Let’s catch up since the last update
Okay, so after re-reading through the last Co-creation update (#4), I realised that I kind of left you hanging. We were supposed to talk about a bunch of stuff and coming to Kickstarter was one of them. I had the post in a rough draft, but we became so busy with our launch that it got left behind in the mad rush. But worry not - we’ll try to style it out as if we didn’t miss an episode.
We’re coming came to Kickstarter!
I saw a few comments asking us to please not go to Kickstarter, but the reality is that Kickstarter has been the platform that has allowed us to do what we do and take the risk to develop and deliver the best product in its category. We owe a lot of our success to the Kickstarter community and will continue to keep supporting the platform the way it supports us. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who turned up and helped to make our campaign launch a huge success!
I will briefly address the elephant in the room again, which was the delay with the previous campaign. We ended the campaign with a few learnings and things we promised to do better next time. To jog everyone’s memory, here’s that list along with how we’re addressing each item.
1. Be closer to tooling
As Eu-wen mentioned in the Kickstarter video, we’ve already started tooling and are getting first shot samples soon. We’re a lot further along here with Firefly parts and will begin testing the initial units as soon as we can. Of course, you’ll be the first to see those updates right here.
2. Be better at logistics
I don’t need to remind everyone about the craziness of COVID, but there were definitely a bunch of learnings on our end and things we felt we could’ve done better. We’re a lot more prepared this time around and due to the size of Firefly, our shipping options have increased significantly. We’re working hard on making the packaging as compact and as space efficient as possible so that we’re able to keep the size of each shipment down and can keep those options open. I’ll be sharing more updates on packaging in a future post.
3. Have a backer-facing shipment tracker from the very beginning
We’re currently building a tracker similar to the previous one and so should have something to share once the campaign ends and we move into fulfillment. You’ll be able to follow along with where your batch is in the fulfillment process so that you know roughly when to expect it.
4. Continue to take an uncompromising approach to product design and development.
As you’ve seen, we’re still listening intently and are trying to incorporate as much feedback into the products as we possibly can. I think we’re mostly there with the base functionality and design of Firefly, and everything we do now is just further refinements. We’re still hoping to get your thoughts and wishes for the product so that we can answer as many of them as we can before we ship out the final product.
5. Start the conversation with our backers even earlier
The whole Co-Creation series is the manifestation of us trying to live up to this promise. We asked for your feedback early and you have helped us to create a great product. Hopefully it’s been fun and insightful following the progress and having a chance to help us define the product together.
Beyond this, we’ve also started giving our optimistic and pessimistic timelines for delivery, which is something that we found very useful the last time around. I think it’s important to be really clear early on about what we’re expecting even if it means delivering much later than we would like. As long as you know the timeframe, there (hopefully) shouldn’t be any surprises.
I personally believe that going through this process and getting all your feedback before we commit to tooling is what allows us to make our products the best they can be. I’m also amazed at the sheer amount of useful feedback we do get from you all. It really has been truly helpful and Firefly certainly wouldn’t be as awesome if not for you folk, so thank you to everyone who’s stuck with us.
Okay, onwards to accessories!
Honestly speaking, we did not expect the 4x bundle to be our most popular reward when developing Firefly. We only began to discover this trend a couple of weeks before the Kickstarter launch through our surveys and it was finally confirmed on day 1.
We’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the wireless chargers and it seems like the dual charger I gave a sneak peak in an earlier update is not going to cut it for the majority of our backers.
We actually made quite a bit of progress with it and had 3D printed samples to share, however, it’s looking like a 4x charger might be more appropriate. The problem is that our resources are really limited and we have a delivery timeline that we’re determined to meet, so to develop these accessories we need to be really careful about which charger we commit to. So, I’d like to just share the options with you all and have you tell us which one excites you the most.
A dual carry case wireless charger
This is an option I shared earlier and is able to charge 2 Firefly at the same time, but also doubles up as a sleek carry case. There’s no integrated battery as that would add bulk and increase complexity, so you can’t charge on the go unless you plug it into a power bank, just like the charging cradle. However, it nicely holds your Firefly in a compact and sleek package.
A 4x carry pouch charger
We couldn’t resist the idea of a vegan leather wallet that holds all of your Firefly in a beautiful carry case. This will definitely be a little more expensive option, but I think the idea is pretty cool and if there’s demand, we’d love to do it.
So, like I mentioned, we really need your help in filling out this survey and letting us know which option would get your vote and thus which charger we should focus our attention on.
Magnetic Mounting Power
I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter around the strength of the magnetic mounting and so I’d like to address this with some fun product demos.
The gold standard we’re trying to achieve is to have them survive mountain biking and so I’d like to present you with a video of Firefly in action on a mountain bike … at some point. We’re currently getting the production samples ready to ship out to our mountain biking beta testers and will share that footage with you once we have it. Until then, this is what the current version of the mount can withstand without popping out…
Granted, these tests are not that scientific, but here are some more non-conventional tests to show the staying power of the magnetic mounts.
If you’re confused at what’s happening, we’re lobbing a Firefly down the stairs whilst still in its mount. I’m actually surprised about this one myself.
This is us making full use of our tumble dryer. Again the Firefly lights tend to stay put within their mounts and don’t really separate from them even when bumping into each other.
We even converted our gym equipment into a makeshift test-rig as we try to evaluate the strength of the mounts and make refinements to make them even stronger.
In all our regular riding tests (some a bit rougher than usual) the Firefly units always stay put securely in their mounts. However, they are magnetic and there is a threshold at which they come out when enough force is applied, but that amount of force is really quite high and we don’t expect your bike will ever experience those types of forces, unless you’re doing crazy jumps with your bike.
Rest assured, that we’re working to over-engineer these mounts to ensure a really really secure fit and once we have a demo with actual tooled parts, we’ll be very excited to share it with you.
If you can think of some fun experiments you’d like to see us do, then also let us know and we’ll try to get them done.
I’m sure you’ve seen some of the footage on Kickstarter of our mounts but I’d like to do a deeper dive here to ensure we’re getting it right.
Here’s what the Universal Mount currently looks like.
It will come with a set of 2 paddings to allow for a straight attachment as well as an angled attachment.
The strap that it comes with will allow it to be mounted on diameters ranging from 25.8mm to 35mm, and on aero bars with a similar circumference.
Here’s how it attaches to something other than a bike frame. We tried to make it as versatile as possible, so that you can literally mount it anywhere.
Turn Signal Mount
Here’s what the Turn Signal Mount looks like.
This is how it attaches to the seatpost.
As you can see, it requires the Universal Mount that comes with every Firefly to be attached. One of the ways that we’re reducing the amount of waste that we’re producing is by making parts reusable for different attachments. This means if you’re purchasing a Turn Signal Mount, you won’t have 2 spare Universal Mounts just lying around without a purpose.
This mount works on some front setups, but we’re currently finishing up a more inclusive and versatile design for attaching the Turn Signal Mount to the front of the bike. Here’s a little sneak peak at how that will work.
Note: This is still a prototype and the final details are to be confirmed
All of these parts will be included in the Turn Signal Mount package, leaving it up to you to decide how to best mount your turn signals.
Handlebar End Mounts
We’ve also seen a bit of feedback regarding the Handlebar End Mounts regarding their staying power.
Whilst the current tooled version is pretty solid, we had the same thought regarding the locking mechanism and wanted it to be rock-solid so have already started on a V2 of this particular mount. We’ll be updating the design to incorporate a bolt mechanism that tightens once placed into the handlebar ends.
We’re prototyping it up now for testing, and will provide updates on this when we can. This is again something we’re implementing based on your feedback, so it’s really helpful to get that as early as we can. In this case, we have the time for the retooling, so we are updating it as we go.
Let’s wrap it up here
I’ve seemed to have gone way over my self-imposed 1000 word limit, but there’s just a lot to talk about. There will be a lot more to share as the campaign progresses and as we finish up the development of Firefly so stay tuned for more updates and please do let us know your feedback to help us improve the product even further. There are already a bunch of suggestions that we’ve seen in the comments and surveys that we’re working on and will hopefully be able to share soon. Before you leave, a gentle reminder to cast your votes on the charging solution here. Thank you!
Until next time!
Lumos Firefly is live on Kickstarter now! Enjoy up to 35% off with our Early Bird discount before the campaign ends.