Basically, its your standard crowdsourcing model or better yet “Social Production” – the site puts up a product they can manufacture in China and everyone visiting the site gets to help form the final design that gets made and sold.
While the first product is very interesting to tablet fans (a tablet bag ‘natch) its how deep they plan to go that is exciting. While in Hong Kong, I was able to chat with one of the founders and they were telling me that ultimately this is the way to get a more personalized cellphone or a tablet device, but starting smaller and building it up is their initial goal.
Said the founders:
“Actually, we see the key to success in crowdsourcing or social production as we call it is finding the right manufacturing partners who understand the business model and have the flexibility to meet the different demands of our community. This is very different approach than mass volume production but it is one that shanzai manufacturers understand instinctively because they themselves have grown by developing niche market products in small-size lots.”
Beyond the tablet bag, they are getting into LED lighting which they have direct contacts at factories in China to manufacture and they are looking to hear what the community that grows really wants to get in to. Don’t like the JooJoo or the iPad, this could be your shot to help make the one you really want.
Crowdsourcing success is going to depend on the quality of the people in the crowd. I’ve not yet seen this work in a true social way, but sites like Crowdspring.com (for logo designs), Kickstarter.com (creative projects investments) and Local-motors.com (the design of a car) are going for it in various ways.
But in a world where the dictatorship of Apple makes the most coveted products, do we need a bunch of wanabee-Jonathan Ives try to make something for a group to buy? Can a group of 10, 100 or 1,000 agree on something they would all buy?
Who’s got Mark Burnett’s number? I’ve got a reality show to pitch him.