Hello from Colorado Springs, Colorado!
Yesterday was a travel day. We spent the whole day driving through north-western Texas (there is a lot of Texas). Today, we passed through the corner of New Mexico, held a meetup at Stack Exchange in Denver and ended our day in Colorado Springs, on our way back to New Mexico.
Since we last wrote, we've passed through 300% of our initial funding goal, the 50% mark on the month-long Kickstarter campaign and we've driven more than half of the total miles of the roadtrip. The car is holding up amirably, but we're definitely getting a little bit road-weary.
We had a hard time finding a makerspace in Denver that could host us. Thankfully, Brian Ross at Stack Exchange came to our rescue. Stack Exchange are probably best-known as the makers of Stack Overflow, one of our favorite resources for Q&A about programming. They also maintain similar sites about...pretty much every discipline of human knowledge. They’re hiring: http://stackexchange.com/work-here
Today's meetup was nice and laid-back. Our friend Aaron, one of our original Model 00 beta testers, came by with his much-loved plywood Model 00. It'd been a while since we'd seen one. A lot's changed about our keyboards in the past two years, but you can definitely see how the Model 00 became the Model 01.
One of the folks who showed up tonight was James Olander, the creator of The Roost, which he funded on Kickstarter a couple years back. He's just wrapping up the campaign for the Roost 2.0 and brought along prototypes to play with. We pumped him for information about not screwing up delivery of a Kickstarter project.
One of the things we talked a fair bit about tonight was the cost of shipping the Model 01 to backers once it's ready. (You might think that we just sort of make up these aspects of what we're doing for the sake of the backer updates, but no, we really do talk about this stuff at the meetups.)
The Model 01 weighs about 3 pounds. While we're hoping to pare that down a bit for production, it's not going to end up featherweight. Shipping heavy, expensive stuff turns out to be startlingly expensive and complex. When we asked other Kickstarter creators how they estimated shipping costs for their products, we got one of two answers. Some folks guessed, were wildly wrong and ended up losing a lot of money on shipping. Other folks used Shipwire or a service like them to get estimates for shipping their product to sample addresses in each of the countries they'll ship to. So that's what we did. We rounded those numbers to the nearest $5, just for simplicity's sake. The numbers aren't perfect, but they should end up close enough that we're neither charging anyone way too much nor losing our shirts on shipping.
So anyway, the Roost.
When you launch a Kickstarter campaign, you get a lot of spam from people trying to sell you stuff or to get you to help sell their stuff. One of the most common varieties of this is what's called "cross-promotion." Essentially, it's another Kickstarter creator asking you to tell your backers to go back the other creator's project. Generally, we turn these sorts of requests down flat. Backing us for a Model 01 is unlikely to correlate with whether you want a new Naugahyde wallet or a VR headset for your cat. The way we usually explain it to other creators is that we're only interested in cross-promoting products we've used and love. There aren't that many of those on Kickstarter at any given time. We don't usually have to go on to explain to other creators that the thing their making doesn't really dovetail well with what we're making.
And then there's the rare occasion when a cross-promotion doesn't feel dirty.
We actually like the Roost. We use the 1.0 version every day. It's the lightest, sturdiest laptop stand we've ever used. It folds up to almost nothing and unfolds to a clever platform for our MacBooks. When folks approach us in cafes to ask about the Model 01, they usually end up asking about the Roost as well.
When the new version hit Kickstarter, Jesse backed it instantly. It got fully-funded last Thursday. A week or so back, we got a note on Kickstarter from James, the Roost's creator. Turns out that he's a Keyboardio fan and was excited to meet us when we came to Denver. We flat-out demanded that he bring the prototypes for the new version to the meetup.
The new Roost is slicker than the 1.0 versions we have. It's now height-adjustable and is much better at supporting weirder laptops and tablets. At the end of the evening, we, somewhat reluctantly, let James take his prototypes home.
So yeah, we never do this, but if you use a laptop with an external keyboard or plan to use your Model 01 with a laptop, you should seriously consider backing James' campaign for the new Roost.
Since we last wrote, we've driven 864 miles bringing us to 4742 miles since the roadtrip began.
As of this writing, 1214 of you have backed us for $373,066.