On July 5th 2016, Ernest Kahn and I launched a Kickstarter for the original Executive Yo-Yo, a highly enjoyable aluminum yo-yo that was small enough to fit in your coin pocket.
The original idea was inspired by a modded version of the Ace Yo-Yo by ProYo. The Ace was the perfect shape, but I never really loved the response and gap in it. I asked my friend Nick Corea if he could remove the center of the Ace with the center of a Bolt Yo-Yo (my favorite plastic yo-yo). The result was… sexy!
What I learned was a) small yo-yos could be more than just a novelty and b) I prefered the lighter feel. Most manufacturers had made an undersized yo-yo at some point or another, but they often felt the need to make up for size by increasing the weight. Despite being 20% smaller in size, some mini-yo-yos weighed 2 to 5 grams heavier than their full sized counterpart.
All of this was on my mind for years, so when I randomly bumped into Ernest on the street in San Francisco and we started talked about our dream yo-yos, it was the first thing that came to my mind. We both decided it would be awesome to do Kickstarters for our dream-yos and The Executive was born.
The name, The Executive, was inspired by a wave of cheesy “executive yo-yos” from back in the 70s (ebay link). I think the joke was that executives had way too much time on their hands, so they just played with fancy toys all day. So chrome plated yo-yos were created as gag gifts. The imagery really stuck with me, so I always imagined this mini yo-yo as something you’d find in a fancy box on some corporate bigwigs desk. Next to a Newton’s Cradle and some pics of their kids playing baseball.
I had done a few signature yo-yos with companies before, but never imagined manufacturing a run on my own. That’s were Ernest really took the lead. He put us in contact with the team at One Drop Design, a yo-yo manufacturer out of Eugene Oregon, and really got the ball running. Without Ernest, The Executive never would have been more than a pipe dream. He really had the vision to just make it happen, which I thought was really inspirational.
I took a train to Eugene to hang with the One Drop crew, and we made a few prototypes overnight. Here’s an interview I shot with Shawn Nelson at the time:
The Kickstarter was a huge success and we manufactured nearly 400 yo-yos. The Executive yo-yo was the 2nd highest yo-yo project in Kickstarter’s history and I’ve carried one with me nearly everyday since then. Despite the success, we never released a follow up batch.
My favorite aspect of the Executive yo-yo project was that it got me to start playing yo-yo again. I mean, I never stopped, but as yo-yos kept getting wider and wider (and pants getting skinnier and skinnier) I just didn’t carry around a yo-yo as much as I used to. Having a fun yo-yo that I could always have with me, pulled me back into the hobby!
Recently, I told Ernest that I wanted to start my own toys and games company, and that I wanted The Executive to be part of that. We decided to split up the colors, so we could each manufacture our own Executives. So if you missed the original release, I’m pleased to say we have a couple drops coming your way next week!
The first drop will be a small batch of nickel plated Executives on DoctorPopular.com on Tuesday January 23rd at noon pst. The second drop will be some gorgeous Executives in purple or orange on Ernest’s site, yoyosf.bigcartel.com, on January 26th at noon.
I’m so happy to finally be releasing more Executive Yo-Yos in the world, and can’t think of a better way to kick off Doc Pop Toys & Games!