Krekeltronics: Tech in the Wilderness


That’s where all the pros are
going to say I did it wrong. [laughter] PATRICK KREKELBERG: We
are in the Lake Superior highlands in a forest. We’re only 10 miles
north of Two Harbors. The fact that Lake
County had the vision to put in a fiber network. And once I saw that
that was happening, it was like I had
the idea in my mind like that’s finally
our chance to be– kind of find the
fusion between doing what I do professionally
with living in a place that’s very remote. Pretty much what
I’m doing right now is what I do most of the time
is doing stuff, people saying stuff, and I say stuff back. What it is is a product
development group that is global that works
globally with people from all different backgrounds
in software, hardware, and firmware, and also
doing mechanical design and everything, and kind
of bringing together a lot of different
bright minds and not thinking so much
about hierarchies, but thinking more about
subject matter expertise and leveraging that to
do interesting things, solve hard problems. My favorite projects
are the things that involve one or two things
that haven’t been done before. I feel like everyone
that starts out or kind of envisions
a life as an engineer kind of pictures themselves
inventing things and creating things. And I think it took
me a really long time to understand that working
on somebody else’s invention is sometimes even
more interesting. Somebody to own an idea and own
the vision for what something is going to be, and being
able to partner with them allows us do lots
and lots and lots of different types of things
in many different contexts. And this is one example of that. We’re very discerning about what
types of projects we take on. So we keep things fresh. We work in the music
industry and the recreation industry and scientific and
all these different types of things. So there’s always
a new hard problem. And I really enjoy finding
solutions to hard problems, whether it’s me personally
that has the answer or going and finding
somebody to partner with that has the answer,
I love finding solutions. To me, combining two
things that I love– I love music, and
I never pictured being able to kind of feed that
into doing the technology work. But now they’re so
intertwined, it’s really a dream to be able
to combine those two things into a way to make a living. [guitar music] It’s amazing to be– instead of just taking a lunch
break and having a sandwich and sitting out– being able to go for
a hike or go and do some work in the woods in the
middle of the day is amazing, and coming back refreshed,
having had that experience. [children’s chatter] MARY KREKELBERG: I
love it out here. I have a hard time you
know leaving all the family that we had in the cities. And that was where
we made our home. And we love the city. But it’s so peaceful out here. And we just wanted a place
where we could teach our kids to get things from the forest
and live a simpler life, and still be able
to make a living and do all the things
that we get to do. I think it’s great. PATRICK KREKELBERG:
Having somebody that balances me out so well
and is so artistic and creative and determined,
somebody that meets me where I am, but is still
uncompromising is– there’s no way that I would
be able to do this if it weren’t– if we didn’t
have that partnership. Developing products
professionally, it’s something I
cared about anyway. But I think about
it especially what’s going to happen at the end
of life for this product? Or is this thing going
to be maintainable like traditional
things had been? And especially
doing electronics, it doesn’t come naturally
to consider that. And so living in a place like
this where it’s so massive and intimidating and
humbling, it absolutely affects the way that
I think about what we’re building or developing. [children’s chatter]

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