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Massdrop x Hasbro Scrabble Mechanical Keyboard

Most of us pay little attention to the keyboard that comes standard equipment with the computers we buy. Most computer companies don’t either, says Will Bright, who heads up collaborations at Massdrop, an ecommerce company that organizes communities of product category enthusiasts and supplies products that meet their demanding wants and needs.&nbsp; “There isn’t a lot of innovation in keyboards coming from the companies. Yet it is the main tool people use to do their work on a computer, but companies throw the cheapest $20 keyboard into the box and call it done,” Bright says.

But for some, keyboards are more than just an input device. They are a passion. Massdrop has engaged over 1 million people who care deeply about keyboards. They spend countless hours thinking about, reading about, writing about and reviewing keyboards. And some even design keyboards, the best of which Bright and his Massdrop team guide through manufacturing and development to sell on the Massdrop site.

Take for example the Scrabble Mechanical Keyboard, designed by Cassidy Williams, a Massdrop community member, who incorporated the familiar Scrabble tiles onto a keyboard which offers users the tactile feel of a classic typewriter when keys are pressed, a feature that many enthusiasts demand. Massdrop collaborated with the designer to get the keyboard made and brought Hasbro on board to officially license the design.

The Scrabble Mechanical Keyboard was released just in time for National Scrabble Day, celebrated every year on April 13 to commemorate the birthday of Scrabble inventor Alfred Mosher Butts, born on t hat day in 1899.

Mechanical keyboards is one of about 20 different enthusiast communities that Massdrop organizes, being its second largest community after audiophiles. It also has enthusiast tracks for men’s fashion, beauty/cosmetics, DIY tech, auto, outdoor, cooking, quilting, knitting, writing and watches.

How Massdrop got its start

Massdrop was launched in 2012 to organize group buys for enthusiasts of products from their favorite brands to cut out the middleman and get favorable group prices. Before Massdrop these types of group buys were organized from the ground up and conducted on an ad hoc basis. Problem was these informal group buys were hard to manage and often times people were left in the lurch without products ever being delivered. Massdrop decided to organize these group buys in a professional way and build a business out of it.

To attract enthusiasts to Massdrop, it created forums where&nbsp;they could share their passion. And to facilitate those group buys, it created polls where&nbsp;customers&nbsp;could vote on the products they wanted. But that was just the company’s starting point.

Massdrop’s ultimate goal was to collaborate with companies to design products around the specifications and needs of its&nbsp;enthusiast audience.&nbsp;“From the outset of Massdrop, the big goal was to be able to not just take products that people want to do group buys for and make them available in a professional way,” says Will Bright, who heads up the company’s collaborations, “but to improve the products based upon what these enthusiasts are saying.”

Bright explains that the enthusiasts use these products all the time and have thought about their usefulness and features far more than any product designer has or could. “If you are a product designer working for a company, you can only afford to think about that product for the amount of time your boss will let you,” he says.

While enthusiasts may not have the right vocabulary or skills to design products, they are the first to know when such products fall down or need improvement. “Enthusiasts know better than anyone how a product can be improved or made better. That was our goal: to take these kind of enthusiast insights to make better products for enthusiasts and ultimately better things for all customers,” Bright shares.

At first when Massdrop approached a prominent headphone company about features that its audiophile community wanted, the company was skeptical. They weren’t aware of the passion embedded in the audiophile enthusiast community and thought that their in-house designers knew better about what the customers wanted. Egos were ruffled.

But when Massdrop showed them that there were thousands of people online that care enough about the company’s products to spend their weekends talking about them, they were willing to give Massdrop’s community-based collaboration a shot. The result was 2,700 headphones were sold in just 1 week. Both Massdrop and the headphone company were convinced that collaborating with enthusiasts was a viable business opportunity.

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Massdrop x Hasbro Scrabble Mechanical Keyboard

Most of us pay little attention to the keyboard that comes standard equipment with the computers we buy. Most computer companies don’t either, says Will Bright, who heads up collaborations at Massdrop, an ecommerce company that organizes communities of product category enthusiasts and supplies products that meet their demanding wants and needs.  “There isn’t a lot of innovation in keyboards coming from the companies. Yet it is the main tool people use to do their work on a computer, but companies throw the cheapest $20 keyboard into the box and call it done,” Bright says.

But for some, keyboards are more than just an input device. They are a passion. Massdrop has engaged over 1 million people who care deeply about keyboards. They spend countless hours thinking about, reading about, writing about and reviewing keyboards. And some even design keyboards, the best of which Bright and his Massdrop team guide through manufacturing and development to sell on the Massdrop site.

Take for example the Scrabble Mechanical Keyboard, designed by Cassidy Williams, a Massdrop community member, who incorporated the familiar Scrabble tiles onto a keyboard which offers users the tactile feel of a classic typewriter when keys are pressed, a feature that many enthusiasts demand. Massdrop collaborated with the designer to get the keyboard made and brought Hasbro on board to officially license the design.

The Scrabble Mechanical Keyboard was released just in time for National Scrabble Day, celebrated every year on April 13 to commemorate the birthday of Scrabble inventor Alfred Mosher Butts, born on t hat day in 1899.

Mechanical keyboards is one of about 20 different enthusiast communities that Massdrop organizes, being its second largest community after audiophiles. It also has enthusiast tracks for men’s fashion, beauty/cosmetics, DIY tech, auto, outdoor, cooking, quilting, knitting, writing and watches.

How Massdrop got its start

Massdrop was launched in 2012 to organize group buys for enthusiasts of products from their favorite brands to cut out the middleman and get favorable group prices. Before Massdrop these types of group buys were organized from the ground up and conducted on an ad hoc basis. Problem was these informal group buys were hard to manage and often times people were left in the lurch without products ever being delivered. Massdrop decided to organize these group buys in a professional way and build a business out of it.

To attract enthusiasts to Massdrop, it created forums where they could share their passion. And to facilitate those group buys, it created polls where customers could vote on the products they wanted. But that was just the company’s starting point.

Massdrop’s ultimate goal was to collaborate with companies to design products around the specifications and needs of its enthusiast audience. “From the outset of Massdrop, the big goal was to be able to not just take products that people want to do group buys for and make them available in a professional way,” says Will Bright, who heads up the company’s collaborations, “but to improve the products based upon what these enthusiasts are saying.”

Bright explains that the enthusiasts use these products all the time and have thought about their usefulness and features far more than any product designer has or could. “If you are a product designer working for a company, you can only afford to think about that product for the amount of time your boss will let you,” he says.

While enthusiasts may not have the right vocabulary or skills to design products, they are the first to know when such products fall down or need improvement. “Enthusiasts know better than anyone how a product can be improved or made better. That was our goal: to take these kind of enthusiast insights to make better products for enthusiasts and ultimately better things for all customers,” Bright shares.

At first when Massdrop approached a prominent headphone company about features that its audiophile community wanted, the company was skeptical. They weren’t aware of the passion embedded in the audiophile enthusiast community and thought that their in-house designers knew better about what the customers wanted. Egos were ruffled.

But when Massdrop showed them that there were thousands of people online that care enough about the company’s products to spend their weekends talking about them, they were willing to give Massdrop’s community-based collaboration a shot. The result was 2,700 headphones were sold in just 1 week. Both Massdrop and the headphone company were convinced that collaborating with enthusiasts was a viable business opportunity.

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