Thursday, January 22, 2009

yo-yo #21: the brown project i just sold


the one drop project is a great yo-yo. smooth, neat groovy texture, cool hex-nut setup, nifty 10-ball bearing. i got it for xmas along with that skyline from 2 posts ago.

i can't play it now.

once i had this fh2 that i modded with fast 201 rings. it was a pathetic little mod, but i was excited to be able to do irg's on a fh2 (because i was lame then {THEN!}). anyway, halfway through the mod, i came down with a stomach virus and began vomiting explosively. this persisted all night and was pretty effing gross. the next day i finished the mod, but every time i tried to play it; hell, every time i LOOKED at it, i felt queasy again. it wasn't the mod's fault, but the visceral feeling of "about-to-barf" was just imprinted into my brain, eternally associated with that yo-yo.

same with the project.

i don't know all the details (i'm okay with that). recently though, one-drop decided to make a break from the online reseller that had previously (exclusively) carried their yo-yo's, yyn is run by a good friend, pat cuartero, and i admit that i am biased toward him in many respects. he's been very good to me over the years, and i've never seen him do anything backhanded or shady. he's always seemed very sincere to me, and is clearly a pretty good business man, seeing as yyn has grown to thoroughly dominate online yo-yo sales over the last 3 years.

the situation, inasmuch as i understand it is this: one-drop wanted yyn to pay a higher price for their new "m1 - metal for everyone" yo-yo, but keep the selling price the same (a super-low $60, though i've heard a lot of bad reviews on the m1). edit: communication with david, one of the proprietors of one drop, indicate that i was misinformed here, and that one drop did NOT charge yyn more wholesale. make sure to keep that confusion in mind while reading the rest of the post. pat responded that it wouldn't be "economically viable" for them to sell the m1. one-drop said "ok", and responded by pulling the very successful "project" yo-yo (see pic) from yyn as well. they now plan to sell the project only direct from their website, while they'll allow any reseller access to the m1 (albeit for the previously described "not-economically-viable" price - tempting). edit: communication with david also indicates that one drop wishes to maintain business ties with yyn, something that i appear to have misunderstood from his earlier post on the yyn forum. i hope that relationship is able to prosper.

there's been a lot of talk online as to whether this is ok or not. on the one hand, one drop is just espousing a DIY attitude by "going it alone", and that's kind of respectable. on the other, it kind of seems like they're throwing a bit of a hissy fit after having their crap deal rejected. it's being said that "yyn built one drop". in truth, a great product (which the project is) sells itself to an extent, but yyn DID provide countless thousands of hits PLUS a very popular forum on which the project was heavily hyped. how many people that own or know about the project would do so if it had ever been an in house endeavor? this doesn't mean they owe pat or yyn their eternal allegiance, but it should be acknowledged that they made a big difference.

i don't really get the move from a business perspective anyway, seeing as, by going direct, one drop is seriously limiting their web presence. i mean you have to assume that 90% of people who would visit the one drop site now either already own a project or at least, have previously been introduced to it. i understand that the owners just bought an expensive lathe, and are committing to this full-time. and sure, doing everything in house cuts some costs. but the big resellers like yyn attract that all-important new blood. who's going to buy a project if the only people going to the one drop site (or the forum, which has a member count under 100), if they've already got one? i guess we'll find out. maybe it's just to SAVVY a move for me to understand.

this move also feels a little leechy; as though one drop wants to make money from the yo-yo community, but not really contribute TO the community. i understand they need to survive, but this move seems like it lacks the capacity to bring new people (and new money) into the fold. again, i don't know the details, but to me it seems like it's just attempting to divide from what's already there, and to [i suppose, justifiably] self-serving ends. am i supposed to believe that it's heroic to pass on the savings to the masses? is that what's going to happen? it kind of feels like a slap to a company that a.) arguably does more than any other to support the yo-yo community and b.) helped build the base of support that one drop now enjoys.

it's always a sticky situation when, in this small niche community, alliances fail and borders are redrawn. in the interests of being a responsible and knowledgeable consumer, i'd encourage anyone who plays a one drop to look into the things being said (carefully, as few saying anything are in the know, myself included) and decide for yourself whether you find one drop's actions to be appropriate or of sound business sense. it's easy to take sides, or to allow your emotions color your perspctive. maybe you've always been fond of yyn and see them as acting rationally in their own interests, or maybe you see them as an overbearing yo-yo goliath trying to suppress the little guy's heroic revolt.

i've listened to pat talk at length about it, and i've read the perspectives of one drop, their team, and their rabid (if limited) fan base. as such, i know that every time i pick this yo-yo up, i'll be distracted by this business. and since i don't like being distracted when i yo-yo, i decided to sell it. it's not the yo-yo's fault - it's a good yo-yo. but every time i pick it up, i feel no less "about-to-barf" than i did with that fh2, and it's got nothing to do with a virus. i do find it telling that in 4 days, bumping the yo-yo in the b/s/t sections of 3 different forums, i've had a total of 3 offers on it (and remember, it's a limited edition colorway), and am taking what would be a $20 loss on it (if it were not a xmas present). good luck selling thousands of em on your own, guys?

i don't want to be down in the drama over it. it's just a couple guys selling yo-yo's, after all. but i don't feel positive about it, and i know myself well enough to know that i'll associate this particular yo-yo with that feeling for a good while.

anyway, i'm thinking of buying a jamboo or pistolero. i'll certainly let you know. ;)

edit: i'd like to re-iterate, that the buzz surrounding these issues (and neither the specific business dealings, themselves, nor the product involved) led me to sell my project. when i throw yo-yo, i don't like to think about margins and markups or about fanboy rants. if anything, i like to forget that stuff and just throw yo-yo. i was dismayed to find myself having a hard time doing that with my project. david has expressed that i am misusing my "considerable influence in the yo-yo community". if i have any, i would use it to urge yo-yoers (or at least those having a hard time reconciling this issue) to a.) learn the truth that they need to know, and then b.) make up their own minds. this is, as ever, a place for me to record my thoughts and musings, and not intended as a place for me to call others to action against yo-yo companies. if and when i decide to do that, i assure you, i'll let you know up front.


Anonymous said...

I think you are completely biased, being a friend of Pat's.

Whether it be about the pricing or not, One Drop, who you said just bought a lathe, is cutting out the middle man.

YYN is THE place for yoyo's. So they won't sell One Drop, because OD want to sell them themselves. YYN has every other yoyo in the world that rocks.

Ed, lots of kids hang on to your word, just like they do to other professionals at the top of the yo community. I hope your words don't turn anyone against OD, it would be for all the wrong reasons, that have nothing to do with yoyoing in general, just business practises, and this sitch doesn't sound shady at all, just business.

BTW, I love your writing and posts, glad I could contribute.

Another thing, I sold my project, didn't really like it...I barely use my Markmont, but it is worthy for a spot on my shelf. I think every avid yoer should try the project, it could be your holy grail.. like the California for me

kinopah said...

thanks for your comment, secret "anonymous" ninja.

i'm trying to be sincere here. i admitted to my bias, and my tendency to believe my friend pat. i decided to write this blog because i had a bad taste in my mouth; not because i know or understand every subtlety of the situation. and if kids hang on my every word, then they'd have read that i'm encouraging them to form their own opinion on the matter.

nowhere did i try to dissuade anyone from trying or owning the project. as i said in the post, it's a great yo-yo. i'm just not able to play it right now without thinking about this conundrum, which i'd rather not do. if you're abe to play one without the distraction, awesome.

as for "cutting out the middle man", we're not talking about some monolithic corporation here, we're essentially talking about pat and a couple of dudes, who incidentally, have done more to promote and support the yoyoing community these past years than anyone. i hear all this about "cutting out the middle man" as if it's a bad thing that everyone should avoid, but in this case the whole scene (and virtually all of one drop's fan base) has been built up around and directly BY that middle man. yyn isn't some conniving merchant that does nothing but profit by the sweat of others. supporting yoyonation supports the yo-yo scene.

one drop is obviously free to pursue its own scene, and they may succeed. but while the diy philosophy is admirable, it's important to remember that one drop is pursuing this move because they feel it's profitable to them (and i think it may be in the short term).

anyway, what i thought was most interesting about this is the simple fact that my inability to separate toy from drama has resulted in my decision to unload a yo-yo that played just fine.

Anonymous said...

I should change my user name on YYN to "secret anonymous ninja".

I know you said you were biased, I was agreeing w/ you.

I also agree on the middle man issue thing, Im sure it was YYN who made OD as big as they are, but a middle man (men, whatevs) is a middle man/men...And I guess they weren't cutting them out, just jacking up their price. I'd be upset/hurt if I had a hand in making them popular and they just left me in the dust.

What makes this a good post IMO is your last sentence..inability to separate toy from drama... I understand. Its your attitude about yoing that I totally dig. I feel I'm the same way in a lot of aspects of my life

Carry on!

Colby_B said...

I agree with you ed. I'll never feel the same when I throw a project or a m1.

I really like Colin and thats really all thats keeping me from not selling my project's.

My m1 was a gift from my mom and dad, I'll never sell it.

One Drop Design said...


I'm sad to see you commentary which is missing some crucial information and has assumptions.

We've worked incredibly hard to bring the best price to quality metals yoyos on the market.

We haven't cut out the middle the man as we sell to yoyo shops all over the world. We'd like to continue selling yoyos to YYN and are pursuing this.

The amount of misinformation on this topic is staggering and for people to turn on a company that has consistently brought out great yoyos at incredible prices really hurts.

Pat felt the Project should sell for $120 and tried to talk us into doing that. We refused in order to keep the price reasonable.

I'd love to chat with you about this and clear it up so that you can present the proper facts to your readers.


One Drop

kinopah said...

thanks for your carefully-considered comment, david, as well as your e-mail (to which i will also respond).

this blog isn't intended to direct the "yo-yo world" to action. i recognize that some people, bereft of the gift of their own opinion, might read it and be swayed by my mine. however, this blog is meant as a place where i can record my "yo-yo thoughts" and discuss them with others if they're interested (which they rarely are). i don't think you need to worry about my stance on "the one drop issue" polluting the minds of your patrons.

you HAVE put out a great yo-yo (the project; i haven't played the m1), and at a very reasonable price (to be honest, i would have bought the project for $120 after i tried it). nowhere in this blog did i try to incite any sort of anti-one drop boycott. i only expressed my own understanding, which, limited though it may be, reflects the mindset of many other consumers with whom i've spoken. you've asked me to "present the proper facts to [my] readers". i'm not sure how many "readers" i have, but you're here now. i'd welcome you to contradict whatever "staggering misinformation" i may have offered in the original post.

i realize you haven't "cut out the middle man" regarding most companies, and i think it's great (and wise) of you not to undercut them on your website. my objection to that "middle man" business relates more to your fanbase, many of whom seem to essentially be saying "go one drop! cut out the middle man!" maybe it should be explained to them that that isn't what's going on, as well. obviously, there only appears to be friction between one drop and ONE such middle man, and i find it striking that it's that SAME one that provided such a boost to your company when it was still a fledgling entity. i fully disagree with the sentiment that "yyn MADE one drop", but i do think they were of great help to you, and i don't see that perspective being offered by those that are speaking the loudest on your behalf. i know you can't be held responsible for what your supporters and fans say, but it may still influence the attitudes of of others.

i certainly don't see one drop as any sort of devil; i just kinda felt "raw" about it, and only to the extent that it distracted me from playing one solid yo-yo. the reason i began this blog was not to muster a force to crush your company (and clearly it has not had any such effect), but to express how weird it is that "yo-yo drama" can actually impact the way i approach a given yo-yo fairly easily. i kinda thought i was above it.

i don't think we've ever actually met, and i certainly have nothing against you personally. (i won't begrudge you for hating my guts, as i've expressed irritation with an issue regarding your company.) your a yo-yo guy, and i hope your company succeeds. i hope you're able to eliminate the friction (or perceived friction) between one drop and yyn. all this blog was meant to express is my own frustration at allowing "talking about yo-yo's" to negatively influence my ability to enjoy one of them.

i assure you, you won't be seeing any forum-posts or anti-one drop tirades on this matter. i have nothing else to offer on it.

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