JP: What was the decision process around the four metrics: speed; ascent; distance; and time; and what did it take to include those, and omit others?
RN: It is very simple. You spend a lot of time riding and people mostly ask four questions: how far have we been, how high have we climbed, what’s my average speed, and how long is it until you get home? As you know, we are being ruthless by narrowing it to these metrics. But they’re the ones that really matter. The more you add, the more it interrupts the ride. Where does it stop? We want to be a brand that stands for something; that makes beautiful instruments for riding. The intruments are very advanced on the inside, really beautiful and cared for on the outside, and feel appropriate to your bike.
JP: So have you created the device as an artist or as a designer or as a cyclist?
RN: How can I distinguish whether I’m a designer, a cyclist, a father? We can make beautiful products and be informed by all those sensibilities. Being a designer and a technologist working within a brilliant corporation, there needs to be a huge amount of empathy, where you begin to understand how people think and feel, and what motivates them. Richard Seymour, a great designer from Seymour-Powell in London, said the greatest designers are both antennas and dictators. The antennas understand the world around them. The dictators have a strong point of view on how to make things fit into this world.
JP: Can you tell me a bit more about the timeline from now until actual production?
RN: There’s a shitload of work to do for the next nine months. The hope is that we’ll have the first 100 preproduction prototypes in August, we’ll test it, and we’ll break it, and we’ll re-test it, and we’ll refine that again, and then we’ll have another pre-production build in October. We’re doing a very systematic R&D ramp-up production process to get us to shipping the products in early 2017.
JP: What’s the ultimate plan for OMATA?
RN: I think it’s clear. We want to become an established brand that people love. There will be future generations of the OMATA Classic, and then we’ll start to add other products to the portfolio. We believe there’s a real opportunity to be a company which is recognised for building beautiful cycling instruments.