Tag Archives: hammerhead

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

Hammerhead for motorcycles!

29 Oct

We really have been overwhelmed by the amount of email that we have received from the motorcycle community requesting Hammerhead for Motorcycles. This is something that we are really eager to do. We agree with their assessment that Hammerhead would solve a real problem that motorcyclists have – navigation. It seems to us as if motorcycles might face an equally significant challenge in trying to navigate. While they do not need to find routes that are specifically for motorcycle use, they do operate at high speed and need to understand navigation input in an extremely rapid fashion. Hammerhead is perfect for this.

We are committed to only taking on what we are able to get right, and we are going to make sure that the biking app and community is well served before diverting any resources elsewhere.

We are going to be developing a motorcycle app for the Hammerhead device! If you are a motorcyclist that is interested in being notified when this will be ready, please join our motorcycle community here!

The problem of finding a bike route

29 Oct

Bikers generally do not bike because it is the quickest way to get from one point to another. While they bike for a myriad of reasons, one thing they all want is a low-traffic route. Unfortunately the roads that carry less traffic are often far more challenging to follow. When I biked across the USA with a Yale group in 2006, this problem became painfully apparent.  

Despite being armed with the advice of previous groups that had ridden the same cross-country ride, there was really no way that they could easily share this knowledge with us. We could seldom find, much less follow, the best routes. Instructions were usually too long, too unfamiliar and too complex. We therefore resorted to sending a few riders, armed with a map and chalk, ahead of the rest of the group. These riders were to stop at each intersection, try to identify the intersection on the map, and then chalk the correct turn direction over the center of the intersection. 

This was a strategy that was decidedly archaic.  It was also ineffective.  Chalk was hard to see, and those responsible for the chalking had to try to follow a paper map while biking.  Needless to say, every one of us who rode, wound up riding all the way across America on sub-optimal routes.  Frequently we would end up on rather perilous roads.  More than once we found ourselves on an Interstate highway with no clue of either how we had arrived there to begin with nor how we would navigate to a safer route.

I managed to arrive safely in San Francisco with no small dose of luck, but the problem of bike navigation was permanently seared into the back of my mind.  It would not be until the summer of 2012 that we would be able to create a compelling solution.

Piet

Pre orders are open!

23 Oct

We have now got our pre orders running smoothly here. We are excited to keep the ball rolling forward on growing our community and accepting pre-orders for our second batch of Hammerheads that will ship in June of 2014. These units will be the same as those ordered in the crowd funding campaign, but they will not have the same level of discount. They will also not have the lifetime “elite status” within our app that we reserved specifically for our first backers that came on board during the campaign.

We have been amazed to have had a really steady rate of orders despite the relative calm that has replaced the crazyness of the campaign. We have been able to identify facebook as a tremendous source of new customers for us, which speaks to its power as a medium through which great products might be shared. It also confirms to us how passionate our supporters that have already come on board have been in sharing Hammerhead with their friends. To all of you, thank you!

We are working on adding additional payment methods to our site and will soon be able to accept PayPal as well as Amex. This will help out many people who have requested these as payment methods.

Stay tuned for more on this process!

Piet, Laurence & Raveen

We made it – $190k!

23 Oct

We made it! 

We managed to exceed our wildest expectations and hit our stretch goal of 190k! The last few hours have been really rather crazy on our end. Laurence and I spent the evening answering questions, talking to press while watching the campaign conclude. I am not sure what tomorrow morning is going to be like when we wake up to find the campaign over. It has been such an all consuming aspect of our lives for what has felt like such a long time, that it will be really odd to not be checking it constantly from here on out!

We are really excited about the addition of the altimeter as something that will allow us to add a real valuable set of data to riders in their post ride analysis. The challenge of including one is one that we are excited to tackle.

I must say that it really feel surreal more than anything to sit here with it having just concluded. My phone has been ringing constantly with supporters congratulating us. The support that we have had has been really moving at times.

Now to get back to building Hammerhead full time!

Piet

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