let's learn from the salsa amigos blog

Maybe you know that I’m a bit obsessed with bicycles. Two of my bikes are made by a smallish company (owned by a bigger company) called Salsa. I’ve been subscribed to their Amigos Blog for quite some time. They give updates about their product line, report on cool rides they’ve done, give occasioanlly talk about their personal lives. They do a great job reminding readers that Salsa is a company made of people.

Recently, they’ve been doing something different and really neat. They’ve been directly soliciting input about their company from blog readers. They’re being user-centered. Here are the types of questions they have been asking. Not that you necessarily care about the bike bits, but pay attention to the casual, friendly tone of their posts, and the questions they’re asking.

Imagine a bunch of little Salsa Pepperman Elves running about and building all sorts of Christmas presents for the good cycling people of the world. Santa Pepperman is looking over his crew of elves making sure everything is just right. Now, imagine asking Santa Pepperman for just one new product from Salsa Cycles. What would “IT” be?

Greetings folks. As you know we’ve been having a lot of discussion about designs and materials. Well, we are still having these discussions and we’ve got more questions. Today, I want to ask you for your feedback on cut to length seat tubes and press in bottom brackets.

Salsa is taking a look at our packaging and we have a few goals:

Minimize the environmental costs by using minimal packaging, recycled materials, and recycleable materials when possible.

Obviously the packaging needs to accomplish a few other things as well:

Protect the product during shipping, sufficiently and efficiently brand the product, and possibly provide for efficient display of the product on the sales floor.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on bike part packaging. Please identify whether you are a consumer or bike dealer and shop staff.

So, here goes….

Carbon fiber is everywhere in the bicycle world! Heck, we use it already on bars and seatstays on our successful Mamasita, Campeon & Moto Rapido frames.

Do you, our readers & customers, want Salsa to offer complete carbon frames and/or complete bikes?

If yes, what models or categories would you like to see?

If no, why?

Lastly, if you respond, could you please identify yourself as a dealer or a consumer?

(I couldn’t find permalinks for their posts)

They don’t have to take every piece of advice or request that people make. Most importantly, they’re letting their customers (and fan base) have a say and that’s valuable to the fans, even if Salsa doesn’t take their advice. It shows they are interested in their customers, and who doesn’t like to have people interested in them? Beyond this, Salsa *can* use this info to get new ideas, as a general guide, or maybe even confirm hunches. They can mine the collective intelligence of people enthusiastic about their products.

It takes a bit of guts to open up your company (or institution) like this. Many organizations might be afraid of what they’d hear. I haven’t seen this type of exchange on a library website, but think this is what we should be aiming for.

Please let me know if you’ve seen libraries actively soliciting input about library services or materials on their website.

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