Boldport Club at 500
Boldport Club now has over 500 active members! That's 500 people the world over receiving the soldering projects that we design and manufacture every month in London. It's certainly reason to celebrate and reflect. We've compiled some stats to evaluate what's been going on for the past two years and to understand the make-up of our wonderful community. We've gathered data from our subscriber and shipping records and from a questionnaire that was completed by nearly 200 people.
We shipped Pease, our first project, mid-March 2016. By then we already had an astonishing 170 members who were confident enough that we will deliver interesting projects. We've had strong growth in 2016 and gained a net of 100 members in 2017.
We strive to create a diverse community. We'd like to have people from different personal and professional backgrounds, varied levels of experience with electronics, and different life experiences. This is how we can learn from and inspire each other. This diversity creates a healthy environment for making the Club fun, creative, and stimulating. In our questionnaire we learned a bit more about our members backgrounds.
We learned from the questionnaire that most of our community is from the technology industry (software, engineering, IT, etc.) It's great to see that we are also able to attract members from other fields such as healthcare, law, and transport. Most of our members 'dabble' with electronics or do it professionally. About 10% of members are women and we would very much like to improve on that.
On our Slack — where the majority of community interaction happens with about 75K messages so far — it's remarkable that there's an expert in almost any topic discussed. We discuss everything from individual projects to cooking, 3D printing, and PCB design. For every question, however trivial or complex, there are a few people that almost immediately help out. This community works! Members also contribute to a member-managed contribution site with project resources.
In the coming year we'll continue working towards making the community even more engaging, stronger, and more welcoming to everyone.
We have members from all over the world; most are from the US. In the US, California is where most members are. In total we've shipped 22 projects in about 8300 packages. Only one project was delivered late; that is, shipped after our self-imposed deadline of the 15th of the month.
In our questionnaire we asked people about their expectations when they've joined the Club and whether those expectations were met after experiencing being part of the Club. Most people regard the Club to be good value for money.
People seem to be satisfied, which is great for us to hear. Another strong indication for this is that the average length of subscription is well over a year! (We've only been shipping for two years.)
When we asked what attracted members to the Club, the answers were about what we expect: all the things we created the Club for and what we enjoy working on. Also, this is what puts the Club apart from other electronics project creators.
Members can buy previous projects from the Club shop. The figure below shows what people ordered over the past couple of years. It's interesting to identify popular projects like The Matrix and The Monarch. Less popular projects are SPOOLT and IxpandO. Pease was very popular but was sold out right after we shipped it to members. We constantly study what works and what doesn't, but without compromising of our vision and what we aim to deliver.
In July of last year we moved to Woolwich (the birth place of Arsenal FC). We have a large office with a separate workshop with a lot of room for activities and room to grow. We've had meetups in London, Munich, and Cambridge and a member-organised meetup in Ohio. It's lovely to meet some of our members and guests in person, in a casual atmosphere for exchanging project ideas and random thoughts.
Finally, it's natural for people to leave the Club. We found that when people do, it has little to do with our projects and service, but most to do with changing life circumstances. By far, most people indicate that they intend to come back.
We'd like to share the celebration with you in way of a £10 discount at our Club shop. Members can use this code at checkout
This code will expire March 9th. If you're not a member you can still use the code after signing up (the code won't work for memberships to the Club).
In the coming months we'll initiate a rewards programme where we send a small token of appreciation to members. For example, you'd get something with your first, tenth, twentieth project, etc. We really appreciate the people who stick and we want to show that appreciation somehow. We will also organise another London meetup soon. Details TBD. Otherwise things remain the same. It's working.
We're very encouraged by the responses we've received to this 'project' over the past two years and look forward to continue inspiring people with creative electronics for a long time to come.
I'd like to thank everyone who has supported us with encouragement and money over the past two years. Particular thanks to members who have taken an active role in suggesting and creating projects, community-related activities, and help with presenting our projects. It's a special kind of joy to know that we're creating something that genuinely inspire people, and an environment that encourages participation and engagement. Thanks for that.