General Update and “Early Adopter” Explained

Long overdue explanation of the Early Adopter stuff, how the waiting list works and how to get your hands on a stick.

Everyone has been understandably eager to know how to get a stick and when they would be released so here is a clarification of the current state of the project and plan going forward.

Status Update: Nov/2016

If you’ve been following me on twitter you will have seen a sporadic stream of dev pics and mini-updates but admittedly there has been a lack of solid details about how to get one.  My focus has been primarily on refining the workflow and process so I’m sorry for the lack of details regarding the commercial side of things.

Testing, problem solving and refining these sticks has been a huge challenge, very time consuming but also a ton of fun. Left to my own devices and given an unlimited budget I’d probably just keep tinkering with these things forever. Admittedly if I did that I’d likely have a lynch mob after me. 🙂

The difficulty with this kind of development process is that there’s a constant change in “the product” and a resulting uncertainty of what, where, when and for how much that product can be made available. I didn’t want to announce vague timelines that I wouldn’t meet or prices that would likely change a bunch as I figured things out.

With each iteration and improvement in my ability to make them, a prototype stick I had considered “good enough” before suddenly required an update. These constant changes and the refurb nature of the modules also meant that each stick is a bit of a unique beast. That’s something that’s taken a while to fully understand and dial in. Variability isn’t good when the idea is to offer user interchangeable parts further down the road.

The refurbed gear arms in particular have been a major headache to get right. A big source of variability, I recently switched from a hand finished approach to full machine finishing after noticing some problems with the gears “relaxing” slowly after assembly and issues with embedded grit. This is just one example of the kind of changes that I’m making and again it took some time to dial the process back in after changing things up.

Pretty much every part of the stick has gone through a bunch of iterations and workflow refinements similar to this with the aim of improving consistency in the end result. Of course the trade-off to this is that I haven’t gotten as many finished sticks out of the process as I’d like.

In short I’m getting better at building these things every day and solving important issues as I go, it just takes a lot of time. I know you guys are keen to know more and I appreciate your patience.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Finished sticks awaiting a new home.

Waiting List Clarification

Since the beginning I was getting steady messages of interest. Not knowing many specifics about how I was going to build and sell these sticks I felt the best option was to put everyone on a waiting list. That way those of you who found the project early on would at least be first in line for when I did start selling them.

The level of interest exceeded my expectations quite a bit and the waiting list quickly grew out of hand. To the point were simply responding to requests and updating the list was significantly cutting into time that I would have rather spent in the workshop actually improving the sticks.

I’d love to have enough time to both work on the sticks full-time and also keep everyone updated through email responses, forum posts and twitter updates but often I had to prioritize the former and neglect the latter. So I apologize if I didn’t get back to you with a response or if things were unclear. I hope that with this site going up, more details being available and with me generally getting a better handle on the build process that I can make more time to detail the process and keep everyone in the loop.

I get a lot of questions about how far through the wait list I am. So just to clarify, other than about a dozen prototype sticks that went out to testers in Spring no one on the wait list has been offered any sticks yet. I had some Early Adopter sticks built and was planning on sending those out at the end of August but ultimately decided to hold off and incorporate some improvements which delayed things till now.

Early Adopters Assemble!

So, all that said it’s finally time to shift focus away from tinkering for a bit and work on getting some sticks out to people before Christmas.

This is the start of what I call the “Early Adopter” phase. If the first batch of prototype sticks going out was “Alpha testing” then this is a kind of paid “Beta testing” where the goal is to get the latest “stable” iteration of sticks into the hands of more people and assess how the improvements fare in the real world. Of course it’s also a chance to test the purchase system on the site, sort out the shipping process and figure out all manner of other logistical stuff. A practice run if you will 🙂

I have at least 20 stick modules built and ready to go and will be contacting those people shortly after this site goes up. All going well I’m hoping to get a good number of these sticks shipped out and into your hands in time for Christmas.

The following should give you an idea of how the wait list process will work.

  • When I have a batch of sticks built (currently I have 20 available).  I will offer these to that number of people on my wait list starting from the beginning.
  • I have email contacts for each of you so the offer will be via email. I will also be posting twitter updates when these go out so keep an eye out for that.
  • “Early Adopter” sticks will be limited to one per person on the wait list. Accessories (caps etc) are limited only by stock.
  • If the offer sounds good you’ll be able to claim a stick by proceeding with an order through the webshop. If you decide you’re not interested then I’ll offer that stick to the next person on the list. Rinse/repeat until each available stick is spoken for.

That’s the plan right now, we’ll see how things go. I’m excited to start offering some sticks for sale and look forward to hearing the feedback once they get out there.

Linus

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In an effort to minimize my email load here are some expected questions, there’s also some other questions answered in the FAQ section

Q: I don’t know my wait list number so I’m not sure if I should be looking out for an email.?

  • A: I believe I talked to most of you at some point during the year about your relative or exact position on the wait list. Near the beginning the exact numbers are a bit messy because I ended up merging the original “Interested Testers” list with the later “Early Adopter Waitlist”. (Did I mention how this list grew into a bit of a beast! :P) This was done based on when they first contacted me. If you’re on the list but not sure where just send me a Twitter DM or email and I’ll let you know.

Q: I’m further down the list but still in the “Early Adopter” (Top 100) how long will it take until I can get a stick?

  • A: I really can’t say for sure. Once this batch is sent out and I have a better idea of the levels of interest then I can start to make some better predictions about how long it will take to get to you. The wait list was put together a while ago based on few specifics so I don’t know how many people will actually follow through on buying a stick.

Q: I was told I was on a shortlist as a tester from the previous rounds of testing. Am I  also on the early adopter list?

  • A: I had a few of you down as testers in case I needed any more expert testing in specific games. For the time being I don’t plan on sending out any more free sample/test sticks so I have moved everyone over to the early adopter list based on when you first contacted me.

If you have any questions about Early Adopter specific stuff that isn’t answered here or in the FAQ then shoot me an email: info@steelsticks64.com

 

 

 

4 comments

  • Josh Riley-Hanson

    Can you confirm I’m on the list?
    I emailed you asking to be put on and a day or 2 after you tweeted no more people would be added and I didn’t receive an email response which I’m fine but now I’m not sure I made it on…

    • admin

      Hi Josh, really sorry for the confusion and for not getting back to you.
      I had to stop adding people because the list kept growing and I wasn’t at a point where I could start chipping away at it.
      As I mentioned above, it got out of hand somewhat.

      I have your email and when I reopen the waiting list in the future you and everyone else who contacted me before the cutoff will be added to it at the appropriate point.
      Hopefully I’ll have a better system in place at that point!
      All the best
      Linus

  • Doug Green

    I’d very much love to be on that list. I messaged you some time back asking to be put on any lists you had going but not sure I made it??

  • Robert

    Just curious if this is still in the works. I’d like to order one as soon as they are available. Kudos for your ingenuity in developing a long-overdue premium solution for Nintendo 64 gaming enthusiasts like myself!

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