Jeremy Toeman

Jeremy doesn't just love gadgets, he loves building them, and has done so for the past 10 years. These days, he spends his time trying to figure out how to take really complex technology and explain how it works to his mother. He's occasionally successful. Jeremy lives in San Francisco, and has a super-cute baby.

November 14th, 2008

Manufacturing Update

We’re putting the trials and tribulations of our first large scale production run behind us. We have settled in with two New Jersey based manufacturers to build our BUGs and are very pleased with the results. Thanks to everyone for their patience and support.

Starting November 17th we will start shipping the latest BUGbundles to customers with a goal of having ALL backorders fulfilled by December 1st. From that point forward we will be in a position to ship all our customers their new BUGs within 2 days of placing their order. We also have a number of exciting, new modules coming available within the next few weeks so stay tuned!

October 17th, 2008

Memories of Open House 3

As I think back all the way to last night’s Open House I can’t help but recall… “I wasn’t there.”

But others were! Lots of others in fact! And we have pictures and cool stories to prove it. Rather than me share some interpreted anecdotes as assembled by the gang who could make it, we’ve put together a short collection of vignettes.

Matt C: “I enjoyed talking with Cynthia – she said some are saying technology is keeping kids indoors. She wants to use technology to get them outside (BUG scavenger hunt is an easy hit).”

Amie: “I met a handful of people who are considering or have already applied for a job at Bug Labs. That made me feel good.”

Melinda: “There was a woman that showed up last night who had no tech experience and wasn’t working in the tech industry, but when she heard about BUG she was so excited over the possibilities that she had to stop by to see it in person. I think one of the most rewarding aspects of the evening was talking to people that aren’t geeks, but who still see the potential for something truly great in what we’re doing. ”

Brian B: “I spent most of the night demoing a simple BUG application. The app lets you snap a photo, draw on and annotate the photo, and then upload the photo directly to an rss feed. Most people get uncomfortable when you point a BUG at them, but once they saw the beautiful art we made, they relaxed.” (more on Brian’s app here, expect an update from him soon!)

Peter: “I had a terrific conversation with a woman interested in getting more girls into technology. We both agreed the Test Kitchen could be a great resource. Alicia wants to have a “GeekGirlz” nite :) ” (JT’s note: after a lengthy lecture on appropriate terminology, we determined that the discussion was actually about encouraging young women to pursue technology-focused careers. Good job Peter!)

Amie: “I talked to Dan, a software developer from hedge fund company, who found out about us on the day of open house and decided to stop by with two of his colleagues. It’s always good to see such enthused reaction from fellow developers!”

Matt C: “100 beers gone, and plenty of Bug shirts awarded…. Awesome to see so many people so engaged – and trying out applications (like draw pad)”

Big thanks to everyone who could make it and join the crew. Maybe next time we’ll have one in San Francisco and leave them New Yorkers jealous?? Of course they do have the awesome new Test Kitchen there, not to mention the engineering staff and everything. Oh well, at least we’ve got better burritos!

August 25th, 2008

Gnomedex Presentation Video, Slides, and Contest

I had a great time at Gnomedex last Fri/Sat, it was my first time at the show. I made the presentation (below) over the course of the show itself, as I really wanted to gear it for the audience. I knew it was a tech-savvy crowd, and also wanted to avoid “pitching” Bug Labs while still sharing the company’s vision.

You can watch the video below (first ~30 minutes are my presenting, rest of the time is Q&A), or you can check out the slides (also below) – but I will say the deck doesn’t really “work” without the voiceover.

Lastly, don’t forget the FREE BUGBUNDLE CONTEST is still live until this coming Friday! So easy to enter…

Live Streaming by Ustream.TV

The video doesn’t necessarily capture all the slides, so if you want to see them raw (read: out of context), here they are:

August 23rd, 2008

Gnomedex Contest and Discount Weekend

Been a great time at Gnomedex so far this weekend. I’m presenting on Openness and Consumer Electronics in a few minutes (4:15pm PST – you can watch it live on the site), and we’re going to have a quick contest and discount weekend! Also, in the spirit of the show, we’re going to make both open to even those unable to attend the event here in Seattle.

The contest we’re doing is detailed here, but the basic gist is – invent a gadget, add it to the Gnomedex Wiki page, and possibly win a BUGbundle! Easy stuff, eh?

There’s also going to be a discount on the BUGbundle between now and Monday, August 25th, 12pm PST. All Gnomedex attendees can get the normally $629 BUGbundle for $399, all those who watched the show online for $499. The process to claim the discount is pretty easy:

  1. Place an order at www.buglabs.net/store (again, this is *only* for the BUGbundle)
  2. Your credit card will be authorized (not charged yet) for the full amount
  3. Send an email to support [at] buglabs.net with the words “gnomedex attendee” or “gnomedex audience”
  4. We will automatically update your order
  5. When your order is fulfilled (late September-ish), the correct amount will be billed

Also, I’ll put the entire Gnomedex presentation online next week. I think there’ll be a video online too, if so, I’ll link to it when I find it!

August 13th, 2008

We’ve raised a third round of funding

As CNET reported last night we’re proud to say that Court Square Ventures has led a third round of funding for Bug Labs, and our prior investors (which include Union Square Ventures and Spark Capital) participated as well. We don’t typically like to make a lot of hoopla about fundraising or related efforts, but we thought an update was in order.

This is exciting news for us, as this financing lets us execute upon our business plan to expand and add resources to the company. As you may have noticed on our blog recently we’ve ramped up our manufacturing to handle a larger volume of orders, and we’re also staffing up the team. We’re currently planning our international sales efforts, which we hope to have in place by the end of the year. We’ll also use the money to enhance our marketing efforts, with numerous programs to get the word out to many more programmers, coders, developers, hackers, tinkerers, inventors, makers, entrepreneurs, and hackers (you said hackers twice! we know, we like hackers).

Thanks go out to our investors for their continued support!
-Team Bug

August 4th, 2008

Getting Ready for LinuxWorld08

I can’t imagine we have all that many people reading this blog who aren’t aware, but just in case… LinuxWorld 2008 begins tomorrow (Tuesday) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco!

This is our first year exhibiting at the show, and we’re located in the Linux Garage area (as you walk in to the Exhibit Hall, go straight until the back area, then take a right – you can’t miss it).  Our booth is #1234, and, much like CES, it’s a “pod” so we’re going to make the most of our space.

We walked by the area this afternoon, but the showfloor was still quite the mess, and they haven’t finished setting up our area.  Not a big deal for us, since we’re bringing the most important assets: our team and our BUGs.  Please stop by and say hi to Angel, Brian, and Ken (from NYC), and I’ll be there with Andrew (from SF).  As always, during any downtime we’ll be writing new applications and building some gadgets.  If you want to hack around with us, just bring a laptop and maybe an extra Red Bull if you have one.

July 28th, 2008

A Long-Overdue Product/Status Update

For the past few months we’ve had continuous delays in producing sufficient units to meet/exceed demand. From the emails we’ve received we know this is frustrating to our current (and likely future) customers, and it’s mighty frustrating to us as well. This update has been in the works for a few months, but we wanted to make sure we had a good handle on all the issues before we just kept saying “one more delay” (if you’ve ever seen The Money Pit, it’s reminiscent of the contractor saying “about two weeks”).

Some brief backstory is important. As a small developer of electronic hardware, one of the biggest bets you make is your choice of contract manufacturer (CM). We had initially chosen a well-respected, domestic CM and everything was lined up to go. To make a long story short, they left us at the altar. I’m still not sure why, other than the fact that what we’re doing is completely new and did not fit neatly into any of their existing product categories. So we scrambled to find another one. Luckily we came up with a good alternative quickly. But we then had to start the long process of getting them geared up for production. This took longer than it should but we got it done.

As the new CM got up to speed, a few other minor setbacks occurred. We had quality issues with some of the plastic molds and the snap-on feature for our modules was not working as advertised. Any of these issue by themselves would not have added up to much of a delay but when added together they complicated the delivery schedule. By the time we cleared these up, we had already missed our original target ship date (w

Read the rest of this page »

July 10th, 2008

Bug Labs Schwag Store Now Open!

Thanks to the amazing talents of our designer, Mateo Zlatar, the company’s sported some cool shirts at the various conferences we attend.  On quite a few more than one occasion people have asked if we had extra shirts, hats, or other schwag to hand out, and being the small startup operating on a responsible budget that we are, we haven’t.  But we really wanted to have some for the big fans out there, so we decided to create a Zazzle-hosted shop to solve the problem.

Now you too can have your own Bug Labs hat, mug, t-shirt, mousepad, and, uhm… necktie.  Yes, that’s right, a Bug Labs necktie.  Perfect for the occasion where you need to dress it up a bit, but still want to represent open source and DIY gadgets in a fashionable way.  All the options are available here.  Have fun!

July 2nd, 2008

Housekeeping: moving our RSS feed

This is a quick update, could probably have done it in 140 characters or less, but since I may be verbose, why not?  When the blog was first launched (on Typepad), the RSS feed was autocreated, with the following URL: http://feeds.feedburner.com/typepad/buglabs/bugblogger.  Odd one, ain’t it?  Anyhow, we’ve updated, and while the old one is still alive, please update your reader to point to our new (and improved?) feed here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/bugblogger/rss.

June 10th, 2008

Tell Us What To Build Next!

We’ve spent a lot of time watching the discussions on our forums, and have seen some wonderful conversations about future BUGmodules (like here and here). We really want to capture all this data in a way to be (1) useful for our planning purposes, and (2) engaging to you, our community. It’s our feeling that while the forums here are great for in-depth conversations, Q&A, and quick polling, it’s not the ideal setup for what we want to accomplish.

Our goal is to have the voice of the community at large play a loud part in our product planning. This means we’d like to know how the ideas you are all sharing really rank with each other. One person’s all-important laser range finder module is another person’s worst. idea. ever. And the forums don’t really let you express that very easily. Enter IdeaScale.

IdeaScale is similar to the Starbucks and Dell “idea crowdsourcing” systems. Basically anyone can come to the site, and vote or comment on existing ideas, or create their own suggestion. We’ve organized the site to have 4 categories for your feedback:

  1. BUGmodules – suggest a module for us to build
  2. BUGbase – suggest a technology or other aspect of how you’d like to see a future BUGbase be configured
  3. BUG+ – suggest a location for us to come have an event
  4. BUG+EDU – suggest a school or program to do with an educational facility

Please come check out the site. At present, no registration is required for basic participation (voting), and we are hoping to create a single-signon process so your BUGnet or forums ID will work across both sites in the future. Also, please feel free to use the forums (here) to give any feedback on IdeaScale itself, how it could be improved, if there are other categories we should add, etc.

A few Bug Labs team members have gotten the ball rolling (myself included), but really this is about the community. Hoping to see you there soon, the very future of the world might just depend on it. Well, that may be a bit of a stretch.