I recently attended Big Kansas City and had a chance to see Adam from Sphero present. At first, I didn’t truly understand what a robotic ball was, but after seeing the introduction video, I loved it. I contacted Sphero to learn more about their company and marketing campaigns. Below are their answers.
You were great in KC, where else have you spoken?
I was recently at the Le Web conference in Paris, where I actually broke an iPad on stage. I’ve also been on stage at Startup Weekend, TwilioCon, and a few different universities.
Do you go to any trade shows?
Sphero is constantly rolling around the globe to different trade shows. Just this year we made an appearance at CES, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, SXSW at the Gaming Expo, Game Developers Conference, and Gadget Show Live in the UK. Next stop, Google I/O!
Why do you think your product stands out?
First off, Sphero’s a robotic ball. When people see it rolling around on the floor it makes them stop and wonder exactly what they’re seeing. Second, Sphero’s unique because we’ve built hardware that is defined entirely by the software running on your smartphone. Right now we have 20+ apps for Sphero that include everything from a game of Sphero Golf to augmented reality with our 3D character, Sharky the Beaver. Plus, everyone loves balls.
What could its applications be besides games?
Sphero was built for fun. But outside of the games and apps, there are definitely some practical applications. There are obvious medical applications for things like hand rehabilitation or shoulder surgery. There’s also a lot of potential in controlling other devices using Sphero. We’ve even hooked it up to a blender!
How big is the Sphero team?
We’re around 35 people these days, give or take.
What is your working environment like?
Imagine a Chuck E. Cheese full of brilliant adults that act like young kids. Combine that with robots and a fridge full of beer, and that’s the Orbotix team.
Besides letting President Obama play with Sphero, have you done any other guerrilla marketing or public promotions or “stunts”?
Our entire culture at Orbotix is a form of guerrilla marketing. Just check out our YouTube page to see our Harlem Shake video and our latest project, Sphero Peacekeeper. It’s a huge lion-proof Sphero that weighs 150 lbs. We also have a SpheroMan mascot well known for DJing at events across the country, from SXSW in Austin to Google I/O and E3 in California.
How do you think most people find out about Sphero?
We’re always trying to introduce new fans to Sphero, and the best way to do this is speaking at conferences and demoing at events worldwide. There’s nothing like letting someone drive a ball around a racetrack for the first time.
Are you working on any other products?
Currently our focus is on making the Sphero gaming experience even better with new apps. This year we’ll be focused on augmented reality, and in our next game for Sphero you’ll be able to interact with zombies that crawl out of your living room floor. There are always more projects in mind for the future, too!
Thanks a lot to Whitney James, Adam Wilson, and the rest of Sphero team for letting us get a glimpse of your company! You can purchase Sphero at Apple stores or on the company website.