Three questions for Brandon Vu

Hey Brandon! How’s it going?

A couple of questions for ya.

  1. Now that you own and operate Offset, and have designed/released two throws through that brand, has anything changed about how you evaluate or review yoyos? Did you gain any insight on why certain design choices might be made or found any deal-breakers you wouldn’t have considered?

  2. What was your experience been like designing and releasing the Variant and the Outlier? I know you’ve spoken a bit about them on your YT channel and your podcast but could you maybe go into what you found especially challenging or surprising?

  3. I’m always curious about different regional trends etc. Do you notice any differences between trends in Asia/Pacific vs the West? Maybe any differences in how contests are run/organized, or sponsorships (for example, how you mentioned that qualifiers are still a thing in Australia)? How about with yoyo design. I feel like I’ve heard references to Asian/Japanese design aesthetics vs here in the US before but not much. Or is there enough communication/exchange between the various pockets of our community that differences are minimal?

  4. Lastly, I’m a big fan of the podcast and I’m really hoping for a second season. Do you have any plans beyond the six or so episodes you originally scoped out?

As an aside, I’m loving the podcast. I love hearing the stories behind the names and brands we interact with and watch. Great job so far! Hope you keep it up!

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That’s 5 questions lololololol

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:laughing: you and I don’t math too gud

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Hey nonja121,

Thank you for the questions!

  1. Awesome question! In terms of how designing yoyos have changed my reviews. I’d say my expectations are now tempered with a more in-depth understanding of what goes into making a Yoyo, and why features were not added. To give you an example, I used to judge every yoyo if it could finger spin or not, however as a designer I know adding this feature alters the weight distribution and may make the Yoyo play less desirable in some way. I’m more a lot more understanding of that and try to reduce my focus on those aspects. In terms of design deal breakers… Hmmm, as long as the design doesn’t cut strings and is relatively comfortable in the hand. I would say everyone’s optimal design should be up to them.

  2. Good question! The Variant and Outlier were two completely different beasts. However, If I were to speak about something that ties the two together it would be a vision. What made the Outlier super hard to make was I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted. Therefore every prototype, (Which there were 5), was never “good enough”. But, making a Yoyo good enough is impossible when you can’t define that for yourself. The Outlier was an iterative journey, and the more mistakes I made, the more I realized what I actually wanted. However, had I started with the Vision I probably could have gotten there faster. With the Variant, I was more clear on the Vision. I wanted a V-shaped plastic Yoyo, that was stable and cheap. However, plastic is a completely different material. Bringing Jeff on board and communicating to him my vision was a little tricky at first, but Jeff Pang is an absolute pro so in no time he designed it to reflect my preferences. What I found surprising was this. Before you draw a single line in CAD, before you invest any money in a prototype before you even consider making a Yoyo. Sit down and ask yourself, If I could have the perfect Yoyo. What would it look like? What would it feel like? What would it be made from? Then reverse engineer that. Doing it the other way around is really not optimal… Haha.

  3. Another good question! And to be honest, I don’t think I’m the best person to answer this. I haven’t spent a whole lot of time in the US. I went to BAC & MA states but that was in 2015, so 4 years ago. If I say anything I’ll say this. In recent years, there has been a convergence of a global style. Back in say 2009, US players were a bit more reluctant to try the fast-paced speed combos that were ubiquitous in the East, and some Eastern players may have been a bit apprehensive to play a bit more technical like those in the West. There are exceptions to this, of course, however an observation I’ve made is now players, grab what works. In the quest for trick variation, players now grab the best from all over the world, creating a more unified competitive Yoyoing style.

  1. I’m so glad you enjoy the podcast! Thank you for expressing that! I seriously enjoy making it. I definitely do want to go past the first 6 episodes, but we shall see :slight_smile:
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Thanks for the responses! Very interesting to hear that the East used to be more into speed and West into tech. Makes sense that things are merging given how niche our hobby is and how easy communication has become.

Also interesting to hear about how your perspective changed after designing two throws. I feel like us “laypeople” do a lot of armchair analysis on yoyo design here and elsewhere (FB, Reddit) and I’m always curious what the people who have actual experience designing think when we make these uninformed commentaries/judgments.

Thanks for sharing and doing this AMA! Can’t wait to see what you do with the podcast and Offset!

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