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First Ride & Unbox Experience - new user


bbulkow
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Hi, these comments are specific to Solowheel, since I just bought a Glide 3 as my first e-wheel. I've been looking at the market for a while, and I see a lot of people riding Boost boards and OneWheels and occasionally a e-wheel around town, and finally took the plunge.

I am primarily a bicycle rider.... I do have an older electric scooter that I've used to get lunch around work but it's really heavy. My weight is around 225lb so I need something bigger, and I like speed. I'm slightly older and expect to not have an easy time learning, because I don't have lots of core strength and look toward building things up.

I bought through the solowheel website. The experience was fine. And it came really fast. I understand that might not have been the case before, but I think I got lucky for timing. There was perhaps a buildup for christmas and then no orders, so a sale? Speculative, but I got a wheel at a decent price.

In unboxing, I found the instructions a bit terse. As in, really terse. I know we're all used to "nobody reads the documentation", and only recently have I become a "read the docs" guy, but .... I'd appreciate a "first ride" explanation that is full-featured and correct.

Here are some of the many things you should add to the instructions:

1. In one instruction, it says "do a reset before your first ride." In others, it doesn't. Is it required? Is it a good idea? There isn't much statement about charging, but everyone knows to give anything a solid first charge before use.

2. Is there something about calibration? What's that all about? Do I do it before I learn to ride, or after, when I feel it's pulling?

3. Nowhere does it say "you likely need to inflate your tire, do it before your first ride or it's going to be a bad time". My tire was delivered at about 20psi ( reasonable giving how shipping works ). As an experienced bicycle rider ( mt bikes especially ) I know exactly how tire pressure feels and knew to pump it up. Pumping it up isn't easy either, given how the valve works. And you have a nice little flap.

4. Directions on powering the wheel up. Usually there's something trickier than just a button on and off, like "hold the button down for this mode" and whatnot. Maybe there are no extra modes in the button, but even knowing that would be nice. There must be a way to turn the forward light on without the app, for example, I just haven't found it yet.

5. Pads, included in the box. There are two pads in the box, to be put somewhere on the wheel. The little thing says something about "ankle protection" but I think it's really for the mid-leg and should be at the top of the wheel. Explain these nice pads, please, you went to the expense of shipping them, just explain them so I can have a good time.

6. Clear protective film. I just found some really cool clear protective film when I was throwing the box away. I wish I knew about it before I scratched up my wheel on its first ride. How do you apply it, etc etc

7. Tether. I read on the forums that tethers are a good idea. Some people say they should be mandatory, just to keep people around you safe. That's something that should be in the manual - "get a tether, make a tether out of rope, pluses and minuses of tethers". Put that in, sell tethers on your website, whatever ( see below about accessories ).

8. Using the wheel as external bluetooth speakers. Some statements that it is supported, no idea how.

9. Tire changing. If you have a tire, and the tire has air, the tire will get a flat. How do I remove the tire and fix it? Where do I get new tires? There better be a video somewhere.

10. It has a replaceable battery??? So I can have a second battery, and just slot a new one in, with one simple screw? I didn't see that in any of the promo about it, and is the best feature ever, if true. You should then sell a charging station for the battery and extra batteries on your website.

See? There's a lot to cover that's not in the website "first ride" videos, or anywhere in the manual, or anything. Just take these points and your other favorite points and do a real "getting started" page, that's all you need. And/or make the QR code bigger so people notice it ( I didn't ).

And don't expect some mythical "dealer" will do all this - you are at early market adoption where you need direct education of the user base. Trust me I know. Dealers are a two edged sword - they are ambassadors, they are required, but they are not everywhere and a random person ( like me ) doesn't know who to trust so will just buy from you directly. Make me happy, too. It won't take much.

And do user studies on unboxing. It's easy. Get a friend in your target demographic who has never used a wheel but is "wheel curious", give them a box with the wheel, and watch what they do. When do they go to the website? What do they search for? Which website do they find? Do they notice the QR code on the box? Do this 10 times, watching but NOT HELPING, and, I promise, your unbox will be 100x better. This is more important than high quality paper or fancy magnetic boxes.

The app. You have an android app at this point --- congratulations! I can't imagine what anyone was thinking not supporting the #1 most prevalent mobile OS on the planet ( ok, I do know, you were saying "apple owners have more money and gadgets" ), but I will only judge the state of the product now. The lack of android app was holding me back before, I admit it, and I was going to suck it up to use my GF's phone for a firmware upgrade and suck up the lack of doo-dads that come with the app. I was very happy to see the android app. Now, how about admitting you have an android app on your website! I am almost concerned that I got a malware app, because there are certainly people who register fake apps, but I think it's the real deal. Yay, android app.

The app is pretty coarse. I'm glad you shipped it, because now you have feedback. You need to keep on the app developers. Here are a few of my notes:
* Putting in the bluetooth password every time is not normal. You pair and you stay paired. Get with the program. 
* To change the light pattern, there's a "button" ( just a word ) that says "Trans". This word is not used in apps of this type, people would say "save", even though you are "saving to wheel". Or you save your preference in the app ( still "save" ) then you have a second dialog when you're done that spells it out "Transfer to wheel? yes no". That's also because the transfer to wheel takes time.
* I don't know what' up with the sounds. It puts up dialog "no sound files" or something constantly, not clear that's working.

How do I store this thing around the house? It was propped against the wall and the cats got curious and pushed it over - now there's a small divot in the floor and a scared cat. It looks on the forum like people use guitar stands and other things. Why don't you sell an accessory stand that's made for it? Easy Money!

Which gets to the point of accessories. I hope your new management team can figure out that lots of money in these businesses are made through the accessory channel. If I"m going to buy through solowheel, instead of aliexpress, I might well want SoloWheel stand, solowheel tether, solowheel extra battery, solowheel backpack.... it's almost a DUUH. Now if you're short on cash and can't "startup" those lines ( initial investment I know ), I get it, and entering a market takes capital, but you should be able to convince someone. You might have been thinking "let's make a push for 2017 christmas, get some good numbers, then look for funding", I'll tell you personally that's the exact opposite of what to do. You raise on hope, not reality, so you say "there's a latent market, we can't activate it without capital, here's how much money you make", and put up the gopro numbers as a comparable. Blame everything on not having capital, it sucks up to potential investors and makes them feel wanted. Yes, I have done this myself. If you don't want outside money, do a kickstarter for a "starter pack" that includes a stand, battery, tether, charging station.

Now--- what are the plusses? Delivery was crisp with good notifications and everything. I think the price is good ( new pricing ). I love the specs. I love the "walk along mode" where you extend the handle and it walks with you, OMG, do others not have this mode? It's great. Love the "vegas mode" lighting, and the fact I can make my own patterns ( hopefully also download other patterns ) and especially noises. The getting started training you to ride videos look really good, I'm following the program. Display on the device ( blue battery ) is crisp and big.

Since I haven't really ridden yet ( I've spent my first five minutes doing balancing and scooting, expect at least an hour before I'm actually riding ), I can't comment on the rest of the functionality yet, and the app at least hasn't crashed and looks pretty good on the surface, minus those glitches.

Share and enjoy!

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@bbulkow Awesome detailed account of your initial impressions.  I just wanted to let you know (without addressing each point you made) that I agree with almost everything you had to say, and we are working on it. It will take some time to revamp the documentation etc, but a more detailed support page with a full featured "Getting Started" is something we can do more quickly on our website. That and more accessories are in the works! Don't worry, our new team has a lot of plans to make the whole process more... confidence building for new riders.

The reason we haven't officially linked to the Android app just yet is because the initial submission had too many bugs for our liking. You are welcome to use it because there is nothing in it that will cause damage to the wheel or anything like that. We will post it on the website after the next patch.

Keep the ideas coming! (And report any bugs you find with the Android App)

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@bbulkow  Great review!  Because there are lots of Android brand and phones to adapt, so there is more work than IOS. We are still working with the App developers now, and hopefully we can come up a decent version next week. BTW, we will go though your suggestions one by one and make a plan for the improvement soon, thanks for all your ideas and happy new year!

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