Inspiration is Everywhere…

Drivel Starved Nation!

I know it must seem like I croaked, or worse, whatever that means, but here I am spewing a little drivel your way…

I just returned from my annual work retreat and since so many of you wonder about how this works, here is a little insight.

Each year, for the past 15 years or so, I have left the office for two weeks to focus on new ideas, most are new tool ideas.

What I look for in a place to stay is a good chair and work surface and typically a good deal on a hotel. The location is meaningless to me other than it is NOT my work or home office.

Once I arrive I set up my CAD workstation, head to the store for food supplies and then settle in for a brainstorming session with myself.  A typical work session starts with a “I wonder what would happen if I tried this…” and then, usually by day two, the muse is in full control. It is, without question, the two most important weeks of the year for me. It is so important that I am actually thinking of doing this every six months.

The first thing that happens is the lack of time consciousness. Since there are no phone calls, no people, and I am disconnected from that pesky little thing we call e-mail, it is amazing what one can do creatively in a few short weeks. There are days where I never leave my accommodations and waking up in the middle of the night happens frequently —  it always amazes me as to how the subconscious provides ideas that never materialize while awake.

This year I was able to complete five new products during this retreat, and that is about four more than I will be able to do during the next 50 weeks! That is the drag effect of running a business on the creative mind.

Anyway, this week I am wading through all my neglected emails, which of course is so much fun I can barely contain myself…

One day, I did take about an hour and outline a process as to how I can feed the DSN with copious amounts of drivel and I have some ideas….

Meanwhile, check out this wooden clock from Japan, it writes the time!

-Still Your Tool Potentate




10 comments on this post:

  1. That clock will look awesome on the shelf between my giant Nixie tube clock and my mint-condition Nelson flip clock!!! “If you have to ask, ‘How much?…'”

  2. John,

    Good to have you back, I didn’t send any emails while you were on retreat, you’re welcome.

    So… five new tools and not one hint, c’mon man I need my fix!


  3. Congratulations on another successful work retreat. I’m thinking I’m going to have to adopt your habit – I can’t get anything done at work. I don’t understand why it doesn’t take you a week to just get back in the mode of being creative.

    The part of your drivel I really liked was “…how I can feed the DSN with copious amounts of drivel and I have some ideas…” I need more abuse/entertainment/drivel in my life, and I’m looking forward to anything you serve us. I think.

    And yes: hints!

  4. I’m guessing before the hints start coming- although I will aim very low: CT-19, Fab 50 and a modern take on the scratch awl- honestly though, a new scratch awl would have taken you all(pun intended) of an hour to completely do!

  5. Pre-guessing again: chopstick maker does Japanese and Chinese, so now you built one that does American- 4 small chopsticks attached to a common piece with a handle?

  6. I’m thinking twice a year would be a good start, instead of annual.
    I find myself wandering out into the garage to grab my new block plane, to take a few strokes on end grain hard maple stuck in the vice. ‘It always makes me smile. Of course I’m prematurely smiling about the forthcoming bigger brother Smoother.

    Get creative twice a year. It might make you smile too!

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