First, I am proud to announce I am now a two-time uncle. Last weekend I met my nephew for the first time. He is a chill one, a lot of smiles, funny faces, and hardly any crying the whole weekend. For all of you who write requesting a double stroller, yes, point taken, the need is now within the family!
While I was visiting Colorado, we took my niece to gymnastics class, and on the way home we stopped at a scenic overlook to enjoy part of the beautiful day outdoors. That turned into a game of rock jumping with assistance from Dad and Uncle. One thing I notice about my niece: when she jumps, she’s all in. She jumps from ledges into dad’s arms, from the bed headboard onto a stack of pillows, from the half wall onto the sofa, and she does it all with commitment. When she goes, she goes!
It’s the same at JogAlong: we’re all in, even if we don’t have snazzy gymnastics outfits! We’re working hard to move things along as fast as possible. My timeline shows we should have completed new videos last month with the updated prototype, but unfortunately, we hit a snag. It shipped a few weeks after I left Asia earlier this fall. Everything looked good when I took it out of the box. But as soon as I pulled on the brake levers, I heard snaps. Some of the 3D-printed prototype material wasn’t strong enough to hold glued-in inserts gripping the cables. In production this won’t be a problem, as molded-in inserts are very strong, but its hard to replicate that with 3D-printed parts. It’s disappointing that the new video is delayed until I get some items fixed. But we are, however, pushing forward in other areas.
Something else happened while visiting: my niece made an unprompted request to do another race in the stroller. She asked my brother before I arrived and followed up with an in-person request. It’s amazing the impact of one event. As many of you already know, kids love to be outside in a jogging stroller. It’s one of the reasons I love working on the JogAlong. Seeing Coco’s excitement about it more than makes up for the broken parts, the stress of trying to keep bills paid, and the work it takes to keep everything going.
Years ago when the reciprocating arm idea was first hatched, the initial plan was to license it to another company. As part of that process, I asked for a review from what was then the Walmart Innovation Network. We received a promising score, and my niece’s request reminded me of this comment the director gave us in the report:
“I have not seen a stroller better suited for use by a dedicated runner. It should be easier and more natural to use. Therefore, it is likely that runners will use the stroller more frequently and perhaps for longer periods of time. This could have an additional health benefit as it might imprint the importance of exercise on the child. Children often imitate their caregivers and form many of their attitudes fairly early in life.”
-Gerald G. Udell Ph.D. Executive Director, WIN Innovation Institute
As fast as I gained good uncle points that weekend playing, assisting in rock jumping, and almost making eggs to her liking, I lost them when on the way home my brother called me and said Coco asked why Uncle Mike didn’t take her on another race with the stroller. Hanging head, shoulders slumped, long sigh….what a disappointment! It breaks my heart. In my defense, we knew it was going to be a short trip, arriving Friday evening and leaving Sunday, so Saturday would have been the day. However, after gymnastics, a stop at Marigolds, someone’s favorite bakery after gymnastics, and rock jumping, a long nap came a-calling. I asked my brother if we should wake her up to do the “race” around the neighborhood, but you can guess what the answer was. Next time, I promise!
We know everyone’s time is overbooked this season with travel, work, concerts, programs, finals, and family gatherings, not to mention your email blowing up with ads from every company known to humankind. So unless some big news breaks, we will see you again in January.
Thank you for your continued support.