Well it’s been quite a few days since I last wrote a proper blog post. So I thought I would write a blog entry I genuinely thought I may never get to post. It’s going to be a long one so buckle up.
I remember when I was in Primary School (Elementary school which finishes at the age of 11), being in my parents garden during the summer holidays and two days away going to High School. I remember thinking, ‘I’m never actually going to get to High School, something will happen, anything, but I can’t imagine myself there’. I genuinely thought I had a higher chance of being hit by a car than going to High School in two days. Two days came and went (I didn’t get hit by a car) and low and behold I was at high school. I had seen my sister there, I had seen her go from Primary to Secondary but I never thought I’d be there. It was a weird sensation – all those ‘talks’ about becoming ‘grown-up’, about how much more responsible you will have to be, and how you are basically an adult now, they were essentially meaningless, a mere distraction and right of passage that every child has to go through. So why am I reminiscing about a time that was over 14 years ago? Simple – it’s exactly the same today.
I’ve posted a LOT on forums and on this blog about the development of the JooVuu X, and if you think what you have read is a lot you should see my 500+ posts on our internal forum for beta testing. Every post, every development, every set back, is all a reality check that ‘yes you’re still working on the camera’ and ‘yes this camera still needs improving before it is released’. Every knock, every compliment acts as a punch in the gut and a wake-up call that in fact you are still taking that long journey to releasing your product. And boy is it a long journey. It’s a journey that isn’t helped by the actual path that is laid out in front of you. Let me explain: When I started this project our estimate for the JooVuu X being ready was late August/early Sept. Well July came and we just had the first beta samples. So no we thought we were looking at a mid-September launch. Well, we had numerous problems and set backs. So we’re looking at a late September launch. Well we’ve now got a problem with the WiFi module, okay so probably an early October launch. Oops, there’s a problem with the Real Time Clock, okay so a mid October launch – finally we’re there, everything is being signed off,and all you are waiting for are the cases – the simplest part of the camera. Yep, there’s a problem. Okay that’s fine we’ll launch early November. Two days before production is meant to start my employee Emma see’s the cases and does not bother even asking me if I want to use them, the quality is a joke. Lots of shouting and a few late nights later, the cases have been re-made and they’re perfect. However, we’ve lost our space on the production line, which means we’ve lost our QC space and also our own independent testers space. We re-organize with everyone but we’re now another 7 days behind schedule. The above may seem long winded, and some of it was optimism but most of it was out of our control. As you can understand, I still expect something to happen, some massive disaster, but it actually looks like this time, everything is fine. And boy is it weird.
It’s weird for so many reasons, I’ve technically developed a product and brought it to market, we’ve created a product better than I could ever have imagined, and because it’s finally over. Not over in that ‘oh we’re done’ but the long path of bringing something to market is now over. I keep having to pinch myself and actually say, ‘in a few days Dan, people will be buying and reviewing your product’. I’m not sure how I feel, excited, nervous, scared, happy, all at once but none at the same time. I’m excited for the above reasons, nervous because my product is now out there, in the big bad world. Scared, because this could have just been a giant waste of time and instead I could have invested in something else, and happy because I’ve done something I never thought I could.
Jokiin from DashCamTalk has been giving me advice, and keeping me calm when stuff has gone haywire and he said this today: ‘Once you release, you’ll move into the next stage: The feedback’ and this is what I think exhilarates me the most. Anyone who is anybody will now help us improve the JooVuu X. We know there are going to be problems – probably more than we could have ever imagined, but we’re excited for this. Your data gives us a bigger sample for improvement. Currently we have internal testers and the external testers. The external testers are the point guys and we have 9 of them (including Emma and myself). That’s a tiny sample. For launch worldwide I believe our sales will be around 60-80 which is nothing. It’s tiny. But that sample will have just increased the data we have by about 800% or so. That means we can solve problems quicker, see what customers are using the camera as, and engage with what we need to improve and change. That is what exhilarates me. That progress, that development, that can only be garnered truly through use of your product.
I’ve finally got some quiet, and it appears the next few days are going to be pretty quiet (up until about 9am on Friday), and it’s strangely bizarre. I’ve gone over some things, made some decisions (we’re re-designing the waterproof case, as I thought the original was ugly) as I finally had time to properly think about them, but best of all I’ve managed to actually properly start the development of JooVuu. The action camera we’re still in the early stages but we’ve started development (features, hardware, design, components to use etc), it will be different to what is currently on the market. But I’ve personally started on a new project that has nothing to do with cameras (shock horror I know!) but something I love, so hopefully more on that in the coming days and months.
The entire experience has not just taught me more than I ever really wanted to know about manufacturing and development but has/is one of the most rewarding processes I’ve been through. Whilst the initial development stage has finished it’s now time to move on to the main development stage, the feedback and improvement, and I hope that you guys will be with me for that.
So here’s to the other side which is a few days away.