Created the first HK meetup for CUUSOO fans on facebook. I didn’t do much advertising this time around coz I came down with the flu and it killed me! Seriously! I was sick for a whole week! Anyway, I’m all good now… didn’t gain no super powers, but I have been turned into a zombie. 🙂
It was raining cats and dogs on Sunday, I sent out a message to the CUUSOO HK group in the morning to tell everyone that I’ll still be there. It was nice to see Ca-Phun, his friend William, Charlotte, her friend Alan braved the rain to come learn about what we’re doing to bring CUUSOO to Hong Kong. Charlotte in particular gave it some thoughts and invited her friend Alan, who’s a local Product Designer! Alan was very interested in CUUSOO’s idea.
I showed them my presentation (I’ll post it up later), basically, after the Design and Innovation Forum event, Kohei and I had a few long discussions about lots of things, in the end, Kohei suggested that we start from small – get ONE design – the Kayla Tote Bag – up on CUUSOO.com and go through the complete life-cycle, once proven that CUUSOO system works in Hong Kong, we can start to duplicate – work with users on CUUSOO, creating multiple designs. If we look ahead into the future, our entire line of designs can be sold as a complete business! (sold to MUJI for example) The whole thing will go down in history and become a case study. In this case, CUUSOO will become a platform for designers to launch their “micro business”.
Right now, what we can do from Hong Kong is to participate in the Kayla Tote Bag’s design process (by commenting), and to help promote it on blogs and facebook and other social media venues.
We had a good, long discussions about lots of things. A few of the major questions were:
- What does CUUSOO provide if we already do everything from design to market to produce the products? (My answer: That’s just the beginning stage in HK, where we’ll have to take on the roles of designer + marketer + manufacturer! Eventually, each role only does its own thing and manufacturers will come to CUUSOO to pick up businesses.)
- If most investors are only willing to pay $50 for the product, but a few are willing to pay as much as $1000… does that pull up the curve? In other words, does the product still get made – and some people pay more than others? (My answer: Probably not… 😛 but that’s a good question, I’ll ask Kohei. 😛 )
- How is CUUSOO gonna secure its designers’ Intellectual Properties? It works in Japan because they all respect IP… but here in HK and in China… you post a design online… they can just take your design and make it themselves! (My answer: True ~ I can think of 2 things – 1 – CUUSOO as the platform has to take on the legal responsibility… so it may have to sue the people who infringe our IP. 2 – but personally, I like to be more ideal, think when the eco-system is more mature on CUUSOO, I hope the businesses will want to come on CUUSOO and establish a reputation. Basically, customers will want to give their money to reputable, ethical and moral businesses – and that in turn will make the manufactures want to be good.)
- The language problem – the website is all Japanese, are they going to make a English site? (My answer: Yes, it’s a big problem, and Yes, we’re working on it.)
Another interesting thing we talked about was “Trust”… Charlotte actually works for a local web development company, and she had to be careful to not let the company owner knows about CUUSOO, because “the biz owner is a typical Hong Kong businessman who only looks at the $dollar sign. If we tell him about this system, he’ll simply take it and build it as his own business!
I said this is definitely very typical “Hong Kong”! But also, it is where Hong Kong fails!! I’ve said it before, people who only look at money and profits are too short-sighted… they don’t see the big picture. This is a perfect example! Since typical Hong Kong people and business think only about short-term profits, they rarely produce IPs and brands that are long-term, or become world renowned. This becomes a downward death spiral! Say if Charlotte’s boss really decided to steal CUUSOO’s system and build the exact same platform for Hong Kong. Do you think designers will trust that website with their designs? The site itself disrespects IP and stole the business model from CUUSOO, why would anyone give it their trust? When a worldwide company like LEGO or MUJI choose to partner with a company, do you think they will choose such a company?