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Thread: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

  1. #1

    Default Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Some may have noticed my conspicuous absence around here of late. Well folks...things be a changing. I am still selling flashlights through OneStopThrowShop.com and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. However the future plans are different than they once were. For years my goal was to be able to get to the point where I could actually sell lights wholesale to a dealer and still make money. My dreams of doing such were shattered early on when I realized I couldn't even make money selling direct. Slowly but surely over the years I have gotten closer and closer to that goal. This year was the first time I have ever really gotten there. I have had many many requests over the years from various dealers to carry my stuff but either I was not able to produce enough or there simply was no margin to allow the dealer to make any money. As in, if I came down on the price to allow the dealer to make anything I would be losing money. But here I was with a new product that I was very excited about(REV Captor) and I had the ability to get it into a dealer's hand and not lose money. I was seriously excited about the potential of this light. It was something completely new in the marketplace. I realized it was a bit of a departure from the throw lights I have always done but I expected everyone to truly appreciate the innovation and practicality of this light. I went out and bought a new, rather expensive camera, just so I could better show the capabilities of this new light and take better video. As it would happen this action would be far more life changing than simply getting better pictures and video.

    So I released the Captor earlier this year and I have to say that the response didn't live up to my expectations. I did get some very good feedback from owners but getting people to buy it in the first place proved to be far more difficult than I expected. That really is not what bothered me the most. I suppose it is just the nature of some people to be unthoughtful and unloving but there were people, mostly on another budget forum, that were rather disparaging towards me and my new light. Just typing these words now gives me a pit in my stomach thinking about it. You see I have spent my life trying to make other people happy. I enjoy doing things for other people to bring enjoyment into their life and have since I was a kid. I have loved doing flashlights all these years because it gives me an opportunity to engage my artistic and engineering talents while at the same time bringing joy to people. It is why I have continued to do so despite losses for all but one year. Because I love the work and I love you. The criticism I received made me begin to question why I am working so hard for people. Why I am the one left hanging with a debt load for people who don't really care for me in return. I know that is not the case with everyone of you as many of you have been very loyal over the years. The vast majority though have the "what have you done for me lately attitude". The vast majority don't care how hard it is to do what I do. They don't care what pressure is put on my family in the process. And to a great extent I can understand that. But in the end if I am doing what I do out of a love of giving and pleasing and instead the response from people is one of nastiness as I saw on BLF then what reason is there left for me to continue on with this? I am in roughly $50,000 debt in the company. $50,000!!! I haven't been paid a real salary in over 6 years folks! I know I shouldn't allow the nastiness of some to affect me as much as it has but it has. It just has.

    What used to be a love of everything flashlights and staying up late to research and develop new processes and methods and products turned into a chore. Every time I'd think about doing something flashlight related I'd get an uncontrollable sickness in my stomach. This clearly is no way to live.

    As a lot of you know Mandy has been my loyal sidekick for 6 years or so. She has probably not gotten enough recognition for the work she has done. She is the one who has done almost all the production work. I'd research, develop, and setup production but it was her actually making them. In the early days especially we were doing things that were mind-bogglingly complicated and she could pull off what I showed her. I didn't really appreciate how good she was until I hired someone else and tried to train them. It seems some things you just have to be born with. Well a couple months ago she came up to me and told me that she has some personal goals she'd like to accomplish. To do so she wanted to get some training in a more "normal" job so that it would be easier to find a job when relocating to a new area. So I lost my dear sister as a workmate. She has been doing 80-90% of the production work. Imagine 80-90% of Apple's workforce walking out on them. This is big. Since I have become so aware how hard it can be to find such a gem as I had in my sister I can't say I am too keen to try and replace her. In fact I am not even going to try. I haven't the money nor the desire to try and replace her. Training someone to replace her would cost thousands of dollars in downtime training and overseeing as well as in botched product. Just the nature of bringing someone on. I don't have the resources to do that. So the question became, "where do I go from here?".

    Remember that camera I said I bought for the Captor project? Well as I said that purchase turned out to be life altering. It was a pretty good camera. Far better and far more expensive than I really wanted to purchase but the cheapest I could find in my area with a mic in port for video. Well after the Captor shoot I decided to do some family photos. Turns out I was actually decent at it and found it to be enjoyable. So I purchased some more equipment to be able to get some more professional portraits of my whole family. I had so much fun doing it I decided to take it up a notch. Understand I am a somewhat obsessive and passionate person. It is what made me so good with flashlights. Anyway, I began consuming massive quantities of information on all aspects of photography. Delving deep into photographic theory and the human psyche. How we perceive images and why. I find it endlessly fascinating. Well I began to realize how much fun I was having with photography and how little of it I was getting out of the flashlights. When Mandy approached me about her goals it seemed things were falling into place. But I have been struggling to imagine a life where flashlights do not have a place.

    So what do I do? Do I drop flashlights altogether and become a photographer?

    Well I began to really examine what I want to do. I still love flashlights. I still have many loyal customers. And I still have a bunch of great ideas for unique products moving forward. I decided that maybe where I went wrong was trying to increase production numbers and focusing too much on pleasing too many people. I began to enter a market segment with people who don't care about craftsmanship. Who don't care about provenance. Who don't care for anyone but themselves. So the solution going forward will be returning to my roots to some degree. Even higher end and more unique products. Low production numbers but even crazier levels of performance. This is what I did when I started. The thing I messed up in the beginning was not charging for the work I did. Every light I sold I lost money. For years. So I will need to charge for the work I do. I have some lights that were completed by Mandy before she left and those will be going up soon. It is a successor to the TN31mb. The big question is what is going to happen with the OMG Lumens stuff. I have a few more DEFT-X that will be released. There is a product that I have been working on for well over a year now trying to develop a novel beam changing mechanism. Whether that development will finish in time for me to release under my current contract with Wavien I don't know. Not sure where things are headed. But regardless there will be new lights of some kind moving forward. Just not as many.

    For those who would like to see my photography so far I thought I'd post a few for you to see. If you want to see some more of my work go here. http://mjfineartphotography.smugmug.com/browse

    This first one is a self portrait.



    This is my beautiful sister Mandy who has worked so hard for you all these years.



    This is one of my beautiful wife. Without her none of my accomplishments with flashlights would have been possible.


    This is one I did of my sweet daughter.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Michael, I just read your whole post. Thank you for sharing this with us. I'm sorry for the personal criticism you received from some. I am also happy to see you have found a new love in photography and hope you are able to build a sustainable business with these newly discovered skills.

    Hopefully you will stay around and chime in from time to time still. Your input and knowledge are very valuable, and I will forever cherish the lights I have from you.

    Ben

  3. #3
    nfetterly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Beautiful lighting on the photographs.

    I haven't spent any time over at BLF, I've found CPF to be the friendliest forum (note the photography forums can be pretty BRUTAL) with lots of people willing to help. Certainly good luck in whatever you do going forward.


  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    It is good to hear from you again. I wish you the best in your current and future endeavors.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* caddylover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Good luck Michael! I am a proud owner of your work and will hopefully be able to buy more from you in the future! Don't let a few snotty punks bring you down Your Deft-X marvels people every time I bring it out to a crowded car show My favorite response- "What the hell is that?" I look forward to more of your work!
    No, I don't have enough flashlights! Do you have enough shoes?

  6. #6
    Flashaholic Parker VH's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    I for one appreciate ALL the work you do and for the sharing the end result/product with us. I don't have to crave every light you ever make in order to appreciate the level of effort involved in it's development. For instance, the Captor. I've always been a fan of maximum throwing lights whether they're HID, LED or whatever. I admit I wasn't real interested in the Captor at first, but the more I think about it the more I realize it could be a very useful light in everyday situations. Even though I don't own one, yet, I still realize the unbelievable amount of work it had to take to make this light do what it does.
    I also have been bitten by the photography bug in the past several years. While I've always had a camera, buying the right equipment is no small feat. While I'm primarily interested in wildlife photography, photography in general has always interested me. It's also kind of ironic how the more you get involved in photography the more you realize that light is probably the single most important aspect of taking a good photo, at least in my opinion. So you'll do just fine with your new endeavor as you obviously have a deep understanding of light and it's effects.
    Best wishes and I'll always be on the lookout for any of your new products.
    Bob
    Polarion PH50 & Night Reaper, AE Xenide 20w, POB 35W, SL Scorpion, SL-35X, POB 55W, Jet Beam Jet-1, DEFT HO, "X", & EDC LR, REV Victor Enthusiast, MULE 35/80W HID, Maxa Beam MBS-410.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    I'm still an amateur when it comes to photography and there is plenty to learn trust me, but having a nice camera to take along with you to family gatherings, hiking trips, parties, etc is an invaluable asset. I wish you all the luck Michael and I'm still in awe at my DEFT-X rated at almost 1.1mcd.
    Last edited by houser23; 11-21-2014 at 05:58 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Michael,

    I have had many phone conversations with you and found you very open, honest and genuine. Your ingenuity and creativity along with precision has resulted in remarkable achievements in the flashlight world!

    The TN31mb was the first modded light I ever got. I am grateful that mine was a left over after your run was done!! Resulting in 470Kcd with the updated[at the time] XPG2 S2! It is an awesome light with great run time and NEVER gets hot!

    It was nice to talk to you on the phone the other day and talk about your TN31mb successor! I believe it is called the "Valence"! I won't leak another info. about it!

    You have another talent Michael! Your photography skills are awesome. You are very creative and the photos are not something that I glance at, they have the ability to draw me in and totally examine the entire photo.

    I am not afraid to admit that I am too sensitive sometimes,,,,,I find that is because I care too much. I see that in you.

    I had a good friend tell me this. This is very hard to do all the time,,,,,heck even half the time.

    "TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE" He told me it is none of my business what others think of me as long as I am doing the right thing. :-)

    BEST OF LUCK TO YOU MICHAEL IN WHATEVER YOU DO.
    Last edited by Capolini; 11-22-2014 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Grammar

  9. #9
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    I never realised you were the one behind these lights. They always looked awesome, I just lack money for monster lights until I graduate. I've been very impressed with what I saw - people find it easier to trash things than build them. It took 5 seconds of just trying to swap an LED for me to realise how awesome you modders are. I hope photography brings you and your sister enjoyment and rewards so that you can enjoy other things again.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Hi Michael,

    We have been sending emails to each other for years since I sent you my TK70 for experiment up to the time I finally got one of your creations, the Deft X.

    People who has not owned something you worked on just simply don't know the difference.

    I have always known you as a very passionate person in everything you do. Mine is the opposite. I used to dabble with film photography years ago.

    Your photos are simply breath-taking, considering taken by a relative newcomer.

    Whatever you eventually decide for yourself, I wish you all the best.

    Regards,

    Your friend from the Far East

  11. #11

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Thanks all for the encouragement. I really wish I could say I wasn't affected by the snarkiness of some. I normally have a pretty thick skin. That said I have to say that getting that out there was amazingly cathartic. Wish I had done it sooner. I feel so invigorated now. My mind has come alive again with ideas. I feel much more focused and I really think this new direction of focusing on fewer but even crazier lights is the way to go. My goal for the next couple weeks is very ambitious. Keep your ears to the ground folks!

  12. #12

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    I really enjoyed reading your story. I can tell you are one great person and as far as the SNOBS out there, just hold your HEAD HIGH and as my aunt used to say "JUST LOOK AT THE SOURCE the criticism is coming from. I can only imaging what few talents if any that they may have. Just go with your heart it's very obvious your great person and that's getting harder and harder to find some one like that these days. My hats off to you for being able to be so honest and spill your heart out to all like that.
    Using Tapatalk

  13. #13

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Here a note of encouragement from someone who never even knew you existed until this weekend. My loss. As I read your post above, enjoy your photographs which exude honesty and feeling and as I read the replies from the others I know you are one of the good ones. I am a furniture/cabinetmaker by vocation and avocation. Never been rich from my labors but have learned to be satisfied with my own sense of accomplishment and true to the work - which frequently asks far more than I expected to give. I know that you understand. I realize I have a gift and enviable talent and you certainly do as well. We both know that it takes more than talent and passion to turn creativity and product into a living (in $ and ˘ terms). Few people really can appreciate the amount of time and effort, failure and retries involved in developing a successful (read - thoughtfully designed and professionally crafted) product. Fewer still can comprehend the intrinsic value let alone how much your product truly should cost. Even I can't always wrap my head around that equation.

    I stopped by your forum - drawn in by your amazing REV Captor. I don't know if I will have missed out but I will stay tuned in to this forum and your web site to see how you move forward. I wish you all the best. And yes please don't worry about the rest of us. Be true to yourself, your passion, your loves, your family and no other life will have more merit.

    Cheers from a new friend, Samlittle


  14. #14
    Flashaholic Fresh Light's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Works of art. Love my OMG lights, Saab. Keep up the good work and amazement.
    Lambda and other high power Lights

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Michael, your work is definitely appreciated by many of us. I can't remember how many of your various lights I have purchased. They are among my most amazing and fun lights. It is hard when you find yourself in debt over something that seemed so natural, but no matter how everything turns out, you will have learned lessons that will last you a lifetime. I will always hold you in the highest regard. I need to call you about fixing one of the LED lights that got dark when you get the chance (at my expense).

    Oh and those photos are magnificent!

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* caddylover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    long live the Deft-X!!!
    No, I don't have enough flashlights! Do you have enough shoes?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Hello Michael,

    As the first recipient of your Deft-X -- the beloved "Ol Defecto" -- and first purchaser of your Rev Captor, all I can say is that they are the most unique lights in my small arsenal. I love them and love the more neutral character of Ol Defecto after you modified it. Thank you so very much for that!

    I can also identify with the feelings one has performing your "life's work" and losing money doing it. As a computer builder and repair technician, I've watched the marketplace go in directions like tablets, which doesn't benefit me. Life goes on.

    I am also a photographer who specializes in large landscapes which I sell in a gallery here in Eureka. I really enjoyed what you presented here, though it is quite different from what I do. That is the beauty of photography! Here is my site:

    http://www.davevandemark.com

    All the best,
    Dave

  18. #18

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Hi. I have the Rev Captor. It's my fav light. I use it all the time, but it needs fixin. Is it possible to send it to you for repair? Sometimes the light doesn't turn on, sometimes it turns on then off again if i move the brightness level around a bit, sometimes it will fade to a low brightness on it's own, etc. It acts like there might be a loose connection when turning the ring that controls the brightness level. Seems that you might not be doing that type of work anymore but thought I would ask anyway. Thanks

  19. #19
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Dude good luck. A few different people have lights that need fixin and saablaster has left the show apparently. One guys light has been gone well over 3 years
    hunter, fisherman, flashlight enthusiast

  20. #20

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Yeah Michael has had my Deft-X since Sept. of 2016. I broke it by using the incorrect cells minutes after receiving it, so I've never even seen the beam. Looks like $1,000 down the drain unless he decides to make it right. I've pretty much lost all hope at this point.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Quote Originally Posted by wimmer21 View Post
    Yeah Michael has had my Deft-X since Sept. of 2016. I broke it by using the incorrect cells minutes after receiving it, so I've never even seen the beam. Looks like $1,000 down the drain unless he decides to make it right. I've pretty much lost all hope at this point.
    unreal..
    just unreal.....
    pisses me off for you wimmer.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Yeah that is just not acceptable one bit, Micheal is a cool dude but he needs to get his head out of his.... and settle up with everyone he owes.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    ok thanks. Anyone have an idea who could repair this light for a fee?...if no ideas I could ask fenixlight.com to see what they say.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Since 2016 ... Mod edit - profanity deleted
    Last edited by archimedes; 06-15-2019 at 09:44 AM. Reason: profanity removed
    TM36 Lite | Vish's ThruNite TN36UTVN | Olight S1-Cu Baton Raw Copper | Olight S1-Cu Baton Exclusive Raw SS Copper

  25. #25

    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    Quote Originally Posted by FLASHLIT View Post
    Hi. I have the Rev Captor. It's my fav light. I use it all the time, but it needs fixin. Is it possible to send it to you for repair? Sometimes the light doesn't turn on, sometimes it turns on then off again if i move the brightness level around a bit, sometimes it will fade to a low brightness on it's own, etc. It acts like there might be a loose connection when turning the ring that controls the brightness level. Seems that you might not be doing that type of work anymore but thought I would ask anyway. Thanks
    Have vinh take a look at it. He's modded some of my lights with excellent results.

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
    TM36 Lite | Vish's ThruNite TN36UTVN | Olight S1-Cu Baton Raw Copper | Olight S1-Cu Baton Exclusive Raw SS Copper

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Where is Saabluster and What Are You Doing?!!

    I think it has become pretty well apparent by now that Saabluster is not actively monitoring his forum, nor participating here on CPF.

    Leaving this thread open is, I think, counterproductive at this point.
    ... is the archimedes peak

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