Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 10, 2011.

Update #15

Closing in on the edge of the past

Friday night just became Saturday morning.

Here I am, editing video and text at 2:52 am.

ThePresent is on its way to becoming an American artifact.

For me, ThePresent you will receive is the hardcover version of a novel designed to help you write your own. 

Partnering with Rux Design in Long Island City just over the Pulaski Bridge was a key move in the complex sea of potential surrounding this concept. Your support has helped me work out the clearest vision of this time piece, thank you - what an adventure.

Most important to me is the reliability, weight and construction quality of ThePresent.

As with every film I've made I expect nothing but the most talented partners and the finest end product. That is the most important reason why I live in NY.  

Even though it feels like trying to do trampoline backflips with broken legs to have this clock made in the US, I will make it happen.

For the record: 

Bamboo is OUT - It does not grow ANYWHERE in the US, so forget it.

The back will be made of stamped STEEL - and there is a 95% chance there will be protective glass cover that can be removed and replaced at will..

Also for the record, Ceramic is a joke, and well actually - the entire manufacturing industry of America is a bad joke. 

I never imagined the embarrassment I've experienced trying make ThePresent happen here in states. I've had about a dozen US base companies that manufacture everything in Asia contact me mixed with about 30 companies from Asia who want to produce ThePresent directly.

Guess how many US manufacturing companies showed an interest in this product.

Zero

I have every reason to create ThePresent in Asia. 

I could make roughly six (6) times higher profit by having this made in China, even with glass and steel. If I make the entire bloody clock with plastic and acrylic as they suggest I would be pocketing a 60 - 75% outrageous profit.

But I refuse to be a part of the problem. 

Maybe the truth is that the future of manufacturing in the US is a myth - maybe what our responsibility is - is simply to create innovative ideas - but I can't sleep without knowing that I'm doing what I can to believe in the proficiency of my own nation to make a new idea real and available.  

The nature of this piece is global and therefore ageless and nationless; understandable only to human beings in general. But as an entrepreneur I still want the whole thing to be made at my house and I want to think that my house includes 50 states. Otherwise what is that flag for...?

Unfortunately, no one - no one - no one - not one single company or individual was prepared for the innovation of an annual clock in the entire United States of America. 

I’m ready to testify in a court of law that I contacted every single individual and company in the ENTIRE 50 states in a desperate search of an organization that could make 1000+ annual movements in a few months time. 

The only company on the Planet Earth that understood the project and jumped on it, has been making clocks since 1899 in the Black Forest of Germany. They were the only ones able to understand what we're trying to do to time. In fact, when I met with them in person they put in bluntly by saying - 

"we thought we were going to live the rest of our lives and die making standard clocks." 

It has inspired them beyond measure - you will see their faces because I plan on going to Germany to film the production of the worlds first annual movements- this isn't a joke and I havent' wasted a single second doing everything I can to make this entire experience unforgettable for myself and everyone involved.

Outside of the technicality of the annual movement which is an engineering leap that NO US COMPANY CAN HANDLE - I am forcing production in the US against every piece of advice because I believe that the more things we are able to produce in the US, the more reasonable the prices will become for the next US innovator. 

I was at an event last night and someone in the audience asked this question...

"what do you do with all the 'extra' money"

In the case of my clock, there is NO extra money and I'm using every penny to engineer and produce the initial batch of time pieces. There is no 'extra money' and everything I fortunately pulled in is being invested in making ThePresent a reality.

This ends my rant on ThePresent and the complexities of US manufacturing.

The following begins my rant on the state of the perceived speed of technology. I've just finished editing the piece you will see on my laptop & If you don't care about the speed of software, I get it - pass - if you do - read on.

At the moment I am profoundly frustrated at the lack of computing speed in my laptop. It's the latest model mac but right now, feels like it was released in 1992. 

I'm trying to review the piece attached here and I haven't been able to see it without it chopping and slowing to a crash. 

I hope you have a more serene viewing. it would comfort my soul to know that you watched this piece without choppiness.

I can't believe how slow the latest computers are - when I grab them by the shoulders and shove them, they slow to a crawl. Technology, where it stands, is always a disappointment to me - if you could snap a Polaroid of the capabilities of modern computers you'd be left shaking the photo for weeks trying to get it to develop at a rate that matches your expectations.

Our current access to technology is all but prehistoric. 

Maybe now, in 2012 we're for the first time slowly leaning into a place where technology might begin catching up but my state of the art laptop feels like a speak and spell tonight. 

I just tried to upload the finished version of this update which is 3GB+ but that's too big. 

So what that means,

is that I'll need to diminish the image resolution / color~audio quality / dynamic range by a magnitude of 1/18 of the original.

So what you'll see is a dramatically diminished version of what I've been working on.

I’ve just compressed it from 3,438 MegaBytes to 121 MegaBytes so it can be viewed. 

When it’s normal to share 3,438 MB files we will be at the first stop on the super highway of the future.

In the meantime, 

enjoy ThePresent.

Scott Thrift

scott@mssngpeces.com

2:52am EST ~ 03.10.12

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Comments

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      Creator URLology on March 20, 2012

      Scott,

      You're trying to create something that no one ever has before, so I'm not surprised you're finding it a challenge. But keep up the good work! I love getting your updates and find your passion and dedication truly inspiring.

      Randy

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      Creator Cristina Jane on March 19, 2012

      Thank you Scott!!!! Love the updates. I really feel like I am part of this process! Thank you for including us on this journey! Amazing!

      Cristina

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      Creator Barbara B Hinton on March 14, 2012

      Everything worth doing takes time. There's a place in my hometown that a guy spent 25 years building -- all by himself. Now that's vision. And you got it too. Keep a kickin'

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      Creator Kate Jones on March 14, 2012

      Fighting the present to make Thepresent ... dude this is better than you could've possibly imagined. I'm so happy I jumped on this bandwagon when I did. Deeply appreciative of these updates Scott ... Well done.

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      Creator Allan Hamilton on March 13, 2012

      Hang in there! It is rather amazing how absolutely all US manufacturing has been outsourced. Hopefully the companies approached by you will at least be embarrassed by their lack of capabilities and begin to think differently. We all feel your pain.

      As someone who has worked in the Swiss horological industry and a collector of timepieces this project is truly exciting. It doesn't surprise me that German clockmakers were the only people who understood the project. The fact that a German firm is working on the movement is a huge bonus for anyone who is a collector.

      A project that is about "time" should take time. The average project lifecycle for a quality timepiece takes roughly 3 years because they want to get it right. The setbacks make the story and success in the end that much more compelling.

      Thanks for sharing the good news and not hiding the bad.

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      Creator Anand Ganesh on March 13, 2012

      Awesome update! Thanks for believing.

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      Creator Gus on March 11, 2012

      Scott, you are doing a marvelous job. Your updates are fantastic -- well thought out and produced, sincere and informative -- I so look forward to receiving. For this latest update, I had no problems or issues viewing. As with all of our updates, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
      For The Present itself, I applaud your tenacity in getting it "right" and following your vision as meticulously as you are doing. No worries on my end -- take your time and get it "right". You'll be the best judge for when that occurs.
      Thank you for your passion in The Present. The wait will be well worth it!
      R. Causey.

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      Creator Jesse M. Pearson on March 10, 2012

      I watched this piece without choppiness. Without crashiness. Without interruption. And it made as excited as ever for the project. Your dedication to not only fulfilling the promise of this project, but also in delivering regular, well-produced updates is something by which others should be judged. You're doing a fantastic job, and these updates segment the waiting period into smaller chunks. It gives us something tangible to look forward to, while we await the final product.

      Thank you for the dedication to your backers, I think we all appreciate it.

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      Creator Thomas Loisel on March 10, 2012

      How is it that the Swiss took materials which they could not produce from their domestic resources and become the world-leader in timepieces?

      How can newer technologies enable manufacturing on a smaller scale, such as CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing... glass blowing is not a dead art in America, and making the cover and the face in this way may be an option. Pressing the back out of aluminum or steel can't be that complicated. The problem is building a smaller item on a smaller scale, as opposed to building trucks en masse.

      For a circular item such as The Present, spin casting seems like it would be the obvious choice, allowing you to work in metal, ceramic, glass and plastic.

      If the movement is the biggest problem, be expeditious, throw in the towel, resolve to create a second generation using domestic manufacturing. I thought the problem with the movement was resolved by the custom microchip... maybe it's time to envision another way to translate the timing impulse into physical movement? Because the amount of movement is so small and subtle, perhaps the piezoelectric quartz crystal vibration could move the hand directly?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piezoelectric_motor

      Cheers from Atlanta

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      Creator Greg on March 10, 2012

      Scott, thank you for the update. This is obviously a huge undertaking and I'm glad you're taking as much care as you are to get it done right. Asia may be cheaper to produce in, but the talent for clock making resides in Germany and Switzerland, this is evident in the responses you've got from different companies. The companies in Asia may just view this as a contract while the people you've spoke with in Germany "get" what you're trying to do. I am so glad you're going with them. It seems things are really starting to sync up and come together and I'm excited for future updates.

      Cheers from Cascadia

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      Creator Brian Simmons on March 10, 2012

      Scott,

      It's a testament to "The Present" and your film-making skills that when I remarked on seeing the moon reach full this week I also thought to myself "I wonder what Scott has in store for this update?"

      Your frustration about the state of the manufacturing industry in America, let alone the rest of North America, is compelling to read in your update. As you now know, the barrier to be able to honestly stamp "Made in America" is presently higher than many people realize. Perhaps you can help change that.

      It's telling of your character that, faced with the such an overwhelming challenge to make "The Present" entirely in America, the difficulty has only served to steel your resolve. Far wiser minds than mine could tell you why a country with a population of over 300 million, with such easy access to every imaginable natural resource has lost its way so completely. Some will blame "Globalization" and the consumer based economy that has been pushed above a production based one. Isn't it odd that the two countries that America was instrumental in reshaping, partially in its own image after the second world war, Germany and Japan, are probably the only two countries in the world where "The Present" could have very easily been designed, its raw materials locally sourced, and then mass produced to your specifications of quality?

      It's probably already on your mind, but if it isn't, perhaps you should consider another project, a film project, after "The Present", that you have already started collecting material for. You could call it "The Present: State of Manufacturing in America" and document the frustrating process you are in now. Tell the tale of the loss of manufacturing in America. In many respects, it would be like telling the fable of Faust.

      Look at why manufacturing giants like GE, that are supposedly making American products, really aren't, and why they pay no taxes as they ship their profits overseas using despicable dodges as "the Double Irish" or "the Dutch Sandwich". You could ask the question, as a film-maker, artist, small business owner and attempting manufacturer: what happened to the time in America when profits were invested back into a company and its employees?

      And then you can contrast all of that by looking at manufacturing in Germany, Japan, and even China to see what they are doing right to be what America once was: the life giving heart of the world's economy and the center for every innovation and creation industry.

      Or something like that.

      Anyhow, as someone who has spent enough time in Germany to love and respect its people and culture, I envy you your coming trip to the Schwarzwald region. In many ways, Germany is now what America used to be. A self reliant country and people who know the value of those things and may yet be able to teach them back to America before it's too late.

      Good luck!

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      Creator Bert JW Regeer on March 10, 2012

      You should make the first part of this public. Send it to newspapers and the like. It clearly shows that that the US is just incapable of doing manufacturing.

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      Creator Kelli Russell Agodon on March 10, 2012

      Thanks for the update! I'm charmed by ping pong players behind you during your practice speech. Continued success to you!

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      Creator Robert Keefer on March 10, 2012

      You have no idea how much I appreciate your drive to get this right. Thank you. I am waiting expectantly, but patiently. Again, thanks.

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      Creator Daniella Jaeger on March 10, 2012

      Really nice video, keep up the good work! Much luck!

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      Creator Esteban Sardera on March 10, 2012

      Just when I was worried things were stalled, I was wrong. I guess I was just too eager to follow 2012 with my Present! Sounds like you're exploring a ton of options.

      I admire the hard work and the determination to try and make it in the US. Sometimes we need tough love though. If the Chinese are flexible enough to just "make it happen" then they deserve your business IMHO as much as I hate to see that happen. I would stay away from Acrylic too so thanks for that.

      One other thought - have you considered anti-glare glass? I know they have it for picture frames but not sure if they can do it for the Present.

      Cheers

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      Creator Michael Müller-Hillebrand on March 10, 2012

      It sounds a bit like Thomas L. Friedman’s »The World is Flat«… I feel sorry for the problems the U.S. have with globalization. Part of it is true in Europe as well (the »old world«) but apparently not to the same extent. When you visit the Black Forest you easily make a trip to nearby Switzerland, both regions are the historic source of watch/clockmaking. Welcome!
      Scott, if you do manufacture ThePresent in Europe, let them handle the shipping as well… (at least for me and other supporters from Germany/Europe it would be quicker/cheaper/safer). Thanks!

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      Creator Geoffrey Hamill on March 10, 2012

      Scott: I admire your determination to really make a difference in how we perceive, feel and touch time! To bring an entirely new concept to reality will be frustrating, difficult, overwhelming and at times seem impossible- but stick with it. Your backers are in and committed to your vision however long it takes to become real.

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      Creator julien mudry on March 10, 2012

      Scott: There's a Swiss watchmaker whose work might interest you. His name is Beat Haldimann and his latest creation is a complicated mechanical watch but with the glass completely black and non transparent. This means that you can't use the watch to give you the time, you can only hear and feel the time passing by.

      I have a feeling that both you and Beat Haldimann are on the same "trend": giving the public a new way to apprehend time.

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      Creator Bret Gladfelty on March 10, 2012

      Welcome to the realities of doing business in the U.S., I wonder if this is making your more "conservative" on your overall principals, in that, you want to go with the place the makes the ThePresent the most efficiently. (Thus, forcing you to make ThePresent in China.) It's quiet definetly the trade off of labor laws that I believe makes the U.S. hard to be competitive. Overall, I think you're on the right track but I believe that ThePresent is just the beginning of your career!

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      Creator Tim Yarham on March 10, 2012

      Thanks for the update, take as much time as you need to make this work. It is your vision, after all, we're just privileged to share in it.

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