In the United States, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season running to the end of the year. Today I’ll reflect on the year that has nearly passed as well as update you on hardware production.
Before I blather on I’ll get to what many are most interested in — the hardware shipping update. As mentioned in my last post, we’ve hit a bumpy patch getting the custom circuit boards for the Mycroft Mark 1 manufactured. Ultimately responsibility for this falls on us, but not telling you what is going on isn’t reassuring either. So here are some details.
On September 2nd we learned the quoted three week pre-production run would be done in four weeks. That was to give us 10 “first article” boards to assemble and thoroughly test so we can OK the production run. Somehow the board house produced a six-month old quoting design instead of the final one we provided, resulting in a useless batch. Next they told us of newly unavailable components (so we overnighted extra stock we had in our office from prototyping); then incorrectly inserted/aligned connectors (fortunately caught during our photographic reviews) and incorrect resistor chip substitutions (also caught during review). They have also confessed that the physical build has been more challenging than expected when quoted to us. However as of Friday night we believe boards are built as designed and the 10 first articles are being overnight shipped to our office as I type this update.
We have all the other pieces sitting here waiting to assemble these first ten production units. We’re keeping our fingers and toes crossed that everything checks out so we can release the full production run. This process has been frustratingly slow and painful and we offer our deepest apologies to all our backers. Your faith in our vision got us started and we do not want to disappoint by either delivering a poor product or failing to deliver at all. (We’ve learned from the painful lessons of failed campaigns like Zano.)
I hope this transparency fortifies your trust. I will post soon with results from our first article testing. We thank you for your patience.
There is a lot to be thankful for here. First, I want to repeat my thanks for all of the backers from Indiegogo and Kickstarter. These funds got this project off the ground, this very post wouldn’t have be possible without you. I again thank you for you patience while we build a quality Mycroft product and sustainable Mycroft ecosystem.
Secondly, thanks to everyone who participates and contributes to the project. We have been fortunate to be able to meet and work with incredibly talented and passionate people from around the world. We’ve spoken to people from Brazil, England, Portugal, Israel, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Russia and more. Pretty incredible for an idea that germinated in Kansas. Without your contributions of time and ideas we wouldn’t be where we are today. We absolutely need you to get to the future we all have imagined.
Next, I want to thank the investors who believe in Mycroft’s potential. We aren’t promising an easy to implement app or yet another API. Investors in Mycroft are making a bet that open software will have a significant place in the future of human machine interfaces. Our entire team is thankful for the support of those who share our vision for a technology that interacts so naturally you can’t tell if it is a machine or a human. That is a big vision and we are thankful for investors who believe our community can make it a reality.
Additionally I want to thank all of the people working here at Mycroft AI. Every one of you has sacrificed to get to where we are. With the demand for tech talent, I know every one of you could be making double or triple the salary with better benefits and fewer hours. I appreciate that you have chosen instead to work on something you can point to with pride without any reservations about abusing people’s privacy or trust.
Finally, I personally am thankful that I get to do what I do here every day (and night). When I describe what we are doing, people are amazed by the scope and how we are literally changing the world. I’m grateful that I have been able to bring my own vision and technology into Mycroft. I only regret that we didn’t become aware of each other and start working together sooner!
The Monday before Thanksgiving we occupied the new office space awarded to us as part of LaunchKC. We are in the heart of Kansas City’s entrepreneurial community in the Crossroads, and the atmosphere is invigorating. The value of environment is hard to put a price on. It feels like a new beginning.
Keep listening here and in the Slack channels for imminent announcements. Mycroft will soon be available as a pre-built Raspberry Pi 3 image for any hobbyist to use. The new backend we have been quietly building is emerging from beta, making the configuration and management of you devices simple. We are forming partnerships to get Mycroft onto laptops, desktops and other devices in the world. Mycroft will soon be speaking to you throughout your day.
Thank you all for your support and assistance as we work together to build a better world.
Steve has been building cutting edge yet still highly usable technology for over 25 years, previously leading teams at Autodesk and the Rhythm Engineering. He now leads the development team at Mycroft as a partner and the CTO.