customers can get.)  Even though we each run our own squadron in our own way, the mission is best served when we provide support for each other’s squadrons.  (Does that make any sense, or are y’all just nodding at what you think are appropriate times? :P)

Anyway, that is why I like to put effort into my colleague’s sites.  I believe that working together, we can both build our income (like I said, sort of like different squadrons of the same Air Force.)  However, I do want to keep in mind that PP is your squadron, and not interfere with your command. That is why I try to check with you on so much (although, as I get to know you better, I can make better judgements about your likes – don’t hesitate to stop me if I over-reach, though.)

“Staff Sergeant Granzeier Looks at Business Through the Eyes of a Vet” – my next book??? ;D

Anyway, what do you think about coopetition, rather than competition?  Let me know in the comments section below.

SAR-Bot Exercise/Contest at Propeller Powered Expo ’14 (deja vue!)

Once again, I have been asked to run another robot contest for OPPE ’14 (guess I must have done something that people liked.)  At the end of the ’13 expo, I briefly talked with Jeff (the proprietor of Propeller Powered and founder of the Propeller Expos) about ideas for next year.  Well, it looks like we will be running a Search-and-Rescue Robot (SAR-Bot) contest.  Only, this time, to interest others, such as the Emergency Responders and medics in our area, we will be running the contest as an Emergency Preparedness Exercise. (I have always been interested in Emergency Response – even earned my Pennsylvania certification as an EMT.)

Also, in order to help build interest, we will be sending a press release to local press, schools and emergency preparedness organizations, inviting them to come see the future of Rescue Technology.

Well, with this upcoming Expo hosting the SARbot ’14 Exercise, I wanted to get an early head start.

Come on down to the contest site at http://projects.granzeier.com/sarbot-ppe-14 and see what’s going on.  The discussion thread for this coming exercise/contest can be found at: http://propellerpowered.com/forum/index.php?topic=524.0.  We would like a lot of feed back, including any ideas, that you may have, for making this a great exercise.

Edited on 16 Oct 2013: We used to have a picture of one of the houses used by Trinity College’s contest, however we received the following demand to remove the picture:

Dear Mr. Granzeier III:

Jessica Jones forwarded your note to me regarding your “borrowing” a copyrighted photo from our website, www.trincoll.edu/events/robot.  Since you did not receive permission in advance to use this photo, it is necessary to remove it from your website immediately.  As an institution, Trinity College is adamant about protecting its copyrighted materials.

In the future, please be sure to ask before using copyrighted material.

Sincerely,
David Ahlgren
Contest Director

Therefore, the picture has been removed.  I will post another picture of my own later.

I am envisioning a small “house” made out of plywood with some rooms and maybe a hallway, or two.  However, this house will have a door (doorway?) so that the robot can get in.  In front of the door will (may?) be some bricks and/or other debris.  The robot will need to get around/past/over/through the debris and into the house.  Inside the house, somewhere, will be a baby as the victim.  The baby will have the general shape and size of a human baby for visually-oriented SARbots.  In addition, I am looking into a heating element to keep the baby’s temperature at about human-normal, for thermal-oriented SARbots.  If things work as planned, the baby will also cry for audio-oriented SARbots (my new grand-baby should be born next January; lots of opportunity to get MP3s of a real baby crying to play for the exercise/contest. :P)

In addition, for the visitors who are more emergency/medically oriented than electronics: we will want some medical-/emergency-oriented devices, (since this is for the Propeller Powered Expo) based on the Parallax Propeller (http://www.parallax.com/microcontrollers/propeller), of course. The Prop can certainly handle that kind of stuff.

Let’s fire up the old irons, and dev kits, and put together some prototypes (and even some finished products to show – and sell. ;D)