A little over five years ago, Ben Kaufman won “Best of Show” at MacWorld for his mophie iPod case. He didn’t have an encore product for 2007, so he invited any and all to submit their ideas and introduced an iPod case with a built in bottle opener.
After selling mophie and kicking around a couple of other ideas, Kaufman started Quirky, a social site to develop crowdsourced inventions.
Late last year, Quirky teamed up with Sony Pictures to promote Moneyball, a film about the Oakland A’s dramatic success in 2002 when General Manager Billy Beane challenged the conventional wisdom to create a winning ball team with only a third of the payout of the other major players.
The movie is based on the book by Michael Lewis. The A’s is one of the poorest teams in MLB in terms of payroll. The conventional wisdom says stats developed in the 19th century predict player performance, and ball players are hired and paid on the basis of impressive stolen bases, runs batted in and batting averages. Beane evaluated the multi-million dollar salaries vs these stats vs actual results, and figured he could get better results from better players for less money by looking at less conventional metrics. Beane’s approach got results, and several teams have since adopted Beane’s “Sabermetric” approach.
When Quirky wanted to illustrate the “Moneyball” approach of challenging the conventional wisdom in a consumer product, they naturally thought to “reinvent the bicycle” with a team of people who might ride bikes but otherwise know little of bicycle design. What better example of a design that’s apparently hasn’t changed in over a hundred years?
The Quirky team were given 24 hours to reinvent the bike. The result of their brainstorm: The Modus City Bicycle.
- Belt drive provides quiet, chainless movement and is easy to maintain.
- 20 inch wheels for increased maneuverability
- treadless tires for a smooth, easy ride across the urban terrain.
- Multi-grip position handlebar is designed to easily adjust for a range of riding styles.
- Aero-streamlined seat has an integrated handle to help lift your bike where you naturally grab it.
- Open frame structure is designed specifically to receive a variety of clip-in, purpose-built accessories: A sleek briefcase for your everyday commute, a boom box (yes, that’s what they say, in an era of thumb size MP3 players and wearable speakers) for tunes while you ride, a powercell pack to drive your bike in electric mode, and many more.
One of the proposed clip in modules is a bike lock integrated into the frame (shown in blue in the photos):
The promotional video talks about a live streamed launch event. I’m not sure if it’s happened yet or not…