Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I love my DODOcase

On my recent Thanksgiving travel I ditched the device I use pretty much every day of the week, my iPad, to try an alternative. My main goal was to experience another up and coming tablet, but my experience lead me to an even more powerful discovery: I love, and I mean LOVE, using a DODOcase! Sure, as a founder, this is probably a foregone conclusion, but after leaving my DODOcase behind for the weekend, I had an incredibly visceral reaction to its absence.

A little background on the type of tablet user I am. I love the convenience of a good tablet. I use my tablet as a second monitor (actually third…yes I'm a geek), I bring it to the coffee shop with me to take meeting notes, I rock a little Pandora and I love streaming videos (thanks @netflix and @hbo). My iPad is the first thing I pick up in the morning and usually the last thing I put down at night. When I travel, I love reading my Kindle Keyboard. So…by now you get the point that I am a tablet obsessed kind of fella.

I didn’t have a case for the tablet that I was testing so I was using it by itself, and what amazed me quite quickly was how notably uncomfortable, even awkward I found it to use. I realized pretty quickly that this had nothing to do with the device itself it was just the lack of the right case. I couldn't quite figure out the best way to comfortably hold the tablet while sitting in a chair, and it was difficult to hold and use at the same time. Later in the evening as I laid down in bed to stream my guilty pleasure (AMC's The Walking Dead) I discovered I couldn't assume my favorite viewing position (DODOcase tented on my chest) and had to find a pillow to hold the tablet up. Not good … at least not good for my use of this particular tablet, but, excellent news for my love of what we are doing here at DODOcase!

After this recent experience, I can say that I firmly believe we make an exceptionally useful and well crafted product. Almost two years after starting DODOcase and it’s great to be able to share my recently renewed belief in our product, especially from the point of view of a consumer/user. The DODOcase works well for me in the office, provides protection when I'm on the city streets and works great to improve the utility of my tablet. I love the look and feel of the DODOcase and I'm proud of both what and how we do the things that we do.

-Craig Dalton

PS - the best news is that when I returned from my trip I found a prototype case for the mystery tablet I was using had been completed! More on that soon.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Artisan of the Month: Keoki Surf Boards

Shape Up: Keoki Surf Boards
By Jesse Szymanski

This month we found a surfboard shaper in my old stomping ground, Honolulu Hawaii, who’s been making surfboards for 18 years. Keoki Ching, owner and founder of Keoki Surfboards, grew up in surfing family that also shaped their own boards.

“My father and his brothers used to shape their own boards as they were growing up in Oahu. As I was getting more and more into surfing I got curious to do as my father and uncles had done, shape and surf their own boards. So really I think I did it for the experience and personal satisfaction of making something for myself,” he said.

Hand shaping surfboards has been a tradition in the Hawaiian Islands since the arrival of the ancient Polynesians, constantly improving wave riding for surfers, many of whom don’t realize the time and effort put forth into their finished product.

“Few people understand the amount of labor that goes into making a proper surfboard to Hawaii standards,” he explained.

“People have often asked, 'how much will it cost if I order two surfboards?' (expecting a big discount)  To which I've responded, 'it would cost twice as much, because that would be twice as much labor involved.'  People have to remember that there are seven to eight people involved in the production of any given surfboard, and each person has their special step,” he said.

With a degree in molecular biology, Ching took on surfboard shaping with a scientific approach, embracing CAD to help him perfect his designs.

“Technology has helped us with repeatability.  Surfboard CAD technology has helped us make repeat surfboards.  Hand shaped surfboards, no matter how hard we try to repeat what we've done before, are always going to have subtle differences between boards.  This is just a fact of the surfboard shaping industry. Technology has allowed us to make absolutely accurate differences in a previous design. We've been able to fine-tune our designs with repeatability. CAD technology has become a valuable tool to surfboard shapers worldwide for these reasons,” Ching said.

With the majority of surfboards being shaped overseas in mass-manufactured factories, people like Ching are holding onto a passionate and perfected art that is certainly an endangered craft in our consumer-based society.

If you’ve ever surfed or lived in Hawaii then you know that every surf-break is unique to itself and those who ride them take the design and functionality of their boards seriously, with each one in the quiver offering variations that help for a better ride.

Much like our efforts in great production here at DODOcase, Keoki Surfboards has a hands-on team dedicated to creating great boards.
“I work with amazing craftsmen in our shop. Each surfboard that comes out of our shop is a team effort of some of the top surfboard-building individuals in Hawaii. We can provide a better product if I only focus on the shape, the laminator focuses on laminating only, the air-brusher specializes in airbrushing, the sander in sanding.” Ching explained.

Surfing is a soul thing folks, with a whole lot of heart put into the shaping of a great board and Hawaii is steeped in a small community of skilled craftmen.

“By tradition surfboard shaping has been a secretive art, so many shapers keep to themselves.  Our community is small though, so most of the guys all know each other.  Though there is no formal association, I think I've noticed a little more camaraderie amongst the local Hawaii shapers. We call each other when we need to, we do help each other out as we've realized we're all in the same boat,” he said.

The same boat there in is one apart from the companies who mass-manufacture over-seas, with less attention to the individual and more put on turning out a product. And while CAD has helped Keoki Surfboards improve on design it has also given way to heavy competition.

“The problem with surfboard CAD technology is that it has allowed the mass manufacture of surfboards internationally, which has helped our industry reach a saturation point much quicker.  As it stands our industry is absolutely saturated, meaning our supply has finally met our demand.  Market saturation has driven surfboard prices down, making our industry less profitable,” he explained.

This is true for anyone who has been to the islands and seen the overwhelming host of shops, teams, companies and logos everywhere. Having so many different boards and shapers to choose from, the market is flooded with all sorts of styles and designs. What sets Keoki Surfboards apart is the one-on-one customer attention they put into each board as other companies continue to outsource.

“I think it is safe to say that the market is saturated.  Many companies have been falling through the cracks in the past few years, so it is actually a good way for our industry to sort itself out. The companies that are surviving are the ones that are remaining true to their core philosophy,” Ching stresses.

While hand-shaping is an endangered art in this day and age. It is up to people like Keoki Ching to keep the spirit and craftsmanship of hand shaping alive. Having worked as a consultant at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Ching has had access to the most ancient of surfboards in their collection, giving him both ideas and inspiration to preserve the past while shaping the future board by board.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bing Bam Boom...DODOcase saves another iPad falling off a car.

Dear Dodocase,

I want to give a testimony about your product. I am an avid bicycle rider in the Washington DC area. One recent Saturday morning I was out for a ride. I came to an intersection where a car was observed traveling at the posted speed of 50 mph. Just as he passed the intersection, I saw something that looked like a datebook or notebook go sailing into the air from the top of the car. It went up in the air, landed hard and then tumbled to a stop. I was going to ride off but thought better of it and went to collect the item with the intention of returning it to its owner.

To my surprise, the item was an ipad protected by the Dodocase. I decided to continue with my ride carrying the ipad and case.

I arrived home two hours later, opened the case and inspected the ipad for damage. There was no apparent damage so I booted it up. I was in disbelief as I saw it open up and since the owner had no security measures employed, I was able to get to his email and identify a way to contact him.

We made contact and I was able to return his ipad to him. When I told him how I had come across it, he also was amazed. I have told many friends and family about the event. Many will be purchasing one of your cases.

I don’t own an ipad but if I ever do I will be sure to protect it with one of your cases.

I just had to share this with you. It is so good to see a product that works.


Potomac , MD


PS - If the owner if this case is reading...shoot us an email as we do have a crash replacement program if you case was damaged.