01 | the script

Nearly 200 years ago a guy was born in Whitechapel, opens his first shop on Bond Street, and when the business lands in America at the turn of the century, he finds everyone chewing and spitting tobacco on the street. Within 10 years, Phillip Morris [the man] convinces a change in format, and the number one tobacco market goes from chewing tobacco to smoking cut cigarettes. (+)


02 | a founding team

I wrote this script over Christmas of 2017. At that stage, we were still grappling with finishing the AYR1 device for market. We had just committed to bringing executive management to the team through TomTom to lead the go-to-market phase of AYR. It had also been four years since I had founded AYR with the help of Mew and Adie. (+)


03 | proof of concept

In the initial phase of developing AYR, we had to prove that in principle, the mechanical, electrical, and digital theory behind how the system could work was possible. We had to achieve this with minimal investment using existing components and technologies to approximate what it was that we were trying to achieve.  (+)


04 | the patent portfolio visualised

It was evident from early on that creating a new product experience required not only inventing new technologies, but also protecting those discoveries along the way. Most start-ups find it difficult to move beyond the investor checklist of “Do you have IP?” to meaningful and monetisable patent portfolios.  (+)


05 | on the ritual of smoking

Smoking cannot simply be explained as a nicotine habit, no more than a cigarette described as a nicotine delivery device – at least not to the more than a billion smokers who continue every morning to reach out for their pack. If smoking was seen purely from the perspective of nicotine addiction and delivery, then nicotine gums and patches would have cured the problem for the most part. (+)


06 | not just a device

Having spent the first three years of AYR focused on inventing and designing a unique delivery platform and a true alternative to smoking for smokers, it became clear that the total experience of AYR was not simply the hardware (and the software that drove it), but importantly the flavour experience that it enabled.   (+)