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Product of the People: See Our First Design Sketches

GOOD is working with Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries to create a new piece of bike gear, created by our community. See the first designs inside.

We're working with Slava Menn and Brad Geswein, the founders Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries, to create a new piece of urban biking gear. Unlike most products, this one is being developed from beginning to end by the people who will use it. Our network of urban cyclists are helping us decide everything, from design to name. We're calling this experiment Product of the People.

Last week we asked you to vote on where our new theft-resistant rear bike light should be mounted, and the people have spoken. Fifty percent of readers voted for the seat post. Thank you, GOOD readers. Your wish is our command.

This quantitative data is priceless for the process of creating our next product. Equally valuable is the qualitative data. Many of you chimed in through comments and direct emails with brilliant feedback and ideas. Some ideas included mounting the bike light to the bottom of the saddle, integrating the light with the seat post, or making a light that extends and collapses so your bike rack or pannier do not cover it up. These are rad ideas for future projects.

The most common question was about making a light that could be attached anywhere—on the seat post, a seat stay, or on a rack. To be honest, we're pretty skeptical of the one-size-fits-all light. All too often, "one-size-fits-all" means "one-size-fits-none." Think hospital gowns, free giveaway t-shirts, and bike lights that slip off your handlebars. This is especially true if we’re designing a sleek light that locks to your bicycle securely. We may indeed design multiple bike lights with multiple mounts for different locations, but for now we're focusing on the a seat post-mounted light.

We love getting customer input before we create a product because we know exactly what to build. And we can’t help but wonder: Why don’t large companies pay closer attention to what their customers want in new products?

Steve Jobs loved to quote Henry Ford, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’ People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” That works for Steve Jobs, but I can’t hold a candle to Steve Jobs. I prefer to follow Silicon Valley entrepreneur Steve Blank, the godfather of customer development, who famously said, “There are no facts inside the building, so get the hell outside!”

As we enter into the industrial design phase, here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll be voting for next week. Our talented designer penciled three concepts.

Sketch 1

Sketch 2

Sketch 3

Let us know what you think of these designs in the comments. Next week we’ll have refined versions for you to vote on.

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