Why Nextbit’s crowdsourced momentum beats out other projects like it
Nextbit is a small band of rebels who want to free people from the limits of today’s mobile technology, or at least that’s how Nextbit describes itself.
The device the company is peddling is called “robin”, and it promises to be a superphone that lives in the cloud. Let me pause for a moment while you “ooh” and “ahh” over all the buzz words and promises. M’kay, ya done now? Good. Let’s move on.
Nexbit, at the core, is a crowdsourced phone maker – just like Yotaphone, Fairphone, and others.
Yotaphone fell flat on its face, at least here in the United States. Backers who supported the phone on Indiegogo were given the option to get the international version of the phone (which is crippled by the lack of LTE support here in the States), or get a refund. That doesn’t instill us with a sense of confidence. Yotaphone says we should cool it and just wait a while. The company has plans that will make all of us happy – next year. In the meantime, the “crowd” has lost faith.
I’m completely in love with the e-paper display of the Yotaphone, so don’t go calling me a “hater”.
Fairphone is a social enterprise with the aim to develop a smartphone designed and produced with minimal harm to people and planet. Got that? It’s a “hippie” phone. Sure, the goals are lofty, but the cost to realize those goals may not be realistic. Does that mean Fairphone shouldn’t try? No, not at all, but selling people on “minimal harm to people and planet” simply isn’t all that realistic when you think about what goes into a smartphone. Lithium (and other materials used in phones) simply isn’t compatible with the “save the planet” mantra. People can’t say they’re “pro-planet” and use phones with lithium batteries in them, sorry folks – it’s one or the other, pick a side.
Before some of you go all “eco-Nazi” on me, keep in mind that I’m Native American (we have a religious connection to the earth), I’m in the process of building the most environmentally friendly home that money can buy (without breaking the bank), and I do drive a Prius (to help save gasoline). I’m also an unapologetic realist. Feeling good about “saving the planet” isn’t going to save the planet.
That brings us to Nexbit.
How come Nexbit is (apparently) succeeding – at least as measured by the crowdsource momentum the robin seems to be garnering – where the other two phones seemingly failed?
“Baddass.” “Fearless makers with fearless tricks.” Those are just a few phrases that Nexbit uses to describe itself.
The phone itself has some pretty decent specs. The whole “cloud-based storage” thing really isn’t all that great – I do basically the same thing now with my Nexus 6 – minus the magical “automatically deleting apps” that the robin will reportedly do. So it really comes down to specs – and pricing – as the tangible differentiators. But that’s not why Nextbit is succeeding where the others struggled.
Nextbit is irreverent
Nextbit is irreverent. The entire corporate culture is, well, “counterculture”, to put it bluntly. Even the Kickstarter video has some strategically bleeped out words in it. Kickstarter didn’t bleep them out, the clip was scripted with the “vulgarity” in it, and deliberately bleeped out by Nextbit. Doing so appeals to a certain demographic. That demographic is tired of big companies run by old men in suits (or even middle-aged men in black turtlenecks and denim) telling them what their choices are. They don’t feel like they fit in – and they’re proud of that. They wear their individuality like a badge. They don’t care if you like it or not – it’s their badge, not yours.
That is why Nextbit’s momentum beats out other projects like Yotaphone and Fairphone. It’s also why Nextbit stands a real chance at upsetting the proverbial apple cart and driving real change and innovation in an already saturated market.