For all those people who’ve been asking The Boss: “Is the blog coming back?”
YES, the blog is coming back.
While it takes more work than I expected (and waaaaay more than I’m willing to admit) I’m going to try to keep this train going in 2019…
How did it go in 2018?
I think it went pretty darn well!
I was surprised how many people in the Greenville community kept up with the blog (not just Corbin’s Mom, but people from outside the Robowrangler family). It was great to give folks from our town some perspective on the challenges the students of Greenville were working to overcome.
Many people in the FRC world seems to enjoy their glimpse into the House of Black and our unique process. If this blog is how the Robowranglers finally show people “no, really… we’re just a bunch of goofballs building really evil looking robots” then it’s worth continuing.
The blog enables me to popularize inside jokes which only I think are funny like “Turkish Delight”, “The Boss” and “House of Black” to turn them into commonly used terms within the FRC community. I (obviously) like this.
This blog enables me to do all kinds of trolling. I’m really enjoying that.
The team has received a ton of engagement from the robotics world. More people than ever have reached out to us to talk and collaborate. We’re extremely happy with this.
It was a good method of documenting our process. The blog has been a wonderful way to “look back” as we did our 2019 team planning.
The blog has helped me understand our process better. As I struggle to put it into words for posts, or to answer emailed questions… I end up thinking about why we do some of the things we do. This has spurred long discussions within the team about how our methods are very organic, and how maybe even we don’t fully understand our approach. I think it is GREAT that we’ve been taking the time to better understand these subtle aspects of our process. Or at least understand them well enough that we can reply to an email in a (mostly) intelligent way.
The blog is turning into a Robowrangler reference tool. “Has everyone reviewed the official rules of dodgeball as posted on the JVN blog?” I can imagine the potential for this going forward. I have all kinds of ridiculous aspirations. An entire section dedicated to 148 memes. A glossary of common 148 terms. Documentation on our past robots. (My ambition is definitely beyond our ability to actually delivery…)
We Won. I’m not hugely superstitious… but I’m definitely superstitious enough for: “let’s do everything again, and see if we can get the same result.”
It seems like our message is getting out there. Not just the memes, but some of the values and aspects of our team. (Although I need to emphasize again: the memes ARE an important part of our values driven process). I’m happy to see it resonate with people.
I did have a few Robowrangler students thank me for putting in the effort. One of the reasons I did this, was so that I’d have something to look back on a few years from now when I’m trying to remember “What it was like” in 2018. Thanks for the memories, kiddos…
Side Note: As part of writing this post, I just re-read the Championship Recap post, and there were a bunch of things I’d forgotten about. I guess this really DOES work.
The not-so-good? Reasons for CHANGE?:
2019 is a new team, and it is a very different team. We had a smaller than usual group of students in 2018, and graduated some of the best and most meme-filled kids we’ve ever had. (I’m picturing you in my head, Carlos). This year I think we have 22 rookies on a team of about 35. I still only know maybe half of their names… (I’ll get there).
We lost a few GREAT mentors. I don’t even know how to express the “Well… crap. I really liked building robots with you” feelings. I also don’t enjoy the “Well… crap. Who is going to do that thing you always just handled which I never even think about?” feelings.
In particular, I managed to get by in 2018 without doing any real design work. That probably won’t be true in 2019. (Blogging… I’ll always treasure our time together and think of you as a friend, but my true love CAD is asking me to come back. I don’t think I have room for both of you in my life.)
I’ve become a bit more busy at work during the last few months due to some new job responsibilities. It should make the FRC season interesting to be sure. (This is one of the reasons my email response time has been particular terrible. I PROMISE I’ll always respond, but no promises on when…)
Texas Districts! (I mean… “Texas-plus-NewMexico-But-Not-You-Oklahoma” Districts!) While we have a few mentors who have competed in Districts before, most of us have no idea what change this is going to bring. Do I really want to give everyone a glimpse inside the team as we blindly figure out what the heck we’re doing?
Greenville District Event! - The Robowranglers are proud that Greenville ISD is providing the facility for a District Event this season. While the Robowranglers decided NOT to compete at this district, and I don’t know exactly how much we’re involved in running/organizing the event (that’s The Boss’ area of responsibility) I’m sure it will spread us a bit more thin than usual this year…
I need to get better at this…
I’ve been criticized for my inability to “keep it short”. (Yes, I am humiliated by the length of the Championship recap… but I love every. single. part. of it),
I’m reminded of the quote attributed to Mark Twain:
“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Maybe I should reconsider my delivery? Should I get with the times and do more modern styled content? “Smash that subscribe button!…”
I’m also reminded of an even older quote… “Brevity is the soul of wit.” - Shakespeare
Are we doing this thing, or what?
Yeah, we’re doing this thing.
I’m sure the blog is going to evolve, but I don’t know how. Like everything from the House of Black, it will happen organically, slowly, and totally outside my control.
BIG Thanks to my dozen readers for keeping up with this so far. I appreciate the fact that you’re giving me some of your time, and I promise I’ll try to keep it interesting. If you have any suggestions or requests, shoot me a message. Otherwise… on to 2019.
This is Fine.