MacSources.com Q&A With Nomad
Two of the most impressive products we’ve seen at MacSources within the past 6 months have been the ChargeCard and ChargeKey by Nomad. We were fortunate enough to be able to have an exchange with Nomad CEO and co-founder, Noah Dentzel, about their company and products.
Q: How did you come up with the name, “Nomad?”
A: My co-founder Brian and I were moving around a lot when we originally launched our first product, ChargeCard, in mid 2012. We were living a bit like nomads, but in a more modern sense. We lived and worked out of a basement, a boat, a garage and even the open road. So the name Nomad just came upon us naturally, and it really resonated with our minimalist, resourceful lifestyles.
Q: We really like the fact that you included a place on your website for fellow nomads to commune with one another. What inspired you to create the Nomad Life section of your website and what is your best nomad tip?
A: Nomad is about a lot more than just our products. We think a lot about everything from product design, of course, to public policy, lifestyle and self improvement. We noticed that these interests of ours were shared by a lot of our customers and we wanted a way for people to engage with us and like minded netizens, so we launched Nomad Life.
Q: How did you decide on the materials used to make the ChargeCard and ChargeKey?
A: Simple. We went with the best materials, really. We use high grade plastics from the US and Germany because they have the unique characteristics required for us to make ChargeCard and ChargeKey extremely thin while also durable.
Q: How many people did Nomad start with and how many work there now?
A: We were originally a team of three, and now we’ve grown to about ten. We’re still bootstrapped though and we run a very lean ship. We have a work hard, have fun mentality around the office. When we’re putting in long hours day to day, including weekends, it’s nice to keep a fresh mood in the office.
Q: What is a typical day like for a Nomad employee, and what is the working environment like?
A: We maintain a high energy and fun work environment. Most people show up by about 930AM and begin taking off by 7PM. But we’re more focused on our objectives and results rather than keeping watch on the clock. Mornings tend to be a little more chaotic with high priority issues with the mood easing in the afternoon while people have more time to get into a good work flow. And for those who stay late, it’s not uncommon to seek some soothing refreshments from the fridge–that’s one of the perks after all.
Q: What is the most valuable thing you have learned as a start-up, and what advice would you give to other technology start-ups?
A: Get the ball rolling early. Everything takes longer than expected. There’s always hidden approval processes, papers to be signed, waiting periods, etc. And also remember to be persistent. Something we say around the office is that persistence breaks resistence. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been told “no” or “we don’t do that”. And in return we stay persistent, propose alternatives and suggest a new way that things can be done. Just because something’s not standard practice doesn’t mean it can’t be done. And when you’re a startup, a lot of what you’ll be doing is non-standard, that’s what will keep you alive.
Q: If you had the chance to go back in time and make a change that would effect Nomad, what would it be?
A: I’d have changed the way we manufactured the initial version of ChargeCard. We ultimately didn’t yet know enough about manufacturing to make the best manufacturing decisions. Our early ChargeCards were costly and time consuming to make. That said, I’m glad we moved forward quickly and iterated constantly to plow ourselves out of those problems. At the end of the day, you’re going to run into a lot of problems and make a lot of mistakes, so, as they say in Silicon Valley, it’s important to fail fast, iterate and move forward.
Q: Do you plan on branching out to other accessories if so what type of products do you want to develop in the future
A: Yes. New, minimalist products in the pipeline. Of course I can’t share though.
Q: What inspires Nomad employees?
A: Team. People they work with and the NOMAD spirit.
Q: What is the oddest and coolest thing someone has bartered with you to get a ChargeCard or ChargeKey?
A: We’ve had a lot of amazing barters and strange proposals. Just yesterday a box of assorted sweets and treats showed up from the UK. I think we bartered two ChargeKeys for that. What an amazing deal and thank you to Fiona in the UK!
For more information, or to buy a ChargeCard or ChargeKey visit hellonomad.com.