In this post I’m going to address questions, both asked directly and implied, about my role in bringing the Adventure 40 to reality.
Q: I thought this was a crowd-source design where the boat will be based on everyone’s input in the comments. But you seem very dictatorial. What’s going on?
A: I am listening to and, where I think it appropriate, incorporating ideas from other sailors, designers, engineers, boat builders and the comments. But this is not, and will not become, a crowd-source design. I’m not trying to come up with a boat that will be all things to all people.
Q: How can I get my ideas and desires incorporated into the Adventure 40?
A: Make comments to the relevant post, so that everyone can benefit. But, please don’t be hurt if your pet idea, no matter how good, does not make it into the final specification.
Building something really elegant is, in the words of Steve Jobs, a lot more about deciding what to leave out than what to leave in. Remember how everyone told Jobs that the Blackberry would eat his lunch because the iPhone had no keyboard?
Q: But don’t you want to sell a bunch of Adventure 40s?
A: I did not start this to sell boats or make money. I want to be part of creating a boat that will be an incredible value and thereby get more and new people out there voyaging and enjoying one of the most challenging and satisfying lifestyles possible—the one I have been blessed with.
I have very clear vision about what kind of boat will best meet that goal. But if the market does not agree, and not enough people sign up to make the boat viable, I am not going to modify the boat to pander to the market’s desires. Doing that would lead to just another lightly built, poor sailing, overly complicated, uncomfortable offshore, slow, floating condo. I want no part of that. And if that’s what’s required to sell the boat, I will turn my energies to something else without looking back or shedding a tear.
Q: What in heaven’s name makes you think that you can succeed with a new boat, when established boat builders with years of experience are going bankrupt left and right? And furthermore, you want to do this with a boat without a condo interior like those that sell well. What are you, nuts?
A: Maybe. But maybe not. I have a couple of advantages over a boat builder:
- I can reach huge numbers of potential buyers at very low cost through this web site.
- I seem to have managed to motivate a bunch of really smart people to donate tens of thousands of dollars worth of expertise both through the comments and directly.
- I have at least some credibility with the market as a result of my years of offshore sailing and writing about it.
Q: I want to get involved in making the Adventure 40 real, I’m even willing to put up some money. What would you like me to do first?
A: That’s up to you. Understand that I have no interest in managing the business aspects of, or the people involved in, a company building the Adventure 40. I have already had a 30-year career as a small business entrepreneur—been there, done that.
This winter and spring, I will finish posts on the specification for the boat and the remaining business issues, as I see them.
After that, I hope that you, and people like you, will take what we have created, including the list of sales prospects we already have, and build a boat from there.
Send me an email outlining what you feel you have to contribute and I will put you in touch with like minded people, of which there are already several.
Q: Does that mean you are bailing out on the Adventure 40?
A: Not a bit of it. I’m willing and eager to:
- Be the chairman of the Cabinet.
- Test sail the prototype aggressively—should be a gas.
- Write about and photograph the project as it unfolds, which will be the best way to get more people signing-up.
- Continue to market (but not sell) the boat throughout its life by writing about it.
Q: What’s to stop a builder just stealing your idea and all the stuff in the related posts and cutting you out?
A: Not a thing, other than losing the benefits listed above, including access to the sign-up list. But how many boats do you think they are going to sell without Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd’s involvement in the marketing?
Q: How can you make sure a builder does not take the Adventure 40 name and then build a junk boat?
A: I can’t. But if I think the project is going wrong, I will bail and that, I think, will be a powerful deterrent.
Q: Does that mean you and AAC are taking responsibility for making sure the Adventure 40 meets the goals and specifications laid out here?
A: Are you nuts? No way. I will try my best, but part of my deal with the builder will be that every buyer signs a waiver absolving me and Attainable Adventure Cruising Ltd of any liability for anything that happens with the Adventure 40. I can’t take responsibility when I don’t have control or revenue.
Q: I think you should approach boat builder XYZ about building the Adventure 40.
A: A builder needs to find us. The way I phrased that last sentence is no accident. Many people have suggested that I need to approach this or that established boat builder about the Adventure 40. But one thing I learned in some 30 years in the high tech industry is that legacy companies very rarely, if ever, build new and innovative products or “get” new business models. And I have better things to do with my time than try to convince established boat builders that the way they have done business for the past umpteen years won’t work for the Adventure 40.
The person(s)—I hope it will be one, or a few, entrepreneurs—who eventually build the Adventure 40 will be people that come to us because they just simply get it, without convincing from me. And we have a pretty big bunch of carrots to help that person find us: a potentially very profitable defined business model, a pool of ready-to-buy customers, and the chance to do something great.
Having said that, of course I could be wrong about the builder you’ve suggested, so if you would like to approach them about the Adventure 40 concept, please go right ahead. Then, if they show genuine interest, I will be happy to discuss it with them.
Q: OK, what are you getting out of this, there must be something?
A: Believe it or not, I did not start this with any plan for making money. The idea sprang from my concern about how difficult it is for people to find a good offshore voyaging boat, ready to go, at a reasonable price.
Having said that, if the whole thing comes together, I would expect to receive a fee from the builder for my time during the prototype phase and then a modest per-boat royalty that would cover the ongoing marketing discussed above—seems fair to me.
Q: You keep mentioning Steve Jobs. What are you, some kind of Apple groupie?
A: Yes, I am. I became an Apple dealer way back in 1980. In 1984 I saw the Macintosh and believed. And I sold a bunch of them. Jobs’ vision and brilliance is a part of why I can cruise today. I also just read his biography, a must read for anyone trying to develop anything and make it “insanely great”.
Q: After reading this, I have come to the conclusion that you are an arrogant, opinionated, know-all, son-of-a-bitch. What do you say to that?
A: Ah heck, you found me out. But you are wrong about one thing: I’m not a know-all. As the founder and CEO of a successful high-tech business, albeit a very small one, I quickly learned that while I’m reasonably good at the “vision thing”, there are a huge number of things I don’t know. And I’m pretty good at asking for advice and sifting the wheat from the trash in what I get back.
- If I missed anything out, which you are curious about, please ask a question in the comments, I will do my best to answer it frankly.
- If you think I’m mistaken about any of the above positions, please make a well reasoned case for how I could improve, I’m always willing to learn.
- If you want to rant and rave about the unreasonableness of my positions, don’t bother because I will just delete your comment.
Make The Adventure 40 Real
One More Thing
Happy Valentines Day. I hope you are as fortunate with your Valentine as I am with mine.