The First Team to Get Wired In27 Nov 2014 - The Hardware Series
We have a lot of story to tell. I’m excited to share with you the entire process of seeking out and working with overseas manufacturers. We’ve learned so much that I think can help others avoid pitfalls.
We’ve been so busy actually iterating through prototypes that I haven’t had time to put what we’ve learned to blog posts. I promise they are coming.
An office full of signs
One of the things we really wanted to test was having an entire office using Wired In signs. The perfect first shop was Tanner Labs. It’s an open office space with a fast-paced design and development style. They are also local, so we can get their feedback and see first-hand how they use the hardware.
We let them know they would be testing prototypes and they were still very excited. Wouldn’t you be?
We prepared a simple online store so that each team member could custom order their sign. They had a few standard phrases they could choose: Wired In, In The Zone, On Air, or Go Away. We also let them order custom text if they wanted something different.
A lot of the orders were standard. But many of them were creative, and we loved it: Crushing It, Mic Droppin’, #Beastmode, or Rockstar Mode were just a few.
It was really helpful to go through an actual order process with the team. They helped us work on things that may seem simple. For example: for something like having the laser etch the letters, or everything but the letters. Would you have the purchase option read “Etched Pane vs Etched Text” or “Etched Pane vs Clear Pane”? Or would you abstract it even further and give them names like “Ice” vs “Frosted”.
The feedback was to keep either text or pane constant: “Frosted Pane vs Clear Pane” or “Frosted Text vs Clear Text”. The less friction in the order process the better, so we want the distinction to be as clear as possible.
Shipping the order
After we had the orders in from the team we still had to send it to our Chinese manufacturers. And while I wish we could just send them the text list and be done, it actually took hours to prepare the files. More than thirty signs with a handful of custom text acrylics had to be designed with a unique layout for each custom phrase.
When they came in they were pretty freaking sweet.
It took a couple weeks for the signs to arrive. The yield on the bases wasn’t perfect, but we ordered a handful of extras. We spent some time prepping the signs before delivery to make sure they all worked. We wanted our first customers to have the best experience possible.
When we delivered the signs everyone was ecstatic. They loved the way the hardware looked, felt, and worked. It was a fabulous experience for our first order. We are excited to see how the signs help productivity at Tanner Labs.
We’d love to get some prototypes in a few more test offices before we officially launch. Do you know of an office that would be a good fit? We’d love to hear from you. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to us on Twitter.