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What keeps you up at night?

What are the things about this business that wake you up at 2am? Either literal emergencies, or things that you worry about happening.


business planning and management, raising capital, marketing execution, managing expectations, new (often very leftfield) ideas. when you are driven all day building a business the entrepreneurial brain is often reluctant to shut down as it just gets hyper-excited.

sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat worrying that the pigs (bacon not police) have gotten out and have busted up the gardens… which did happen once… 30-40 pigs rooting around can do a bit of damage.


Makes sense about the separation between the entrepreneurial side and the day-to-day business side. Do you do any sort of time management around dedicating specific time to the big picture business planning, or does it all blend together in your day?


It often all blends in - which is why 2am becomes the moment when those ideas pop up as the brain has been so busy doing all the hands on stuff. I try to take some time each day to meditate and focus internally on things - letting the brain go into a state where it can throw the ideas around the cavern of the mind and see what sticks without the external inputs, although again that can often be at 11pm or 2 am…

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I suppose I have a few perspectives on this topic. First being one of a grower. I can’t count the number of nightmares I used to have. I was always worried about flooding, bad pumps, lights, cooling/heating…you name it. Yes, I used to also worry about the cops. In recent years, I went the legal route…and I grow heirloom tomatoes commercially here in SC. We may soon have cannabis as an option…and I hope to be one of the first. At this point, I am all automated. However, the key is some measure of fail-safe or redundancy for any automated component. Automated systems end up needing more hand holding than manual systems in many cases. When you depend on sensors, timers, etc…what happens when they fail? You can put in certain limitations…manual thermostats to handle extremes…or have multiple sets of sensors. However, the easiest fail-safe is you. For that to happen in the middle of the night, you need notifications when things go bad. Here is where I put on another hat…one as a consultant and engineer. I had one of my customers call me after what I would call a literal meltdown. One of this AC systems went out in the middle of the night. We are talking a room maybe 2500 sqft with wall to wall HPS lights. There were no fail-safes for over heating…no emergency exhaust…nothing. He did get a notification…from the fire department. The high heat set off his sprinklers. It got so hot that PVC pipes literally started to melt. That could have been avoided in any number of scenarios by thinking through redundancies. You should ask yourself a simple question about every moving part in your operation. … “What will happen if this fails when no one is here?”. You should have an answer that will keep damage from occurring to the facility and your plants.
Here is where I throw in my shameless plug. When not growing, I build electronics. A year or so ago, I thought through some of these shortcomings in my own automated system. To get better data and my own sense of control, I built a system I call the Mantis. Out of the box, it does EC/PH/ORP/Temp and dissolved oxygen (with Flow as an add-on). We are about to release wireless water content and EC sensors…good in all plant mediums…soil or soilless. We already have solar charged CO2/Temperature/Humidity sensors. Crazy stuff in the works :slight_smile: . If interested, shoot me an email. I will give anyone on this site 15% off… I mention all of that because we just released email and text notifications for our sensor readings :slight_smile:


I think HVAC failures are one of the worst nightmares growers have. I totally concur. It’s why, when we developed our Master controller, auto-dim and auto-shutdown, including an alarm interface, was one of our highest priorities. I can truly say, by the feedback of users, that we have saved hundreds of crops already. Not only does it save your crop, it is extremely important for safety and fixture reliability. You do not want your fixtures operating in extremely high temperatures. It deteriorates the electronics, leading to early failures and much shorter lifetime. An average rise of 10 degrees C/K can lead to 50% shorter lifetime and reliability. When a fixture shuts down because of high internal temperatures you are already too late - this is used to prevent imminent failure.

I’m glad to see that most controllers that sort of copy that design and idea, incorporate those features as well.


@bogaat Have to agree, redundancies are critical. Not just in the cannabis industry either. Almost every industry needs redundancy. I know NASA missions often have triple or quadruple redundancies, with exceptions for weight restrictions.

Bumping this topic for the newer folks.

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Power was the number one thing that use to keep me up at night. We had a 25 kw backup generator.

We also made good use of a product called a sensaphone. It would page me if anything was out of normal. Yes before the day of cellphone we caried pagers. I think sensaphone is still around.

Ice storms. I hated ice storms.

Sensaphone they are still around!