Epilogue: Lament of the Spiritual Entrepreneur

The Swan Factory was founded on 9/11/2014 — what I call “Interdependence Day” — because I wanted it to become a symbol of hope to a divided world.

The Swan Factory ceased business operations on 8/15/2018, four weeks shy of its fourth birthday.  This is our final post.

I only worked on The Swan Factory full-time for a few months, from October 2014 to April 2015. However, I kept the company (and the dream) alive, in the hope that I could try again when I was older, wiser, and richer. I even gave it another shot when I was unemployed again from December 2015 to April 2016.

We had a number of consulting contracts, and built a bunch of prototypes.  I believe the complete list of projects is:

  1. Kiosk Me, for Jory Moon
  2. Hands on Christianity, with Ryan Derfler et al
  3. Quilt Data, with Aneesh Karve
  4. Solrates, with Dustin Keele
  5. Triversity, which spawned Social Entrepreneurship for Students
  6. Higher Technology, with Ron Kardashian
  7. Passion Groups, for Transforming the Bay with Christ
  8. IGWET, with Kingsway Community Church
  9. Technical white paper for BlastWave, Inc.

However, we never made more than a few hundred dollars per year; and that only in consulting fees, never in product revenue.  Also, a number of voices pointed out that these ideas might be better developed as research projects in open source, rather than trying to force them to support a business. So, with a heavy heart but also a sense of release, we made the decision to shut it all down.

The best part of the experience was the relationships I built along the way.  I particularly want to express my gratitude to the two people who kept believing with me right up until the end:

  • Christine Valdivia, my incredibly patient bookkeeper
  • David Huffman, my friend and my hero

I still believe in the dream, but the dreamer was deeply flawed.  This was my Ishmael, and it is time to send it away in order to make room for what God originally intended.

Pursuing this dream cost me the war chest I had built up during 17 years at Apple, a big chunk of my reputation, and at least one job.  It very nearly cost me my house, my church, my marriage, and my sanity. And all I have to show for it is a song:

Broken Words: Lament of the Spiritual Entrepreneur

But it was worth it.

Affectionately yours, for the last time,

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar,  Chief Steward, The Swan Factory

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