The past month has been my busiest month yet: I’ve moved between offices, the MBK group buy got delivered, the missing screws landed on their feet, and the month before (June) saw more than twice as many orders as I’m used to. On top of that, I’ve been feeling ill during the past few days, but have thankfully been tested negative for COVID19. Let’s start with a summary:
At this time of writing, roughly 250 orders are waiting for me to be packed and shipped. There are roughly 90 tickets in the support queue. This means that my response time will be greater than you’re used to from me.
On average, I ship between 10 and 30 orders each day, depending on the complexity and the other things I have to do to support my business, which includes customer support, purchasing items and packing material, accounting, among other things. Splitkb.com is a one-person shop, so I have to do all these things myself. Along with new orders coming in, this means that it’ll take me roughly two to three weeks to get up to speed again. So:
If you’ve placed an order, I am working on it. I expect to be caught up again within this month. If you’ve requested a status update, know that your order will ship within three weeks, and in many cases, within the next week.
Furthermore, I’d like to state that it’s perfectly logical to ask for a status update, as this is the first post to give a full overview of the order statuses, and you’ve come to expect a quicker turnaround from me than you’ve seen in the past few weeks. I hope this post gives you the confidence, trust and patience to tide you over until I ship you your package. You’re of course still free to ask for updates, just know that it’ll take me longer to get to them at the moment, and they do take me time to answer that could’ve been spent elsewhere.
In this post, you’ll read:
- The answers to frequently asked questions about the delays;
- A background on why moving was necessary and what I did to make it happen this month;
- Introducing the Zima, and;
- Development on new products.
From now on, I’ve changed the naming of these monthly updates to have the name of the current month. While the contents mostly are about the month past, it used to look like you were looking at old information. Since I update the blog every month, it should be less confusing to have the name reflect the current month instead. Thank you for reading!
Frequently asked questions
I receive many support requests because of the delay, which of course makes sense as I haven’t been transparant enough outside of Discord. Here are answers to the most common questions I receive:
- Are my items still in stock? Yes. Once you order, your items will be reserved for you. Any preorderable items will also be reserved for you, so once you’ve placed an order, there is no need to worry about item availability.
- I have a support ticket for my order, what about that? The support queue is quite long at the moment. In order to reduce the number of questions I get, I try to ship as many orders as quickly as possible. This means that I’ll handle questions by searching for your order number.
- What’s the status on my order? The information in this post applies to just about all orders. Asking for a status update is of course expected—I’m taking longer, and I haven’t communicated this fact to you before this post yet—but rest assured that your order, too, will ship this month.
- Will you ship my order? Yes, all orders will, of course, be shipped. I haven’t made the Kyria to be able to sit on a pile of kits, so the faster I can get them to you, the better!
- Can I add items to my order? Yes, you can, but it will take me a while to get to your request. The best way to request order modifications is by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Where does this delay come from? It’s a combination of factors: I moved to a new office, items for a group buy came in which also has to be fulfilled, some delayed items came in and the month of June saw a great number of extra orders which took (and sometimes still takes) a lot of time during July to handle.
- What are you doing to combat the delays? Moving to a new space allows me to both have the space to work more effectively, and to hire people to help me, and so I did. It’s not exactly going great, with the helper calling in sick after only a day. So far, going about getting a helper cost me more time than I gained, but the good news is hiring someone will now take about an hour instead of a day.
- What about custom Kyria orders? I’ve enlisted the help of a British keyboard builder to speed the building process along. With everything going on, I haven’t been able to commit the focus and time necessary to build keyboards, so by outsourcing this I’m sure that we’ll be making steady progress, so that you’ll finally see your custom Kyria appear in the mail. I’ll still be verifying and testing the builds, as I remain responsible for the proper working of your Kyria, so you’re sure to still be able to expect the quality you’re used to from me.
- What about orders with custom matte knobs? I’ve found a new manufacturer who will begin production soon, who should deliver within the three months. I haven’t had time to address all the replies to my status update yet. I thank you for your patience while I sort the queues out, and I’m sure that whichever option you went with, it’s sure to be satisfactory.
- I see you working on new products in the blog post and on Discord. Why aren’t you packing orders during that time instead? I work roughly 12 hours a day, six to seven days a week. If I’d only pack orders during that time, I’d go crazy, so I take a few hours each week to write new help articles and move development along on new products. New products also help keep the lights on and the rent paid for, which I do need to be able to keep fulfilling orders. There’s a balance, but due to the nature of social media, the new products (cool and interesting!) get highlighted more than the boxes that DHL picks up at my place daily (not so cool and interesting to see every day).
One step back, two steps forward
Preparing for the move, getting everything over, arranging for more furniture like shelving and desks, arranging for a helper to be able to start working here, making sure the finances are in order… it all took time. In hindsight, more time than I estimated it’d take. However, it was necessary.
I used to work in what used to be a bedroom of about 8 square meters (or about 86 square feet). I made it work, but it wasn’t easy. By the end I didn’t even have enough space to unpack shipments from suppliers, or to comfortably sort out keyboard kits. I also reached a ceiling in what I was able to do myself: with my two hands having to take care of everything, and with me already working 12 hours a day on average, I wasn’t able to wring more productivity out of myself. So, it was time to kick things into gear and move on to the next step: moving out and expanding splitkb.com.
Moving took much valuable time, which could’ve otherwise gone to packing and shipping orders, and yet I chose to move. Not moving would pose a far bigger problem in the future, where operations would grind to a halt completely. Moving now also hurts now, but will be crucial to ensure stability in the future.
The cause to the delays is that many different issues converged, from a shortage in screws at one point, to a more than double increase in orders back in June, to the MBK keycap for its group buy being shipped to me ready for kitting, the actually getting settled and being back to full productivity taking time, the hiring a worker and him being sick the day after… there are many factors, some of which could’ve been avoided, some of which are just bad luck, but they all contributed to the delays. The only thing to do now is to learn from them and prevent them in the future, and to actively work and communicate to combat these delays, which is what I’m doing daily and with this blog post.
Introducing the Zima
The Zima is a credit-card sized macropad I developed late last year, but finally got around to making production ready in early July. With the early preorders for the alpha version shipped out, I’m now ready to reveal this feature-packed pad: the Zima!
You can click on an image below to view it in more detail.
The past month, I haven’t had time to properly focus on the Kyria Plus. My goal was to launch a group buy and wrap it up before the end of the year, however, with it already being August, everything may move over one month. My priority is in shipping orders, and while I do want to spend some time developing, I can’t justify spending entire days on development yet while orders are waiting. So, more news will follow later!
In the last blog post, I had a questionnaire on tenting, which saw almost one hundred and fifty responses, many more than I anticipated. I’ve learned a lot about how you think about tenting, and which methods you’d consider, along with feedback on the tenting puck design. I’ve taken it into account in the design of the second revision. It’s not ready to show to you yet, so it’ll have to wait until next month - but I’m sure you’ll like what I have come up with. The tenting puck will see a proper debut alongside the Kyria Plus, so you can expect a better tenting solution by then.
Responses to the question "Which tenting options would you consider?" from last month's update
I thought it was interesting to present some of the thoughts of people who are currently tenting their keyboard, or are interested in doing so. There’s a roughly equal preference between using bolts on the side of the keyboard versus a wedge underneath, with a smaller section considering tripods. The feedback greatly helps me to determine which things I still need to address before releasing the tenting puck, so I thank you once again for reading and participating in the questionnaire!
I hope this post has given clarity in the current situation. It’s a lot to work through, but it’s also manageable with a clear line of sight. If you have any questions or would just like to chat, you’re welcome to join our Discord server. And if you’re looking for pictures only, check out our Instagram.
As always, thank you very much for reading these blog posts. See you next time!