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Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters! 2075

No Life Club Posts: 1,582
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #30 on: February 06, 2018, 03:41:07 AM »
Speaking as someone who actually has sent in a couple of product suggestions to Leatherman, they are very courteous but not overly 'wowed' by every new idea which comes across their desks.

Leatherman once actually started a separate divison/ company (Freerange PDX) to specifically explore and develop new product concepts. They were actively looking for both internal and external ideas and concepts, but with two important exceptions: multi-tools and flashlights. I don't know whether that was because Leatherman felt that they already had those areas fully covered, or whether they had a different channel for outside input for those.

I can just imagine how many ideas and concepts Leatherman receive each year. It will likely take something quite special to stand out for the others, and of course from all the work and ideas they've looked at themselves over the years.

Truly new things tend to come from new angles and people though, so you might very well be right about that. Nobody can pick all the winners, so some turn downs will likely end up doing well. That will be a bit of full circle irony :)

« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 03:46:34 AM by Vidar »

"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Full Member Posts: 105
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #31 on: February 06, 2018, 03:46:40 AM »
...which is probably exactly how Case, Gerber, Kershaw, and the rest felt when Leatherman contacted them all those years back.
No Life Club Posts: 1,582
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2018, 04:07:56 AM »
...which is probably exactly how Case, Gerber, Kershaw, and the rest felt when Leatherman contacted them all those years back.

Probably - they did seem to take it both seriously and professional though. That is a still a lot better than many companies that wants new concepts and ideas by inviting ideas or arranging competitions etc but with basically only some thanks and shiny buttons in return. One tend to get what one pays for though. 


"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Jr. Member Posts: 94

mtn

**
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2018, 06:01:49 PM »
Interesting to read these.

However, I don't think that any of them were especially "stupid" in their rejections. Without any way of proving it, I'd expect that the Leatherman doesn't do nearly as well without the following:
 - The name
 - Focus upon the single product--imagine Stanley looking at the sales of screwdrivers and pliers and seeing the PST doing nothing. Marketing and Strategy will kill it. 
 - A splash

How many multitools came before the Leatherman? The only one that anyone knows anything about is the SAK. The others died. It had to be its own brand to create the market. Lets remember that brands branching into new things often just doesn't work, no matter how good the product is. For examples of this see Colgate making TV dinners, or McDonalds making pizza. The products were "fine", but nobody knew them for that. I'd contend that the only two then-existing brands that could have made the Leatherman work would have been Wenger or Victorinox.
No Life Club Posts: 1,582
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2018, 08:28:03 PM »
Interesting to read these.

However, I don't think that any of them were especially "stupid" in their rejections. Without any way of proving it, I'd expect that the Leatherman doesn't do nearly as well without the following:
 - The name
 - Focus upon the single product--imagine Stanley looking at the sales of screwdrivers and pliers and seeing the PST doing nothing. Marketing and Strategy will kill it. 
 - A splash

How many multitools came before the Leatherman? The only one that anyone knows anything about is the SAK. The others died. It had to be its own brand to create the market. Lets remember that brands branching into new things often just doesn't work, no matter how good the product is. For examples of this see Colgate making TV dinners, or McDonalds making pizza. The products were "fine", but nobody knew them for that. I'd contend that the only two then-existing brands that could have made the Leatherman work would have been Wenger or Victorinox.

I think you are definately onto something there. I certainly agree that the PST could easily have gotten lost in a bigger company, or killled off for not making the numbers quickly enough to compete with other existing product lines.




"If only simple wasn't so hard" - me
(Partial disclosure: I design tools for a living).
Thread Killer 2017 Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 7,802 Born to multitask.
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2020, 10:45:29 AM »
We've got quite a lot new members nowadays. They might get a kick out of this. I know I did. :D

If it were me, I'd print these, and hang them on the Portland shop walls, have them framed and displayed in every shop that sells Leatherman tools, have them in the website, and include copies of them in every tool's packaging.
OCD Squad Leader Admin Team Zombie Apprentice Posts: 11,803
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2020, 05:00:29 PM »
Hindsight is always 20/20... bet they got plenty of ideas, that wouldn't have worked out. Remember this:

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
- Thomas Watson, president of IBM, 1943

OR

"Two years from now, spam will be solved."
Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, 2004

This one I personally wish to be true:
"Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality within ten years."
Alex Lewyt, president of Lewyt vacuum company, 1955

Seriously, predicting the future is brutal. I was completely blindsided by 3d printers. These companies completely mis-judged the need for pocket tools and from today's point of view the desire for pocket jewelry.

Emergency Kit: Ovo Sport, chocolate, cheese, crispbread and a coin
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 23,705
Re: Tim Leatherman Rejection Letters!
« Reply #37 on: November 27, 2020, 05:05:17 PM »
Always a good read. 

Esse Quam Videri

 

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