Our production shop closes down at the end of the work day today, and the entire Sisyphus team begins a well-deserved break for the holidays. As the New Year rapidly approaches (last night was the longest of this year), here's where we are:
Shipping, shipping, shipping-
At this point, Greg (our shop lead, and knower of all things that enter and leave the space) tells me we have shipped over 560 metal tables, ~100 of which are the larger coffee tables. Yesterday, Greg and Collin both sent me texts relaying that they stuffed 25 coffee tables into the FedEx truck that afternoon - an unexpected record!
Shipments to Canada have begun, with Europe, Asia, Australia to start in January. Wood table fabrication is going full steam ahead. Our first crate with white-glove delivery shipment will happen in early January as a test. If the result is good, more to follow soon after. Before each update I review prior ones - some now a year old. It's interesting to see where we were (just Micah, Bev and I at the time), and how far we've come (now a dozen in our crew). Last December (update #11) I wrote: "...we hope to assemble and ship when ramped up to full production (2-3 hundred is our goal)...". We have now surpassed that goal, and think there is still room to significantly increase our output as efficiency continues to increase.
Feedback on delivered tables -
With over 500 tables now out "in the wild", reports continue to be overwhelmingly positive (check recent offerings in the comments section to get a sampling). Most issues crossing our support desk continue to be related to connecting tables to home WiFi. Most are easily solved, but on occasion, a problem is discovered which is relayed to our developers to debug. Keep in mind, our mobile app is still evolving, but things have definitely improved since we started to ship three months ago, and will continue to do so. To date, about five backers have reported problems that we couldn't figure out and remedy after some back and forth emails. In cases like this, we ship a replacement Sisbot or new power supply out (either requires a much smaller box) and the backer swaps it in and sends the bad one back for us to study and figure out what failed. So far, this has worked in all cases - with one exception:
Bev and I (and our two goofy standard poodles) recently set off on a 3,000-mile car trip, to finish in Pasadena where we are spending the holidays with our daughter's family. While stopped for a couple days in Austin to visit Bev's brother, Micah called and let me know that one of the five replacement Sisbots we sent DIDN'T WORK :(. If we have a failure rate of about 1%, the odds of two in a row should be near 1 in 10,000.
me: "Is it the one that went to Hawaii?"
Micah: "No. Texas."
me: "WHERE in Texas? I know it's a big place, but..."
Micah: "San Antonio."
A quick look at the map showed we were only ~90 minutes away, and were pretty much headed that direction on our way to Big Bend National Park the next day. After some phone calls and coordination, we made our first "house call" the next morning. Happily, it turned out to be something simple - the USB cable between the Raspberry Pi and the SisBotBoard had come loose during shipping, and simply plugging it back in fixed it!
While all the SI crew are an extremely dedicated and serious bunch, we do manage to have some fun in the shop from time to time. Something about the season (not only the holidays, but also the full arrival of our Minnesota winter) brings out the festive mood:
Wishing all of you a happy solstice, Hanuka, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year - from all of us at Sisyphus Industries!