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Giving Thanks: A Letter From CEO Jef Holove

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While we have Drop community members across the world, I am choosing the American holiday of Thanksgiving as a moment to share some gratitude for all of your support, engagement, and insight this year. One of my biggest reasons for joining the company a little over a year ago was Drop’s historical community-driven approach to what we design, make and curate for you—either by ourselves, with community designers, or in collaboration with some of the best brands in the world.  But, even then, I did not fully appreciate how valuable an engaged, knowledgeable community can be. We’ve brought you a pretty steady stream of product launches this year: Holy Panda X Switches; a whole new premium keycap profile in DCX and more than ten colorways launched in just a few months; some beautiful keycap and keyboard designs done with community artists; our take on gasket-mount 75% keyboards with the SENSE75; more features and value for Drop Keyboard Club members; plus, a series of collaborations with great audiophile brands. We know we haven’t always gotten it exactly right every time.  And, where we haven’t, you guys have stepped in to share informed views (or at least colorful opinions) and hold us accountable. The naming of our DCX keycap profile and the acoustic properties of SENSE75 are two prominent examples that come to mind in which we were able to act on community input. Of course, beyond that, your collective input has driven many specific design decisions for products like Drop + EPOS H3X Gaming Headset, Drop + Ultrasone Signature X Headphones, and the Drop + Etymotic ERX IEM.  Your input is what I want to appreciate today. You make us better, so we can make or find the best gear to fuel your passions.   And, because we value this as a discussion, we’ve done a number of things to help foster even more back-and-forth. We’ve brought back polls and surveys to give you quick, easy ways to provide input (with even more improvements to come). We’ve dedicated more resources to listen and interact directly with the community. We’ve conducted beta testing with DKC members. We’ve pursued more work with community artists. We’ve debuted guest columnists from the community sharing their expertise. Expect more ways to interact and influence as we go. The product line-up so far—plus a never-ending campaign of fun, aggressive promotions—have made for a good way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. Thank you so much for your part in it.   But of course, we’re not done. There is more yet to come, and we’re well into planning next year. So, with that in mind, what would you appreciate seeing from Drop in the future? Jef Holove CEO
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Jacksxn
2
Nov 29, 2022
more switch variants
Laumaroo
15
Nov 27, 2022
I think many of us would appreciate insight into what’s happening with the DROP ALT. The PCBA has been out of stock for over a year now and we haven’t had any information on it. Is it ever coming back? Is there a 5pin version in the making? I’ve had my aluminium case since last September, which I love so much, and I have all the other components I need, except the PCBA, so no keyboard :(
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 28, 2022
LaumarooStand by, Laumaroo.
WordsandMusic
194
Nov 26, 2022
For much of the year it seems as if the audiophile stuff has taken a back seat ... like way in the back of the limousine. To be fair, I've generally got what I need and I'm not necessarily planning to buy anything. But, since 2018 Drop has been a way for me to discover new stuff, such as the 7Hz Timeless in fall of 2021, but it seems like the "wow" stuff for audiophiles has been few and far between this year. Although, the last month or so there has been a nice uptick in audiophile gear, so maybe we're moving in the right direction again.
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 26, 2022
WordsandMusicFair to point out that the audiophile roadmap was a bit backloaded this year. But, more stuff lately and another trick or two up our sleeve yet to come.
(Edited)
WordsandMusic
194
Nov 26, 2022
JefHMore than fair! Thanks
SoHighICouldFly
3
Nov 26, 2022
I would love to see more branching out into products that the community is engaged in, and more tuned or upgraded variants of those products! Drop has always excelled at drawing very niche crowds who are generally inclined to tweak anything they do purchase until it's just right for them, and Drop offering variants of already well loved products in their own variety has always been something that has kept this community as a staple that I look back to. I must say though the more budget oriented keyboard offerings are probably where most of my money is likely to go... Can't encourage that though or I'd end up spending too much!
SoHighICouldFly
3
Nov 26, 2022
I think everyday carry was a really nice niche that drop covered well back in earlier days, with watches/wallets/knives being pretty interesting and engaging as a bit of a branch to take. I would love to see more tools too. Tools for both currently offered hobbies and other niche tools in general are awesome to come by and learn about, and can sometimes have some pretty unique and clever uses that could draw in more people as well. I'd also love to see more battlestation inspired stuff, things like desk organizers, storage, or unique cable management solutions (standing desks can sometimes face challenges here). Something you already offer that I'd like to see expanded on is some simple desk mat series (like your expression series of keyboard, something like plain colour or themed desk mats would be great) available at multiple price points from budget to enthusiast, as I feel that could offer a lot as well.
SoHighICouldFlyYeah, the Drop + TH-X0 mkII didn’t make a huge splash, but I loved that collaboration and found it highly educational. It was so cool to have I think two different pad types, two different density foam baffles, and there was a strap mod added to the headband. Being able to swap out the baffles (plus I had a third baffle, from the Dekoni Blue) and even try NO baffle gave me four extremely different sound signatures. I still buy new audio products and love seeing the innovations of others, but being able to understand some of the guts of the thing drew me in deeper. Thanks to all involved for the opportunity!! Also, yes I’m on board with the battlestation beautification boutique, haha! Mine is currently littered with a box of switches, little figurines, audio dongles, cables, USB hubs, VESPA Monitor mount arms (bought from Massdrop!), etc, but it’s definitely a mess and sometimes things inexplicably disappear!
MastiffMike
85
Nov 25, 2022
A way to receive emails pertaining to audio stuff (and the other old categories I'd subscribed to if they ever come back) but to NOT get emails about keyboards and key caps. I'm not a fan of those types of keyboards and yet there isn't a way to not keep getting emails about them?
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 25, 2022
WordsandMusic
194
Nov 26, 2022
MastiffMikeShould be easy to do in the email platform using audience segmenting. Someone has the keyboard/keycaps tag? Send them email a. Someone has the audiophile tag? Send them email b. Someone has both tags? Send email c.
mabalenk
0
Nov 25, 2022
Thank you and have a happy holiday. I wish you all well, be prosperous and creative! I would like to second some of the opinions in the replies. I would like to see higher quality of the products released. For me as for many others Drop is not only about unique products, but it is a mark of a very high attention to detail and quality. Zambumon MT3 was amazing, but G-dspeed SA Genespeed could be so much better. A European shipping centre would be also very welcome. Thank you!
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 25, 2022
mabalenkThanks so much. I hear you. I'll invite you to give a close look to DCX. Every bit the attention to detail you found in MT3 and then some, in my totally unbiased view. And, we are actively working on distribution solutions for Europe (and other places) to make shipping easier for our international friends.
mabalenk
0
Nov 30, 2022
JefH@JefH Thank you! I will be glad to have a closer look at the DCX and provide you with a (detailed) review. Please let me know, how can we arrange that.
I want to thank Drop for the years of discovering cool products I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. There were passionate people in each community who clearly knew much more than the tip of the iceberg of each product category. I felt like I learned almost as much as I shopped! As a bit of a Peak Design addict, I would request polls to interest check on two product categories: storage, and smartphone accessories. As hobbyists, we collect lots of knickknacks. You could look at bags as Headphone and Keyboard accessories… sometimes we want to take a kit with us to work, sometimes we would like a way to hang headphones external to a school backpack or a work briefcase, and sometimes we just want something to store and organize things at home so we know where to find that one dongle or adapter, or the key cap lifter or spare switches. Of course, I’m also thinking about my iPad, and the fact that the majority of my knife and pen collection came from Massdrop. I think that everyone could use an intermediate bag, lighter and less bulky than a backpack, but more storage than a Fanny pack. “For home organization” might not be ideally a bag, but it’s also worth considering as so many of us have expanded our collection of “stuff” since the pandemic. Also, phone accessories… because everyone has phones, and I would love to see what cool phone things Drop could find. I just saw an Ad for the Peak Design phone case, which works with bike/scooter mounts, car mounts, travel wireless chargers, wallets, kickstands… but I would also be curious about accessory lenses, more phone dongles and bluetooth dongles for audio (thanks for the ones you saw so far!), battery packs, gimbals, and whatever’s clever! But, I’ll be happy to thank Drop for the mix of exclusive edition/commission products and boutique audio products. The HD 6XX is still cheaper than the HD 650 from most stores, and an easy recommendation. I miss the AKG K7XX’s unique color ways and the Cavalli Liquid Carbon X (always kinda hoped we would see an upscale Cavalli tube amp too), but we are seeing some neat dongles for mobile listening, and I can connect my 4.4mm Pentaconn cables to any output on an amp thanks to adapters I’ve bought here. I am still sad that I missed out on the cool pants, hiking gear, camera gear (I just didn’t have funds when my stuff came around!), some of the knives, and I was just starting to play around in Pen world, but I am very thankful I took a chance on Merino Wool socks (but you can always use more socks!!).
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 25, 2022
EvshrugWow, this is what I'm talking about. Thank you for the thoughtful, specific ideas.
JefHThanks!
goodnewsgeorge
30
Nov 25, 2022
please add 40s support as an option for DCX sets, thank you
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 25, 2022
bryant
242
Nov 24, 2022
I get the pivot to luxury/premium bespoke stuff, but bespoke is not synonymous with beta quality products unless they're priced competitively with the market. Drop sells bespoke, premium items like limited run keycaps etc, priced as if they're refined custom products but relies on its buyers to dogfood a product to help refine it... If an iterative beta-adjacent model is what you're after, price down. Otherwise, invest in the fit and finish. I've spent thousands here. Just like Elsie, there's a reason I stopped. Happy Thanksgiving though. I don't expect to be special here; I'm not your target audience anymore. Just sharing feedback lol
(Edited)
JefH
31
CEO
Nov 25, 2022
bryantI replied something similar to Elsie, but didn't want to assume you'd see it. First, thanks for the thoughts. I can't speak to all projects of the past, of course, but I can say when it comes to some of the examples I mentioned, a great deal of time and effort went into the details ... both during initial development and in digesting community input. Fortunately for everyone, that input was pre-production vs. dog-fooding after the fact. Regardless of if and when community input is offered, we know we need to deliver good value. Wherever we can, we aim to offer better prices than the market in general on the vast majority of what we curate, whether our product or a partner's. I think DCX compares favorably to GMK (except for when we ourselves run a crazy sale like BOGO), our audio collabs are better value than mainstream equivalents, the cool finds we curate are discounted (unless the manufacturer won't allow it). Where we get it wrong, we want to hear (and usually do). In the meantime, we've been running non-stop promotions to make it all more affordable in these times. Hopefully you'll find a deal that tempts you to back to test my position.
(Edited)
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