I’ve been musing on creating and recognizing opportunities:

I think one of my biggest missed opportunities to date was, not setting up my online store to sell breadboard sweatshirts fast enough, when I first decided to make them. Within a week of first making the sweatshirt, I had got as far as making a paypal seller’s account and created a breadboard sweatshirt item, and was shopping for cheap wholesale sweatshirt manufactrers. Still, I didn’t move fast enough — Then I got arrested for wearing it

Imagine a world where I’d been taking orders when the news broke..

breadboard sweatshirt



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6 responses to “Opportunities

  1. I’m sure the sales would have been impressive. And even better, those of us savvy enough to have already owned them could have worn ’em to flash-mob protests of your arrest. :) I’m sure you could still sell some of the sweatshirt-breadboards… it’s a small — though noteworthy — bit of modern U.S. history now.

  2. NB

    Hi Star! I’m afraid I have to disagree with johan, above. Two things would have happened:

    1) You would not have sold any after you demonstrated that wearing them is an occupational hazard;

    2) You would have completely lost public sympathy by opening yourself up to accusations of cynically exploiting Boston’s feelings of insecurity (see also: Mooninites) to further your own business goals, making your ordeal come across as a publicity stunt.

    Daytime TV is filled with an endless parade of people who do dangerous things in order to hawk their wares (which often happens to be themselves, as celebrities). I think the public has become way too cynical to appreciate the nuances of your or any story, always happy to judge quickly and not look back; the initial responses of both the print media and the “authorities” prove as much.

    • boranj

      Wow, Niels! I didn’t realize you were so fundamentally misinformed about the goals of the breadboard sweatshirt project.

      The goal was to sell breadboard sweatshirts from the start, to improve electronics literacy in the general public (via making circuits publicly accessible, readable, and editable)

      also “You would not have sold any after you demonstrated that wearing them is an occupational hazard;” It’s not.

      • NB

        Your goals, as always, are laudable. However, my comments were about my impression on the likelihood of attaining them.

        If the following had happened in chronological order:
        – you started selling breadboard sweaters online;
        – you were arrested for wearing one of them in the airport;
        the accusation that you sought for the latter to happen as a publicity stunt to support the former would be easy to make and difficult to disprove.

        Your emphasis on “from the start” doesn’t change the above.

        Maybe I’m being too cynical here, but your “What if?” scenario would not have worked out well in my imagination.

        You got arrested essentially for wearing one of them, how is that not an occupational hazard?

        Maybe my misunderstanding is regarding motives after all. The above is applicable if one is interested in moving product. My hidden assumption was that you sought to obtain your goals primarily by selling breadboard clothing items (with mentioning the Paypal account and all). Opportunities as an entrepreneur need a different approach from opportunities as an artist.

        As usual, I’m not expressing myself well, I feel.

  3. boranj

    I’d say Johan’s comment is more on the mark. I was arrested and charged with possession of a hoax device. That (stupid, groundless) claim by the Boston police is even weaker when you can find that I was making them as part of an electronics literacy project. Having the article on sale may even have affected the Boston Police dept.’s active decision to create a media frenzy type event & sell the story (make no mistake, $$ was made, for them, not for me!).

    Keep in mind that you’re straight-up predicting the future, which you’ll never know and neither will I, but one way or another the opportunity was missed.

    I don’t understand what you mean by “opportunities as an artist”, and yes my goal was to improve electronics literacy by spreading (selling) breadboard sweatshirts, giving people a platform to socially wear & share circuits. You can’t know how many people got wildly excited and told me to sell them (pre-arrest). Also, as an aside, I’d like to point out that I never claimed to be wearing “art” (another popular misconception) — that was entirely fabricated by the police.

  4. NB


    You’re right!

    I meant “situational hazard,” not “occupational hazard.”

    Worse, I ascribed you motives that I had not heard from you directly but deducted from media and online reports about the incident. And they were obviously wrong, and I knew that, and I apologise.