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The Politics of Cottage Consumption
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Maia Jordan
(maia) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 00:53:33 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The Politics of Cottage Consumption

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 01:08:43 MDT Print View

Noble thoughts.

In the end the marketplace will decide -- that is: supply and demand. Light weight isn't new. I have seen very few innovative designs in the past few decades. What I have seen are new and improved raw materials that the outdoor industry uses; Cuben and titanium come to mind. The smart consumer will by the best product at the best price, without prejudice as to what segment of the industry produced it, or where it was produced.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 02:36:20 MDT Print View

The smart consumer will by the best product at the best price, without prejudice as to what segment of the industry produced it, or where it was produced.

Ahhhhhh, the smart consumer ... does that sub-species make up enough of the market to lead the "broad market" producers anywhere other than into the realm of perception (rather than reality)?

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 06:16:47 MDT Print View

"An educated consumer is the best customer"- Sy Sims

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Re: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 07:31:33 MDT Print View



For some, the latter things are part of the criteria used to determine best.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
True innovation on 07/03/2013 10:01:41 MDT Print View

If the answer is true innovation, how about we as UL consumers partner with a willing gear manufacturer and crowdsource new and truly innovative products that exactly meet our needs, rather than waiting for someone to get "close enough"?

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne)
Watch This Space on 07/03/2013 10:09:51 MDT Print View

I'm actually thinking of doing something very similar to that, Curtis.

Curtis B.
(rutilate) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Crowdsourcing on 07/03/2013 10:36:45 MDT Print View

There is a ton of momentum in many different industries around crowdsourcing, which minimizes R&D costs, provides a stronger guarantee of adoption and sales. A large photography community worked closely with Nikon to build a camera that married the best features of recent Nikon and Canon cameras and perfectly met the large community needs. The challenge is the size, reachability, and financials of the desired audience which determines the ROI.

There is a HUGE level of expertise here in this community, and some (but not necessarily all) cottage manufacturers have been very willing to listen to gear wishes and design recommendations.

I wonder if the first step might be to create a crowdsourced wish-list of gear or improvements that this community would vote on. The outcome should be a prioritized list of high value, low investment gear elements to either build or use to approach willing manufacturers.

Edited by rutilate on 07/03/2013 10:41:46 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
What innovation do you seek? on 07/03/2013 11:06:58 MDT Print View

Backpacking is just walking in the wilderness. Many do it these days with some pretty light gear, to include thru hikes of major long distance trails. Given that, what innovative gear or equipment do people seek that would enhance or simplify their hiking? Do people seek solutions that are substitutes for skill and experience?

Benjamin Payne
(bpayne)
Crowdsourcing #2 on 07/03/2013 11:14:58 MDT Print View

It certainly is, and I think it will only become a more common way to research, develop, and fund new products. I was thinking of developing one product (a backpack, most likely) to begin with, and seeking community input on design, features, materials, etc.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
BPL packs on 07/03/2013 11:24:13 MDT Print View

I know the collective memory here is rather short but didn't BPL take this crowdsourcing approach with the packs they briefly sold in ~2010 before fetting out of the gear business? I recall taking a survey and then being offered the opportunity to purchase a pack.

In general not sure how I feel about groupthink and design by committee. Having said that I have long felt that a crowdsourced approach to building an ultralight data logger sized GPS device with the ability to display locations in multiple coordinate systems would be a great project. One that many have asked for and spec'ed out in these forums over the years.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 11:41:07 MDT Print View

"In general not sure how I feel about groupthink and design by committee."

It is a recipe to inhibit innovation. It drives compromise and development of the average.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
Re: Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 14:19:52 MDT Print View

Nick,

That has been my experience as well, the greater the number of people, the greater the compromises and the less elegant and successful the final design. That is only my limited experience, perhaps there are successful examples found elsewhere. I'm genuinely curious about this, and in particular how the BPL packs were received and perceived. They definitely do not seem like a popular pack these days? But that may be a function of their availability.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 14:51:11 MDT Print View

Seems like everyone is making a pack these days. The innovation comes from the exceptional individual who understands what works and what the public wants. Marry those two items and you can be successful. But look at everything on the market and they are just clones of something that has already been produced. They only thing that has truly changed are the materials used, and those were not developed by the backpacking industry.

Dick Kelty was an innovator. Whoever built the first internal frame pack was an innovator (no consensus on who this was).

Because I own a couple, I can say Dan McHale is an innovator. His integration of past designs by others, his awesome hip belts, construction techniques, and his patented P&G extensions and by-pass harness are all innovative and make for excellent packs. I have owned many packs over the years, and having used my McHales a lot, I now find the whole subject of backpacks boring.

Crowd sourcing is just a scam by wannabes who don't have a viable product that can secure financing through traditional means.

Bottom line... There is a plethora of good quality lightweight gear available today. This endless search for the perfect item for each piece of grear to create the nirvana of kit is just plain rediculous.

I think people should forget about what is best and just get out and hike a lot. That is the bottom line, isn't it?

Lars Laird Iversen
(larslaird) - M
Groupthing vs crowdsourcing on 07/03/2013 14:51:44 MDT Print View

I´m sure there are people here with more insight in these things than me, but I have just done a bit of reading on brainstorming, groupthink and collective creativity.

As far as I can read the research, groupthink becomes problematic when members of the group are trying to "manage their presentation of self" (ie, impress). Brainstorming and other such ideas do not work well as long as the members are trying to achieve status of some kind. And most people are, most of the time. If not actively looking for status, most people are (thank God) somewhat socially self-conscious.

I guess the problem with design by committee, is that you tend to get everyones veto-es, rather than everyones ideas.

However, collecting the ideas and knowledge from a larger team is usually a good way to higher quality (though certainly not a time-saver). Apparently, the trick is to find a situation where people generate and communicate their ideas outside of a collective group context. Brainstormings work better if the group is asked to write down all their ideas for three minutes, and then hand in their contributions anonymously to an administrator that then mixes and mashes the ideas before the group again gets the ideas in return for further refinement and evaluation.

Crowdsourcing at BPL would do well to avoid a general brainstorming in the forums. Many people would feel that the threshold is too high for their ideas, and still more would go down the "lighter-than-thou" path. But getting members of BPL to share their wisdom and experiences will certainly be useful. An anonymous poll, or a personal message system, or some other mechanism to sever self-presentation from genuine creativity would be useful.

I think one of the reasons why crowdsourcing on the web sometimes is a success, is that it is a community of strangers (more or less). You get the benefit of the group, but, if done right, not the disadvantages of status anxiety.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Groupthing vs crowdsourcing on 07/03/2013 15:43:30 MDT Print View

>groupthink becomes problematic when members of the group are trying to "manage their presentation of self" (ie, impress). Brainstorming and other such ideas do not work well as long as the members are trying to achieve status of some kind."

True that.

Dilbert bragging

peter vacco
(fluff@inreach.com) - M

Locale: no. california
Re: Re: Re: Re: BPL packs on 07/03/2013 17:05:12 MDT Print View

" I have owned many packs over the years, and having used my McHales a lot, I now find the whole subject of backpacks boring."

ya.. huh ?
it gets like that after awhile.
---
Nick and David are quite clued in on this sort of social/production subject matter.
---
i enjoyed reading the orig article. it seemed to have the word "should" in it an AWFUL lot of times. and since those multiple "should"s seem like they might pertain at me, i wonder if the guy who worte it might anti up and produce something on his own outside of directives for the creative individuals who are doing the work that makes cottage industry products available.

the whole subject of "how are we going to most effectively tell chicken little how to make bread ? " is sort of obtuse to my way of thinking.
---
peter is likely Deep into "self presentation". it's just one of a plethora of self pleauring things you can do online.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
I love it! on 07/03/2013 17:44:58 MDT Print View

> Avoiding a real need for education, the fundamental skills and techniques of
> lightweight hiking are still largely dismissed as fringe interests while the language
> of our approach has been warmly adopted and worked, without much concern, into
> technical doublespeak.
And onwards.

I wonder: was this article written in the heat of the moment? It has fire and passion and real understanding. No cold sterile maunderings from a spin doctor trying for buy-buttons.

I love it!

Cheers and Hurrahs
PS: a committee is a dead end into which good ideas are carfully herded to be quietly buried.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
about committees: The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 20:01:57 MDT Print View

PS: a committee is a dead end into which good ideas are carfully herded to be quietly buried.

Here's another one ... "a camel is a horse designed by a committee"

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
The Politics of Cottage Consumption on 07/03/2013 23:57:08 MDT Print View

hi Ben,
"while those manufacturers focused on Australia and New Zealand (with a few exceptions)have continued to stagnate "

Nice to see one exception, that Aarn pack, on you back.

BTW, BPL here hasn't been the same since you left.
Yes, much better now.

Anyway , thank you for your LW evangelising efforts in the retail industry, much appreciated.

Edited by Franco on 07/04/2013 00:45:57 MDT.