YYF Vs. The World


#1

I’ve been struggling with how to share this without being bias or negative to anyone anywhere. I’m not even sure if I am inline or out-of-line for even wanting to write about this, but it has been kinda on my mind and figured I’d just say it. I mean free speech right? Well to an extent. :wink:

When I went to World’s 2010 I saw YoYoFactory every where, midnight release parties, every other person with a YoYoFactory shirt on stage, selling tons and tons of yoyos. (I just got into YoYo’ing and was brand new and didn’t know really anything) I ended up leaving world’s with like 6 or 7 YYF yoyo’s and my mind was made up that it was YYF or nothing, how could anyone compete with that. They were every where, they were the “In” thing the “Hip and Cool” or “Chill” depending on which decade you relate to :slight_smile:

As I started researching more and found things like YoYoExpert.com I started seeing more of the variety’s available. Why would anyone want these? I’ve never heard of One Drop, Weerd, General Yo or anything else. I mean YoYoJam even had a big booth at World’s and I looked at it briefly but didn’t seem to be any buzz so I just kept walking. Fast forward a couple of months after I have been brai…doctrinated, and I started coming on the forums and when people asked about a new yoyo I would say it was Protostar all the way! I even argued when someone said Dark Magic II. I mean sure, it is featured here and Andre used in the videos but, it was probably because the protostar wasn’t available. Better yet, it was because he was one of the select few not sponsored by YYF. Yet, I kept hearing more and more on the boards, (not on the internet, not on youtube, not on facebook) but on here of people who are passionate about yoyo’ing. It is through here that I finally traded one of my YYF to a board member here for a DM2. I had low expectations and even the first throw I was not sold. Then I kept playing and playing and playing with it. Wow, I get it now! For a beginner like me, this really is a great throw. I even now use it over my protostar as my go-to practice yoyo! Who would have thunk it!

Fast forward even more and I start looking outside my YYF goggles and looking at what people list as their favorite throws. I started reading poster’s top 5 throws and top 5 wish lists. I am then completely shocked. Instead of seeing YYF after YYF listed, I start seeing the opposite. Very very few people even listed a YYF throw let along more than one or two. Such a wide variety starts popping up and starts getting me super curious.

I then get the opportunity to see a Duncan show and chat with one of them after the event. (Mind you I went because I knew my kids would like it, but Duncan? Really? Cheap Kiddy toys if you ask me) After just a few minutes I was really shocked by the attitude, energy and honestly…“vibe” that I got from them verses YYF. It was completely different. They got down with my son and played with him and showed him how to do a brain twister, which he still does excitedly almost every morning. I finally had to ask the question:

“I know YYF is obviously competition and all, but it just seems like you all have like a completely different game plan and approach, I guess I don’t understand why you all are not more in your face, more competition focused and put out more metal stuff.” He smiled and said some very kind things about YYF (This isn’t sarcasm either it was very kind words). However, he said one thing that stuck with me. He said “YYF sells cool, we sell fun.” Hmmm wow, it all then made sense. It was like a lightbulb went off and everything finally made sense. I have a whole new respect for Duncan now too.

YYF is a marketing power house and major props to them. They just did the tour, the tour packages that all sold out…brilliant! They utilize youtube, facebook, and many other social media like masters. Grabbing up almost every up and coming player and adding them to their “Team” After nationals I immediately went to their youtube page to find the videos to watch…which they were there. Keeping YYF in my mind. Shoot they don’t even have to sponsor Nationals (Which I didn’t see their sign in the video) to still have a major “free” presence.

That brings me to where I am now, excited to try out new throws, looking for things like American Made (just means something to me) and seeing that quality can come from something that isn’t overly “hyped.” So, what is the point of all of this rambling? Not 100% sure! haha.

My hats off to YYF. My favorite yoyo (by means of not owning any other brands) is the 888x which is just an amazing throw. I love the way they market and pump up yoyo’ing. Making it mainstream and cool. But I’m, on the other hand, almost sad that it seems like it is being commercialized so much that it becomes very “Corporate Cliche.” I would almost relate them to the kid that is trying so hard to be cool when if they just stopped trying so hard everyone else would realize it too. Which seems to be the approach that One Drop and others have done to pretty big fan fare at least on these boards.

Again this isn’t a bash thread, I am a big fan of YYF and intrigued on how they have approached this market and changed the way people look at Yoyo’ing. But once I see through the hype, I see that there are other companies out there very passionate about their craft. I think that might be the key right there, the more commercial something becomes the less passion of the craft you see. It is difficult to try to appear bigger than life and still show the passion and care of each individual item and person.

So what are your thoughts? Do you like the hype, the larger than life, the cool factor? Or do you prefer the art, the craft, the personalization, and one on one. Do you like the Mass appeal, or the specific directed approach. Is it wrong to be one way or another? Can you do both? Thanks for letting me share this and I look forward to reading your responses.


#2

I got into yoyo’ing in May of this year. In fact, I found the receipt from the Toys R Us documenting my purchase and decision to get into this. I went in knowing 2 brands, but really 1: Duncan. Yomega was a distant second. I did minimal research, and at the time the Duncan site was borderline unusable. Saw some videos on how to do basic stuff(including stuff here). Of course, my motivation was partially I want to do this(even 39 now almost 40), but also based on my past failed experiences of some 37 years ago, which involved a white wood Duncan Imperial that I was really never able to do anything with, including an inability to do a gravity pull or a sleeper. I didn’t understand how much yoyos had changed or how large the yoyo industry had become. But it was necessary to keep an open mind as this is an area I starting from zero from.

So, after throwing and learning, and tons of each, it was time to upgrade from my initial purchases(Duncan Imperial and Reflex) to a YYJ DM2. Of course, Andre is pushing his signature DM2 yoyo. The change from what I had to what I received was a massive difference. Different in a GOOD way.

Of course, I can’t limit myself to any one brand. My next purchase was a YYF ONE. Other purchases have since followed from many, many brands. Many purchased new, many purchased used. Some mint, some not mint but still in fantastic condition. Cheap ones, expensive ones. As far as I’m concerned, all good ones, regardless of price.

Here’s my concept. I’m doing yoyo for multiple reasons, but the bottom line is fun. As long as I’m having fun, I could care less what brand or model I’m throwing. But, with my beginner skill set(well, maybe intermediate at best), a YYF ONE is just as fun as a $115 CLYW Gnarwal. Well, maybe not, but either way, I’m having a good time regardless of what I’m throwing. If I stay brand loyal, I could miss out on stuff that I might enjoy. Right now, I’m enjoying everything I own and throw. Since I’m also not interested in competing or performing seriously, I’m not sponsor-friendly. I do intend to do some teaching and exposing yoyo to kids in schools, but again, my motivations are to expose kids to an activity that they might not otherwise get to see, much less have any interest in due to a lack of exposure to it.

I’ve had a few discussions on the IRC channel with people who don’t share my tastes in yoyos. But, you’ll overal find that most will respect your preferences. This is because a lot of what goes on with yoyo is finding your own personal preferences. Some of the more seasoned throwers have stronger opinions, but that makes sense. I’m sure at some point I will develop some string preferences and my opinion may narrow down, but I’m in no hurry to get there.

For me, my equivalent is in regards to audio equipment. They teach us stuff in school to learn audio engineering, and many teachers and/or schools get endorsements for certain brands, which is normal. There’s lots of companies that make great gear. However, in todays digital console era, good fundamentals only take you so far, because unlike a fairly simple commonality in analog consoles, digital consoles all have an OS and a multi-layered interface and you have to learn how those engineers were thinking when they designed it. With analog, you can step up and mix, but with digital, there is a learning curve past the basics. You can develop brand preferences for things, especially stuff like mics. However, I’ve been doing this for some 30 years now, and school helped get me to where I need to be, but after that I was more or less on my own. I pick what I feel will best benefit my company. Some people have laughted at my choices, but when I set up and do my thing, even seasoned "vets stand up and take notice. And they should, because I spent a LOT of time doing what they do, and I STILL do, just on my own terms. I chose an analog console because I love how it sounds. I chose the spakers I use because of their lack of personality and the options. And, best of all, I’m having a great time. Sure, I do this for money, but I’m not in this FOR the money, I do it because of the love and the challenge and the art and craft of what I do.

So for me, I’m not going to become some sort of snob. There’s a lot of great brands and a lot of great yoyos to choose from. There’s truly something for everyone. If you’re having fun, then that’s what it should be about. Of course, for those who want to compete and take it to another level, that’s great too.

I like YYF. They make some good stuff. My next purchase will include a dv888 and a Northstar. But, I also like YYJ, and considering it was my first “real yoyo” purchase, well, I kind of have a preference that way, despite the fact that I currently DO own my YYF than YYJ. Plus, with YYJ being made in the USA, it almost gives me the freedom to buy what I want from that brand with no gried from my wife. I like One Drop, CLYW, Duncan and Yomega. I have a RecRev being send out for some mods right now(having a silicone recess made). I also have an H-Spin that I like a lot.

My thoughts about YYF in regards to your posting are a bit mixed. YYF vs. the World. Here’s my thoughts: YYF puts out a LOT of stuff. A lot of models. I could be wrong, but they seem to have the most variety and models of any brand. My concerns are that with so may models to choose from, I worry about stuff like a consistency to the brand quality. YYF sells cool, Duncan sells fun, eh? I don’t know, I seem to be having more fun with my YYF stuff than my Duncan stuff, but that’s because Duncan doesn’t make some of their stuff out of the package unresponsive.

So, YYF vs the world. It’s a big world, there’s lots of brands and lots of throws. YYF is just one of many players in the field. They make good stuff. As long as they keep it up, I hope they stick around a good long time. But my feeling is the same towards any other brand, including Duncan and others. As long as a brand is willing to continue to make a good product, then I hope they stick around. There’s plenty of room on this planet. Of course, any brand can have their “fan boys” and that’s fine too. I just want to have fun. If I’m not having fun with a yoyo, I’ll get rid of it. Life’s too short for a yoyo that you don’t enjoy when someone else could be.

There are YYF purchases in my future, as well as many other brands as well.


#3

I would have to say that I agree with studio42, just throw to have some fun.

There’s too many haters that YYF have. But YYF do made great throw, promote yoyoing like no other, and so on. But yoyoing is not all about YYF.

I like to quote jayyo.
Chose by the yoyo, not by the brand.

There’s too much to enjoy on yoyoing other than that, I think.


#4

you sum up my thoughts perfectly

as for today, the community needs YYF to grow, it’s the only brand out there who have the means to reach effectively outside of the yoyoing world. They provide awesome support to the european community since they’ve opened a yoyo factory office in europe.

as a player, I’m not their biggest fan although I recognize that they put out tons of quality throws out there (the supernova lite is a beast, so are many others, genesis, boss etc…) and arguably the best beginner throw out there in the “one”

but the community wouldn’t be where it’s at today without YYF.

the big difference between YYF and say Duncan, is not cool vs fun, it’s more that YYF does yoyos for everyone and up to date spec wise, while Duncan is more focused on a smaller segment, not the whole market and beyond. YYF promotes modern yoyoing while I tend to believe that Duncan promotes traditional yoyoing (at least in a more traditional way). So yes, it’s cool vs fun in some way.
in the way that nowadays, cool sells and fun is “for kids” in the eyes of the general public. So business wise, I think YYF Nailed it and Duncan is a bit beyond.
YYJ being in between and yomega seeming out of the race for now at least


#5

i feel you on the whole “marketing giants” (yyf) but after throwing a good deal of trows that others seem to deem “superior” to yyf, such as: ilyy, gen-yo, hspin, crucial, spyy. i still need to try some clyw but after all those i still find myself still playing my higby '07 888 80% of the time. it used to be the only throw i played with, but some of it’s spot light has been taken by my new favorite. it’s another yyf, but this time in the shape rim weighted h-shape we all know as the superstar.

So long story short, after trying a lot of other companies, still wanting to try more, i have decided that yyf really is my favorite company


#6

I’m not a bit fan of YYF BUT they have done a LOT for the yoyoing community. I’m more of a homebrew kinda guy.


#7

Thanks for everyone’s opinion’s and I know it was a weird post, it has just been swirling in my head and that is a dangerous place to be and thought I’d just throw it out there. haha.


#8

it was a rather smart post of yours, you took time to watch what was happening and you were fairly objective.

I think because of posts like this, the “hate train” is slowing down and people start to realize that, in the end, yoyo=love ^^


#9

Exactly. If someone doesn’t like a brand, just avoid them. There’s no right or wrong as a whole, just what’s right or wrong for an individual.

Plenty of good companies, lots of good yoyos. Sure, a bad one can come from anywhere now and then, but overall, it’s all good right now. More time throwing means less time hating, and the world needs less hate.


#10

I agree, let’s begin by spreading the Love, PM me Studio and I’ll send you my address that you can send that OD54 to :wink:


#11

\

No way man! I was just throwing it a bit ago, and just to rub salt into that wound, I’m taking snaps of my throws this afternoon to “update” the YYE Medium bag review I posted a coupled of days ago. I’m definitely gonna spend a little extra time on the Code 1 and the 54!

BTW, today, in my YYE Medium bag is a ONE(responsive bearing), a WHIP, the Speeder 2 and the 54 with aluminum spikes! All yoyos are blue versions. I wear the bag to school when I inline skate while my kids ride bikes. Spreading the yoyo love everywhere I go!

I’m gonna throw my polished 2nd Run Peak for a while now.


(Steve Brown) #12

…and for any company to be really, truly successful they’re going to need to sell both.

It’s definitely odd to see mention of YYF being “corporate” or “commercialized” considering they’re still a very small, independent company started and still owned & operated by a couple of yo-yo players.

Duncan, on the other hand, is one small division of a multi-national plastics conglomerate with ten different divisions, many of which take precedence over Duncan’s needs within the company based on sales volume.

Both set-ups have their distinct advantages, but the idea of YYF somehow being the “commercial” one versus Duncan being the “fun” one is actually the exact opposite of how they operate. Both contribute a great deal to the community and the industry, though, so both deserve their due.

Now I’m just waiting for Yomega to wake up and give them both a run for their money…when that sleeping giant gets out of bed, I think the whole industry is going to get super competitive and super awesome. Right now it’s just sort of YYF & Duncan lobbing marketing initiatives back and forth…which I guess is fun for a while, but we need something else to really kickstart things on a larger scale.


#13

If Yomega keeps going in the direction they are going w/ their new throws, I really think this will happen soon. They just really need to convert to normal bearing sizes on all of their yoyo’s, not just a few. I’ve picked up their new Heavy Wing and I must say, after some love on the response system, its an awesome throw, but a normal C bearing would make the world of difference. But I do agree w/ you Steve, Yomega needs to get back into the game and stir things up a bit. The potential is there, they just need to apply it.


(Steve Brown) #14

I met the “new guy” at Yomega…and I think he can do it. But it’s going to take a while before we see any real results, probably…not exactly an easy fix.


#15

quote for truth, I think the conglomerate that owns Duncan also does like medical, plastic stuff and whatnot. There’s one thing that can’t be taken away is that they’re very attached to that “traditional” image which seduces many customers.

As you said, right now, YYF and Duncan are, in that order I think, the companies that really can push yoyoing to the masses. I think chinese brands are their most serious competitors.

Also, clearly, some other brands are growing strongers, I’m thinking of OneDrop, they will also weight in the balance, C3 will probably be able to play a part in that game too, SPYY and CLYW seem fairly solid companies too. But all of these are not really in competition with Duncan, YYF or chinese brands. Even when it comes to their basic/entry level throws such as the Di Base or Cafe racer, I see them more like, in the car world, the mini.

All in all, the market, to me, seems fairly healthy for now as there seems to be a spot for everyone.

I don’t know what yomega has in their boxes, but they clearly could compete with the biggest out there if they wanted to, and YYJ is definitely a strong player here too, but their philosophy seems a bit different than the others, they do have a SOLID team too

all of this is extremely positive, productive and exciting, of course, on a personal level, I don’t agree with everything that goes (like the 5A patent issue for example), but all in all the lines are moving and things will eventually get better with some more time and motivated people.

for now, every company does something unique and they all matter to the community


#16

Hi Steve,

Thanks for commenting on this thread. My reasoning for using those “Corporate” words are just the tactics that YYF is using. I think that you sharing that it is only a couple of yo-yo guys who do this is even a bigger testament to what they are doing and accomplishing. They are giving the appearance as if…(on a side note if you have seen the movie “Boiler Room” the Act as If scene is perfect for this scenario)…they are the high end, the company to beat, attitude. Which is not a bad thing.

From sporting the custom van on dubs (sexy) the amazingly talented video editing, the use of the social media and trying to keep the “cool factor” high at all times by saturating the market with their name and marketing efforts (most of which they are getting for free based on the tactics, again brilliant) made me a believer and convinced me that these guys are the “only” guys you should pay attention to.

My second part of my post is directed to how I found it very, I don’t know, enlightening almost, that on these particular boards, while Yoyo Factory has a following and fan club, that the majority of people’s favorites and top 5’s and wish lists seem to fall away from YYF and on to the other companies. (Wow now that was a great run on sentence!)

All in all I like what people are saying about YoYo=Love that is great and wonderful and cute and fuzzy (throw a little pixie dust on it too) haha. But, there is still a business side of the industry. If there was not profit and money involved we wouldn’t be seeing but a 10th of the yoyo’s we see and is a testament to how we keep getting better and better products. This post was made more from a marketing and business stand point of how well YYF has marketed their product and the hype they have successfully associated with that verses what other companies have done, and in doing so (my question to everyone else) is that a good thing or has YYF lost some of the core passion and individual elements to the thrower (you) by putting on this persona. Should other companies try to step it up, or is YYF going to far and losing a core element of personal side of things by doing this. (I.E. One Drop Code 1 involving the community to create something for the community by the community, another brilliant idea but on the opposite spectrum) Thanks again for everyone’s comments and for not bashing me for writing something that was on my mind :slight_smile:


#17

The way I see it, you fail if you fall for any of it, play whats good, the marketing technique should make no difference, if it does your just a tool.
I play yoyos because I like how they play, thats it.


#18

all of this is extremely positive, productive and exciting, of course, on a personal level, I don’t agree with everything that goes (like the 5A patent issue for example),
[/quote]
I believe Steve Brown is the creator of 5a and sold the patent to Duncan. (I’m still new and could be wrong on this) I spoke with one of the Duncan people about that and their agreement and how they licensed the patent to YYJ to make the Destiny (Which I just bought and liking it) so that Duncan makes a percentage out of each YoYo that YYJ sells with the counter weight. The gentleman from Duncan didn’t get into it but did mention that Duncan has approached YYF about doing the same thing and that YYF either didn’t want anything to do with it or couldn’t come to financial agreements, I don’t remember what exactly was said.

As far as the patent though, to me being a business owner, that was just great business on Steve Brown’s part to find a buyer for the patent and it is none of our business what that agreement was, but that is how people make money and a living. Patents also don’t last forever either. For instance I can go out and by a remake of a Super Nintendo right now and play my super nintendo games on something that isn’t made by Nintendo and it is perfectly legal. So one day the patent will drop off (not sure when that is only Steve and Duncan know that, or I guess you could research it and find out, it should be public somewhere) but when that ends anyone will be able to make the counterweight product and attach it to a yoyo.


#19

What I don’t like about the 5A patent is it seems more about patenting an idea, not something rather specific. I just get the impression if they wanted to get some serious bank and had a team of bottom-feeding sharks in legal, they could basically go after anyone NOT using a Duncan product or licensed product for licensing and royalty fees as well as patent infringement lawsuits. But that’s something unrelated and I don’t want Icthus invoking a lock. So, let’s all just drop that.

Like it or not, Duncan is a decent company. YoYoFactory is a decent company. YoYoJam is a decent company. In fact, pretty much all the brands are pretty good. With that many different minds trying new things, at some point something big is going to happen. The companies are going to be either in a “lead” or “follow” mode. In the meantime, they’ll keep doing tweaks to existing stuff and give it a different name or tack a number or something else on it to denote it’s different.

In the end, good products will attract buyers, regardless of brand. Similarly, bad products will be discovered and marked as “AVOID!” by the community.

I recently got out of the mindset that some yoyos are just not my type based on decoration. Admittedly, I still don’t really care for splash, splatter and acid wash, but I’d be missing out on a lot if I can’t break from this a bit. All my CLYW’s except for my Peak are not exactly decorated in a manner I would prefer. I prefer solid colors, raw, or polished or other finishes. Simple. On a tangent, people shouldn’t just shop by brand, or at least shouldn’t impose that kind of a limitation on themselves unless there is a legitimate need to do so. I certainly don’t want YYF to lose sales or fans. What I am saying is people need to open their minds.

I’m all for innovation. When I got into this, I was overwhelmed with what could be done. Then, the bind. I was “I gotta learn a trick just to get it back to my hand? What sort of sick mind came up with that crap?” Well, I can bind now no problem. Not perfect all the time, but I can bind, and that’s all that counts. I’m still learning. Bearings, lube, response systems, shapes, 5 major styles… it’s a lot to wrap one’s head around. At least now I’m at a point where I can absorb and process the new information without my brain trying to throttle itself. I can’t wait to see what new products come out in the next few years or sooner.


(WildCat23) #20

I think patents expire after something like 15 years.