You know you want to.
The etotheipiplusone.net tips jar is not intended to be a source of personal income, the only source of funding for a project, or a moral obligation for readers and people who reference material from the site. It is available as a physical token of appreciation by you if you have found the content interesting, useful, or are supportive of individual engineering intiatives… or weird things. Donations will strictly be reserved for supplementary funds for project use – you’ll just have to take my word for it. The Charles Z. Guan Epic Build Project and Engineering Foundation is not a real, registered nonprofit organization. Its sole beneficiary, as of now, is me. Those are the terms.
But who knows – maybe decades down the line, MIT will have a Charles Z. Guan Epic Build Project and Engineering Scholarship Foundation or something. That would be badass.
It was a nontrivial argument to make with myself, as I generally believe that to the best of given circumstances and abilities, one shouldn’t be dependent on others for resources. I try to fund my explorations and projects with funds that I earn in one way or another (props to the UROP program at MIT) and to keep living expenses separate from diddling expenses. This isn’t to say that I have been particularly energetic in pursuing opportunities, or have been successful 100% of the time at not mixing cost objects, but it’s a goal I keep in mind.
That said, parts are expensive and there are limits to the degree that I want to compromise the goals of a project to fit it under a projected budget. After a certain amount of reduction, it is my opinion that the project becomes no longer worthwhile, since it would be engineered for its own sake, not to explore something or add to my skillset and knowledge. Again, it’s another desired outcome of mine when it comes to building things.
Etotheipiplusone.net has grown to being a sort of knowledge base – for both myself and others. Multiple projects have been documented literally from beginning to end (or do they ever end?), with explanation and exposition interspersed with technical references. It is, to my dismay (as I would LOVE to see more engineers and DIY builders document their work thoroughly), one of the few places on the internet to do so. This is the reason why I’ve began to index the content that I keep referring to, or other builders and makers ask me about.
I like to draw an analogy to open source software and hardware, the vast majority of which is supported by the user community’s contributions, whether by manpower or cold hard cash. Since I do log just about every aspect of what I build from start to finish, they practically are open source. Anyone is welcome to run off with something they read about on this site and do something crazy with it – and I encourage it, because LOLrioKart needs a racing opponent.
You’re at MIT – aren’t you supposed to be all entrepreneurial and all that?
It’s most definitely true that MIT maintains one of the world’s best business schools. It shows through the amount of startups and companies that emerge in the area each year, and the number of entrepreneurship competitions on campus. Some of my peers have already taken the initiative to form companies based on their ideas. While I have no immediate plans to become a proprietor, it’s something that is constantly entering my thoughts. There are no excuses I will make if you ask me why I haven’t started selling RazEr type scooters, even though I’ve been pressured to. I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
Meanwhile, I’m here, building and hacking away, to make sure that at least I have a marketable set of skills and knowledge backgrounds should I decide to get a normal job or something like that in the years coming.
Aren’t you just begging for money? Didn’t you just say you hate begging for money?
I certainly hope that opening up a donations box doesn’t constitute “begging for money”. As I explained, it’s not my intention to drop out and live off the site or something – that’s not sustainable, given that the site is driven by me building things and I can’t build things if I don’t have access to the resources to do so. At least, not very easily and certainly not as easily as I do now. But if you still think I’m weak-willed or bending to some invisible pressure by setting up a donation box, you can just let me know.
Or if you don’t feel like scrolling all the way back up, here’s the button again!