Wimminz – celebrating skank ho's everywhere

July 26, 2014

The angle of dangle

Filed under: Wimminz — Tags: — wimminz @ 2:26 pm

A moment of hilarity before normal service resumes.

Ok, so, was talking to a mate today, and he said something, he said that traditionally in his life he always did well in recessionary time, and did badly (for work) in good times, and since he was getting no work, he assumed these were good times.

I disagree about the good times, but it was an interesting comment…

Let’s look at it from another angle.

There is a tool I want to buy, let’s call it X.

  • X costs several thousand pounds
  • up until now, I have managed perfectly well without X
  • I have a day job, I don’t *need* X to generate income.
  • On the other hand, I have a day job, so I can buy X, even if I don’t use it.
  • The line above depends on how secure I feel in my day job.
  • The big variable of course is day job or not, can X actually generate any income.
  • The line above is just because I can see uses for it, does that mean others will part with their money to have something done by X
  • straight back to the second point, I managed without one, so have they….

It’s complex, and I can so easily see X become a fabulous toy, TBH, a bit like the CNC mill and lathe, that is just fabulous, crapple fanboi creaming his pants phabulous, but which in reality hasn’t been used in anger once in the past 12 months.

It’s really a fairly fundamental question about the very nature of business, what is business, what is trade, what is craft?

The things that I can see that X would do for Tom, Dick and Harry, who become potential customers 1, 2 & 3, well, to do business, customers 1, 2 and 3 have to also feel that X is so good that they are AHEAD on the deal, doing what they do, by outsourcing the thing that X can do to me.

Which is a variable.

Which is *massively* variable, and that variation depends largely on what kind of people Tom, Dick and Harry are….. are they gung ho man with a plan organised and eager and up with a sparrow’s fart motherfuckers? Or are they waiting for business to come to them?

You see the problem, motivating a potential customer for X to exploit X in HIS business, is a whole other ball of wax from providing a potentially great service TO a potential customer via X

Indeed, am I? Because if *I* sit there passively waiting for business to turn up, and no, I have a fucking excellent website dude does NOT cut it, then X is going to be yet another toy that sits there.

At this point the economists will divert you into a discussion of Maslow’s needs and hierarchies.. vomit.. it’s a great way of describing something and utterly missing the point.

My business CANNOT be motivating or encouraging or supporting my potential customers, if they can’t be assed to get their own shit in order, my assistance isn’t going to make a difference, they will still go bust, I won’t get paid for what I have done, and I will get the blame for all their mistakes.

So, let us go back again to what is a recession and what is a boom…

In a boom, it’s easier to persuade people that me + X is an interesting deal, something they should use, something they can resell as part of their work, because in a boom there is plenty of slack to take up the bit where they don’t get all gung ho about their own business.

In a recession, well, nobody is going to venture anything, because they still aren’t gung ho about their business, and me + X, well, that is all very well, if THEY had the customers, but they don’t…

Should I buy X, or buy a fucking harley…lol…. you see, the question is which one gets most use, or, the other option is don’t buy either, keep the horns pulled in, and hope that this job lasts, or, if it ends, I don’t find myself wishing I had X, because I have customers for it, but I can no longer afford it.

It’s the age old quandary…

For X to make a worthwhile profit such that X can genuinely be called an investment, then X needs to be used for a sufficient number of hours per week.

Let’s say 1 hour a week will pay for X itself, and let’s say an additional 10 hours a week will keep ME alive if X becomes my sole source of income and this job dries up.

So now I need to get regular work for X, which means regular customers, but there is a limit in time and expenses to how much marketing I can do, and indeed what sorts of job that X can do that I should punt for, after all, each job has to make me more money than I expend getting that job AND doing it.

I can, quite literally, sit here and think of amazing things that I could do with X, that surely customers out there would want. I can even see me seeing those customers face to face, and showing them a demo product, and them saying wow, that is fantastic, *great* idea.

But, none of that is a SALE. A sale is when you have done the job and been paid and the money is in the bank and you are ahead on the deal… and that last step is a doozy.

Because to go from potential customer to customer, you have to get them to agree to the point that they actually have the money to pay you, and then decide to do so….

LOADS of ideas are great, and I mean that most genuinely, but getting the other party to flash the cash, that is all that counts… to paraphrase the old yank saying, a great idea and a buck will buy you a coffee…

IN a sense, that is what the clip at the beginning is all about, some devs who test games before they get released, if you think the game is buggy and crap now it is released, look at what it was before the devs caught the biggest and most obvious bugs….. nevertheless, the game started as a “great idea”…. implementing it is a motherfucker.

Implementing it often makes it a lot less great than the initial idea led you to think.

Taking a step away from that for a second.

I bought a macro filter for the Canons…  pics are links to full size.

Deathstar head, note the minute depth of focus.


Screw on ribbon connector, again, note the minute depth of focus, only the far side of the screw socket is in focus, so basically forget this shit unless you have a tripod or some other method of steadying the shot.


Pulling back the mag a bit… focus shifted to the right rear of the read/write arm


Now with the macro filter removed.. vastly improved depth of focus.


You can see quite clearly, macro filter, not true macro, the object is about 6″ from the lens, and the zoom on the lens acts as part of the macro zoom level.

It quite clearly illustrates the concept of trade-off, if you want up close macro detail, it’s a lot more effort and you lose vast amounts of depth of focus, so unless the object is flat and perpendicular to the lens, you are going to have to make a virtue out of that whole photographers depth of field thing…

If you want a nice big field of view with most of what interests you in focus, you’re going to have to lose vast amounts of up close macro detail.

There is an obvious analogy there to business planning re the pros and cons of me buying X.

And this is quite the separate matter from the unknowns, in the unknowns, we don’t know what we are going to photograph, that is hidden inside a box with Schroedinger’s cat, in this example we know what we are going to photograph, but we still have to deal with the issues of looking at the larger picture, or looking at a small part of that picture in detail.

The larger picture is every potential customer I may have for X, the detail is each individual customer I may have for X.

I can’t skip the larger picture and go straight to the detail, I may well miss something vital, nor can I look at the larger picture and skip the detail, I may still miss something vital.

Those “GREAT ideas” I mentioned above, they are the detail, because invariably each scenario deals with one thing X can do for one hypothetical customer.

This is how wimminz set up shops selling bespoke cup cakes.

My day job, classic example of seeing the larger picture and just discarding all the detail.

Neither approach is right, and both have to be, before we can even seriously consider the prospects of buying X, or Y, or Z, or anything else.

“I’ve got a kick-ass website dude” doesn’t cut it, nor does any other piece of marketing.

The cash register going “ka-ching” as you ring up a sale is all that counts.

It then becomes an interesting human dilemma.

Are you one of those people who sit there and say “Oh yes, if only I had X, Y and Z advantages, I’d be all over that shit and making a fucking killing dude…” or are you one of those people who will look at what they don’t have, and see what can be done to get around that, is there another way.

Which makes it all very interesting, are you selling what X can do, or are you selling what YOU can do with X, because if YOU have no imagination and dedication, what’s to set you apart from your potential customers, or competitors, or anyone else?

I’m always reminded of this asshole kid and their asshole parent I met yonks ago, back then the WWW was fairly new, and Encarta on CD was brand new, and for those of you who don’t know, Encarta was basically an encyclopaedia on CD, and you navigated around by clicking hypertext links in the text body, or typing what you wanted to find in the search function.

Both of these two declared it “crap”.

The reason it was crap, was that it didn’t give them ANSWERS, type “what is 22 divided by 7” into google and it gives you the fucking answer, and a bunch of links to pages that give you the answer…. NONE of those links explain the answer.

e.g. multiplication and division are just iterative functions of addition and subtraction, add in moving decimal places and adding zeroes, and you have long division and long multiplication, 11 over 7 or 22 over 4 should not then require further questions, you already know how to WORK THE ANSWER OUT for yourself.

99.9% of your potential customers, or business partners, or suppliers, or competitors, are going to be like that, they just want the fucking answer.

Suddenly, we have an entirely new question.

If I buy X, will I then be able to answer those repetitive and boring questions with zero effort on my part, and charge a fee for doing so that is low enough they will keep coming back and asking more questions, and can the “subject matter” of questions that I can “answer” with X be wide enough to promote that?

But sooner or later you come back to that place where you have a list of unknowns that being brutally honest about, no matter how gung ho you are, you aren’t ever gonna fucking know unless you bite the bullet.

So biting the bullet becomes the big question, in my case with my X, biting the bullet means I have to do 2 chargeable hours worth of work with X every week, that’s break-even in the commercial sense, and any home hobby use then becomes free.

At present, my hesitancy is down to one thing, sure, there is loads of hobby stuff I could do NOW, but am I likely to exhaust that list of interesting and cool things to do, in, say, six months, if so, at that point, all that is left is the purely commercial aspect of it.

The angle of the dangle is equal to the heat of the beat when the throb of the knob is constant… but there are no constants in life, except for gravity and entropy…. and mebbe planck length…lol



  1. Let’s just go ahead and assume X is a CO2 laser cutter, 40W type.

    If you are actually interested in making a living with X and want to see if you can do it in your place and time, then the smart thing to do would be to find a decent, cheaper proxy for having X and advertise for the same functions you’d use X for.

    There are some applications for X that you can emulate with your CNC mill. For instance, you can flat cut plywood or acrylic or engrave on stone. Sure, it will take longer, your inner radius will be bigger (unless you get a tiny end mill, which will take even longer,) you’ll need a sacrificial layer, cutting into your profit margin, you’ll need to get creative clamping the work down, maybe make a vacuum table, etc. But you’re not trying to make a profit, just to gain information cheaply.

    There are other applications for X that you can’t emulate with equipment available on-hand. Say, cutting/rastering leather, or business cards. But you can rent X by the hour. In SW England, there are hackerspaces, a Fab Lab in Devon, another in Bristol, etc. If you secure customers, you can make their work in the hackerspace. Again, lower profit margins, but no fixed upfront cost. Cheap information.

    Ultimately, the way to make money on digital fabrication, as you allude to is to rent out engineering/design knowledge and post-processing, and marketing as value-added. Business cards are a good way to go, or you could build a hot-wire bender for laser-cut acrylic. Since there’s a recession on, businesses are scrapping for customers. A laser-cut acrylic sign with LED lighting or some intricate lasercut business cards out of two-tone cardboard are cheap enough to try and see if they bring the cupcake shop a few more customers a week. Even more rudimentary, I knew a girl in 2012 in the NE US, in a shitty town which tanked 40 years ago, who was making a living laser cutting trinket jewelry out of acrylic. She sold it dirt cheap, it cost her less to make, enough 12 year old girls bought it and the margin was enough for her to rent laser cutter time, buy acrylic and stay alive (heh-imagine Uncle AfOR selling acrylic earrings to 12 year old girls.) You can always be a middleman, ordering designs from Indians on Fiver and selling the final product to Brits.

    The question is, as you point out, how much time and energy you’re willing to spend on all the value-added activities above. Designing flim-flam shit, marketing to 12 year old girls and 45 year old divorced cupcake shop owners, collecting the money/listening to bullshit excuses and attempts to bargain, dealing with emerging competition…maybe you’d be happier just staying with the IT job. For all you complain about the incompetence and bureaucracy, it’s a bit like some 55 year old woman complaining about her husband-it’s obvious she’s going nowhere and is just doing it for catharsis 🙂

    Comment by B — July 26, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

    • *my* X is hopefully not relevant to the discussion, but…

      my X is a full format 100/120 watt (actual beam power) laser, 40 mm acrylic / wood cut capacity, 2 mm steel cut capacity, powered Z axis, 1.3 metres/sec speeds, ……. and none of the interesting stuff can be emulated with the mill, or any other “contact” cutting system… fab labs can’t deliver that level of kit, and yes, I do know what kit they actually have, , or even a decent mill, my bitch, for all its faults, will cut anything, spin a 16 mm cutter into steel bar? No problemo… cunts haven’t got a lathe either, or a compressor, or a vacuum pump, or a couple of heavy duty true pro bench PSU’s, or a scope, or air tools, or welders, I could go on and on….lol…. nor can the cunts get or source decent materials at trade prices or less…

      …and the fab labs are, personally speaking, everything I fucking hate, fucking linux user groups with dremels and mankinis…lol, still a bunch of assholes….. without even stepping through the doors of the local one I fucking guarantee at least two of the biggest assholes from the local LUG will be there interfering with everything and having positions of influence and authority…

      way way way ahead of you on possible uses, and you are exactly right, selling a bunch of shit on an individual piecework basis to kids and assholes will be the death of it, if I do it it will be selling machine time by the hour or multiple thereof, you gimme your material and design, I’ll do the rest…. plus I can do my own shit.

      But, my X is subject to my finance, as you can tell, I pretty much don’t use hobby grade tools, because they limit you so much, and pro grade stuff lasts forever, it just costs an arm and a leg, and yes there is a huge difference between a 250k machine that needs to run batch jobs 2 shifts a day 6 days a week to make money, and the lower end of the market, but there are vast swathes of things that simply cannot be done with even a high end expensive hobby machine, that a low end pro machine can do with ease, it’s that niche between hobby grade and production batch jobs, that’s the only niche for me.

      55 year old woman complaining about hubby? mebbe, doing it for catharsis? mebbe, obviously going to still be there in one/two/three years, that’s one fucking bet I wouldn’t take, at any odds.

      Getting away from *my* X and back on to the subject of X in the post.

      “The workers control the means of production” if you do not, in house, then you are not the worker and you are not in control, practising with someone else’s kit can’t teach you anything *important* about doing it with your own kit, it’s just not the same thing….. Borrowing Joe’s tools and ramp etc isn’t gong to teach me a damn thing about setting up for myself as a garage / mechanic.

      Not saying it won’t generate some useful data, just not enough, and by definition it will generate bad data, because it isn’t plowing your own furrow….

      Comment by wimminz — July 26, 2014 @ 11:06 pm

      • Because we’re both on here to bullshit around, I’ll keep the conversation going.

        Fab Labs are everything you say. Nerds/twats with weapons-grade egos and faces like a 50 y.o. lesbians abound. The kit is hobby grade. But-I still guarantee you that people are doing more with that hobby grade shit than you are with your pro kit. It is funny that when it comes to motorcycles, you’re all about the Honda C90, because it gets you from point A to point B in the most efficient manner with minimum bullshit, and who the hell needs a liter bike, but when it comes to fabrication kit, all of a sudden, the equivalent of that C90 won’t do at all.

        Selling machine time by the hour? To whom? To design college students? If I have a design and I want it made and can’t make it out of thin acrylic or plywood in the school lab or Fab Lab, I’ll go to a professional fabrication shop running a 2KW laser, and try to convince the owner to help me make it. Probably he’ll tell me to get fucked if I need one piece or ten, because it’s not worth his time, the bullshit, the possibility of my non-payment, blablabla. But if I’m dealing with some cantankerous asshole throwing cigarette butts at my feet to sublimate his painful apprenticeship dodging wrenches and running a pantograph from 1948-1952, at the very least I would like to know that 1) he can cut 20-40mm stainless if need be, 2) I can get it bent, welded, sanded and painted at his place. Then my problem reduces to overcoming the barrier of his asshole personality, how I can get him to like me/whatever. But if it’s the same barrier, and the upside is, he’s got a 100W CO2 laser, fuck that noise-I can order the same thing from a Chinese prototyping shop, which the guys with ideas and designs are already doing, and they don’t have to go through the hassle of sourcing their own material (are you shitting me? I go to a shop and have to bring my own material for which I paid retail?) As for your own shit-it’s a question whether the demand is there, and again you need some cheap and fast way of testing that assumption.

        I’m not putting a bet on you being there in 2-5 years. I don’t know you from Adam, other than I read your blog. I definitely wish you luck with the project. All I’m saying is, you’ve gotta test the assumptions cheaply and quickly before putting money in. Maybe it turns out that for what there’s a market for, a homebuilt plasma table or your CNC stuff is better (and you know as well as I do that just like there is stuff that lasers/water cutters can do that CNC can’t, the opposite is also true.)

        If you don’t own the kit and someone else does-so what? Shades of your pontificating on a house that’s “yours” but actually belongs to the bank and all it really represents is a big liability on the downside.

        I haven’t spent decades in the business, but I’ve been on all sides of it, running machines and getting designs made. My two cents-the old model, where the shop owner fancied himself a master craftsman, as though he was hand-turning screws in Sheffield in 1754, and talked down to customers who were neither big corporate accounts nor his buddies, is dead. Those dudes are scrapping for business, running their million dollar machines for 60% of an 8 hour shift, and bitching and moaning about China, as though China was the problem. The problem was that dealing with them was such a pain in the ass that as soon as China came along, they were done-if I can send an .stl or .sldprt to Shanghai, and they will give me a quote and get me the part, why am I gonna drive to your shop and get cigarette butts thrown at my feet for asking a question? It’s like a coffee shop where the douche barrista looks down his nose at you for ordering a machine drip coffee, and takes 15 minutes to pour it. The replacement will not be a Starbucks model, where the machine shop kisses your ass and serves you a standard mediocre product (which is a bit of what China has to offer,) but something else.

        Comment by B — July 26, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

        • lol, ok, it’s late so I’ll keep it real brief/

          1/ you guarantee they are doing more? yeah, more skulls, more iphone holders, more cat engravings…

          2/ honda c90 is an excellent and vastly under estimated bike, I have never owned one, I own a litre bike, vee twin

          3/ selling machine time by the hour to business customers, who would sell the product I make for them to *their* customers, and, assuming I buy *my* X, which is by no means certain, I have three business customers lined up, and no, none of it is acrylic or signs or model parts or trophys…

          4/ no comparison with dealing with someone face to face, and offshoring prototyping or manufacturing, how the fuck you gonna get a 24 hour turnaround from china, or from a pukka shop running 250k kit in shifts?

          5/ yeah, you supply the material and design files, that way you control quality and costs, and for the three mentioned above, they wouldn’t have it any other way, nor would they allow their proprietary designs (files) out of their sight…

          6/ you’ll drive to my shop because you control the quality of material, you control the proprietary files, you control the production schedule, as I said, 24 hour turn-around, for the three potential customers mentioned above, they are trying to hand me money, because NONE of those things are available elsewhere, much less all of them.

          Did you miss everything I said about X not being it, or “you + X” being it, *if* you can differentiate yourself from 99.9% of the other assholes out there.

          Comment by wimminz — July 27, 2014 @ 1:50 am

          • An actual cat engraving vs. a theoretical flux capacitator. No contest. “Yeah, I could totally bang models, while your girl has all kinds of flaxs.” Well, she’s real and the models exist in your imagination.

            Three customers lined up is great. Until money changes hands, it’s the theoretical flux capacitator from above. How long did it take to get those customers lined up? How many more are out there available to you? Until money changes hands, it’s the flux capacitator. You need some cheap way to test. Like maybe using someone else’s kit, renting by the hour.

            If your 3 customers are willing to wait for you to make up your mind about buying X, they’re willing to wait a week for China (probably.) They’re meeting their needs SOMEHOW right now. 24 hour turnaround from a shop running $250K kit? No fucking problem. How about multimillion $ kit? Just so’s you don’t think I’m bullshitting you, the place I used to work in would do that, and they were running a cutter that cost a couple of mil, plus benders, plus the welders and sanders and a third party painter across the street. For another example, I can think of at least 3 places within an hour’s drive of me running EOSINT M280 laser sintering machines in cobalt chromium/wax 3D printers and furnaces for casting, whose whole model is 24 hour global turnaround. Orders come in in the morning, by evening they are on the plane going to Japan/wherever. Maybe Israel is more advanced than the UK in that sense, but I doubt it.

            I hope you add enough value to justify the proposition, and the best way to test is to rent kit for a bit.

            Comment by B — July 27, 2014 @ 8:41 am

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