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July 27, 2020

#4 Napkin doodles

It all starts with a very basic drawing – we’re talking napkin level – that outlines a user’s experience… any experience. You put it all in there and lay bare all its problems.

As we set out to create our next product, we wanted it to be agnostic in the sense that our first product wouldn’t be a factor. We had to go in blind and only then see what needed to be done. After all, despite what people may think, we are not a ski company, nor a safety company and definitely not an audio company. So what the hell kind of company are we? We like to think of our brand as a platform for innovation, a launchpad for products that improve experiences. Sure, it almost sounds like BS… so this is the perfect moment to prove it.

So how do you create a great product? You don’t… you create the experience it delivers. Cliché as that may sound, if you think about the experience you want to have, be it faster, cheaper, nicer, smarter or just plain better than the current one, the product will follow soon after.

So how do you create a great product? You don’t… you create the experience it delivers.

If you’re trying to improve upon something you need to know all there is to know about it and shine light on every nook & cranny. Think of putting an experience through an MRI, you get to see it from the inside and from every angle. That’s why it’s so much easier if you are a user in the first place.

As the sun came down on a long day hitting sports fairs in Munich, our team sat on a pub a few blocks away from Marienplatz to figure out – amidst pretzels & beers – what experience we would be tackling next. Moments after, the urban commute was all we could talk about.

And it made sense, too: if there’s something we’ve done a lot of during these past years, is moving around. We chased investors, suppliers, partners & events across Hong Kong, Madrid, LA, Berlin, Guangzhou, Denver, Frankfurt, Buenos Aires, Munich & Barcelona – and experienced every possible commute, be it walking, biking, e-biking, scooting, ubering, you name it. Little did we know we were researching our next product.

The paper you see on the photo represents what we discussed that night. What does a commuter go through? What problems does he have? What makes his day and what ruins it? What does he need that he doesn’t have? You’ll see words like traffic, weather, ride sharing, wellness, lifestyle, electric vehicles, environment, visibility, accidents, navigation, portability, safety.

So there they are: problems to be solved, small issues to be tweaked and huge emerging trends to watch out for.

After that paper came tons of research that painted a clear picture:

– As traffic & pollution get worse every year, bike commuting grows at an insane pace

– Even though biking-related accidents go up, 8 out of 10 riders still don’t wear a helmet

Why?

It turns out lots of people don’t think they need them. And those who do, well their collective opinion is that helmets are just ugly. Who wants to wear something that doesn’t look good on you or makes you look dorky? Can’t blame them.

So we have a life-saving product not being used due to ignorance or style. Enter, UNIT 1.

Fate had its way and we landed on a helmet. Maybe it was a chicken & egg thing cause we did have the skillset to design a helmet, the supply chain to build it and a brand to put it out there.

In any case, this won’t be just another commuter helmet…it will be something that enbodies our DNA of innovation & shacking things up.

Back to work, then.

The UNIT 1 Team