A Mighty Second Wind
Last time we wrote, we told you that we were looking for an additional firmware/software developer. Despite getting quotes from around a dozen different very capable developers (found by us and you, thanks for all your recommendations!), we have as of yet been unable to bring someone onboard. This is due to the fact that most of the people we got in touch with couldn’t start until January, which means that by the time they were brought up to speed, the time saved would be minimal compared to the added complexity and cost of bringing someone onboard. Also, as you’ve probably noticed, we’re smack in the middle of the holiday season now, which only worsens the prospects for efficiency.
We continue to search for a new developer or any way to speed subsets of the code development. In the meantime, our current man will continue to make progress.
On another note, we view it as a requirement that we seek UL certification for all machines, and this must consequently be incorporated into our pre-shipment timeline. All machines that we ship out will meet UL guidelines for electrical safety (yay!). To make this process as quick and painless as possible, and at the recommendation of our assembly house, we’re enlisting the help of a UL consultant, who will look at our first complete units and tell us whether anything needs to be changed before we ship them off to UL.
Which brings us to our next order of business: a new timeline.
But why should I have any confidence in this timeline? Monsieurs, you have betrayed me before! J’accuse!
This road toward the world’s most awesome home espresso machine has had its fair share of bumps, potholes, falling rocks, blind corners and gravelly patches. At this point, we all want assurance that the finish line isn’t just an ever-receding horizon.
To say we’ve learned a lot about engineering, design, manufacturing, marketing and customer service is...well...an understatement so extreme as to be laughable. But we’ve also learned some more general life lessons. Example: Over-promising deadlines and underestimating a project’s complexity has the unfortunate side effect of persistent anxiety and the guilty feeling of having let everyone down. For this group of like-minded espresso lovers (that’s us, but also you), this has been an arduous journey. But a happy ending is in sight!
When we conceived of this project 11 months ago, we thought - perhaps *coughdefinitelycough* naïvely - that our collective drive, intellect, passion and work ethic would prevail over any market forces and logistical hiccups we confronted. Once our blow-out Kickstarter funding was in place, we began to discover - and are still discovering - that our parts and service suppliers didn’t always have like priorities, and that redesigning from the ground up for optimized manufacturing is no small task. We were lacking in the specific experience that would have turned early roadblocks into warning signs and action plans sooner, and have been left playing catch-up for months.
As a function of our learning curve, we’ve brought on a board of advisors to help ensure the success of this project. This Advisory Board encompasses outside seasoned, entrepreneurial executives in finance, manufacturing, and small appliance sales, marketing and customer service - including one of our esteemed Kickstarter backers!
These non-whippersnappers have rolled up their sleeves to aid and guide us through this process of successfully navigating the tempestuous seas of manufacturing to deliver high-quality machines. They are also helping us think ahead toward developing the various support networks that will help us provide continued support and service to our Kickstarter backers, beyond initial receipt of your machines. They have helped us develop the below timeline according to goals they think are achievable, based on their past manufacturing experience.
Up until now we’ve posted about all of our major developments, challenges and progress. With the following timeline, we’re attempting to bring all of that together in a consolidated plan to reach the finish line.
With all that said, we now believe that our initial production of machines will not occur until April 2013, with shipments occurring from late April to early June 2013. This is based on what we are observing with the current slowed progress of the programming, and is meant to provide for possible delays during UL testing and life testing on the units.
We want to assure you of a few things as we lay out our plan for the remainder of the project.
First, the pledges you’ve made as backers and first purchasers of this fantastic machine are 100% safe and accounted for. We are not at risk of running our well dry and leaving everyone...uh...thirsty. We think that it’s important that any worries you might have on that front be assuaged. You will be getting your life-giving brew machine, but it will be late(r).
The misunderestimation applies only to the project’s complexities, not to its feasibility, mostly as they relate to the time required for manufacturing and programming, government regulatory testing and the procurement and confirmation of the high-quality components necessary to deliver a machine that will delight your expectations. Most of these delays have manifested themselves in the last 45 – 60 days. The purpose of this update is to give you a new perspective, an action plan and a revised timeline.
Kickstarter’s original backers absolutely remain our first and prioritized customers. You’ve invested in us, and we report - first and foremost - to you.
We know that this delay is as disappointing to you as it is to us. We all sincerely apologize, but we are committed to delivering on the original promise of a badass, high-performance machine at a great value.
A list of the critical timeline steps we are following is below. These target dates are the result of consultation with our advisors and with the various manufacturers and designers whose contributions to the project are still outstanding. Ongoing updates will continue and report against these steps.
Interestingly, this is putting us pretty precisely on par with the other Kickstarter projects to which we’ve been silently comparing ourselves.
You know where to find us!
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Pledge $1 or moreYou selected
And they say you can’t get good coffee for $1 anymore! But your $1 is getting us that much closer to great at-home espresso - we couldn’t do it without you! A hearty thanks, and we’ll put your name on our website. Every dollar counts!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
Shot glasses are more than just cute miniature versions of regular glasses - they’re great for your espresso, for your liquor, for growing tiny plants in...With a $10 pledge you get shot glasses with our logo! Just use responsibly.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
Coffee is great for warming you up on a chilly day, but sometimes you need to take it to the next level and put on some clothes. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered (literally! - you like that?). Enjoy one of our cozy, and stylish, ZPM T-shirts. And the shot glasses are all yours, too.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
Our machines do a lot of the work of making perfect espresso, but you’ve got to help out too. To show our gratitude, we’re making it as easy as possible by giving you the tools you require - namely, a fancy-schmancy tamper for all your tamping needs (probably just espresso, but who knows?). Add that to the t-shirt and shot glasses, and you’ll be sitting pretty.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or moreYou selected
There’s no better feeling than unwrapping a box of presents - except maybe the feeling of playing with a bunch of presents. Forgive us for spoiling the surprise, but here’s what you’ll be getting from us: a shot glass, a t-shirt, a tamper, and your very own bag of artisan coffee beans. With our box of gifts, it’ll feel like Christmas in...whatever month you get your box of gifts!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or moreYou selected
450 backers All gone!
For a $200 pledge, you’re pre-ordering one of our very first machines, a $400 retail value! It can be hard to be one of the first to brave new frontiers, but don’t worry - there’s no river-crossings or dysentery in store for you, just awesome home-brewed espresso.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
450 backers All gone!
If you want to boldly brew as you’ve never brewed before, this is your level. For $250, you’ll receive everything you need to craft the perfect espresso - one of our first machines, a bag of artisan coffee beans, shot glasses, and a tamper. And you can savor it while wearing one of our t-shirts. A $470 value!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $300 or moreYou selected
244 backers Limited (6 left of 250)
So you didn't manage to snag one of our $200 reward level machines and now you're sitting around all bummed out. Well, buck up, my friend, because we're not going to abandon you. For $300, you can still pre-order a machine. And our later machines will incorporate any user feedback we get from the early birds - so sometimes it pays to wait.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $350 or moreYou selected
114 backers Limited (136 left of 250)
We know you were just dying to pledge at our $250 reward level, but, you know, a lot of stuff came up, what with the holidays and TV being so good lately, and you never got around to it...and now it's sold out! Fear not, dear backer. You can still pledge to get our machine and box of goodies that includes shot glasses, t-shirt, espresso tamper, and a bag of artisan roasted coffee beans; a $470 dollar retail value! They'll arrive a little later, but the anticipation is half the fun.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $675 or moreYou selected
So you know you want our espresso machine - great! But you also know you'll have a hard time tamping whole beans. We're in the business of solving problems, so let us help you out. For $675, you get our machine AND a Baratza Vario grinder (a $869 value)! Grind away! (This is a 120V/US-shipping only reward level.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $725 or moreYou selected
You're clearly in it to win it at this point, so you may as well spring for the deluxe edition. Our machine, a Baratza Vario grinder, a t-shirt, a tamper, shot glasses, and a bag of Batdorf & Bronson Dancing Goats coffee (a $939 retail value). That's right, we will meet all your fashion and beverage needs. You never need to leave the house again. (This is a 120V/US shipping-only reward level.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
10 backers All gone!
If you’ve always dreamed of being a self-sufficient one-man (or -lady) coffee shop, this is where you need to be. For $1000, we’ll custom build a machine to your specifications (!), send you all of our ZPM logo products, shot glasses, a tamper, a bag of artisanal coffee, and your very own grinder. Now all you need is a patch of good bean-growin’ land in Colombia, and you’ll be set for life.Estimated delivery:
- (40 days)