Jon Alling
Apr 15, 2016 · 3 min read

About a month ago, I left my day job to pursue a side project full time.

For those that don’t know me, I have been an engineer and consumer product designer for over 15 years. I’ve only worked for two companies since college. I have a house and a family including a three month old daughter. And although I may be known as a person who carves his own path, I’m certainly not a person who typically self-inflicts this kind of change. But the question of “What If” has been on my mind for quite a while now.


What if I spent more time on my side projects, could I make them a success?

What if they wouldn’t let me support my family?


What if I ran my own business, would I be happier?

What if I wasn’t entrepreneur material?


What if I regret missing out on time with my daughters as they grow up?

What if I leave behind a career but can’t ever break back in?


In complete contrast, I spent my day job pushing engineers, designers, and product managers to break through barriers, to question, and most of all to experiment. Why should the question of “What If” be so debilitating outside of the comfort of the day job? What was so different?

It’s obvious… I was playing someone else’s hand. There was just about zero risk and it was easy by comparison. So on the morning of that fateful day when I gave notice of my resignation, I invested in myself. I took on 100% of the risk.

In The Business Of “What If”

There is only one way to answer “What If”, and there is only one way to reduce risk… to learn. In other words, you need to see, to do, to make, to try, to experience. So today I am officially launching Human | Crafted, a product design business guided by that principle.

We will be making and testing products that try to make our lives better, one tiny bit at a time. Everything we make will be an experiment. No assumptions taken for granted. No guaranteed successes, only guaranteed learning. And we will try to pass on as much of that learning as we can through the process.

We will also be selectively helping other businesses learn fast, and reduce risk in the development of their own better products or services. We will use the same maker mentality to rapidly experiment and dig for real customer value. The kind of value that builds stories and markets itself.

Leaving the comfort of my day job to start something new may have been the end of a few “What If’s”, but what I am about to start is the beginning of a life long pursuit in answering that question over and over again. Here we go!


If you are interested in following along you can find Human | Crafted on instagram or learn more on my twitter account, and I’ll be documenting more stories here on medium. If you want to talk about how your business can learn faster and reduce risk with a makers mentality, email me. And as always, recommend, share, or comment on this post if you can relate.

Human | Crafted

Stories, ideas, and other writings from the team at Human | Crafted

Jon Alling

Written by

Engineer… Product Designer… Founder Human | Crafted.

Human | Crafted

Stories, ideas, and other writings from the team at Human | Crafted

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