We're coming to your town soon!
Keyboard design is proceeding apace. We’ve been hard at work making sure the Model 01 is the most comfortable, best designed keyboard on Earth.
Last month, we told you that we were working hard to launch our crowdfunding campaign this year, but that if we slipped even a tiny bit, we were going to end up waiting until early 2015. We’ve made a ton of progress in the last month. We’re really, really close. But we’re not there yet.
We’re going to make it up to you. In person. As soon as we launch the crowdfunding campaign, we’ll be taking the Model 01 on a cross-country roadshow. If you want us to come visit you, your local hackerspace or your local group of keyboard enthusiasts, we need to hear from you.
The story so far
Keyboardio started off as a hobby project. Jesse thought he was making himself a single keyboard. When folks started asking where they could buy the prototypes, we got excited that we might maybe sell 50 keyboard kits. When 150 of you said you wanted to beta-test the early prototypes, we realized we might have underestimated demand just a tiny bit. We applied to Highway1, the hardware incubator run by PCH International in San Francisco. (They're taking applicationsfor their Spring 2015 class now.)
When we found out we’d gotten into Highway1, we were visiting our friends@rabble and @gaba in Argentina. Once we got home to Boston, we had about 10 days to pack up the cats and find a sublet in the Bay Area.
After Highway1, our lives continued on the clichéd startup path— we moved into live-work warehouse space with a few other startups in a sketchy part of the Mission. We spent a few months going through industrial designers faster than Spın̈al Tap went through drummers. We discovered that a few assumptions that our design depended on weren’t going to work out. Everything took longer than we thought it would. Rather than promise a delivery date we couldn’t guarantee, we pushed back our crowdfunding campaign a couple times.
In early October, we moved across the Bay Bridge to Oakland. Jesse flew back to Boston and packed up most of the rest of our house there. Life here is a lot less distracting. We’ve been making good progress on the keyboard design and manufacturing plan. (Finding a place for 50+ boxes of books has taken up most of our non-keyboard time.)
We’re very, very close to a final enclosure shape. Jesse’s pretty much come up to speed with Autodesk Fusion 360 as he’s taken over the final keycap design. Kaia’s been putting together the materials for our crowdfunding campaign.
Thanks so much for all the suggestions of possible reviewers last month. You had some incredibly useful ideas. You also had some very…creative suggestions. In retrospect, we probably should have specified that potential reviewers still had to be alive.
We’ve been starting to get bids for the expensive, custom parts of the keyboard. In order to do that, we spent the first half of November putting together the first comprehensive version of our ‘Product Requirements Document’ (PRD). The PRD is the document you send to a manufacturer along with your CAD, schematics and bill of materials. It spells out everything from 'The product is a computer keyboard. Pressing a key should generate a keystroke on screen’ to just how many times your cat should be able to knock your keyboard off a one meter tall desk onto a concrete floor before it stops working. It’s also the place where we tell potential manufacturers that we’ll be shipping your keyboards with a screwdriver and that merely disassembling and reassembling your keyboard won’t void your warranty.
Where we go from here
To promote the Model 01, we’re going to try something that we don’t think anyone has ever attempted before: a product roadshow during a crowdfunding campaign. Leaving from Somerville, MA where we first started work on what would become the Model 01, we’re going to take our keyboards on a cross-country adventure. On our way, we’d love to meet you and your local hackerspace, makerspace, keyboard enthusiast group or pub trivia team.
We’ll plan our route to see as many of you as possible, but given that we’ll be doing this over the winter, we’re sort of banking on many of you being in warmer climates. (As much as we’d like to meet all of you, places outside the continental US are probably right out.)
If you’d like, we’d be happy to give a short talk about how to make a keyboard or what we’ve learned about small-run manufacturing. But mostly, we just want to meet you and let you get to meet the Model 01 in person.
If you’d like us to stop by on our trip from Boston to San Francisco, please fill outthis survey.
If you’d really, really like us to stop by, have all your friends fill out the survey, too.