Archive | December, 2013

Christmas Update

20 Dec

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Hello all,

After three weeks of 16 hour days, countless homemade curries, and a seemingly infinite number of new things we have to worry about, the holiday break @ R/GA Techstars is finally upon us. If you haven’t yet, check out our update video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7AZDJW2HZc.

For the next two weeks, our team will be scattered to the four winds. Piet and Laurence, to South Africa. Jon, to Massachusetts. And Raveen – well, Raveen is going to keep working at the office here in NYC. It is this dedication that earned him the moniker ‘The Jewel of Chennai’ – a name that only hints at the grandeur of his presence. 

This week, we made critical additions to our team – Tyler, who is taking the lead on a redesign of our site, and Julio, who is working with Laurence on product/industrial design. It is so exciting to be adding to our ranks – both for us and for the company.

Also happening this week: significant steps forward in Hammerhead testing; several meetings regarding manufacturing; and our first taste of the direct assistance of the R/GA staff. The Hammerhead, both as a device and as a brand, is going to benefit tremendously from the resources we have here. We’ve been saying this for weeks, but to see it in action is just awesome.

Thanks to all of you for your support – and specifically to those of you who have reached out with comments, advice, and well-wishes. 

All the best,

The HH Team

 

We are now accepting Bitcoin

17 Dec

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Hello backers (and new customers)!

Raveen here. We are excited to announce that today we opened our site up to orders through bitcoin. As you likely know, bitcoin is rapidly becoming a go-to online currency. It seems that every few months there is an explosion of news about this currency, always attempting to make sense of what it means for the global financial system and for law enforcement. Our move to accept it is a small one, admittedly, but to us it evidences our commitment to navigating the ever-shifting sands of emerging tech. Further, we want to be a part of the community that shifts bitcoin’s public perception away from use for nefarious deeds.

Bitcoin has been on my radar for a long while, and it was exciting to see it emerge on the international stage in 2012. There’s something delightfully old-world about a digital currency that acts – at least in part – like cash. To me, bitcoin is a store of value, pure and simple. I like to think of it as having a little pot of gold hiding inside my computer. I’m also excited by the ideas that serve as the foundation for this currency, and the way it makes one think about principles of value and money.

There is a misconception, drawn from the same fear of sites like the Silk Road (which, to my eye, was a good deal more useful than its public reputation suggests), that bitcoin is an untraceable, unethical currency – one destined for the back-alley deals of 21st century criminal enterprise. Certainly, it can and has been used towards those ends. And yes, it is more anonymous than using a credit card. But it is an innovation – and in my mind innovations shouldn’t be judged by the actions the worst of us would carry out with them.

All to say, bitcoin is modern and high tech, and we are a fast-moving, forward thinking startup. This is a match made in heaven. We want to explore the bitcoin option and allow our customers to make use of this exciting new medium of exchange. It’s a learning experience for us, to be sure, but we are excited to take it on.

Use bitcoin or any other currency to order a Hammerhead here.

All the best,

Raveen

Two Weeks at Techstars R/GA

14 Dec

The Hammerhead team is two weeks into our three-month program at the Techstars R/GA Accelerator in New York City. For those not in the know (don’t worry, up until a few years ago, some of us weren’t either!) startup accelerators are essentially bootcamps for entrepreneurs. For a few months, your team and your business are put under intense pressure and scrutiny and given access to a buffet of resources, from mentors to office space to access to investors. The difference between Techstars and most other accelerators (of which there are many nowadays) is that at Techstars the pressure could shape a diamond, the mentors are the best in the world, and the access is awe-inspiring. In the words of own Piet Morgan, “If this is a buffet, it has food flown in from the best chefs in the world – the best food you’ve ever tasted and more than you could ever eat in a year – and you have 15 minutes before they close the door in your face.”

Factor in the resources of R/GA, an amazing firm with so broad a scope of accomplishments that a paragraph – let alone a sentence – could hardly do it justice, and we are in a truly once-in-a-lifetime position. We have the opportunity to take this awesome product we’ve developed and not only deliver on our crowdfunding campaign, but also create a global brand. It will take years to get there, and there are a thousand hurdles to cross on the way, but we simply could not be better positioned to go for it.

Certainly, this story so far sounds like a completely one-sided positive review of Techstars. So what if it is? We’re excited – and we want you to know that every hour we put in here is going to contribute to the Hammerhead being a better, more well-rounded product. Here, where every day feels like a week, and every week, like a year, we are going to take our merry band of men and forge them into battle hardened entrepreneurs.

The more people that use Hammerhead to map the best bike routes around the world, to share and compete with friends, and to simply find their way, the better our service will be and the more reliable and useful our device will become.

We are so thankful to all of you who backed us during our campaign, and who continue to pre order our product because you helped create this opportunity for us.

Cheers,

Piet

Recent Cycling Deaths in London

12 Dec

Here at Hammerhead we receive interesting emails from customers all around the globe. Most are fun or exciting, but some give us pause. A message we received from Mr Milan Shah in London recently caused us all to think about just who and what we are doing this for.

In a two-week span in November, there were six cycling fatalities in London. See relevant articles herehere, and here. It appears that the usual outrage followed in the media and public at large. Blame, it seems, was directed primarily at drivers of large trucks as well as at cyclists. Truck drivers, for not keeping an eye out for cyclists; cyclists, for taking quick turns, wearing headphones, and often not wearing helmets. But blame is not the answer – and neither is outrage or fear. Certainly, as the bike-friendly laws of the Netherlands have shown, realigning legal incentive structures can make a difference. We are not passive people however. We owe it to ourselves to adopt the safest practices we can.

Bike safety is central to why we put the rest of our lives on hold to build Hammerhead. We are cyclists ourselves, we have seen such tragedy and resolved to try to make safe cycling more possible. The amount of meaningful contribution that we make remains to be seen. Once there are thousands of our devices on roads all around the globe we will be able to draw some conclusions about the efficacy of our product.

Biking, especially in cities and along busy roads, is a potentially dangerous activity. To do it safely, one must be aware of their surroundings, something difficult to do when there are hundreds of other people on the roads causing those surroundings to constantly change. Keeping one’s eyes on the road and other senses aware of the sounds and vibrations of passing traffic is a good rule of thumb. But it can be hard to follow when you are in a rush, are listening to directions via headphones connected to a smartphone GPS, or have your smartphone mounted on your handlebars.

We know we bike differently when we are stressed, are beset by traffic, or are distracted by unfamiliar territory. Our thinking goes – would we not be better off if we had a device that communicated simple turn-by-turn nav directions that we can follow intuitively? Our testing thus far has shown that the Hammerhead’s light array has an effect similar to a stoplight. Once you adjust to the patterns, you can read it almost without thinking – leaving your mind free to focus on the ride itself. This, we think and hope, will help cyclists be safer out there on the roads.

Cheers,

Piet

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