When we first started, we only targeted our products to professionals. We didn't think about working with educators or hobbyists. Due to the documentation and simplicity of our products, we started seeing some support requests from educators and hobbyists who were using USBizi Development System.
These educators and hobbyists typically found other offers challenging to use. They noted our products were easier to use while keeping a high level of completeness and stability. During this time, many ideas were tossed back and forth to see how we could expand our catalog to include educators and hobbyists. We didn't want to make "toys," nor did we want to be perceived as such a company. What we wanted to do was take our commercial offers and make them easier for educators and hobbyists.
On a dull winter weekend in 2009, while checking on advertised platforms like Arduino and BASIC Stamp in Circuit Cellar, a light bulb went off. We should use our commercial chipset running NETMF and Visual Studio to create a board with the Arduino form-factor. Hours were spent thinking of a good name. We wanted something that embodied products that were highly-capable yet easy enough for students, programmers and hardware designers.
We kept thinking, "it’s easy, very easy, so easy a monkey could do it, yeah, freakin' easy." That's when we decided to use FEZ for Freakin' Easy. Later while checking copyrights, we found out that fez is actually a hat (which sealed the deal). We knew from that point we'd be using a monkey wearing a fez, in the spirit of "So Freakin' Easy, a monkey could do it".
Every employee fell in love with the idea, but this market was completely new to us. We weren't sure how to fit these products with our commercial offerings so we decided to keep FEZ away from our main website, so we started our experiment on a separate website, www.tinyclr.com. If you didn't know, TinyCLR is the name of the "tiny" CLR that runs NETMF. This new website was up and ready by the end of 2009. TinyCLR even said "Freakin' Easy" right on the home page and we used monkey art everywhere, even in the documentation. The first product, FEZ Domino was announced on January 9th, 2010. It was a big hit and the only thing left to build was the community to back it up.
TinyCLR started building a community as we added FEZ Mini and FEZ Cobra to the line-up. We weren't sure how the community would react to the new offers. FEZ Rhino was supposed to be the best offer for hobbyists, but it didn't sell to everyone's surprise. After months of talking with the community, we learned more about their needs. Using their feedback, FEZ Panda was released and quickly became the most popular FEZ yet. Thousands were sold worldwide and FEZ Panda was updated to FEZ Panda II. FEZ became an important part of our catalog and even for commercial users. This is when we decided to move everything, the FEZ offers and community, to our main website.
Some engineers were not happy seeing "Freakin' Easy" in the documentation as they were not sure how to explain it to their managers. Professors and educators were not happy with it either due to students using these materials. The catch phrase, "So Freakin' Easy a monkey can do it" slowly faded and FEZ became Fast and Easy.
FEZ continues to make everything Fast and Easy, for engineers, educators, hobbyists and makers. We continuously strive to innovate with cutting-edge products because we are, where hardware meets software.