It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Fluxmob. The founders Alan and Justin’s dual purpose back-up battery and wall charger, BOLT, quells our phone-is-about-to-die-anxiety and makes it super easy to stay charged on the go. Crowdfunded on Kickstarter and running on Shopify BOLT is a great story of how a small startup can disrupt an existing space. We recently talked to them about the story behind BOLT and the importance of design in technology.
Q: Who are you guys and how did you get started?
A: We’re two friends from Southern California that have known each other since the first grade, which is over 25 years of friendship. We’ve worked on numerous projects together since we were young. We’ve always had the entrepreneurial drive and passion to do something on our own. Most of our ideas have tanked, but eventually one of them stuck. That idea was BOLT.
Q: What was the inspiration in designing BOLT?
A: With backgrounds in engineering, design and sales, we set out to make a charger that reflected our minimalistic lifestyle. We’re strong believers in packing light, especially if you’re always on the go like us. Existing portable batteries on the market are typically geared for emergency charging. This means that they are either too big to be practical or they don’t hold enough charge to be useful every day. Another issue we’ve found is that virtually every other battery backup on the market can only be charged via USB, and that can be a hassle. You’ll need to bring around a USB wall adapter or hunt down a USB port. This inconvenient method of keeping smart phones and other devices charged, inspired the creation of BOLT.
Q: What is good product design and why is it important?
A: Good product design is simplicity without sacrificing functionality. Design is the first thing we notice about everything. Not only does it play a major part in the actual use of the product, but it can and should trigger an emotional response.
Q: Are there any product designs you hate?
A: Bulky products with unnecessary “frills” or “gimmicks” that have no purpose. We think sometimes designers get too caught up in adding something they think is “cool” when really it’s just added junk which takes away from the original purpose of the design/product.
Q: How do you test your prototype or first run products?
A: First, we go through countless revisions on a piece of paper, then we’ll take it to the computer to mockup a model. Once we’re satisfied we’ll make a prototype and use the crap out of it. After getting a chance to use a design we start to notice things like how it fits in hand, how are we accessing the product — from a pocket, bag, etc — and how easy it is to use. If we’re not satisfied then we make changes and try again.