Vakaros

Vakaros

Member
50
4
Hi All,

We completely understand the frustration with slow deliveries and we’re sorry we haven’t done a better job of communicating. We’ve been really focused on Atlas production and have struggled to balance that with keeping everyone up to date. Here’s a few updates on how things are going, and some reflection on things we’ve learned along the way:

Atlas Production:
We’re working to get caught up on our backlog, but it continues to be a slower process than we would like. We’ve been working through some challenges in our manufacturing process that unfortunately didn’t reveal themselves until we started producing units in higher volumes.

In particular, we’ve been struggling with poor yields on a critical step where two components are glued together with little margin for error. This left us with a difficult choice between forging ahead using a slow process that sometimes produced quality parts, or taking time away from production to resolve the problem. We ended up completely redesigning our automated adhesive dispensing robot, addressing issues that we had discovered with the first iteration. The new version is now up and running, and working much better, with increased speed and a far higher yield. 

Supply chain:
This is an area we did not give enough consideration to in developing our production plan and timeline for the Atlas. We didn’t appreciate just how painful late deliveries, long lead times or supplier problems can be for a small, new hardware company, and it has been a difficult (and expensive!) learning curve. We’re finally on top of this now, primarily through holding a lot of stock for critical items, and validating multiple suppliers. 

Building a small business:
This is never an easy task, and the process has given us tremendous respect for anyone who takes it on, succeed or fail. We made a conscious decision early in the development of Vakaros not to seek outside investment--we’ve seen what happened to other sailing technology companies that went down that road, and we don’t want the Atlas to end up as another undeveloped afterthought to a larger companies product line. We invested our own time and money to carry the idea as far as we could, and then turned to all of you for help getting it over the finish line. We’ve been overwhelmed with the response from sailors around the world, and we’re tremendously grateful to everyone who has supported us. Vakaros would not exist without you. 

Right now, we’re 100% focused on finishing Atlas shipments for all of our pre-order customers as quickly as we can. Production parts for all pre-order units have been ordered, and the majority have arrived. Delivery is now just a matter of manufacturing time. 

We’ll also be making a concerted effort to do a better job communicating updates and responding to questions. As part of that process, we are working on expanding our team--if you know someone who is passionate about sailing and has a software engineering, manufacturing or marketing/communications background, please ask them to get in touch via [email protected] !

Thank you again for your support and patience,

Jake and Todd

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Atlas Production Update


































[SIZE=10.5pt]We've been working through some scaling challenges, and haven't done a good job balancing that with other important tasks, including sharing updates with you. Weekly Atlas production is increasing as we continue to improve the process and expand production capacity, and we'll be working every day until all pre-orders have shipped. [/SIZE]


























 

























 


























fa8a9a84-c4bd-4da8-8af2-00577a0090c8.jpg












Manufacturing upgrade




[SIZE=12pt]We redesigned our adhesive dispensing robot to solve problems that developed with the first version. The new robot (left) is a huge improvement--far more accurate, able to operate at higher speeds and with reduced setup time. [/SIZE]


























 


























076b7c7b-f492-4bcb-9aa2-d082b028c6c2.jpg












Vakaros is growing




[SIZE=12pt]We're adding more robots and more people, to help us catch up on production and prepare for the future. We've brought on two experienced software developers to help with the growing ecosystem of Vakaros software. The two 3D printers (right) help us produce fixtures used during the assembly and testing process. While we don't use any 3D printed parts in the Atlas itself, many of the assembly steps use 3D printed fixtures to align and hold parts together while they are bonded or soldered. [/SIZE]






























a904a25f-ed4a-458f-a7db-7db0f55c7c7b.jpg












Ping Smarter




[SIZE=12pt]The new Ping menu on the Atlas automatically calculates some key numbers for the start: bearings along the line in both directions, the line perpendicular and the line length. It also shows your current position relative to the line--really helpful for making a quick check to see if your start line setup and pings are correct.  [/SIZE]


























 









































































































































































































 


























[SIZE=9pt]Copyright © 2019 Vakaros, All rights reserved.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=9pt]We send special offers and updates to customers who opted in when purchasing a product from us.

Our mailing address is: [/SIZE]

[SIZE=9pt]Vakaros[/SIZE][SIZE=9pt][/SIZE]

[SIZE=9pt]860 Peachtree St NE Unit 2716[/SIZE]

[SIZE=9pt]Atlanta[/SIZE][SIZE=9pt], GA[/SIZE] 30308-1286

[SIZE=9pt]Add us to your address book[/SIZE]

[SIZE=9pt]Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

[/SIZE]



































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Clockwork

Member
79
13
Several emails sent and no response for over six weeks.  No reports from anyone here receiving an instrument.  I ordered my instrument almost 10 months ago. 

Is this going to happen?  Have any instruments shipped yet?  Has anyone here got one yet?  They're an SA advertiser and still no one on SA has one?

 

Moonduster

Super Anarchist
4,823
229
Watching the video, above, is pretty telling. On the 15th, they say they're going to do a video a week. Self imposed goal, failed to execute.

The talk is all about the most obvious problems of scaling a technology product as if it were never anticipated. And throughout it all, they just look at each other wistfully, hoping it's just a nightmare and the dream is right around the corner.

There are no facts. No mention of how many units shipped, of what the yields are, of what the backlog is, of how long it will take to clear it, of concrete steps. They talk about working every day, but there's no mention of working every night, which is how startups work. Frankly, it seems they're enamored with the adventure when they should be focused on the mission.

Hiring software engineers and manufacturing technicians is not the solution to this problem. They need a manufacturing engineer who knows how to design for volume and they need some professional management to deal with customers.

They start talking about software and it really goes down hill. Everything is complicated, they always wanted to work on cool features, there's just so much else involved. This is engineering gobbledygook for we never had a realistic plan for our product, our development schedule, our manufacturing, our quality, our reliability, our ramp or our customer commitments.

The close is yet another promise of an update in a week, which would have been half a week ago, a 50% schedule slip.

It's a common phenomena best summarized by two refrains, one aspirational, one realistic ...



Someday, everything is gonna be diff'rent
When I paint my masterpiece



-- Bob Dylan
 
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young
'Cause someday never comes
-- John Fogerty
 

cbulger

Member
259
170
Newport
we have done a bad job communicating......... and apparently "we don't care!"

what's the difference between scam, and people who take your money and then just go silent?




 

MR.CLEAN

Moderator
45,989
4,224
Not here
...



 Someday, everything is gonna be diff'rent
When I paint my masterpiece



-- Bob Dylan
 
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young
'Cause someday never comes
-- John Fogerty
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone” 
― Pablo Picasso

 

Christian

Super Anarchist
Watching the video, above, is pretty telling. On the 15th, they say they're going to do a video a week. Self imposed goal, failed to execute.

The talk is all about the most obvious problems of scaling a technology product as if it were never anticipated. And throughout it all, they just look at each other wistfully, hoping it's just a nightmare and the dream is right around the corner.

There are no facts. No mention of how many units shipped, of what the yields are, of what the backlog is, of how long it will take to clear it, of concrete steps. They talk about working every day, but there's no mention of working every night, which is how startups work. Frankly, it seems they're enamored with the adventure when they should be focused on the mission.

Hiring software engineers and manufacturing technicians is not the solution to this problem. They need a manufacturing engineer who knows how to design for volume and they need some professional management to deal with customers.

They start talking about software and it really goes down hill. Everything is complicated, they always wanted to work on cool features, there's just so much else involved. This is engineering gobbledygook for we never had a realistic plan for our product, our development schedule, our manufacturing, our quality, our reliability, our ramp or our customer commitments.

The close is yet another promise of an update in a week, which would have been half a week ago, a 50% schedule slip.

It's a common phenomena best summarized by two refrains, one aspirational, one realistic ...



Someday, everything is gonna be diff'rent
When I paint my masterpiece



-- Bob Dylan
 
Well, I'm here to tell you now, each and every mother's son
That you better learn it fast, you better learn it young
'Cause someday never comes
-- John Fogerty
Yep - doesn't bode well for future upgrades, customer service or the ability to actually stay in business.  

 

kristoffer

New member
47
0
With a production time of 6-8h pr unit (according to latest newsletter) I really hope they are completing three pr day on average and not one...  

The product looks great, so I'm not regretting to order one (yet). 

 

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Moonduster

Super Anarchist
4,823
229
Quoting 6-8 hours per unit is a useless measure. That could all be glue drying time and indicates nothing about yield. The appropriate measure is hours of labor per unit shipped or units shipped per day.

More ridiculous is that in the other thread they compare themselves to Apple and Tesla, a good indication of the depth of the cluelessness. Apple and Tesla build products requiring 100s of millions of R&D and billions in manufacturing tooling to hit markets that return billions in profits. Their product development processes are defined by the challenges of scaling.

The vacuous story could not be more different. They've pre-sold a product that didn't exist and that they still cannot build. This is exactly why the pay-pre-production approach is so corrupt. By side stepping the scrutiny of venture capital investors, professionals who look for aspirations tempered by reality as opposed to fantasy. Instead of securing dollars earmarked for high-risk investment and facilitated by professional management, these units have been sold before they were designed. And while there's clearly some responsibility on behalf of the purchaser, the lion's share rests squarely on the shoulders of those who sold what's proven to be dreams and spent the money on what's proven to be nightmares.

 

GLAZE

Member
491
15
Rockwall, TX
Quoting 6-8 hours per unit is a useless measure. That could all be glue drying time and indicates nothing about yield. The appropriate measure is hours of labor per unit shipped or units shipped per day.

More ridiculous is that in the other thread they compare themselves to Apple and Tesla, a good indication of the depth of the cluelessness. Apple and Tesla build products requiring 100s of millions of R&D and billions in manufacturing tooling to hit markets that return billions in profits. Their product development processes are defined by the challenges of scaling.

The vacuous story could not be more different. They've pre-sold a product that didn't exist and that they still cannot build. This is exactly why the pay-pre-production approach is so corrupt. By side stepping the scrutiny of venture capital investors, professionals who look for aspirations tempered by reality as opposed to fantasy. Instead of securing dollars earmarked for high-risk investment and facilitated by professional management, these units have been sold before they were designed. And while there's clearly some responsibility on behalf of the purchaser, the lion's share rests squarely on the shoulders of those who sold what's proven to be dreams and spent the money on what's proven to be nightmares.
I would disagree with the statement that the product didn't exist.  They built several prototypes that were being used and tested in the Marstrom32 class.  There is also Melges 24 that is running one.

 

SA Lurker

Anarchist
536
0
Quoting 6-8 hours per unit is a useless measure. That could all be glue drying time and indicates nothing about yield. The appropriate measure is hours of labor per unit shipped or units shipped per day.

More ridiculous is that in the other thread they compare themselves to Apple and Tesla, a good indication of the depth of the cluelessness. Apple and Tesla build products requiring 100s of millions of R&D and billions in manufacturing tooling to hit markets that return billions in profits. Their product development processes are defined by the challenges of scaling.

The vacuous story could not be more different. They've pre-sold a product that didn't exist and that they still cannot build. This is exactly why the pay-pre-production approach is so corrupt. By side stepping the scrutiny of venture capital investors, professionals who look for aspirations tempered by reality as opposed to fantasy. Instead of securing dollars earmarked for high-risk investment and facilitated by professional management, these units have been sold before they were designed. And while there's clearly some responsibility on behalf of the purchaser, the lion's share rests squarely on the shoulders of those who sold what's proven to be dreams and spent the money on what's proven to be nightmares.
Sounds as though you may have been through this once or more, Duster.

Telling to have the realities of experience weigh in on the "Vakuous story".

What do you imagine these guys do for day jobs?

Can anyone substantiate having taken delivery of anything other than a prototype?

 

martin 'hoff

Super Anarchist
2,143
1,013
Miami
I know a thing or two about electronics mfg. Moonduster is right. The gap between prototype and product is wide, and they don't seem to be crossing it.

Crowdfunding is great for the few who know how to build a product but lack the funding. It also enables scammers and dreamers. It's impossible to tell them apart, except through reputation.

 

TBone

Anarchist
733
1
Is the Vakaros being offered as pre-sales or crowd-funding? Or both?

Pre-sales would suggest they had product to deliver?

Either way anybody who ponied up last year must be wondering/worried  about their $.

Good bet it has fueled some of the trial/error R&D expenses?

 

Clockwork

Member
79
13
"Your unit is in the production batch being completed this week. You should see a shipping confirmation with a tracking number from us on Friday."  (4/5)

Hope this happens...

 

Efsix1479

New member
Great news Clockwork!

May I ask what your order number is? (To get a feel of where the production rate is).

Also, once you get it, I’d be interested on your experience(s).

 
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