Admittedly, I’ve been horrible recently with both communication and development. However, that’s not to say I’m still not putting my heart into the project, I just haven’t done as much as I wanted to do on the firmware/GUI side. I am working endlessly behind the scenes trying to slim down on the cost, manufacturing, and distribution side.
I found a programming house called A&J Programming. It’s in San Jose, which is great, because it’s local. They specialize in programming parts. I used them for this most recent build, and I’m pretty excited I don’t have to manually program 2000 parts. Although, Eric and I (mostly Eric) worked extremely hard on making a programming fixture. It works great, but when the demand increased a bit, I was absolutely miserable.
For the shipping, I’ve done a number of things to help get orders out. I recently found a company called shipstation, which has been my saving grace. I use an e-commerce store called lemonstand, and while they nailed product management and selling online, they haven’t figured out how to handle getting your actual products out. I had to manually go to the USPS website for each order. I’m sorry for my language, but the USPS website is shit. It’s slow, they don’t support non-standard characters, so for people in Sweden, I couldn’t have any characters like: ö . If the order did contain any of these characters, I had to manually go through each field and change them. My life was miserable and most of the labels created through their own website was missing tracking bar codes. Every time I would make a trip to the post office, I’d get asked, “why did you remove the bar code”. Yes USPS employee, I went out of my way to remove to remove the $@^%ing bar code…
Shipstation imports all your orders, allows you to batch create shipping labels, they work with label printers, and automatically updates your orders in lemonstand. I was so happy with the purchase, I left them a very deserving review.
The best thing about shipstation, is they allow me to batch create ‘first class postage’ labels. In the store live for the past few weeks, is an alternative shipping method which is much cheaper, and doesn’t seem to be any slower. This was by far the biggest complaint, and well deserving being that shipping was over half the cost of the product. I’m really ecstatic about it.
As far as distribution, it’s an entirely different game. For me to find distributors, I need to have FCC/CE certification. While this isn’t a big deal, it’s expensive. However, I’m happy to say that I’m doing it now. In a few weeks, once that it is done, I’ll push inventory to a few distributors where shipping options will be even better for customers. If anyone is interested in becoming a distributor, please e-mail me.
We have made improvements on the GUI and firmware side, which we will hopefully polish off and push soon. I know I have completely dropped the ball on promised features. Between my full time job, working on flirc, taking care of my family, I don’t take a moment of rest, seven days a week.