Chumby’s “Insider’s Release”

September 11, 2007

Lots of questions on our blog and Forum about when chumbys will finally be available for sale. Answer: this month, September. Many people have contacted us since the word first got out about Chumby just barely over a year ago (time flies!) after we gave some prototype chumbys away at FOO Camp. Even more people contacted us as we offered some free prototypes to those who had interesting ideas for hacking or crafting their chumbys. Then we engaged the Flash development community and gave a bunch of chumby prototypes to Flash developers to make cool widgets. Most recently we gave 50 chumbys that we thought were nearly done to our “First 50″ chumbians — and we’ve been processing daily feedback from these “real people” to make the finishing touches on all things Chumby before we actually start selling. Over this past year we’ve been constantly reworking different aspects of Chumby to improve it: to make the chumby look better, have more capabilities, and more engaging content. This has always been our development path: put something out, get feedback, improve and enhance, and keep revving the product until it’s “ready.” I put “ready” here in quotes because Chumby will just keep improving, it’s never “feature complete” — enhancements will get sent to your chumby automatically over-the-air and we’ll also keep improving the Chumby web site as we go. Even after you buy a chumby you can rest assured knowing that we and a community of hackers and “Friends of Chumby” will be working to constantly improve it, add capabilities, create new content, new accessories. Your chumby will be even better the year after you buy it — and how many consumer electronic products can make that claim? We think this is a pretty new and compelling model for consumer electronics versus the “planned obsolescence” model that has mostly been the case to date.

So here’s how this “Insider’s Release” will work. All those people who have emailed us and asked us to let them know when they can buy a chumby, and many of whom have been patiently waiting for as much as a year, will be hearing from us starting this month. We want to make sure that we give these patient supporters the first chance to buy a chumby. By the way, you can still get on that list: here. There are many thousands of you on this list, so it will take us some weeks to get back to each of you. In other words, expect this non-public “Insider’s Launch” program to last at least through October. We’re still working out the dates and plans of our “open to everyone” public launch but this will probably be in November. Because of various regulatory requirements, chumby’s will be sold initially only to domestic U.S. buyers, but we’ve had a ton of interest from foreign countries so we’ll get to work on our ability to sell elsewhere in the world as soon as we get going here in the U.S.

All of us at Chumby are delighted to finally start putting chumbys into your hands. It has been about 2 years of blood, sweat, and passion. We sure hope you’ll like what we’ve done. And, remember, this is just the beginning and it will only get better from here :^)

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123 Responses to “Chumby’s “Insider’s Release””

  1. forteller Says:

    Yey! :D
    Congratulations, Chumby team! Good work!

    I just wonder how much it will cost, how much shipping will cost, and when it will be available for us poor souls outside of the US.. : )

  2. Matt Says:

    Through sheer giddiness, I’ve signed the “Contact List” list several times over the past year. Will my first signature be overwritten when I sign it again three times today?

  3. Mark Says:

    Forteller I have the same question. My wife and I have been tossing prices around to see where we think the chumby should land. If it lands low then we may try for a his and hers, higher then only one to see how things play out.

    should be fun not matter what

  4. Matthew Says:

    Hopefully tomorrow will be the big day when we get our emails! I think I might’ve been one of the first!

  5. John Says:

    It sounds close — time to start refreshing email!


  6. [...] Chumby’s “Insider’s Launch” [via Chumby Corperate Blog] 12 09 2007 [Original Link]  [...]

  7. Christian Says:

    I can’t wait. I must be at the top of the list too. It looks great, and I am looking forward to doing some chumby development of my own.

    Thanks for the hard work, and hopefully we will not have to wait too long.

    Cheers,
    Xian

  8. biggd60 Says:

    They have been throwing out $179 and some change as the cost. That includes the price of Chumby, S&H, and everything!


  9. Excellent! I’ve been waiting a year for this little bundle of joy. Now the only question is how many am I going to buy. Two at the very least.

    I *really* hope you have these by christmas, they would make excellent gifts.

  10. Mitchell Says:

    I was betting on X-Mas time myself.

  11. Mitchell Says:

    Hello Chumby People, I left this on another thread but if you all really read these blogs like you say you do, you might want to sift through your list for multiple email entries, and also to see which addresses are valid or not.

    This will save you time and money, and fustration for your potential customers.

    Just a thought but it is your ball.

    Best of luck!

  12. Mitchell Says:

    By the way any suggestions on how to give my chumby a Tribble outter look?

  13. Mitchell Says:

    Oh! About the above, I also want it to bark at Klingons! Any ideas?

  14. Mitchell Says:

    Since it is a quiet night, what is the top price you will pay for a Chumby? They say in the store page it will be under $200.00, I hope it ain’t one of those $199.99 deals.

  15. Matthew Says:

    Hey Chumbians! My birthday is in 4 days! Want to give me a nice birthday gift in the form of an email and or package? :)

  16. Binks Says:

    I’m in Canada (or, as it seems to always be called, “International”… even though most Canadians are within a few dozen KM of the US boarder)

    If this is like most things… it’ll be 6 months to a year before it’s offered in Canada, and even then it’ll cost about $30 more in shipping and (despite the strength of the Canadian dollar) cost 50% more for the product itself.

    Eh… maybe by Christmas I can pick a new one up off ebay for a reasonable price…


  17. @Binks

    Despite the close proximity to the US, Canada *is* a sovereign nation with its own tariffs, regulations, and laws, and is thus not materially different than a country on the other side of the planet.

    Because the chumby is an electronic device, we have to pass certain regulatory hurdles in order to ship it to each country. Presumably we all agree that Chumby Industries should respect the laws of the countries into which it wishes to distribute the device.

    In the US, for instance, the chumby has passed FCC certification, but Canada (rightly) does not recognize that certification, and we therefore need to go through that process with the Canadian equivalent, the Department of Communications (DOC) of Industry Canada.

    For a small company, the burden to do this for each and every country is daunting, so we need to choose those that would maximize our ability to distribute the product with the minimum of regulatory fuss. Quite frankly, there was quite a bit of regulatory work just to get the device into the US from China.

    I don’t personally know of any specific issues regarding Canada, however, the extra charges non-US customers see are often a result of import tariffs or a general increase to cover the natural extra costs of doing business internationally. I’m sure, however, that some companies abuse this.

  18. Wayne Says:

    While your model of development was different from the traditional corporate hold-out-until-we-have-it-completed-model and while you seem to have gotten a lot of flak from posters in the forum who want a chumby “now,” I strongly believe that your external testing model is going to make the chumby the best product possible. I, for one, have anxiously anticipated the release – through impatience and zen calm – and can’t wait to see how solid this product is.

  19. John Says:

    16 more days to go. If you don’t include the last weekend that brings it down to 14 days and if you assume (which I do) that they would want to start the process on the first half of the week to respond to any issues then it’s probably closer to 10-12 days away.

    Woo-hoo — Now my biggest fear is that they start trickling out invites to order slowly and some of us are left writhing as others report the glee of ordering.

    -john


  20. The first “Insider Launch” invitation emails went out this week and orders are already being placed. They’re going out in batches in the order people signed up to be notified.

  21. Mitchell Says:

    Wayne, I think the people who wanted a Chumby NOW! are people who had waited a real long time for it. They weathered an ever extending date of release, checked the boards fanatically for any glimmer of hop. I think more frequent updates might have slowed this “now” syndrome down to near nothing. Waiting for something is hard enough, but when you feel there is no end in sight that is tough.

    I too think the Chumby will be a great product. But I am wafflng a bit, I am tempted by the iTouch, which is totally mobile. It will be a hard fought battle to see which will get my dollars.


  22. [...] is some news coming from the blog’s of the folks at chumby in regards to how they are handling an [...]

  23. John Says:

    [...]The first “Insider Launch” invitation emails went out this week and orders are already being placed. They’re[...]

    ARGHH!!! DON”T TORTURE ME LIKE THIS (sorry for yelling but, you know…. I feel like screaming)

    Now I’m worried — I signed up about a dozen times (most recently last week) — I hope they use my first sign up date. and not the last one (or perhaps they can be nice and cull the lists of commenters)

  24. Chandler Says:

    Yes! Go chumby! Can’t wait for it!

  25. Matthew Says:

    Hey Mitchell, why wouldnt those who wanted it NOW have put their email down? If so they have nothing to worry about, they’ll get it when its their turn on the list.

    I think it was a very smart way of doing things, first come first serve.

  26. shoe Says:

    Like John, I threw my name in the ring a few times over the past eight or nine months. I believe my husband also threw HIS name in the ring about ten months ago (wanting to get a chumby as a b-day present for me.)

    I still don’t know, given our squooshed car, as a Chumby will happen for me. But boy, I am drooling waiting for that email.

  27. Mitchell Says:

    Wayne I think you are combining two of my comments I am saying:

    1) There are a lot of people who wanted it (the Chumby) NOW! I was comment that these are not people who casually heard about, there are die hards whose NOW! came from months of waiting and waiting, with a release date that went further into the distance.

    2) An earlier comment I made was for the benefit of the Chumby people; they might want to go through their email list to weed out multiple entries; if they are using it as a tool to gage demand it is important to do this. Also if it was done before the “insiders” launch it would move things along quicker (sort of a pre-qualifier).

    Best of luck,
    MItchell


  28. @Mitchell

    I’m not sure I understand – are you saying that folks that are screaming the loudest now, whether it be posting here or by submitting their names multiple times to our contact list, should be able to “cut in line” ahead of those that signed up with us early on?

  29. Andrew Says:

    I hope they pick me!
    (crossed fingers)

  30. morphy Says:

    Please think about me, a poor little french who is waiting for an availability date outside US (France at least).
    Please tell me i’ll get it before the end of year.

  31. Mitchell Says:

    Duane,

    No that is not what I am saying. What I am saying is:

    1) People yelling Now! Were most likely people who waited a long time for Chumby, they were just frustrated not newcomers.

    2) This is a completely separate point: It might help the Chumby Company to go through their list and remove multiple same email addresses from people who kept reregistering.

    At no point did I say anything of anyone cutting a line.

    Thank-you, and good night in chumby land.

  32. Mitchell Says:

    Duane,

    To add to the above post read through these message boards, many people have registered, and done it again and again. Also in the period that this could be done, how many people have changed email or lost interest. All I was recommending was to pre-check the email list to save time and trouble for all parties.

    I am sorry I said anything, But you know what, it is your ball, I can’t tell anyone how to play.

    And for the record again I did not say for anyone to go in front of anyone else. I can’t even see how that could be construed from anything I said.

    Good-luck in Chumby land.


  33. Well, if people have registered with different email addresses, I’m not sure how we can be expected to figure that out, since that’s all the information we have to work with. Otherwise, *of course* we’re going to eliminate duplicates.

    If people have lost interest, then they simply won’t respond, and we’ll move on to the next group.

  34. John Says:

    Wow it’s getting bad for me. I just checked my email and had a note from ‘Chad’. I saw the first two letters and almost had a heart attack thinking it was “Chumby’ but alas, just Chad

  35. Mitchell Says:

    This is like the Seinfeld Episode. But instead of “No soup for you!” It is “No Chumby for you!”

  36. Mitchell Says:

    To carry this further imagine what Seinfeld would say about Chumby on the show, though I think Kramer would be the one to have one.

  37. John Says:

    Kramer, George and Elaine would all have their chumby’s and Jerry would be be all depressed, checking email every few minutes.

  38. kayakbabe Says:

    wow it must be a really really long list. I know I signed up a long time ago… right after I read the foo camp news… and I haven’t gotten an email yet… sigh.. the suspense is killing me..

    Say what email will the notification come from? I want to set my mail box up to forward it as a text message to my cell phone. I don’t want to miss my chumby.

  39. kayakbabe Says:

    I just checked.. i first signed up… I still have the confirmation email dated on Feb 9th, 2007… sigh… oh the wait is agonizing.

  40. Mitchell Says:

    Hello, John I could see it,

    Though sometimes I see George as the one too cheap to have a Chumby and he uses a Furby. But your plan works out too.

  41. Wayne Says:

    @kayakbabe I agree, this list must be massive. I know we were told “thousands” signed up, but how big are the email batch groups?

  42. John Says:

    WOO HOO!!!!

    I got my golden ticket today — Sadly it seems all of the chumby’s are sold out right now but I don’t care — I’m as happy as a kid on christmas morning!

    The store was initially down when I tried to order but I finally got through!

    Thanks chumby!

  43. Wayne Says:

    @john – sold out?!!? when will they make more? I guess this answers my question about supply and demand.

  44. Mark Says:

    @John: WOO HOO!!!!

    How long ago was your first entry? One of your previous posts mentions that you were hoping they used your first, but I didn’t see you mention how long that’s been.

  45. Chris M. Says:

    I got my email this afternoon, and tried to order shortly thereafter. All three colors are listed as being “sold out”, although you can place an order and be put on the waiting list. They say to expect delivery from backorder within three weeks.

    Also, there were numerous problems with the web site, I’m guessing due to capacity issues? I kept trying, and eventually was able to finish the order.

    Some growing pains, I’d guess. I’m hoping that the sold out situation was due to server problems and not actually being sold out.

    It’s been a long wait! Looking forward to delivery….

  46. Chris M. Says:

    Just an update to my earlier post…contacted Chumby customer service to let them know about the issue with the web site. They told me it was a temporary problem. I should expect delivery of my order within 2 – 3 weeks.

  47. John Says:

    @mark,

    I don’t remember when I first gave my email — It was a while ago I know but I don’t have the exact date. I was oh-so excited to finally get in. I head out to Europe on a business trip in next friday — I’m hoping to get it before then!

    -John

  48. Mitchell Says:

    It looks like my theory of a Chumby by X-Mas is coming true (though from the look of things it may be after that)! Sad!

  49. Mitchell Says:

    By the way, the Chumby store still says the price is “under $200.00″ what is the actual damage?

  50. Mark Says:

    @John/Chris – excellent news guys. I should be on that list soon too! Thanks!


  51. @ John – Search your email for “Thank you for your submission” if you archive your email it might still be in there.

    I got my Confirmation on February 12th. Five days too late apparently if someone has theirs from Feb 7th.

    So what’s the story, are they out? Are they back ordered? What’s the shipping time? And what’s the final damage?

    It sounds like it’s time for a new chumby post to the tune of “The first sales of the Chumby have been amazing! blah blah blah, but unfortunately…”

    :(

    I just want to give you monies. Please take my monies.

    Seriously tho, I’m willing to wait in line for the superior product that is the Chumby. And if you sell out the first round through, that means that there might be a hardware revision (always good) and that you might be able to get a cheaper price since you are producing more volume than you expected.

    So really, you open source hardware visionaries who wish to buy the chumby, the chumby selling out is a good thing.

  52. John Says:

    @seth I went through my email but I can’t find the confirmation — I believe it was before February however.

    I think this blog post however outlined pretty clearly the process and time frames. There are ‘thousands’ of people signed up (let’s call it 6000) and they expect to go through October.

    So 6 weeks until end of October, 6000 people signed up, perhaps only 1/2 of the signed up people jump on the chumby so they need to ship 3000 chumbyes in 6 weeks or 500 per week, 125 per day.

    This of course is pure speculation and the numbers are a pure guess on my part but it ‘feels’ not totally unreasonably for a ramp build in manufacturing. Enough volume to really test out the processes but not so much that they can’t fix things.

    So while it’s easy for me to say this (given my order is in place) we should all have Chmby’s soon enough.

    Finally, there was a question on pricing. As they have mentioned previously its $179 shipped. In my case I also had to pay california sales tax but if you are not in California I think it’s $179 out the door

    Cheers
    -John

  53. Mitchell Says:

    I think it looks a lot like X-Mas before I will see a Chumby!


  54. I think the contact list is currently somewhere on the order of 30,000 entries, starting August 2006, if that helps your analysis.

    We don’t expect a 100% conversion rate – many people signed up out of curiosity without any actual intent to buy, but we don’t have enough history yet to know what that will be. We expect the rate to increase as we approach more recent signups, since the older contacts are likely to be more stale.

    We are indeed tightly controlling and watching the ramp up, since we want to be sure that the devices are indeed being manufactured properly. While that certainly slows things down a bit, it’s in nobody’s interest to have lots and lots of defective units out there just to meet some arbitrary date.

  55. shoe Says:

    No worries, Duane. I’d rather wait a bit, and get a Chumby that works as intended.

    Hey, if there’s any breakage going on on MY chumby, I want it to be because I did something stupid hacking… like seeing if rm -rf / has the same effect on a teeny little Linux distro as it does on my big huge one. :) Then I only have myself to blame.

    I look at it this way… I’m waiting patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently) for a toy, not for a vital organ. It helps to keep things in perspective.

  56. Phil Says:

    Just curious, was there supposed to be a confirmation when signing up for the list? I signed up towards the beginning of the year, but can’t find any record of a reply in my archived email. :P


  57. @shoe – rm -rf / won’t do anything on a production chumby because the firmware is in a read-only filesystem. Even if you were able to whack the primary partition, the device has a “safe mode” partition that can be booted into in order to restore the primary partition over USB.

    However there are ways to break the chumby if you try hard enough – that’s a natural side effect of making something “hackable”.

    @Phil – No, we didn’t send back any confirmation emails when people signed up.

  58. Chris Says:

    Will everyone on the list get the chance to order a chumby, or are you just invite people with US-Mailadresses? I registered with an Austrian mail-address, but it’s no problem for me to order it in US, since my brother is there for the next months.


  59. @Chris – I don’t think we’re making any attempt to filter out non-US email addresses. I’m not even sure there’s any way to reliably do so even if we were so inclined.

  60. chandler Says:

    How many people are in a “group”? 10, 30, 100?

  61. John Says:

    @chandler.

    The number of emails is 30,000 (from above) and they want to burn through them all by october so they have 6 weeks.

    5000/wk. Now my guess is they are in a ramp phase so maybe 1000 the first week and 10000 the last week with a more or less linear order as they gain confidence that the ordering/delivery/support processes are working.

    I doubt they are planning on shipping 30,000 by october since some large percentage are tire kickers but they could possibly ship 5000 to 10000 I suppose

    Again this is (mostly) just guessing but it sort of feels right (now that we know the actual number of folks who signed up ahead of time)

  62. Chandler Says:

    Thanks John! I think I signed up pretty early on, but I will see!

  63. Mitchell Says:

    I’d like to buy a Chumby, but I don’t like to order anything unless it is in stock!

    But I don’t think I have to worry, I trust the people at Chumby, it is just that I don’t think I will get mine until X-Mas!

  64. Jeff Says:

    I getting weary from the promises and the waiting. I signed up Sept 06 and contrary to others, never received a confirm email. Tested that just now by signing up with a different address and no confirm. Why can’t Chumby be more up front with delivery time frames as opposed “through October”.

    Yes yes it’s just a gadget but I think the whole thing has been unnecessarily whipped into a frenzy with ambiguous marketing.

  65. Mitchell Says:

    Jeff,

    I feel your pain, earlier this month on the first 50 thread I said the same thing and got what I felt was a team beat down. This included fellow posters yelling that the people at Chumby are trying to get it right, or perfect, and it takes time . I used maybe wrongly so, the words “mind/head games” (I think I had t,he John Lennon tune in my head).

    But I noticed soon after my griping and rabble rousing, as my wounds healed, there were more updates (which is all anyone really wants) and before someone says “Well Apple does not provide updates.” this company is different, it depends on a culture of inclusion, making you feel like you are part of the gang.

    I know Chumby is a start up. I know they are trying their best; but a shortage of any item makes it hot. It is just human nature, even if the folk selling the product did not intened to have that effect.

    Jeff think of if you really want the product, if you do, hang in there.

    I now prepare for my beat down by near hysterical people who won’t really read what I wrote. But that is okay. Just know this griping at me won’t get you your Chumby any quicker.

    Much peace and love and remember it ain’t my ball so I can’t tell anyone really how to play with it.


  66. @Jeff – I’m not sure what you mean about “ambiguous marketing” from chumby.

    We haven’t done *any* marketing whatsoever.

    We’ve never placed an ad, never issued a press release, and never solicited any article in any magazine. We run our web site, this CEO blog and our forum, a couple of us have attended a couple of trade conferences, notably Foo Camp and Adobe MAX, and we’ve put some prototypes out there into the hands of real people to get some feedback on our product.

    That’s it.

  67. Jeff Says:

    Please, all this website as done is fail to set reasonable expectations and fuel speculation. I understand the need to alpha & beta test but this onsie-twosie approach with no hard release dates or quantities is frustrating to potential customers who simply want facts.

    I’m quite sure that you are aware of the grass roots marketing you are creating with product reviews on sites like engadget, it would be silly to pretend this is not intentional and PR. You SHOULD be doing this.

    “We haven’t done *any* marketing whatsoever.” You should probably reconsider this statement. and look at the latest Google search for Chumby. Some is just chatter but there are also definite, intentionally placed marketing, web 2.0 style.

    In the end, I remain faithful to getting one but as I tried to express in my previous post, the cat and mouse stuff is aggravating. Just be straight up. You’ve created something innovative and new, don’t ruin it with corporate-speak mumbo jumbo.

    I’m sure my beat-down will come like it did for Mitchell.

    Looking forward to my golden ticket if I haven’t been removed from the list because I spoke my mind :)


  68. Well, you’re certainly giving us a lot of undeserved credit for cleverness. We have no PR agency, and never have. All that stuff you’re seeing is completely grass roots.

    The honest truth is that we were pleased, but quite unprepared for the huge onslaught of interest in the product. We haven’t placed articles anywhere – we’ve actually tried to talk some folks *out* of writing articles because they were grossly premature. In some cases we relented only because it was clear people were going to write articles *anyway*, and we would at least be able to have the information more correct if we were somewhat involved.

    At the time of the first Foo Camp when we launched this alleged marketing onslaught, the company had six people – four engineers (two hardware, two software), the CEO, and a project manager/cat herder. The CEO is a partner in the venture fund that provided our seed capital.

    I’m an engineer – not a marketing or corporate geek. I work seven days a week on software for chumby. You can choose to believe me or not, that’s your choice, but ask yourself what possible interest we’d have in playing these “cat and mouse” games you’re talking about and instead shipping the product. It’s not like we’re Apple and can absorb costs indefinitely – my salary and career at chumby is directly tied to this device being on the market as soon as possible.

    However, it must be a *good* product – the best one we can make based on what we think we know about the people we wish to sell it to and the resources we have available.

    When we put the couple of hundred prototypes out there (a significant expense), we got a lot of constructive feedback. Based on that feedback, we felt we had to redesign the hardware and substantially update the software, and take advantage of some new technologies coming out of Adobe. We then did a limited release to fifty selected people, and got more feedback on our latest version – that has prompted us to make additional changes to the software, while we ramp up production.

    I’m not sure what “beat downs” you guys are talking about – I’m sorry you guys don’t always like the answers we give you, but they’re the best we have at the time we give them. We’re certainly not so petty to remove you from the contact list.

  69. Matthew Says:

    Hey Duane, I just want to say that you respond to comments really well and that I have a lot of respect for you. I don’t know if I personally would’ve taken the time to respond to some of these people who don’t really know what they’re talking about…

  70. Jeff Says:

    Matt-So we’re not allowed to ask questions or express frustration? Not sure your opinion of what we know or do not know matters here but I’d be happy to discuss with you outside the forum since your comments are not relevant to the topic. Feel free to email me @ iamhuntingwabbits@yahoo.com.

    Duane – I think you are taking expressed frustration the wrong way. These are perceptions that you can clear up as you have in your post. I think you’d agree that it’s important that you understand how your potential customers feel and perceive your product?

  71. Wayne Says:

    @Mitchell I think you’re spot on. No beat downs from me, that’s for sure.

    I think that this is a product where we’ve all gotten excited because we see the potential, but waiting without news is painful. I have wondered if the “standard” corporate model of “hide it until you’ve got it done” is a better model, but after working for years in the system I know that internal testing is exactly the biggest problem these companies and their products have. My wife will write tests for her code and she knows EXACTLY what code to write so it will avoid all possible conflict with the code. If you listen to the marketing specialists at any major high tech corporation, they push for the product to be finished as soon as possible and with as little money spent on product testing as possible (I have literally heard the marketing managers of BIG companies say this). I’m proud that chumby has decided to do something different, but it does come at a cost (i.e. the public waits).

    I, for one, am a “tire kicker.” I got my invite and while I’m amazingly excited to buy one, I can’t justify it without waiting to see what the general response is before I send in my money.

  72. biggd60 Says:

    People at Chumby:

    Thank you for all of your hard work and innovative ideas for our toys!! Some things that I see here that I don’t in larger corporations include a feeling of openness and inclusion, as well as frank and direct answers to questions and keeping us (the consumer) as involved with your product and updates as possible…going so far as to give us tentative answers that you don’t know a final answer to. You may sometimes be vague (i.e. “under $200″), but I believe that’s because you are not yet sure what it’s going to be in the end, and the last thing you want is to say one thing, then change it on us, all the while keeping us in the loop.

  73. Mark Says:

    @Jeff… why the bashing? I mean, I’m anxious to get into this too, I’ve been on “the list” since April and I hope I’ll get the pre-buy email.

    But dude, you’re getting all worked up over not being able to spend money on a geek-toy. I’m just as bad in terms of toys (synth stuff) but in this case, not being able to spend $180 _right figgin now_ has let me have extra money to spend on other things, like water bills or to put towards my ever-increasing Visa bill.

    And you need to back up and really look at what Duane has said, and actually, what you have too. You spit back at Duane how the website is the marketing engine… Umm, given that no one is forcing you to LOOK at the website, i.e., it’s not an in-your-face Chevrolet ad, then I would suggest that you can only blame yourself for your “frustration”.

    Being frustrated about not being able to spend money that you have? Kinda’ weird… If the cash is burning that much of a hole in your pocket, send it to the Red Cross.

  74. Jeff Says:

    @Mitchell…here comes the beat down….

  75. Mitchell Says:

    Jeff,

    Stand strong, when the beat-downs start! Else they will be worse.

    I mean yeash! You say something and someone who is at the point of near hysterics starts saying “We support you Chumby!” and “We know you want the product to be the best there is.” and “We can’t understand why you are being so impatient?”

    Of course nobody wants a bad product, then again no reasonable amount of quality checks are going to totally rule out a defect or two. It happens, it sucks when you get the bad one, but then again not selling to the masses won’t get you very far either.

    Some of the posters in this thread are a bit too defensive. I wonder sometimes……why?

    There has been a history of moving the release date or not providing one at all. When there is no end in sight people get twitchy.

    A few months ago had someone said “Sometime next year.” I could live with it. But this constant waiting game and near misses can really wreck your nerves.

    Shortage is hot! Anything you can’t get makes you dwell on it all the more. It is just human nature. Maybe there is no plan, I mean you got to sell something sometime? Right? Chumby should feel honored that people care that much.

    There is a spell out there, wait to long and it will be broken. People are fickle, they are hungry for Chumby now, what will it be next week? When the iTouch hits will people run to it? It may not be the same as Chumby, but people have budgets and a need to spend.

    Will it be a Nokia N800.? I don’t know. I think you have some people out there who are patient, others need to vent, some have left and will not come back. I need to vent now, after that I don’t know.

    Even if I had one would I like it? Some people will love it. Some will go “Squeeze! Squeeze. Uh! Okay!” and put it down until the cat destroys it.

    Well let the beat downs continue.

  76. Mitchell Says:

    I might as well go for the big pack of band-aids. Chumby quit with the vague and update your store page with an honest to goodness price? And a date for the outsiders to buy theres. Here is a hint, make some calculations and then add in a safety margin. If you are early people will be happy, it is late that they can’t deal with.

    Oh! Before the beat-downs start would it help if I coughed up my own splean.

    Okay over-defensive people people out there, get hysterical! But I don’t think you will be moved up on the list. (That’s a joke, a cruel one, but a joke),

    By the way am I the only one who thinks General Hospital Nights is dumb.

    Okay while the soap opera people start yelling and screaming I can get out of here.

  77. Steve Tomlin Says:

    Hi, just thought I’d weigh in here. Honestly, we’re delighted that there’s so much passion and demand for Chumby — I mean that’s a start-up’s dream, isn’t it? I also hear and understand the frustration — many of you have been excited about getting a chumby for a long time and are tired of waiting. Trust me, we’re tired of waiting to sell you one. But, to Duane’s point, what we’re not going to do is to push chumbys out the door that just aren’t ready and then disappoint you — no point to that for anyone.

    So what determines “ready to ship?” The process has been from the beginning, starting with the “FOO release” as Duane says, a matter of producing small runs, soliciting feedback, thankfully receiving it, and doing our level best to understand it, process it, and trying to make good decisions on whether something warrants “stopping the presses” in order to address. We *have* stopped the presses several times but we’re absolutely on-track with the roll-out schedule that we’ve discussed recently in this blog. As you know, real people are buying real chumbys as we speak. We’ll ultimately be judged by the product we ship more than the moment we shipped it — and we want each chumby to be as good as we can make it, even though we know it will only improve over time via future software functionality downloads.

    And I’ll be completely candid, getting an Asian supply chain to do all the things we’ve wanted it to do is no easy matter either. bunnie Huang has well documented Chumby’s experiences in China on his blog — these essays are really well done and I recommend them to everyone who really wants to understand how goods are produced in China. How many companies share their production notes on the Web? I honestly don’t know how clearer and more transparent we can be about pretty much every aspect of our business — if you make a little effort to follow the many blog trails about us and follow what’s discussed in our Forum, you’ll know pretty much everything there is to know about Chumby (and more!)

    It has only been a little over a year since we first handed out some crude prototypes. To go from those to what we’re shipping now, involving a complete ground-up redesign and to beat everyone else to market with the first Flash Lite 3 embedded device, that we are now capable of manufacturing and shipping at real scale to meet the large (and thankfully patient) demand, is a huge accomplishment that we’re all proud of. We hope each of you will really like our efforts and find your chumby to be a truly impressive and valuable product. Thanks for hanging in there!

  78. Mark Says:

    @ Jeff, Mitchell… you guys are weird.

    You’ve now slipped into the void of have a conversation in a room full of people but not paying attention to anyone but yourselves. Interesting tactic to get the heat off, pretty juvenile though… (“if we don’t pay attention to them, maybe they’ll go away…:”) Pretty silly to see you guys do that when you both predicted that people would knee-jerk to your posts without reading them in full.

    Obviously neither of you have any experience with a startup bringing a product to market. I’ve been on the inside a number of times (have ya’ heard of the iPod? I lived inside of that one) and honestly, of all the times I’ve been through this, I gotta say that the Chumby folks have a lot of ballz to do it _right_.

    This is the first company that I’ve seen take the time to wait until THEY’RE ready… They’re not buckling to the pressure of “OMG! CHRISTMAS IS COMING” or a slew of investors looking for an ROI (that’d be “Return On Investment” for you two kids).

    I’m not a Chumby _fanatic_ by any means, I just think it’s a great idea at a good price and has the backing of a company that “get’s it”. Those are the people that get my money. And yeah, the water company too. :)

    Get a clue kids… you’re becoming trolls.

  79. linuxlibrarian Says:

    (This is shoe, who posted previously, I’m just posting under my wordpress account now.)

    I have a nabaztag/tag. I love it, for the most part. (And yes, I *still* want and plan on getting a chumby when the time comes.)

    Here’s the thing: Violet has many, many problems. Problems that don’t actually even *relate* to the hardware. Their servers go down. A lot. Not as much as they *used* to, but the longest outage, I believe, lasted a month or more. (I didn’t have the Tag/tag at the time).

    There are small hardware problems, too. Ear motors go wacky. Wifi cards poop out. (Most people report ear motor problems)

    So far as I know, RFID… promised in April 2007, still is not working.

    I am not a chumby fanatic. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be thrilled when I get my email inviting me to order. I’ll track its progress to me. And I’ll take pictures of the unboxing (just like I did for my tag/tag.)

    But I am REALLY pleased to see them taking their time, unloading things slowly… so as to not have the same mistakes Violet made. If 20,000 people of the 30,000 that signed up for the Insider’s Release got their chumby on the same day. Chumby’s servers could possibly (would likely?) be crippled.

    And then everyone would be complaining about that, believe me, it happened with the Nabaztags.

    I agree with Mark… It is definitely a good thing, and refreshing, to see Chumby industries take its time.

    Personally, given the option between waiting another month or two for a chumby, or having a chumby on my desk right now, but have it just be an alarm clock for three months (like many Nabaztags were around Christmas last year)…. I’d rather wait a few months till Chumby knows where the need is, and yes, where the possible problems may be.

    shoe (moonlighting with my other ID)

  80. Jeff Says:

    @ Mark you make good points until you get the personal remarks, then it’s just diatribe. I understand, agree, with some of the good points made although I’ll maintain some communication could have been handled better, I too applaud the new approach but still think setting reasonable expectations help.

    My comments we made in good faith and without personal attack or intent to accuse Chumby of malfeasance, only to express frustration, which is met with a lot of ire, sorry about that but I would say them again.

    Again, can’t wait to get mine, sorry if I offended but can’t please everyone…

  81. Joe Says:

    Ummmm… Seems like there is a lot of frustration here…. Just for the record…. I didn’t have any problem getting mine…(and I’m no on special) I received an email a few weeks ago about an insider launch… I went the the website ordered it, and it came yesterday….. Looked beautiful…. and worked great….. I’m looking at Live pandas and stock quotes as we speak…. As far as this buyer goes… Everything was smooth and perfect! Maybe I’m just lucky…. (aside from that time I gave my brother a $50,000 lottery ticket… true story) but I’m a happy camper! It’s a great device… and this is only the beginning (Streaming Internet Radio PLEAASEE!!) Thanks Chumby Team.

    Joe

    (P.S. My brother took me bowling in reward for the 50k)

  82. keith Says:

    Just to settle all of the confusion and aggravation, are you guys (chumby folk) going to be coming out with some kind of time table giving an approximate range of dates for the email based on when you signed up? I’m not sure how impractical this is or how much more technical it is than what we’ve sorta been told ( or assumed). I’m very glad that the first round of sent chumbys (cumbies?) has been well received and I eagerly await my ‘golden ticket’. Keep up the good work.

  83. Matthew Says:

    @ Jeff
    This post will be completely pointless but I’ll respond anyway. When did I ever say that you weren’t allowed to express your opinions? Did you skim my post or actually read it? I will stand by my post that “I wouldn’t of responded to people who didn’t know what they were talking about.”

    You say that Chumby itself has fueled speculation? Might I ask how? Their biggest mistake regarding fueled speculation was allowing comments on posts like this. I’m actually very surprised at how little chumby has not embellished on. It seems that anything they told the public about is actually in the product. So please inform me where chumby has set unreasonable expectations?

    Your claim that chumby has placed “definite marketing” has no evidence whatsoever. Sure sites like engadget got previews of the item. Whoopdie doo. Chumby merely said “hey engadget, would you like to come and see a project were working on?”

    One thing I do find quite funny is that in many of your posts you say something like “here comes the beat down…” What I don’t understand is that if you THINK your conclusions are logical, then why wouldn’t the next guy think they are? Why do you prepare yourself to be misunderstood, if you support your ideas so whole heartedly? You honestly can’t believe that your ideas are being criticized simply because they are different or in some way radical, because well, they are not. Your ideas simply have no base, and many of us who read it just don’t understand where your coming from. Many of the things you say are simply illogical.

    @ Mitchell
    I just want to make this really quick. Chumby hasn’t misconstrued any information regarding release dates. You said “There has been a history of moving the release date or not providing one at all.” This doesn’t apply to chumby so why would you include this at all? Also how is there “no end in sight” when products are being shipped as we speak. Even prior to current shipping chumby hasn’t had an product delays or anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if the chumby is coming out earlier than expected.

    You also said “this constant waiting game and near misses can really wreck your nerves.” What do you mean by constant waiting game? If by constant you mean that you must wait since it was announced to when it arrives at your house then yes. The only way to avoid a constant wait would be to announce and release a product on the same day. And what do you mean by “near misses”? Has the chumby had a release date fumble I don’t know about? To my knowledge, all chumby has promised is that it will email us (those who put their names on the list) when the product is ready. Can we ask for much more? More press shots or detailed accounts of a day in the life of a chumbian certainly wouldn’t help us get our chumby faster, and would even slow down the process.

    I just don’t understand why you would need to vent? Have you built up a passion for the chumby that nothing but it can satisfy? Chumby has not provided misinformation, botched release dates or even failed programs. Why would you need to vent?

    Now I’m sorry for posting all this and making it so long, but I’m just a bored 17 year old at work with nothing to do. I got tired of reading Jeff and Mitchell’s comments which made no sense to me. Hopefully this will either make them realize their ways or validate their senselessness.

    Can’t wait for chumby to be released. Sorry for the hijack. :D

  84. Mitchell Says:

    Matthew; a post that does not make sense is something like this:

    Hamburgers cool the plat as long as tongs go out of plastic dog, in CDs we sort out flat for pain.

    Now that did not make sense.

    Saying:

    Release dates have changed throughout the times I have read the various boards. I look at some threads that say second quarter, then third quarter, with various months in between.

    This is frustrating.

    I think anyone really caring about a start up (as was said earlier by Steve Tomlin) finds the sort of passion (that is inspired by a product that until now is not in most people’s hands) a good thing.

    I take my hat if I wore one off to Steve for providing both information and insight about this product for us all to breathe.

    Mathew I am sorry but Jeff and myself venting seems to have provided more posts than I have seen in a bit of time. And since my name is at the top of the posts just skip mine, or I will try to be more interesting.

    Now a post that would make less sense would be:

    I think chumbys should be in a water tight case, so I may put them in a shower sponge and clean my body while watching the stock market.

    Okay senseless.

  85. Mitchell Says:

    For the people who don’t like my posts I will now write one that is a perfect fan letter:

    Wow! Chumby is super! I can’t wait to get one and show it off to all the guys in the dorm. Some people find the often extended release date a bad thing. But they are just mean. Take the time to perfect it and then ship it!

    I love chumby (and even hamby).

    There totally without bones or offense. And for those who can’t take a joke I can’t help you.

    Peace in Chumby land.

  86. Mitchell Says:

    Steve Tomlin,

    I just want to say, all kidding aside, thanks for treating me like an intelligent person and giving real info. The more I read your last post the more I liked it.

    Thanks again.

  87. kayakbabe Says:

    welll… I just checked again… I really did get an email from on Feb 9th and the subject says “thanks for your submission”. I opened it and it said thanks for applying for a free chumby…

    I am pretty sure I also put my email address in for notification for the regular ones for sale. And I did get an email about me not being one of the first 50 to be able to buy one. So, I”m pretty sure I’m on the email list…

    It’s nice to know that a Feb 7th person got a notice. I hope I get mine soon. I’ll order even if I have to wait a couple of weeks. I’m such a slut for geek toys.

  88. nik Says:

    i just bought mine! i can’t wait until it comes! :D thanks, chumby guys!

  89. Jasafar Says:

    Just ordered my latte Chumby…can’t wait until it comes. My current alarm clock blows. Thanks Chumby!

  90. Mark Says:

    @nik, Jasafar (and more that I’m sure will come)

    As you guys get The Golden Ticket can you let us know when it was that you signed up for the notification? I think that’s the only reliable gauge right now of how fast the process is moving and how much longer the rest of us may have to wait.

    Thanks!

  91. Al Chumley Says:

    Can anyone who bought one reveal how much it costs, shipping, etc.? Thanks.

  92. Dave Says:

    kayakbabe – are you talking about Feb 9, 2006? I just found my email from 10/26/2006 (“Your request for a free Chumby”), and I haven’t gotten an invite to buy one yet….

  93. Mark Says:

    @Al Chumley:

    Up towards the top “John” said:

    ~~ Finally, there was a question on pricing. As they have mentioned previously its $179 shipped. In my case I also had to pay california sales tax but if you are not in California I think it’s $179 out the door ~~

    @Dave:

    I dunno that it’s been confirmed that signing up for the alpha group last year puts you on the list for “notify me when i can buy one”. I would think it does, but Chumby hasn’t confirmed it.

  94. Mark Says:

    Got it.

    They’re up to around April 1, 2007 which is when I put my name on the list. Bottom line price was $179.95 including shipping (outside of CA). Expected to ship within a week.

  95. Wayne Says:

    i don’t think that signing up for the “free chumby” last year was what gets you on the list. i believe it was the simple “notify me when chumbys are available” list. some of you might want to resubmit.

  96. linuxlibrarian Says:

    Just got my invitation. :) Really cool, cause we just picked up our new Prius today too. Gadget overdose!

    Ordered a latte, free charm set came with it… Doesn’t appear to be backordered.

    I believe I signed up in mid-April? I don’t recall. I know it was after the end of March.

  97. Mgccl Says:

    Just wish this is a bit cheaper… $180 is almost enough to buy a EEEPC… and then I could just hack it to have the same Chumby effect.

  98. Mark Says:

    My Chumby shipped today! According to the UPS tracking number it’s being drop shipped from China, looking at a 10/12 delivery.

    WOOHOO!

  99. Jeff Says:

    arrrggggh all this chumby golden ticketness is unbearable :) hoping for mine soon

  100. Mark Says:

    UPS tracking provides interesting knowledge…

    CN->HK->AK (where it is now) then on to KY->???

    Given that this one’s final destination is Seattle, I’m thinking of driving up to Alaska to pick it up and and saving a few days of transit time. :)

  101. linuxlibrarian Says:

    I actually looked at this too (although I’m on the other side of Kentucky, in Boston). It seems KY is the international hub of UPS. So whether you’re in Presque Isle Maine or Honululu, your chumby gets to travel through KY before it makes its way to you.

    My chumby’s going to better traveled than I am!

    My biggest fear with UPS is the apparent lack of concern for how packages get to their destination. At least, their apparent lack of concern in my neck of the woods. I’ve had boxes arrive here where you can actually see where the forklift stabbed them (and don’t get me started on the 100 lb. 15X15 ft roll of 45 ml rubber pond liner they LOST. How the hell do you lose something that *big*?)

    My Chumby is slated to ship on Friday, but I’m hoping before that. I am hoping for an arrival (safe!) late next week!

  102. lu Says:

    Why not post a “check status” page? Submit the e-mail address, get a response such as #### ahead of you. It’ll also confirm whether the e-mail address is registered w/Chumby. Even the little old ladies who knit have managed to post something like this (see ravelry.com/antsy).

  103. Jeff Says:

    @ lu, great suggestion

  104. Mark Says:

    I’ll have it tonight! 8 days early!

    REDMOND,
    WA, US 10/04/2007 8:00 A.M. OUT FOR DELIVERY

  105. nik Says:

    i got my chumby and the whole office is having fun with it! i love it so far! :D

  106. Mark Says:

    Got it!

    wow… VERY nice guys. VERY nice. Kudos to all at Chumby. This is QUITE the cool little box.

  107. Keith Nealy Says:

    I signed up April 29. Haven’t heard yet.

  108. Keith Nealy Says:

    Will those of you who receive them, please give us a report on their experiences with them?

  109. linuxlibrarian Says:

    I will… The whole process will be blogged at my place of residence on the web (don’t know if it’s kosher to direct link here, but you can google my username, or see if my address shows in my WordPress profile) At the moment, I’m still waiting for the Chumby to come (it was in HK yesterday and UPS isn’t so good at updating on weekends).

    It is slated to be here the 12th, but I am thinking it might be here as early as Tuesday.

  110. Kees Says:

    I don’t get it. I’ve listed my emailadress about a year ago. I’ve got the “First 50″ email, so I think they know me over there.

    But I see people here who already got there chumby, while I can’t even see the shop. It stills says that there available soon and that I can leave my emailadress when I want to get contacted when the store opens.

    Is it for sale or not? And how can I buy one?

    I hope this hasn’t to do anything with the fact that I’m from the Netherlands ;-)

  111. Chris Says:

    @Kees: Perhaps your invitation to the insider’s launch has got lost. I think mine got lost, too, because I have registered very early and still didn’t get it :(

  112. linuxlibrarian Says:

    I think Chumby is only available in the US at the time…. So if you’re actually living in the Netherlands (or your email address is associated with a physical address there in some way) I suppose it could be why you didn’t get the invite. It seems to be a matter of the different international standards and clearances for electronic gadgets, if I’m recalling what the Chumbians said… Not so much a matter of shipping logistics.

    I hope that international Chumby enthusiasts can get them soon… All I know is, my wait is almost over… got one to two more days before my chumby arrives (currently in KY)… And it’s KILLING me.

  113. Chris Says:

    @linuxlibrarian: Duane wrote that they don’t filter international mail-addresses.

  114. linuxlibrarian Says:

    @Chris… Hmmm. Interesting. I just scrolled up again and saw where Duane said that… You’re right.

    I do believe they’re still at present only shipping domestically though. I remembered seeing this: http://forum.chumby.com/viewtopic.php?id=423

    Doesn’t explain the AWOL emails, though.

  115. Keith Nealy Says:

    So what’s happening here???? No news for ten days. Has anyone received their Chumby? How’s it working?

  116. Dave Says:

    Got mine today (the 25th) — haven’t played much, but so far so good.


  117. [...] Chumby’s “Insider’s Release” [...]

  118. Mark Says:

    Any ideas when shipping will start to the UK?

  119. Nathan Says:

    This is soooooo sweet.I go to school(so I have to leave it at home,what a tragic)It’s nice that I haked the Chumby for the first time,it was aaaawwwwsssooommmeee!

  120. christopher Says:

    Got mine a few days ago. It is a pretty cool device. I really like the fact that many of the suggestions that are on the forums are possible with software updates. I think the best update would be a automatic channel changing based on time and day.

    I didn’t mind paying what many would consider a high price, as long as it is useful. Also, it is open source, but the vendors do need to make some profit to have a life.

    Now I’m debating whether to make a custom case for this chumby or buy another.

    Overall, cool device.


  121. [...] completely finished, we finally took the plunge and submitted ourselves to the ultimate test, we sold chumbys in pre-release form to whoever really wanted one in this state. We have tried to learn from [...]


  122. Hi All,

    We are very happy to be able to accommodate international customers with the purchase of the Chumby in the US.

    We would like to offer free adapters to the customers of wordpress.

    Just mention “wordpress” in the comment box at checkout and we will ensure you receive your free adapter. Delivery is 4 days to us from Chumby.com and 2 days to you via Fed Ex priority.

    We wish you well and look forward to assisting you,

    thank you to the Chumby team for a fantastic product and great customer service and delivery,

    Kindest regards

    Cece
    & the I.O Team


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