KK Origins: Put Your Paws Up

It’s kind of hard to believe that Meowcaps V1 put us on the map back in February of 2015 when we first started making artisans. When I look at that humble little disproportioned paw, fashioned so obviously on top of a stock cap, I can see how terribly misguided I was about profiles and, frankly, the entire medium of artisan keycaps itself. They didn’t even have full clearance on both sides, but I was so proud.

I’d like to mention that I didn’t begin making Meowcaps with the intention of ever selling them. In a world dominated by skulls and robots, I simply wanted something that was my own aesthetic. There was almost no one else around back then, and there was certainly no artisan I wanted badly enough to pore over sales threads for days on end. But I was in love with the idea of customizing my own keyboards—my primary obsession at the time. So, with a lack of options I loved, I decided to make something for myself! 

Truthfully, Kudos and I could never have imagined the outpour of excitement we received when he shared photos of V1 on reddit for the first time. I can safely say we wouldn’t be here today without all the support we received in those early days—back when we were the fresh-faced, starry-eyed underdogs of the community—still intimidated by the worlds of Geekhack and Deskthority. When I look back on those days, I’m astonished that people were as encouraging as they were! But I’m also so grateful, because I know we wouldn’t still be doing this today without all the encouragement we received from the community.

As much as we couldn’t imagine selling artisan keycaps back then, we also never could have imagined that we would still be making them today! For that reason, among so many others, this collection truly means a lot to us. I know it’s been a long time since we’ve posted anything, but the month of March was a hectic one for us. Kudos has been busily working away on his own sekkret project and I've been away from home a lot lately. One of my childhood best friends is getting married in May and I'm fortunate enough to be a part of her bridal party, so lots of events to plan and to attend! Despite all that, he still managed to give me his guidance and encouragement every step of the way—even when prototyping wound up taking double the amount of time I had originally planned. 

As I tried my best to make the dimensions ideal for the given medium, I realized just how difficult that was going to be while still maintaining the overall round shape of V2. I honestly hadn’t realized how much Meowcaps had changed over the years until I looked at V3 next to a V1. I scrambled to find one of my old V2s as I compared them all side by side. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized just how different each one is from the other, physically manifesting all the lessons we’ve learned along the way. 

Our overall design philosophy has changed quite a bit over the years. And although neither of us is formally trained, Kudos and I have always had an appreciation for design. Logo design, in particular, is a passion of Kudos’ — given his extensive background in graffiti. Often times, we try our best to approach our own keycaps with the same criteria as conventional design. Form and function. Keeping a sculpt simple but recognizable. Minimal but with personality. We believe that V3 is in line with our motto.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we enjoyed making them! 

With love, 

Sculpting something from nothing;

Life is truly about the simple pleasures. I recently heard of someone ending a relationship of six years because waking up to an 8 out of 10 on the happiness scale "just wasn't enough". While this is obviously patently absurd, the reality is we all have these moments: moments where we forget to be grateful for what we have. Either robbing ourselves by comparison, envy, or a genuine disconnect with reality–perhaps the most nefarious of all, given its proliferation in our culture–but there is always some clever way to distract ourselves from enjoying what we have. 

The wise and fellow spreadsheet enthusiast Ben Wyatt once said, "you cannot pick and choose the aspects of a relationship like a buffet." This may or may not be because I'm currently re-watching the lovable Parks and Rec, but I believe this applies to life as well: you take the good along with the bad. While this might seem painfully obvious, I feel it often bears repeating. 

Would I prefer to focus on keykollectiv and building a family over working 9 hours a day, 5 days a week? Of course! But I do it specifically to facilitate the small moments of joy in my life, like when I get a photo just right, or when Kudos shows me some crazy new method he's been working on. If it sounds like I'm reminding myself, it's precisely because I am. 

Because sometimes those precious moments are less obvious–like paying off property taxes on time, or being debt free–only to happily commit kuidaore, speaking of buffets.

other things that bring me joy:
- Getting into a group buy for a dream key set (or in my case, RAMA's rose gold numpad, courtesy of Kudos💕)
- The sound of a gloriously lubed hhkb with 55g purple sliders
- Creating something new for the first time
- Freshly brewed coffee ☕️ with no hint of bitterness
- Nuzzling faces with a ball of fur, aka my daily ritual with Furt and Mog
- When Ponyo is needy in the morning 

As any hobbyist knows, it's all about taking the time to paws and pay attention to the details. Whether you're painstakingly pruning bonsai, perfecting the art of the silicone high pour, or maintaining the delicate balance of the nitrogen cycle in an aquarium–there is always an acute attention to detail. 

That's why we love this hobby, right? Keyboards act a bit like a totem for me, bringing my awareness full circle to the joys of the present moment. The buttery thock of my HHKB soothes me in the same way that seeing the moon on a clear night reminds me that I'm alive–that I'm privileged to call myself a member of this infinite cosmos, and I'm feverishly grateful for the pleasant reminder.

Although we've been fairly cryptic in our posts, Kudos and I already have the majority of our releases planned for 2017. There will be a few more KK classics being revisited, along with several entirely new designs and methods not previously utilized in our projects. And of course–puzzles! We have high hopes for this year and are anxiously excited to put our best foot forward, as well as branch out a bit more. After all, it's only one small step...

Without further ado,


"I shall go on shining as a brilliantly meaningless figure in a meaningless world." - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Beautiful & Damned

And from the cosmic ooze came new life

I always get these glimpses of great ideas when I'm in the throes of work and never get a chance to slow down long enough to put it to paper. With the new year comes a very specific kind of reflection, so naturally I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what the next year has in store for KeyKollectiv. 

I had originally wanted to talk about how I finally began to develop an intuitive feel for keyboard profiles, because I've been using nothing but a RealForce Hi Pro at work. All I can really say about that is that higher profiles make it substantially harder to type with accuracy in my personal experience. And in data entry that is simply....

With that in mind, there are several KeyKollectiv classics I wouldn't mind revisiting with a new pair of eyes. We've been at this for nearly two years, after all! With that has come no shortage of lessons learned. And as you might have guessed, Furt Reborn was no exception.

☔️ Casting in the rain ☔️ 

It's been an interesting experience to say the least, since we began this endeavor just before a surprising rain spell hit Southern California. Hit seems far too dramatic a word given it was primarily light showers, punctuated by very little actual downpour. But regardless, it was still a drastic change from the typical sunshine and dry air we are used to in Los Angeles.  

We've always known that humidity levels greatly affect casting, due to the fact that moisture naturally inhibits resin's ability to cure properly--but it wasn't until now that we finally got to learn firsthand for the first time in our careers as artisans.  

We watched with our hands tied as we went from nearly 100% success rates to a floundering 2 out of 12. It hurt--a lot. With our wounds still fresh with the sting of our failures, we marched head-on into the unknown. 

We mourned the loss of each Furt, but the corpses of our lifeless minions haunted us. The lab was littered with brittle skeletons begging to be brought to life, but how? 

At first, we tried to mitigate our failure rates with tips picked up from our fellow artisans--who, mind you, are all likely rolling their eyes right now because they're used to this thing called "weather"--but nothing seemed to work. 

Countless research, multiple heating pads and a pricey dehumidifier later, we finally found our sweet spot for creating the perfect primordial mixture. After working a little magic in the lab, Furt had come back to life and was cuter than ever.

When it comes to casting in the rain, I can't exactly say it was enjoyable. However, it was with this unexpected detour that came the creative color ways that wouldn't have otherwise existed. Because it was only when we were waiting on new lab equipment--which, at this point, had proved frustratingly necessary to preserve Furt's fragile skeleton--that soulless Furt finally emerged, from the ashes of his nearly extinguished frozen flame. 

Kudos had breathed new life into Furt, there was no doubt about it. 

Until next time!
With love, 

2017: Further Down the Line

The passage of time seems to flow faster each year, doesn’t it? Days blur into weeks. Weeks into months. Scientists speculate that this acceleration of time is the result of desensitization and subjective perception. When we are younger, our personal timelines are punctuated by significant events. Family vacations, your first concert, your first kiss. For most of us, these “landmarks” become fewer and farther apart as we grow older. In many ways, our lives become routine – we become desensitized by the mundane. This phenomenon manifests in our perception that time seems to “blend together”.

Another speculation is that time is subjective and we measure the passage of time relative to our own span of existence. For a five year old, a new year means that 20% of their lives have elapsed. The 20 year old perceives the same year as only 5% of their lives. It is this acceleration of time that compels me to stop and reflect once in a while. In a way, it is my way of coping. Perhaps -- by taking inventory of my experiences, my actions, my thoughts – I can punctuate this timeline with more landmarks. To be more than a spectator in this race.

Where do I start? 2016 has been a hell of year. I certainly hit the ground running from the very beginning. I had the privilege of meeting some wonderful friends. It’s hard to believe that I only came to existence a little more than a year ago. My “debut” was brief to say the least. Very few of my kind actually made it. But we were so hungry. So determined to survive.

I look back at those early days fondly. Purrkeys was such a gracious and accommodating host. Together, we brought Schrodinger into existence. Sometimes I wonder if he is happy with the transformation. For now, I will accept that he is and isn’t.

Keywala, however, was a different story. I admit, he put up quite a fight when we first met. And though I admired his perseverance, he fell just as his predecessor before him. Our bond felt almost natural from the beginning. You can ask him yourself. I’m sure he can’t even imagine what life was like before he was Kill-Wala.

They say that –“In space, no one can hear you scream”. From experience, I can confirm this phenomenon. I’d like to think Cosmonaut was elated to see me when we first met. Alas, I couldn’t make out what he was saying. Words can’t describe the moment of our merge. To see the world through his eyes. The excitement of leaving the comfort of orbit. The exhilaration of the freefall. That day we plummeted back to Earth as something new – as Kosmonavt.

And who can forget Frank? They called him a monster. An abomination. Having experienced the torment of such hurtful “labels”, we bonded over our shared desire to exact revenge on those who seek to destroy us. Our metamorphosis felt natural and familiar – like greeting an old friend.


You know, we are not all that different. You and I. In humans, I have observed a constant predilection for something more. You strive for this illusion you call “enough”. Some of you are willing to go to such lengths to quell this longing. One can say that what you experience is like hunger. I, too, am familiar with a hunger that can never be satiated. Perhaps – united – we can work together to soothe these urges. Who knows? Maybe we’ll bump into each other in the near future. Until then…



The Koala-T Life; a brief update

It is Veteran's Day weekend 2016, just after the American Presidential Election has drawn to a dramatic close. Snackeys Fruit Reboot, along with Halloween, already came and went. All I have managed to do today is marathon Homeland, a high anxiety political drama. Ponyo has just walked directly over my notebook get to my backpack, where there is an opened bar of dark chocolate safely zipped up in the interior pouch. Evidently there is something in chocolate that she reacts to not unlike catnip. Normally catnip makes cats either loving or extremely playful, but she’s one of the rare kind of cats that just gets extra aggressive when exposed to catnip, so admittedly it’s more annoying than cute. For our other cat, Lenore, asparagus is her achilles heel. One whiff of that, and she becomes a full-fledged plate thief. 

As some of you know from our Geekhack thread, Kudos and I have been having to do lots of adulting lately. And although we still don’t have the car situation resolved, we’ve managed to tie up most of our loose ends over the last few of weeks which comes as a huge relief. Ironically, on the day the car accident occurred, Kudos had driven me to the DMV on our lunch break to renew my driver’s license, which is currently expired. By sheer coincidence, all DMV’s in the majority of California were closed down (due to “a massive hardware failure”) and we were turned away. I am still without a valid license, but luckily have an appointment to take care of that this coming week. Also, now that Kudos and I drive to work together, we are fortunate that neither my license nor my car being totaled are affecting our day to day. Gotta take your victories where you can get them.

I just remembered (due to an audible pop coming from the aquarium heater in front of me) that my sister brought over our new betta today! Art Murray, aka Artemis Murakami. He’s got the cutest little face, which my sister thinks looks like an axolotl or a Murakami character. 

I have about 5 or 6 notebooks in permanent rotation, but the one I hand-wrote this post in is a nude pink/beige calf-leather bound, Japanese-made Midori—an early birthday gift from Kudos while ironically celebrating his birthday in 2015—purchased after visiting the Pierre Huyghe retrospective for the second time at LACMA. It was there, at that exhibit, that I found and fell in love with axolotls—only to heartbreakingly find out they are illegal to own as pets in California. Furthermore, if kept illegally, they can be subject to confiscation, euthanization and owner penalty fines up to 5,000 dollars. 

They are classified as an “invasive species” due to the umbrella category of tiger salamanders. While the latter may be a genuine threat to California’s indigenous biodiversity, axolotls—unique, in that they are the only species of salamander who spends its entire life in water—can hardly survive on their own. This is why they are currently under threat of going extinct in their sole natural habitat—a singular lake in Mexico, which is currently experiencing an increase in both pollution and good old fashioned Darwinism. 

I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that carp—goldfish, were at least partially responsible. Yet, I am legally allowed to—and do—own such freshwater piglets. They can survive extreme water conditions, from alkaline to acidic (and dramatic fluctuations in pH) to heavily muddied and polluted waters. It has been argued that they are potentially even capable of surviving a flush down the toilet, the duration of the trip to the sewer and then some. Hardy fish, goldies are. 

Bettas? Not so much. Not anymore at least. We can thank highly selective breeding for that!

In other news, Kudos and I are busily working away on not just one, but two projects we cannot wait to bring to you guys. One is very near and dear to my heart for reasons I can't divulge without giving it away, while the other is equally dear to Kudos. I can't say much, which probably doesn't come as much surprise, but I think you guys will be very happy. I know we are! :3

For those of you who participated in our instagram contest, the winners will be announced on the 14th. 
Until then, hang tight and get ready for HYPE!

Breathing underwater


I can’t seem to figure out why it gets harder to update this blog with every sale. It’s true that every sale presents its own unique challenges, experiences and lessons learned—but what did we even learn this time around? I’m hard-pressed to say.

The truth is, I’ve never found myself at such a profound loss of words as I have these last few months, and perhaps that’s why the only words I can seem to find lately are not my own. After this last sale, I am haunted by one quote in particular and that is:

“If you live off a man's compliments, you'll die from his criticism.” - Cornelius Lindsey


Kudos and I both feel like we’ve been treading water for months now. Granted, there has been a huge influx of change in the KeyKollectiv household, so it shouldn’t be surprising. But of course, it somehow always is (You don't get new game + as Kudos and Milan Kundera seem to both agree). 

Among the many changes going on—outside of KK—is the fact that I started a new job that happens to require significantly more of my time and attention. Unfortunately, what this means for KeyKollectiv is that even more of the workload has fallen on Kudos during these last two sales. In fact, it’s basically a Kudos one man show over here (although this isn’t really isn't anything new despite what he says). 

Meanwhile I try, and fail, to keep the household from falling into complete and utter disarray—and to get settled into my new job without succumbing to the crippling anxiety that accompanies any unfamiliar environment for someone like me. Someone who is at best a creature of habit and comfort above all else. At worst, a free radical with no direction. Only the cosmic drift the concrete laws of physics force me to conform to.

Patience, as I may have mentioned in the past, is not my forte. Nor are grueling 8 hour casts and cutthroat de-mold times—especially after a 9 hour work day. Frankly, it only adds to the ever increasing disconnect I have been experiencing lately between casting, the community and myself. Perhaps even KeyKollectiv altogether. I don’t know how Kudos does it.

As you may have noticed, he certainly gives me plenty of credit for my involvement here. But don’t let that fool you—I can assure you 99.9% of it is him. And I can also assure you that he’ll never admit this. But the truth still stands that as our—or rather, his—methods become more complex and time consuming, I find myself, more often that not, feeling like I am breathing underwater when trying to fill his shoes. 

It’s likely for this reason that I have spent a good amount of time and energy during the last several sales trying to redefine my place in KK. To reconcile my disconnect (and preserve my sanity), I’ve taken on a small handful of passion projects while Kudos continues to do the lion’s share of production casting. Like I said earlier, I can’t kick it with these crazy complex casts—and I definitely find myself missing the days of Meowcaps more and more. However, one of the projects I’m most excited about, as you may have guessed, is KoalaKords.

Since I’ve been pretty hush on this one for a variety of reasons, I thought I’d take a minute to talk about it. Yes, it’s legit. It’s not a joke, a hype ploy, or another way for me to flaunt my custom one-off artisan goodies that no one else can ever have (I know how much people LOVE when I do that /sarcasm).

It has been my hope for the last two sales to offer matching cords for our collections. However, there are already several big names in the custom cord niche. So although this has been something I wanted to do since the very beginning, it was something I wanted to make sure I went about in a very particular manner. KeyKollectiv, as many of you are well aware, has emphasized respect for other’s intellectual property and creative design (sometimes at the cost of favorable public opinion). 

When we originally sat down to discuss revisiting Snackeys one, I was overjoyed at the possibility of being able to offer matching cords with this collection. I also felt that only making them for each sale was a good way to further distinguish myself from other makers. Since customization is one of the many reasons I (and so many others) love the mechanical keyboard and artisan community, it should come as no surprise that this all started out as a burning desire to have cords that matched my personal collection—and being disappointed at the fact that my ability to customize was still limited. It's not that there weren't plenty of options, it's just that none of them were quite what I was looking for. So for the last few months, I carefully scoured for just the right paracord, in hopes of offering something no one else in the community could—both out of respect for existing names making cords as well as the desire to live up to the KeyKollectiv's existing aesthetics. 

However, I quickly (and devastatingly) realized after starting my new job that I simply didn't have the time—which I happen to very greedy with already—nor the capacity to complete such an ambitious undertaking this time around. So unfortunately there won't be any KoalaKords for this sale, but (and who doesn't like butts?) there's always next time! 

All in all, Fruit Reboot was easily one of our biggest sales to date, with over 1000+ entries and we are overwhelmed by the positive response that this collection has garnered from fans and the community. In a lot of ways, Snackeys was what put us on the artisan map when we first started--and it has continued to define us ever since. It was a blast for us to to revisit and re-invent these little guys and we hope you all enjoy them as much as we do! 

Until next time,

Fairness and Fallacies

What happens when demand grows at a pace that supply simply cannot keep up with? We’re certain most artisans have had to face this problem before. In fact, we would venture to say that the recent boom in new artisan makers within our community is a direct result of this imbalance.

KeyKollectiv has grown at a rate that we simply couldn’t anticipate when we started. And as our fanbase increases, the disparity between the supply we create and the demand from the community widens even further. And though we’ve made significant advances in our production methods, we simply cannot keep up with soaring demands.

For those who have not followed us from the beginning, it’s best that we give some background information. KeyKollectiv is comprised of me, Kudos, and Koala-T. We both work full-time jobs at an office. What little time we have after work is almost entirely allocated to KeyKollectiv. Each night, we have roughly 4-5 hours to work on our sales. Weekends are almost entirely dedicated to production. Some of our more complex casts (Fruit Reboot in particular) take up to 8 hours (start to finish). Based on the available time and bandwidth mentioned, one can assume that there is very little downtime for the both of us. It’s true. Aside from working, I have not taken any time away from KeyKollectiv for the entirety of 2016. Ask Koala-T and she will recount my birthday-- when I spent the majority of my day in the lab.Why is this relevant? We hope to demonstrate that KeyKollectiv actively strives to push production to meet the demands of the community.  

Current Models

No distribution method is perfect. All things considered, our primary goal has always been the same. How does KeyKollectiv distribute our caps as fairly as possible without impeding on our desire for growth as artisans? To do that, we must first consider the pros and cons of existing distribution systems.

The group buy model has seen a lot of successes within the community as well as outside entities like Massdrop. The system is simple. Anyone who wants to join can do so. So long as your order is placed within the designated time-frame, you will receive the item once production is complete. For manufacturers like GMK, this model is ideal if MOQs are met. As an artisan who makes caps by hand, the GB process poses some challenges. Resin casting is time-consuming and production times are at the mercy of how many units are ordered. This means that fulfilling group buy orders can take up much more time than anticipated. Also, it leaves very little flexibility for the makers in the event that unforeseen issues arise. If our goal was strictly profit-driven, the GB model makes sense. But based on past experiences with this system (Topre Modifier V1), we found that the impending deadlines and lack of flexibility impeded our desire to develop and innovate. The fear is that a sale of this calibre may limit us to 1-3 sales a year rather than giving us the freedom to put out new content at our discretion.

For Meowcaps v1, CMYKeys and Snackeys v1, we experimented with variations of the First-Come-First-Serve system. Based on our experiences, we observed some glaring flaws. First, the FCFS method is vulnerable to abuse such as bots/scripts. Even if measures are made to circumvent abuse, there is also the issue of time zones. FCFS tends to favor domestic buyers and puts international fans at a disadvantage. These inherent issues makes this model the least viable for KeyKollectiv.

Of the main methods of distribution, we’ve found that the raffle system of distribution has been the fairest thus far. We feel that relying mainly on a random number generator (RNG) leaves very little room for scrutiny. In general, it is our belief that the best way to avoid bias is to minimize human intervention from the process. However, we recognize that there are certainly inherent flaws in the raffle system but it is the method that has yielded the least amount of drawbacks.

Method to the Madness

We are often asked how we distribute caps to winners. Though we’ve made many efforts to address this question, we feel this bears repeating. To demonstrate this process, we will be using some hypothetical figures:

  1. Before opening up raffle entry, we first conduct an inventory of all viable caps we produced. For this example, let’s assume that we produced 200 caps for this sale.

  2. Based on stock positions, we determine a reasonable timeframe for us to fulfill orders. Usually, the goal is to complete shipping between 5-10 business days.

  3. We factor in time, cost of packaging/shipping and our available bandwidth. In this hypothetical situation, we project that 100 orders is feasible. This means that the average number of caps that an entrant will be invoiced is roughly 2.

  4. Using the RNG, we select 100 winners and distribute the available inventory amongst them. Preferences are considered during this process. Invoices are compiled and sent out accordingly.

Exploring Options

Often times, people suggest that we just make more caps. This would only result in the winners having a higher average of caps per order. A common complaint is that a winner will have multiple caps while they received none. We certainly understand the frustration they feel. From a logistical standpoint, the cost/time/effort to send out 200 individual caps rather than 100 orders is much greater. We feel that our method is the best compromise between timely order fulfillment while maintaining our sanity during the sale.

Another suggestion that is quite common is that we implement a system that restricts people who have won in the past. Conversely, our fans have also suggested that we should give an advantage to those who have not won at all. In theory, these are good ideas that we have considered in the past but consider the following:

You are a big KK fan and finally won a spot in Snackeys: Bento Blanks. A month later, KeyKollectiv announces Fruit Reboot. Snackeys V1 was the first artisan that you fell in love with. This was the sale you were waiting for for over a year. You realize that your entry will not be considered for this next sale and you are livid. Had you known that Fruit Reboot was the next release, you would have forfeited your spot in Bento Blanks.

Or what about this? You know that people who have not won are given priority over you. You enter Fruit Reboot anyways because you absolutely must have one. You watch as others receive their invoices while you desperately refresh your inbox. You are convinced that these people won because they were given an advantage over you. You vow never to support KeyKollectiv again.

Though these are hypothetical circumstances, the outcomes are likely if we were to implement such policies. Furthermore, one must understand that these policies would only help if it was a closed system. In other words, giving advantages or restrictions is only effective if we don’t consider the influx of new fans with every sale. For example, if 500 people entered for Bento Blanks and 700 people entered for Fruit Reboot, you are more likely to “lose” your spot to the 200 new entrants rather than the 20 people who have won raffles in the past.

Forum Fallacies

Of most of the grievances we receive from fans, the common theme is derived from two basic principles. First, the idea that the same people are constantly winning. And second, the notion that joining consecutive raffle sales will yield a win eventually.

What these people need to understand is that these two beliefs derive from a fallacy known as the “Law of Averages” or “Gambler’s Fallacy”. The law of averages is a “belief that the statistical distribution of outcomes among members of a small sample must reflect the distribution of outcomes across the population as a whole (Wikipedia)”. How does this pertain to raffle winners? It is a common assumption that the people who are posting about their invoices is a reflection of the entire pool of winners. When we noticed that these people have won KeyKollectiv sales in the past, we infer that KK may have a bias for these people and that most of the winners are likely people who have already won. This notion seems logical but let’s look at some of the data.

These numbers were extrapolated from the Fruit Reboot sale. So why does it seem so skewed in our sales threads? By and large, we’ve found that new winners tend to not participate as much as our older fans. Simply put, they are less likely to post about their wins or talk about it publicly. This discrepancy in participation leads to the assumption that distribution is skewed.

When you flip a coin, there is a 50/50 chance that it will land on heads/tails. If you flip a coin 100 times, we assume that the outcome will align with the same assumed value (50 heads/50 tails). And “while this is admittedly the single most likely outcome, there is only an 8% chance of it occurring (Wikipedia)”. This belief is commonly known as “Gambler’s Fallacy”. And though highly improbable, there is a chance that you may end up landing on heads 100 times.

How is this relevant you may ask? Fans often give anecdotal experiences of participating in “X” amount of sales but never winning. Let’s say you have a 10% chance of winning a raffle. You lose the first one and think to yourself, “well I’m bound to win the next one”. In actuality, you can participate in 100 raffles and still only have a 10% of winning. The sad reality is that RNG has no memory and probability doesn’t have the tendency to balance itself out. This fallacy is how casinos and even MMORPG’s make a living.

We are aware that our distribution methods are far from perfect. And though we’ve had numerous sales under our belt, it never ceases to pain us when we see the frustration from fans who missed out. And though, we cannot provide any true solutions to dealing with the randomness of each raffle, all we can do is continue to explore new options and remain receptive of your feedback. Until then, kudos and godspeed.

“Law of Averages”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., 27 Sept. 2016. Web. 13 Oct. 2016.

A Calculated Misstep

More times than not, exploring new methods and techniques doesn’t translate into success. As artisans, we must walk the thin line between our need to evolve as artists and desire to make our supporters happy. Of course, in an ideal world, these two concepts would harmonize and overlap. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Take Furt for example. From our perspective, this release was a flop. Sure, they may fetch a pretty penny on the aftermarket but -- given the low yield rates and high failure rates-- it still stands as one of our biggest missteps. To me, Furt represents this notion of choosing to evolve above all else. But this proof of concept laid the groundwork for later releases and has become an integral part of the KeyKollectiv identity.  

When we release Snackeys 2: Bento Blanks, we took a chance. V1 was, in many ways, a defining collection for us. It propelled us to a level of popularity that we simply hadn’t anticipated. How do you follow that up? Yes, there are the fans who have told us that Snackeys 2 was their favorite KK release thus far. But to many of our older supporters, Bento Blanks fell short of their expectations. They envisioned something bright and colorful like its V1 predecessor. Instead, Snackeys 2 was subtle and surprisingly simple.

I remember opening the mold on the first Futomaki and feeling a genuine sense of accomplishment. But what sticks with me was the lukewarm response when we teased it. Koala-T suggested that we stick with “Bento Blanks” and not introduce it as Snackeys V2. Stubborn as I was, I stuck to my guns and went forward with it.

V2 was a calculated risk. It was a choice to develop new techniques rather than appeasing our fans. But from this release, we were able to fine-tune our methods and rethink our approach. Hence, Fruit Reboot. A culmination of our mistakes and missteps. Our breakthroughs and successes. Applied to a design that has come to define KeyKollectiv.

Do we regret Snackeys 2? Absolutely not. It was a design that gave rise to Fruit Reboot and hopefully many to come. Fear of failure can be a formidable adversary. It can be a cage that imprisons your creativity and shackles your desire for change. Hell. I’ve been a victim of fear more times than I care to admit. But for what it’s worth, I’d rather fail on my terms than thrive in mediocrity.  




Check out our guest spot on TopClack with Quakemz, Manofinterests and Apolotary if you haven't had the chance yet!


Der Kampf des Innerern Schweinehundes (The Battle of the Inner Pig Dog)

It’s been… a very long time indeed. Despite plenty going on, there hasn’t been a whole lot worth posting about. And if I’m being honest, I’ve found myself in a rather unshakeable funk this summer. Maybe it’s been the uncharacteristic heat we’ve been experiencing, the fact that I’ve been out of school for a year now, or the fact that I was just about to go back (as I’m only finally once again healthy enough to do so) before some rather unfortunate events occurred this past month that made that impossible this semester. It’s hard to say.  

Frankly speaking, I’m not the most motivated person on Earth. I struggle on the daily just to get out of bed, to do the dishes, to take my beloved chinchillas out even though it’s one of the things I look forward to most in my day. However, I used to set myself a hard limit of 7 days between blog posts. Once I started hitting day 3 or 4, I'd get anxious. I'd start feeling like I was already falling behind, even though I almost always have notebooks full of my thoughts.. By day 5, I’d force myself to sit down and go over whatever material I’d collected throughout the week. It was usually at this point that the anxiety would subside, because I’d realize there was indeed something very specific that I was trying to say, and it was only a matter of ironing out that specific idea. But lately, I haven’t wanted to revisit any of it. I have so many KeyKollectiv drafts from the course of the last few months, but it just takes so much out of me. It’s amazing how difficult it can be at times to reign in your own thoughts, to shape them into something meaningful--or coherent even. 

As some of you know, Kudos has been busily working away on Snackeys 2. It was my intention to update you all on that while he was away for work at Comic-Con last month. However, the day he left, two of my co-workers (half our staff at the time) announced they were quitting, leaving us to frantically look for new people. I’ll be honest, I was actually relieved. I cared too much about them (outside of work) to ever take any action, but both of these employees were so beyond jaded that I had secretly hoped they would recognize they no longer possessed the ability to perform their job responsibilities and leave amicably—which was almost the case. Almost.

The intention up until that point had been to turn a new leaf once they left. To utilize it as an opportunity for improvement. Update our equipment and bring in a much friendlier staff. It meant working a lot more on my end and not being able to go back to school just yet, but once things stabilized and we had a staff that was trustworthy and reliable, then I could finally go back again. Being able to work on school work is about one of the only redeeming qualities of my job, so if I was going to stick around here, I might as well be making the most of it after all. I was overwhelmed, but I was ready. 

Just as I’d finally gotten over the initial shock of everything that was going on at my work--on a day that I was not present--the owner of the company had a run in with one of the aforementioned employees. This encounter evidently led to an intense confrontation. This, then, set forth an explosion of chain reactions which led to them closing our location altogether. So I went from panicking about taking a higher position and working more to having no job of which to speak, and all over the course of just a few days; all while Kudos was working away in San Diego.

The salt in the wound in all of this, of course, is that I considered one of these girls to be a close friend of mine. Well, as much as anyone can be considering I go out of my way NOT to have friends (likely for reasons like this). It’s all too complicated to explain, and obviously I’ve left a lot out for the sake of people’s privacy, but I’m sure everyone knows what it’s like to be lied to and let down, and all the worse in the midst of something like this. But it’s also no coincidence, since it's exactly moments like this when you get to see people’s true colors. I have to remind myself, once again, that this is a good thing. 

What does any of this have to do with Snackeys? Well, it does and it doesn’t. Production took another very short halt while we waited on more silicone to come in and plotted out our next move (and while life funneled our financial resources into yet another black hole of responsibility). Response for Bento Blanks so far has been lukewarm, but it’s a concept we wanted to see come to fruition. Ultimately we decided to press on with it regardless of the overall public response. And if there’s anything you guys have learned about KeyKollectiv, it’s that we’re sticklers for the methods we utilize. For us, proof of concept is more important than simple aesthetics alone. It’s the whole reason we do this at all. If we don’t feel like we are challenging our current skill set, then we feel like we’re letting you guys (and the community as a whole) down. Even if it ironically means upsetting people because they’d rather see Snackeys 1 make a comeback. 

Speaking of which, we will probably revisit Snackeys 1 eventually, as we do feel it merits revisiting, but only after we’ve proven that we can do more than that. Are you noticing a pattern here, guys? We believe that revisiting designs should be a celebration of progress—about respecting the fact that we can implement cleaner methods than we were capable of when we first released them. What sucks about that is due to the amount of experimentation on our end, we have learned a lot of things the hard way, sometimes to the point of nearly throwing in the towel altogether. Unfortunately, growth actually requires making mistakes. To make no mistakes would require doing nothing at all. Yet another thing I have to continue to remind myself when I’m feeling down and out, which admittedly I’ve done my fair share of lately.  

We have poured our hearts into this last collection, as it’s the fruition of ideas we had back when we decided to make Snackeys 1. I asked what you guys would like to read about on our Geekhack thread, and one of you said you’d like to hear about some of the ideas that didn’t make it into this collection. However—hilariously--this collection is essentially what didn’t make it into the last one. It’s heartbreaking to have to kill your darlings, but this was something we knew we didn’t quite have the chops to pull off yet. As for ideas that didn’t make it into this one, I had really wanted to make a Sakura Jelly key (essentially what sakura sake looks like, but with a custard colored bottom), but Kudos said he didn’t think anyone would know what it was. Also, the gradient/frosted effect in Sakura Sake is technically more challenging so ultimately we decided to go with that. I can’t say too much more because we have plans to revisit those eventually, too!

Someone else asked how we find the right colors for our caps. I love this question because it’s something we really enjoy doing and take a lot of pride in. Kudos spends DAYS perfecting and color matching until we find just the right one for what we’re working on. The custard color I had in mind for the Sakura Jelly flavor was a failed attempt at finding the right color for the Siamese (aka “Poof”) cat from our Purrkeys collection. “Latte” from Meowcaps was actually the first failed attempt at Mute Mallow/Taro Milk (yes, they’re the same color!), which was a huge surprise because it’s actually a purple color. Our resin has a yellow tint to it, so we have to mix color accordingly, and in this case (not unlike glazes in ceramics), we had a happy accident and we went with it. I had wanted a nice coffee color to begin with, so it was actually all kind of exhilarating at the time.

What else have we been up to? Outside of all of this, Kudos and I built my first PC, binge watched the entirety of Evangelion (twice), Alien, Aliens and Prometheus (gotta get pumped for Aliens: Covenant 2017!). And yesterday I had the privilege of giving our chinchilla Furt a haircut, which consisted of me chasing him with scissors for an hour and him yelling at me. That was fun. -__-  We’ve also been thoroughly enjoying getting to watch our friend Tiny sculpt ridiculously cute keycaps on her Twitch.tv stream. More on that to come later!

As for the next sale, we will be opening the raffle for Snackeys 2 officially as of tomorrow (September 1st). Who’s ready for some Bento Blanks?!?!?! 

With love, 

Coming Full Circle

It’s certainly been quite some time since I’ve sat down to collect my thoughts. After working San Diego Comic-Con, I am finally home and have the opportunity to reflect on where we are now and what our plans are for the future. I admit, I am mentally and physically exhausted. Writing this blog post was something I planned to do for weeks now. At a certain point, you simply can’t keep waiting for an epiphany or an end to writer’s block. You simply have to hunker down and write down your thoughts.

A few weeks ago, we began teasing Snackeys 2. The approach we took was to apply a fairly complex encapsulation method to a blank keycap. We took a technique we utilized with Kosmonavt’s visor and modified it to fit this new format. To us, it seemed like natural progression to expand on these concepts further.  The process, like previous encapsulated projects, called for a  minimum of three mold parts (one of them requires five)  and required multiple steps spanning anywhere between 9-12 hours from start to finish. It was our hope that the end result would be one that is “deceptively simple”. Unfortunately, like some of our past releases, it may require having one in your hands to truly appreciate the process. The hope is that we may further demonstrate the potential of this method in future releases. Who knows? You might even see some KeyKollectiv classics in a new light.

That’s great and all but when is Snackeys 2 coming? Without delving too deep into personal matters, we are sad to say that issues within the family have required us to divert resources (financial and bandwidth) from the new collection. This was a decision that we struggled with a great deal and has significantly affected the production timeline that we set out for this collection. KeyKollectiv would like to thank those who have reached out to offer support and contributions. We are moved by your kindness but we simply cannot accept that which we did not earn. To that end, we are hoping to announce the official release of Snackeys 2 within the next few weeks.


Though KeyKollectiv has stayed relatively dormant in the past few weeks, we are grateful to say that our fanbase has grown quite a bit since. It’s been a great honor to have had the continued support of fans since the very beginning. Unfortunately, if you’re a relatively new fan of KeyKollectiv, there really aren’t many opportunities to acquire some of our older keycaps. Our philosophy of always looking forward makes it that much harder. Koala-T and I have spent a great deal of time thinking of ways to bridge the gap between our early supporters and the new fans. Ultimately, the goal is to cultivate a balance where classic collections are more accessible to new fans while maintaining the unique nature of older collections for our long-time supporters. We understand that the line between the two is tenuous at best and will make every effort to strike that balance.

So what’s in store for you? What can we expect from KeyKollectiv for the rest of 2016? Expect to see the revival and revision of some of our favorite collections. Expect brand new designs that fit the KeyKollectiv aesthetic that you’ve grown familiar with. Expect us to continue pushing the boundaries of the medium. Expect the unexpected.

Until then, kudos and godspeed.