AJ’s American Garage — The Ghost Door

YCombinator HackerNews Apply Fellowship Entry

This is the landing for my entry to the YCombinator open call for entries to be judged and engaged for constructive purposes by the HackerNews community. Below you’ll find three (3) things: My personal introduction video overview, a Project Management timeline estimate graphic, and a basic transcript of the video. Here we go!

Hello, my name is AJ and this is my garage. This personal video is to give an overview of the first invention which composes the foundation of AJ’s American Garage. As you can see by me standing in my garage, part of the name is literal. There is also a metaphorical component.

Some of the greatest cultural strengths I’ve discovered in the United States are the determination, creativity, and willingness to take risks to innovate. One of my biggest inspirations are the Wright Brothers, who history recognizes as the first in flight — a couple of bicycle mechanics from North Carolina. Very cool. While Silicon Valley and Venture Capital are the modern hot-beds, small-businesses that grow into large businesses is a tradition; the goal is to be successful.

The metaphor of the American Garage is that this company is a diversified products entity. First and foremost is a primary invention — in the process of being patented as of this writing — intended for US and global markets and will be described briefly later.

A second component is creating a ‘learning and discovery’ media program series to operate in conjunction with the setup, growth, and progress reporting of the garage facility and early stages. Much more serious than a “vlog” but not so open as to disclose industry secrets (building in lag-time for episodes a potential as well). Partnership with one or more media distribution platforms for revenue stream is ideal, but educational and entertaining are driving principles of the program idea.

The third component is creating an actual creative facility — at first, within the garage itself, wired into a type of studio to generate content while work is being done. Later, once the needs of the business exceed personal garage capacity, a facility in a commercial space: a hybrid of computer resources, classrooms and meeting rooms, and “maker-space” type tools all under one large roof. This would also be wired as a type of studio. Preferably located in a low-income area of Dallas which is incentivized for development and could be a community participant.

I bet you’re curious about the first invention, right? Okay!

I call it The Ghost Door. It is a device to open and close various types of hinged doors and latch them closed using undisclosed sensor systems. I have the drawings and design ready to begin prototyping, and by dedicating myself full-time to learning and implementing small time tech like Arduino/Pi/etc materials, it’s about working to bring an idea to functional concept. It helps to have a programming background of sorts, and the skills to research the right guides to do small time electronics work like soldering and working through issues. I can totally build this thing in my garage if I had the time and money, at least to the point of working with some engineers to optimize it for mass production.

What’s great about the product from an investment and revenue standpoint is that it works in both “retro-fit” and “brand new” applications. It should be able to be mounted and used on interior doors for the mobility impaired or for convenience.

In conjunction with manufacturers, the design and technology can also be incorporated into industrial / commercial / medical door applications as a competitor to existing products. As of now, it’s not quite an ‘internet of things’ device — thinking of security here — but the potential to be such a device is built-in to the concept’s scope. The device has one primary goal: To open and close doors in a novel manner that will be a profitable product.

Look, I’ll be honest, I have like at least two more really viable, patent friendly invention ideas that I want to bring to market. The conditions of this contest are really simple — $20 grand, prototype, work full-time. From what I understand about my full-time employer, I can hopefully take an unpaid “leave of absence” to participate in the Fellowship and not risk losing my gig that covers the mortgage, my healthcare, and basic lifestyle needs. I’m not a baller, I don’t have a giant savings account to fall back on, but I’m ambitious and would be serious about getting the first product to be successful because that would enable more time doing this type of thing. It’s the perfect kind of incentive to fuel determination to give one honest to goodness attempt at something that could change the course of my career.

As great as it is to have ideas, it takes a lot of effort and collaboration to make anything genuine happen. On that note, I do have several very intelligent, tech savvy friends and acquaintances that I’ve discussed certain projects with in the past. The subject of paying them as consultants on projects has come up and I do have smart people to work with during the process. I’m proud to be able to say they will take my phone calls and take me seriously.

This is an opportunity to create a large business enterprise from a very small origin and with a very wide scope of revenue potential — and this is simply the first project. Pending a good outlook, I understand the basic infrastructure it takes to run a small company, having worked for several first-hand. I’d hire people to manage the things that need to be managed. 
Things move much faster in modern development and commerce than ever. Information, tutorials, and they are out there and often free. If there’s one company that can potentially navigate and exploit the available resources and small capital influx at this time in history, then it’s the most lean and bootstrappy type of startup of all:

Some guy in his garage.

Thanks for watching and for your consideration. May the best entries get a lot of constructive and nice feedback. I look forward to participating in the community exchanges!