Project delivery, update 5
I didn't want the week to go by without a detailed project update. As with any product in it's final delivery phase, the details tend to multiply and become extremely 'small'. This is where really great products happen, though; you have to love a concept sketch AND a well-exicuted barcode (both ends of the animal) to be able to deliver a great product!
40 T1 preproduction units are being assembled now and will finally ship out next week. We found a couple issues with the preproduction version of the software at Techcrunch Disrupt, and decided to simplify the Bluetooth pairing process by one more level. The change has to do with reducing the number and frequency of feedback tones at start up - we found a way to make it better. You simply can't make these decisions on paper, you have to live with the product for a while... presenting to 1000 visitors at Techcrunch Disrupt last week for 10 hours was a great test! Easy changes, we made them now while we still can.
Sounds horribly mundane, but we're hashing out all of the final requirements for on-product labeling with our test lab now. It's not a straight-forward process: we're lobbying for a 'clean and minimal' approach while they're pushing for a 'billboard/bumper sticker' solution. It's always like this, luckily we can point to the fine work of our good friends in Cupertino for a 'standard'.
We received our first pulp tray samples this week (think: customized egg cartons). It's a 100% post consumer paper 'slurry' process that allows you to form a custom package interior in a very clean, protective, environmentally thoughtful way. Done well, they look awesome and really help protect the product at the same time.... as well as avoid foam, plastic bags and twist ties. It will be like opening a jewelry box for the first time - hope you agree! Photos of the tray and the final package concept below (I really love a well executed pulp tray!)
We have three workshops delivering wood enclosures at the moment - one is falling down bad, but the back-up shop is really coming through with both good quality and a great sense for the required execution. We had some dimensional issues in an early check this week, but they have been straightened out... all wood will be in hand next week, 100% inspected. Final Red samples will land on Monday... will let you know immediately with an update.
What does all this mean? We are darn close to production is what! I would love more then ANYTHING to deliver early, but we are simply not going to rush this phase - everything needs to be right, and we have some of the best in the business backing us up on the quality assurance front.
In case you hadn't heard, Kickstarter made some major rule changes today in relation to more complex design projects like ours - we support them 100% (please visit the Kickstarter blog for a full read).
Part of the research on developing our project was to review in depth some of the delivery challenges that others have had. We were intrigued about the Kickstarter model, but could see the problems that could happen in delivery and they were starting to pop up in the press. Based on this, we chose to launch the 1Q project only when we were certain the challenges ahead of us were manageable and had multiple solution paths. We also opted for lots of updates, engagement with you and photos to help make the process be as transparent as we could make it.
We simply love the 1:1 Kickstarter model and want more then anything to see it grow and thrive. Having developed 100's of products in past lives, we have loads of empathy for the managers of projects that are struggling, as well as for their backers' frustrations. We've all been there; even experienced developers can be tripped up by a completely new challenge. If not anticipated or handled well, it takes all of the joy out of bringing a new product to life for both parties.
You're taking a risk backing our project, and we have a responsibility to minimize that risk - that simple. As always, we're open to your comments!