It’s been an amazing month of progress and transformation since our last update. We’re making moves, literally and figuratively, and have a lot to share. Read on for all the frothy details!
Welcome to Santa Cruz!
A solid and meaningful company culture is incredibly important to all of us at Inboard, and a big part of that culture stems from the place we choose to call home. That’s why we’re excited to announce we’ve officially moved Inboard HQ over the hill to Santa Cruz, CA. Not only is Santa Cruz an incredible place to test and ride our boards, but it’s a place that has continually contributed to the core of action sports culture through a strong surfing and skateboarding heritage.
The culture offered by Santa Cruz will feed into every aspect of our product, while providing the perfect playground for all the things we enjoy outside of the office: skateboarding, surfing, kitesurfing, mountain biking, hiking… the list goes on and Santa Cruz has it all!
Our new office is much larger than our previous one, giving us space to further expand our team in the engineering, marketing and sales departments. Lots of natural light and a separate shop space for building the M1™ rounds out the new home of Inboard HQ.
Brian Does Asia
As part of our ongoing development efforts for the M1, Inboard Product Director Brian Eiseman recently took a 10-day trip to Asia with the goal of vetting manufacturers for everything from M1 electronics to Inboard safety equipment and travel bags. Brian has previously made this trip dozens of times, representing many companies and brands in their search for top-tier suppliers. For Brian this was the perfect opportunity to visit with these suppliers again and talk the details of our manufacturing needs.
But in a world of instantaneous video conferencing and chat, why make the 24 hour flight? According to Brian, it’s all about maintaining a high standard of quality; not only for the end product, but for the relationship with the manufacturer.
“It’s crucial to see the factories and meet the people working at those factories in person. It lets me evaluate the condition of the equipment, staff working conditions, presence of excess inventory and implementation of quality control procedures. It also results in a better long-term relationship with the manufacturer. They know they’ll be held accountable when you show up in person. The quality of the finished product is higher and we end up getting the best service possible.”
It’s important to note our manufacturing supply chain will not be 100% based in Asia; we just want to ensure we’re investigating all feasible options to acquire the highest quality components at the best price.
After months of getting by with a proof of concept remote that more closely resembled a science project than a real remote, we can now show you a working version much closer to the one that will accompany every M1. While the color is missing, we finally have our custom printed circuit board (PCB), casing and control surfaces all in one place!
Theo and Tony logged countless hours configuring the layout of the remote’s custom PCB, while Patrick finalized the look, shape and feel of the remote casing, joystick and kill switch. We now have pre-production samples in hand that are being programmed and tested by Tony, with a primary goal of ensuring the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signal is as reliable and secure as possible using industry standard signal encryption techniques.
Deck and Integrated LEDs
We’ve received our first production samples of the M1 deck, complete with cutout molds for the integrated LEDs. After reviewing these samples, we found the molds needed to be further tuned for deck weight, component placement and efficient wire routing. We’re currently making those changes and will receive the next rendition in time for our next update.
The Birth of a Logo
After establishing the name of the M1, our next goal was to create its signature. We wanted a symbol that was simple, yet representative of the things that make the M1 unique: efficiency, clean design and flow. Very much easier said than done when working with one letter and one number!
After eliminating dozens of drafts, lead designer Paige shifted focus to putting the M1 and its technology into context.
“We want the M1 to effortlessly carve in and out of your everyday life, so naturally the logo should fill its space with the same sense of ease. I feel we ended up with a logo that hits the sweet spot between being too obvious and too abstract. That, and I knew it was special when the whole team, each member with their own taste, liked it from the start. That was important. We wanted a logo everyone could be proud of, just like the M1.”
Until Next Time...
Over the next month the engineering team will be deep in further M1 testing and development, and for our next update we’ll have more specific details on all production-ready components of the M1. Meanwhile, the rest of the team will be ramping up for our very first appearance at Surf Expo in September.
Until then, stay updated on everything Inboard through facebook.com/inboardskate and catch photos and videos from the R&D process at @inboardskate on Instagram!
We can’t wait to ride with you soon!
The Inboard Team