Around 300 projects up on Kickstarter claim to be “innovative” and around 140 claim to be “revolutionary.” Only two claim to be both “innovative” and “revolutionary.” One of them might have been both but it was really technical and involved snowboards, which I know nothing about, so I don’t feel qualified to discuss it. Also, they didn’t make their goal so we’ll leave them at their word. No doubt the true genius of the terribly named Erbacher EFlex will only be realized after the creators are long dead.

The other project to make this claim is the Notabag. It has only a few hours left on the clock and they’ve more than made their money (around 30K) so we aren’t going to ruin it all by calling them out at this stage of the game.  Notabag is a tote bag that you can wear like a backpack.

A quick history lesson is in order before we continue. Before the internet, you were pretty much safe in making any ridiculous claim that popped into your ignorant head. There was no way to verify anything that didn’t involve effort and a library card. If someone called you out, you had a choice; you could either yield and look like a fool, or respond with “No, dude, I saw it in a magazine,” or, alternatively, “No dude, I read it in a book.” Claiming you saw it on TV was a dicey gambit because there were only three channels and the odds were good that the other guy had seen that show too. That was the way we lived and we loved it.

The makers of Notabag, who are German, indicate that they spent “almost a year prototyping.” I haven’t spent much time in Europe lately, however I do know that Germans are rarely sober and they get around eight months off a year in vacation time and holidays. Therefore, all this “prototyping” probably boiled down to around a month of actual work in American time plus maybe a long weekend in China. Whatever the case, it is clear none of that time was spent researching the current state of bag technology on the internet.

Let’s leave aside the fact that any tote bag can be worn like a backpack, provided the user can slip their arms through the handles. It looks dumb, of course, but at least people will assume you had no other option, unlike the Notabag, which looks like you’ve deliberately chosen to wear a tiny cape.

So here is the real problem: An Amazon search on “tote backpack” yields a little more than 19,000 results. Granted, some are less like the Notabag than others. Some are cheaper, for instance. Most appear to be better constructed, etc..  What almost all of these thousands of other bags have in common, however, is that they are suspiciously similar in design to the Notabag. It is also worth noting that none of these other bags claim to be innovative and/or revolutionary.

The lesson in all this is something like, “Being lazy and German is no excuse for not doing your homework.” Or maybe, “Don’t bother doing your homework if you plan on selling your product exclusively to women and metrosexuals.”

One Response to Notabag

  1. HipsterPhobic
    January 6, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    “Mommy, I’m scared. I just saw some German hipsters.”