We have seen Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms emerge as a means of demand discovery. In those platforms, consumers commit to purchasing a new product and so incur some real costs.
However, Mark Rober has embarked on a different route for his better microwave idea. First, take a look at that idea.
It is a pretty good idea. I’m not sure it needs a screen on the microwave per se when it could work with an app but the principle seems sound. Certainly worth exploring.
Rober doesn’t really want to explore it. He wants some microwave manufacturer to license his patent on the idea. So instead of going to them, he has asked consumers to sign a petition to express their interest. In other words, he is going for crowd cheap talk.
And the talk is cheap. There is no commitment. At best, he gathers a mailing list. But still, it is an interesting way of getting demand discovery. I guess what our microwaves look like in five years time will tell us something about how this played out.