About the Boldport Club's future
Update: here are the changes.
Dear Boldport Club members and friends,
Boldport Club is a success. When I started advertising this concept in January 2016 I expected a 100 people to sign up within six months. 170 people joined before I made the first shipment in March. We're now 370 active members and steadily growing by out-pacing the churn.
We have cultivated a very strong community thanks to your participation. I'm delighted that the Club has attracted such interesting and engaging people from all backgrounds and expertise levels; it is rewarding to follow the wide range of topics discussed on Slack and know that those were facilitated through a common appreciation of what the Club offers.
I'm about to ship the tenth project to you. We will then have shipped over 3000 packages in ten months. This fast pace ─ concept, research, design, prototype, production, shipping ─ is the good kind of challenge and I'm happy that we have been able to (mostly) meet our goals. I've been reviewing the answers to our recent questionnaire and learning a lot from them; it's clear that most of you are very happy with what you've been getting out of the Club.
For the first few projects I've had previous work to build on while the more recent projects were completely new. I currently have the prototypes for Project #11 working on my desk, and Project #12's design is almost done. With each project, however, the time margins have been shrinking. What this means in practice is that I'm not spending as much time with each project as I think is necessary to achieve the result I’d like to ship to you. Things have become a bit too rushed. The creative element of the designs I create cannot be crammed into an all-nighter; this sort of work requires 'rest' and time to mature in order to be effective. Recently, I've also noticed that I've not had enough time for important things other than project creation and shipping: project-build content, website revamp, and engaging with our community.
So, all of this to say that there will be a two month pause in deliveries after Project #10. The next project after that will be shipped mid-March 2017. I'm not taking a break. I'll be dedicating some more time to attending to the operational side of running the Club: recruitment, supplier relationships and engagement, assembly and shipping improvements, and dealing with growth. Basically, the things that would make the operation get into a sustainable pace. I will apply all that I’ve learned this past year and consider the changing financial environment. I will, of course, continue to create kits that will be sent to you when deliveries resume.
The general format will not change. It's obviously working. But I’m now considering more subscription options (like a 'pro' as in 'prototype') and lengths (subscribe for a year at a discount), bigger projects that members can buy at the shop, and ways to engage with the community better. I’m going to re-evaluate subscription costs that can accommodate different members ─ such as students ─ better.
There's nothing you need to do at this point. I'll sort out your accounts so that you only pay for what you get. If you decide to cancel the subscription during this time and would like a refund for the kits you've paid for that are delayed, just email me. I do hope, however, that you'll stay with us. New members will still be able to sign up during this ‘shipping pause’ period.
Our community on Slack will remain as active as usual and you're welcome to discuss this message on the #meta channel. If you'd like to collaborate on a project or have some ideas, now would be a good time to get in touch and start making plans. Also, if you’d like to collaborate on, or contribute to, some aspects of the Club ─ newsletter, curation of member-generated content, graphics and design, etc. ─ I’d love to hear from you.
I’m grateful to you all for making Boldport Club what it is. I’ve been working full-time on the concept of ‘beautiful and functional’ circuits for several years now, and only with the success of the Club I can be finally confident that I will be able to continue doing this work for a living, work that I thoroughly enjoy. Thanks for that.
All the best,