Meepo isn’t even a small company in China.
It’s a micro company.
When you see their videos, it looks like an operation where Kieran has gotten together with a few friends to enter the electric skateboard business. There’s no factory. There’s a big table with a few chairs and that’s where the components are assembled onto the deck from parts in boxes and on shelves around the joint.
I have to admire that.
Stop and think a moment: Wouldn’t you have liked to have had your own company at his age instead of having to go toil for some asshole full of himself wearing a suit?
It doesn’t matter if his company never reaches empire status. The guy doesn’t have to answer to anyone else. He doesn’t have to cut corners like other Chinese companies do. He uses his own product, so he wants it to be great for his customers.
He saw an opportunity and managed to create a company that gets buzz around the world, has enthusiastic owners, and puts to shame much larger Chinese companies that are totally incompetent at using YouTube.
His videos aren’t slick. They have zero production values. They look like they’re being done with a phone. And sometimes Kieran isn’t clear when he speaks. It sounds like he sometimes lapses into Chinese because his English isn’t great.
His YouTube channel has 1.1K subscribers. But Mellow Boards, the top of the line eSkateboard, has 1.9K. Boosted Boards has over 25K. Boosted has an advantage in that they’re in America, unlike Meepo and Mellow. To put this into better perspective, however, consider Swagtron based in America. They advertise all over the damned Net. Their YouTube has 1.1K subscribers. Kieran has tied them. So he’s doing fine without the huge marketing expense they have.
One problem most eSkateboards share is regenerative braking. This has also been a problem in the world or eScooters. When the battery is full and regenerative braking is invoked, at least two things can happen. First, the controller can burn out due to a voltage overload (a problem the Xiaomi M365 eScooter suffered). Or, second, there are just no brakes at all. Not having brakes is one hell of a problem if you’re at speed and heading towards a light changing to red or if you’re going down a steep hill.
Mellow came up with an electrical solution that traps the energy the battery can’t handle and dissipates it into heat energy. That’s an expensive solution.
Kieran has devised a solution that could come only from a company at the bottom without the capital and engineering resources of Mellow: Don’t charge the battery to full.
As Kieran says on YouTube:
Eskateboard with regenerative braking may lose brake when fully charged, so not to over charge the Battery to over 42V. This is one of the solution, use charger at 41.5V instead of 42V, so the battery is never fully charged. There is always some room for braking system to charge the Battery.
This charger is 2A – 41.5V output. You can use it for most of the electric skateboards rated 36V.
The downside is, the range of the board will drop like 1 km when using this charger.
Range suffers a bit but safety improves. I think that’s a win.
Kieran is the face of Meepo. He communicates with customers. He explains why Meepo is choosing a certain hub motor. He tells people why a certain deck size with a certain hub motor speed is better than another. He test rides his own products and records that to post on YouTube! He also shows products that are in the development stage. And look again at the screensnap at top. He doesn’t mind that you see Meepo’s offices have peeling paint from water damage! This is a genuine guy who is doing his best with what he has.
And he is making more out of the little he has than larger companies with actual marketing and advertising budgets!
I could name companies that present one face inside China and then STFU to outsiders. They want to keep their scandals a secret within China — as if Google Translate doesn’t exist and I can’t parse its weird translations! — and don’t give a shit about customers or potential customers.
Kieran is young enough and ambitious enough to still care.
That other Chinese companies aren’t learning from him and following his rare example is disgraceful.