Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 20, 2012.

Update #36

A Mighty Second Wind

Hey Everybody, 

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!

Team Nocturn

info@zpmespresso.com | Google+ | Facebook | Twitter | Site | Forum | Flickr

Comments

    1. Missing_small

      Creator Christopher Browne on December 10, 2012

      It would be dishonest to say I wasn't a bit disappointed at hearing the delivery date pushed back again, though that shouldn't be nearly as annoying as it should be to not get it "on schedule" but hear NOTHING about why. Good that y'all are seeking to improve analysis of such plans.

      The other thing that would be worse would be to receive a shipment of whatever you had not-really-ready as of some date.

      As I have commented before, if you guys keep kicking out interesting updates (e.g. - giving us "National Geographic" tales of the travels to China, and such), the added stories are tales we can share with fellow coffee drinkers as we enjoy our Nocturnes five years from now. Full-bodied updates are better than ones that are watered down by having insufficiently tamped them before release.

    2. Missing_small

      Creator Toby on December 9, 2012

      Thanks for the update. Pretty much what I assumed that meant. :)

    3. Zpm_logo-01.small

      Creator Gleb Polyakov and Igor Zamlinsky on December 8, 2012

      How'd you guys all get so great?
      @Karsten & anyone else who wants to switch to 240V: email info@zpmespresso.com when you decide, and we'll make the change. FYI, no changes will appear on your Kickstarter survey, we can't update that.
      @Toby & james Fair question. We're currently predicting that it's going to take until June to get all of the 240V parts in-house and test them, and then do some initial prototype testing before a first production test. While all of that is going on, we can still be making 120V machines, which have been designed and for which we already have the parts. So what it's really showing is production of 120V machines will go on until the 240V machine design and prototype testing are complete, and we expect that means we'll finish some portion of non-Kickstarter 120V machines. Of course, if by some miracle the 240V design goes faster, those steps will be moved up. We also don't know yet whether we'll be able to make both 120V and 240V machines at the same time - and that will largely be a matter of sheer dollars. If we have enough money to get more assembly line workers trained, we might be able to do both at once. We'll have to look at what's logistically possible at the time.
      @David Greenberg Correct, with rewards being filled in the order that pledges were placed.

    4. Rbc%20mug.small

      Creator Richard L. Hill III on December 8, 2012

      I still appreciate your dedication to quality & your willingness to speak up when components are not up to snuff. I'm glad you're not cutting corners.

    5. Missing_small

      Creator David Greenberg on December 8, 2012

      The new timeline looks like both first ($200 pledge) and second ($300 pledge) Kickstarter waves have been merged into one production run? Is that correct?

    6. Missing_small

      Creator Jsm636 on December 8, 2012

      That's cool, take you're time to get it right.

    7. 484118_10150993137570885_2022206215_n.small

      Creator Maziar Zamani on December 8, 2012

      Dont even think about rushing! I want the end product to be as you expected. The worst thing would be a rush-product that you would regret sending out.

      Im proud of backing this project, and i am waiting with great patience for the 240V model! :-)

      Best of luck, you have gotten extremely far!

    8. Kdambekalns-talking-square.small

      Creator Karsten Dambekalns on December 8, 2012

      With the new timeline I'am considering waiting for the 240V version indeed. Having to wait 2 more months is a lot easier than waiting another year like initially estimated. Up to what point and how could such a change be done?

    9. Missing_small

      Creator james on December 8, 2012

      What Toby said.

    10. Missing_small

      Creator Toby on December 8, 2012

      I fully understand the delays and think it is great that you are making progress. But maybe you can shed some light on why you are starting non-kickstarter production before 240v production.

    11. Missing_small

      Creator voidref on December 8, 2012

      I was just thinking about ZPM, thank you for posting an update. Also thank you for being realistic about schedules and your willingness to share them with us. The transparency is much appreciated in all aspects.

      Bringing on advisors seems like a good idea, I trust you have done your due diligence on their vetting, the right people make all the difference. Even companies like Apple can hire the wrong folks into top level positions, yes, that's right, I'm talking about the disaster that was their recent former new head of retail.

      Anyway, keep the communication open, and thanks for the reference in the title of this update!

    12. Missing_small

      Creator paul gray on December 7, 2012

      Sure is taking a while, can I change my order to a 240v machine? Thanks for the update, I hope you can get it on track now. What do you think has been the main problem in getting the design right? Anyway good luck

    13. Missing_small

      Creator Maria on December 7, 2012

      I appreciate that you have included milestones with a timeline, which is something I asked for in previous updates.

    14. Missing_small

      Creator jdougan on December 7, 2012

      THIS is what I was funding: more people learning how to use the global supply and manufacturing system. While the core ideas are not fundamentally hard to understand it is complex, and the more people that know how to build products with it, the better. Maybe, now that you understand the system, you'll be able to make money on improving the system.

    15. Me.small

      Creator Christine Bastian on December 7, 2012

      - But why should I have any confidence in this timeline? Monsieurs, you have betrayed me before! J’accuse! -

      Don't even go there! You guys are awesome.Period.
      I have full confidence that there will be one of the best espresso machines on my counter in the near future and you, as a team, are doing everything to make that come true.
      Thank you!

    16. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator krismcn on December 7, 2012

      Well, that's disappointing. But, not nearly as disappointing as the quality of the shot I got this morning from my only espresso option at the moment. If I'm able to profile my way to the sweet, brown elixer of life the way I think I will on the Nocturn, all will be forgiven. :)

    17. Missing_small

      Creator Daniel Kedinger on December 7, 2012

      I funded a startup, not bought a product. What you have done is develop a new concept of home machine. Not just build an espresso machine. Keep up the hard work!!

    18. Missing_small

      Creator Cheetah on December 7, 2012

      This makes me sad, but your regular updates and persistent progress mean I'm just sad, not angry or worried, and why I had confidence in the first place I wouldn't be wasting my money. Here's hoping for no more unexpected setbacks and hitting your milestones :)

    19. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Matthew Naftzger on December 7, 2012

      I bought into a project, an idea. If I just wanted an espresso machine, I could have gone to the store. The machine that is coming is going to exceed expectations, from what I can tell. I'm still extremely happy to be on board.

      Thanks for a great update.

    20. Missing_small

      Creator Michael Freeman on December 7, 2012

      Not even remotely upset. Your continual communication and transparency has earned a lot of respect. Don't rush .. I'm not going anywhere.

    21. Missing_small

      Creator Abby Lin on December 7, 2012

      Shows tremendous competence and responsibility that you guys can admit to setbacks and modify your behavior/plans accordingly. Keep up the good work!

    22. Tinyrobot2_small.small

      Creator John F. on December 7, 2012

      I'm not that concerned about the timeline, I knew from day one that it was going to be at least a year, if not two for you to get your machines out. I think that you're doing a great job, and am excited to see where you take this product after finally shipping out all of the KickStarter orders. Good luck on the next few months!

    23. Missing_small

      Creator David Schoneveld on December 7, 2012

      when I saw how complex this project was I set my expectations on some delays based on other kickstarter experiences I'v had with similar delays after unexpected delays. Seems pretty common, but glad you're keeping us all well informed. I remain in a state of can't wait! LOL.

    24. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Johnny Laine Carriere Jr. on December 7, 2012

      Definitely a bummer, but i'd prefer it be done right and a year late over being rushed and not as good. Keep us posted through the process.

    25. 29072_928963168308_10732385_50228790_4395302_n.small

      Creator Jesse Hawkins on December 7, 2012

      Kudos on the constant and informative updates.

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