recaps of the top 'ask me anything' interviews from reddit and more...
We are Matthew and Mark McLachlan, inventors of Fidget Cube. Ask us anything!

We're product and game designers. In 2016, we launched our invention Fidget Cube, which went on to become the second most-backed project on Kickstarter. We quickly found ourselves facing a global wave of counterfeits, which opened our eyes to the crazy world of intellectual property and knockoffs. We've since released Marvel-licensed Fidget Cubes, additional desk toys, and are now venturing into the world of tabletop games.

Proof: https://twitter.com/antsylabs/status/1181313306105040897

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3VMvpFBg7R/

Ask us anything!

Our most recent project is a party game that's loosely based on our experience making Fidget Cube, and it's on Kickstarter now: Fidget Factory

Edit: Wowza. Thank you everyone for all of the questions! We're heading out for a bit to grab some dinner, but will be back later this evening to try to answer some more questions.


18
questions
1,675
score
October 7th 2019
interview date
NOT_AN_APPLE

What sides did you envision the Fidget Cube having that didn't make the cut?


MarkMcLachlan

We played around with the idea of a trap door mechanism that would interact with the opposite side of the cube when opened/closed. We were quite fond of this side in particular, but scrapped it along the way due to engineering/manufacturing concerns.

TheStarlightNinja

What drew you to the idea of a fidget cube? Are you both sort of fidgety? Do either of you happen to have ADHD?


MarkMcLachlan

We both fidget a ton. Neither of us have been (officially) diagnosed with ADHD, but as we set out to design Fidget Cube a big appeal to us was the possibility that it might have helped us personally with our ability to focus while working.

Aycoth

What was the most surprising thing that y'all found out about IP theft and knockoffs?


MarkMcLachlan

That our system is in no way designed to handle the world we live in today.

I can simply scan an object and have a 3D model generated from it or send a photo of an unreleased object to a manufacturer who can replicate it within hours. Meanwhile, the USPTO will take up to years to review legitimate applications.

foodbringer

What is your favorite/most used side of the cube?


MarkMcLachlan

It's gotta be the Flip side for me. We spent a stupid amount of time on that particular mechanism to get it to feel just right.

MeowyMuse

I am one of your original backers! I thought it was a brilliant idea and it made me so sad to see y’all lose potential profit from all the counterfeits. What would you do differently if you had to do it again?


MarkMcLachlan

Thank you for your support, and for coming along for the ride from the beginning!

Once Elon Musk inevitably cracks time travel, our first mission will be to file our entire IP portfolio 4 years before launching.

While we filed for protection of our IP within the appropriate timelines, it takes an obscene amount of time for these applications to be reviewed and approved by governments - both local and international. What that meant for us was that in the early days of Fidget Cube, we had to fight tooth and nail against counterfeiters with a very limited arsenal, simply because we were waiting for piles of documents to be stamped.

That said, it's super tempting to hold onto a list of regrets regarding what we could have done differently. And to be honest, Matthew and I are probably guilty of doing that more often than we'd like to admit. 3 years after putting Fidget Cube out into the world, I'd like to think we're getting a bit better at looking at our journey for what it is and finding peace with how we navigate it.

brijoepro

In addition to the silent edition which has been asked about, have you considered an executive version that’s made of metal and a “luxury model”?


MarkMcLachlan

Said this in another comment, but our first prototypes of Fidget Cube were actually metal. Due to cost concerns, we ended up going in a different direction.

We'd love to revisit this one day, though!

molohunt

Why did it take over a year after i funded the kickstarter to receive one of the cubes, And on top of that, Why did i see them in my local Walmart being commerically sold before i received my backers fidget cube? Not trying to troll or anything its been years but thats always been a question on my mind and has actually stopped me from purchasing any future products. I still have my cube beside me and fidget every few days my hands find it. every button works fine, great product. Not so great release.


MarkMcLachlan

I'm sorry to hear that it took that long for you to receive your Fidget Cube. Counterfeit Fidget Cubes were of course being sold globally prior to us officially shipping, but we took steps to ensure that our distribution partners were not shipping to or selling legitimate product prior to us shipping all backer rewards in Q1/Q2 2017.

I'm glad to hear that you're still using your Fidget Cube, and I hope that we can earn back your trust in the future.

zsvx

do you prefer the cube to a spinner? if one of those isn’t your favorite, what’s your favorite fidget device?


MarkMcLachlan

Probably not a shocker, but cubez4lyfe.

Pyrochazm

Do you have two more siblings named Luke and John?


MarkMcLachlan

If I had a nickel for every time...

bp1108

As a teacher, why????? Lol. It’s good for the kids that need it but the kids that don’t, ugh.


MarkMcLachlan

Oh man, it sounds like there are some stories behind that question. ;)

Our wives are both teachers as well, and they've seen advantages to using it in the classroom. But please accept our apologies for those instances where it hasn't been the case in yours!

fuseytheclown

How do you exactly solve that goddamn thing?


MarkMcLachlan

Maybe the real puzzle was the friendships we made along the way.

PiGuy180

When designing the Fidget Cube, did you ever think that the project would progress to a point where various knockoffs were produced, like spinners?


MarkMcLachlan

We had dreams of having a small stockpile of Fidget Cubes that we'd sell a few a week of for years to come. Prior to launching, Matt and I half-joked that even if it was a complete flop, we'd at least have the prototypes we could show to our grandchildren.

So, no, we didn't really have an idea what was going to happen when we hit launch on the campaign.

MY_NAME_IS_LAPIS

Do you think that the cube actually helped with focus or directed people's attention to a device that engages them but ultimately distracts them more?


MarkMcLachlan

We were intentional about wanting to make Fidget Cube something that was entirely tactile and didn't require the user to take their eyes off of their work. YMMV, of course, but for me it's been beneficial in this regard, as it allows me to sort of funnel any physical jitters into a tangible tool.

Additionally, we've received countless emails from users who have shared that it has helped them focus throughout their day.

antoniofelicemunro

Do you wish you had invented the fidget spinner instead?


MarkMcLachlan

From our understanding, spinners were around for years before we launched Fidget Cube, though they were never marketed with "fidget" in the name - as far as we can tell.

It's our belief that the advent and success of Fidget Cube sparked the spinner craze that followed shortly after our launch in 2016 (with others tagging "fidget" onto the marketing for those products).

While we as inventors would obviously love to have as many successful inventions to our name as possible, we wouldn't trade our experience with Fidget Cube for anything.

BBWinATL

How did y'all feel when the fucking Chinese stole your idea like they steal everything?


MarkMcLachlan

feelsbadman.jpg

In all honesty, it's the double-edged sword of manufacturing becoming more attainable by people like us, while legislation and safeguards have not yet caught up with the times. While Chinese manufacturers sparked the counterfeiting, many of the bad actors were US-based individuals and companies.

jackus36

Have you invented anything else yet? Do you have anything else in the works?


MarkMcLachlan

Yes! We've released a couple products since Fidget Cube, we're currently on Kickstarter funding a party game based on our story making Fidget Cube, and we have 3 new product releases lined up for 2020.

We enjoy what we do.

SilentSamurai

If cost was no issue, what would your ideal fidget cube look like?


MarkMcLachlan

Great question! The first prototypes of Fidget Cube were actually made from metal.

We found a local machine shop to work with on these iterations, and had them CNC a couple units for us (the plan was to die cast the product, but we wanted to first get a sense for how it felt in these materials).

Needless to say, when we got the first quote back, we started looking at other options.

Papas_Big_Lawsuit

Is that you God?


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MarkMcLachlan