Wowee 2019, what a year it’s been. It always freaks me how the world can move so quickly and before you know it, it’s Christmas again, followed by the beginning of a new year.
In this update I’ll cover:
- The journey so far… and how we got here.
- Some recent challenges/improvements.
- An end of February delivery.
- Exciting next steps
For 10+ years music was my life. I was a recording artist that toured the world playing shows, had many incredible experiences as a singer/ songwriter and built my craft to a place where there was some really exciting buzz and great opportunities on the horizon. At that point, I decided to stop playing. A lot of people asked why. For a while, I didn’t really have an answer or I would say “it just doesn’t feel right anymore”. On reflection, I didn’t particularly enjoy touring, I didn’t like being in the public eye so much and the lifestyle and end goal didn’t have the appeal it used to have for me. I moved to Toronto, I lived on a farm in Montreal and then I walked 850kms across Spain. Walking across Spain taught me that if you keep putting one step in front of the other, that big goals are possible. I then came back home to Australia and began working behind the scenes with Uber.
At the start of 2018, I came up with TAPSQUIRE as an idea and reached out to dad to help bring it to life. Dad is now retired but has run his own business creating safety equipment for mining in the past, worked in aged care and done everything in between. His brain leans towards engineering while I leans towards the creative side and we have a great relationship, so the duo made a lot of sense.
It’s now coming up to 2 years since we put down the first pencil drawing of the concept and what a journey it has been. I’ve heard several people say that “product design is not for the faint-hearted”. I know now first hand how incredibly true this is. I think a big differentiator from developing a product in tech (which I’ve been privy to working at the Uber offices for the last 4 years), is that with tech you can put a beta version out to the market and then rejig it, send out a software update and clear up the bugs. With a physical product like TAPSQUIRE, we don’t have the luxury of a software update so we continue to commit to doing absolutely everything we can to make sure that when you receive the product in your hand that it will be everything you had hoped for and more. Dad told me the other day that the Leatherman’s multi-tool knife took the guy 7 years to develop it. Before I started this I would have thought that’s completely insane. Don’t get me wrong that seems like a hell of a long time but to a certain extent, I get it. One tiny design tweak for optimization, strength or aesthetics can change EVERYTHING and then it’s another prototype and it’s more testing. No need to worry you won’t have to wait 7 years for your wallet :) But as I said in the last update, we are a couple of months behind what we anticipated, due to these challenges and our commitment to the best possible product, delivery is looking like late February. We know this isn’t ideal but I can say with absolute confidence that there isn’t anyone in the world that wants to get your TAPSQUIRE to you as soon as possible and as beautiful as we promised, more than dad and myself.
Beyond having to learn incredibly quickly in areas that we had not had previously worked in, I've been lucky enough to have incredible mentors to help guide me and to learn from. Dad has been the engineering master behind bringing this together and I have had to jump into a bunch of roles from operations, to marketing, to finance, to customer support, to web designer and learn quickly. As an example, some of the most recent challenges have involved redesigning several metal brackets that hold the cards in place. We then needed to bounce back and forth these changes with the factory to make sure it can be produced. If it can't we then make edits with the design team and try again. Once we think this is sorted we then prototype it again and go back to testing to confirm that the card will stay in place and is easily removed if you need to take it out. This is just one tiny thing that can turn into one hell of a problem-solving mission to keep the unit sleek and slim. As we continue to embrace these hurdles, it’s an incredibly exciting time. We are now looking at flying over to the factory in a couple of weeks as they begin making the tooling. This won’t only be an epic moment for the business but an awesome experience to share with my dad.
We will continue to work our butts off and do everything we can to deliver you something super special. Over the last few months, it's been pretty awesome testing prototypes in my day to day life and seeing the crazy reactions I get from people being wowed when I pay for a beer or tap on for public transport. The excitement in their faces to try it for themselves and their desire to learn where they can get one from continues to give us a lot of confidence that we are building something pretty rad and on the right track.
But for now, remember that you guys are the ones that have made this a reality and we will be forever grateful. Enjoy this journey with us and we promise you it will all be worth the ride. Have an incredible Christmas and New Year with your loved ones and we can’t wait to share our next update in Jan of these crazy adventures.
Many many thanks
Ben and Pete