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September 2004 Chat supporting SegwayFest 2004

Our fifth moderated chat was with Morgan Smith, Executive Vice President of Customer Activation; Carla Vallone, Chief Spinmeister; and Jim Reynolds, SegwayFest! 2004 Organizer

Date: Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Time: 7:00 - 8:00 pm ET (4:00 - 5:00 pm PT)

Participants: Morgan Smith, Carla Vallone, Jim Reynolds and the Segway community
Moderated by: John Grohol ( Webmaster)

The following is a transcript of the chat:

John_Grohol: Hi folks and welcome to tonight’s chat event.
John_Grohol: I’m’s Webmaster and your moderator for tonight’s chat.
John_Grohol: I’m pleased to bring you something different for this chat event, a chance to ask questions regarding both the upcoming SegwayFest! 2004 gathering as well as with some of Segway’s marketing team.
John_Grohol: Jim Reynolds is a Segway HT owner, enthusiast and this year’s SegwayFest! organizer. You may have caught a glimpse of him (and his wife Chandra) hamming it up in Chicago on the Segway HT p Series video.
John_Grohol: Carla Vallone and Morgan Smith are colleagues who’ve been a part of Segway’s marketing team since the beginning (pre-launch). We were just having some fun with their titles in announcing the chat, because they were so excited to chat tonight!
John_Grohol: Carla’s real title is Communications Manager, which means that she manages media interviews, drums up publicity for the product, our dealers and Segway HT owners. Morgan is Segway’s Brand Manager and is responsible for creating marketing materials, works on promotions and partnerships, and manages the Segway brand.
John_Grohol: As I mentioned, this chat is moderated. What that means is that after you type in your question, it is automatically forwarded to the me for consideration. So fire away!John_Grohol: Actually, they came on right after launch, sorry about that…

amturnip: I can’t take my Seg anywhere anymore because I can’t lock it up securely. Now that the Kryptonite tubular-cylinder locks are history… will Segway be offering a replacement wheel-nut lock?

Morgan_Smith: Check out our 12mm Cable Lock by Kryptonite - it’s available now.
Morgan_Smith: By the way, hello everyone!

Carla_Vallone: Hi!
Carla_Vallone: Can’t wait to see you all at SegwayFest!

Morgan_Smith: We’re happy to be here tonight too.

joshmo: Anything special planned for SegwayFest this year?

fathertime: We will see all of your smiling faces in just a few weeks!
fathertime: Quite a few things
fathertime: Dean will speak at breakfast this year

Morgan_Smith: So is everyone all signed up and ready to storm Bonita Springs?

fathertime: Ron Bills will keynote

Carla_Vallone: Oh yeah! Some of the highlights that I am really looking forward to is hearing Ron Bills speak, and welcoming our French counterparts from France - Keolis - who will do a presentation about their intermodel transportation projects

fathertime: Segway Polo will be introduced
fathertime: Some new Agility Courses have been set up to challenge you!
fathertime: Personal guided rides on property with separate topics
fathertime: A killer Scavenger Hunt and lots more~

QuadSquad: Segfest creates a rather unique opportunity for LLC’s marketing department. What considerations are you giving too position and that not to be only a gathering of enthusiasts but also a platform to

Morgan_Smith: We love any opportunity to meet and glide with our customers.

Carla_Vallone: Ron will take advantage of the opportunity to highlight our achievements this year, and tell the community what our goals are for ‘05

GadgetmanKen: Will there be any national primetime Television commercials anytime soon?

Morgan_Smith: We keep learning about what things work. No plans now on running a national TV campaign.
Morgan_Smith: Our regional work has been interesting and we’re hoping to keep things moving.

Hauptagon: Can you give us an idea as to whether Segway is planning on some other promotions besides the summer promotion, or if the summer promotion will actually be extended?

Carla_Vallone: The current promotion is ending this month. We’ve got some cool ideas in the hopper for holiday. It won’t be long until you hear about those

Stan671: The Scavenger hunt sounds like a blast - please tell us more about it.

fathertime: You will get clues to the location of objects on property
fathertime: there are about 300 acres around the Hyatt and this has been a very interesting set-up for this game
fathertime: You will have to find the location and prove discovery with your team members
fathertime: kinda like survivor without the bugs and bad food~

ChrisP: Can you tell us a bit about the box lunch and Island rides?

fathertime: The box lunches really will facilitate moving away from the hotel
fathertime: without the need to eat in a restaurant
fathertime: but rather enjoy the property
fathertime: which sits in the middle of a bird sanctuary
fathertime: they have the only Audubon approved gold couirse in that part of the world~

Dez250: Why was the E series segway dropped from production and sales recently?

Carla_Vallone: We listened to our customers, and found that most of them were using E series for cargo carrying applications
Carla_Vallone: Now that we have side bags that are capatable with the i Series, customers can use those without having to go through extra training

BenjiUK: What are the marketing plans for the wider global audience? (of course I want to know when segway will reach the UK :-) )

Carla_Vallone: I’m glad you asked! We’re buliding a lot of momentum overseas and already have distrubitors in Italy, Korea, Singapore, France and more.
Carla_Vallone: We’ll be focusing on signing up more distributors in those countries, as well as evaluating opportunities in Japan and China - but Europe (the U.K. Benji!) is our primary focus.
Carla_Vallone: In fact, next week, we’ll announce the appointment of our VP of International Business.

KSagal: I was curious as to the list for the promotions. I was promised coupons but never recieved them. Will current owners be included in future marketing efforts?

Morgan_Smith: You should have received the referral cupons - our apologies. Send me an email with your address and I’ll get you the cupons.
Morgan_Smith: And yes, we always try to incorporate our customers in our future planning.~

John_Grohol: Send to me at [email protected]
John_Grohol: thanks!

segwayowner: Is a Segway trailer anywhere in the future?
BenjiUK: Thats fantastic news Carla, thanks for the answer. I hope we can organise Segfest International in the not too distant future!

Carla_Vallone: If you are referring to the Segway HT Hauler - I looked into that - and there is good news!
Carla_Vallone: Early next month we will launch “Segway Shop” and customers will be able to order accessories via
Carla_Vallone: When that goes live you’ll be able to order the Segway HT Hauler - and those going to SegwayFest! 2004 will have an opportunity to buy it on site for a special SF!2004 price!

PD1: Has the dealership marketing channel been working better than other sales options? I expect it has.

Morgan_Smith: We are thrilled at the acceleration of new Dealers nationwide - it gives interested people a chance to experience our products!
Morgan_Smith: We now have more than 60 Dealers, in addition to our Brookstone, Amazon and outlets, and more on the way. Please go visit your local Segway dealer!

amturnip: Just curious: Have you found any nation as slow-moving and backward as the New York State? ;-)

Carla_Vallone: Yeah, Connecticut and Massachusetts!

Stan671: Is Segway going to be selling stuff at Fest like front bumpers, 25.0 bags, CS Quick releases, ET Tires, etc. I think you could sell a lot of stuff.

Carla_Vallone: Absolutely! We are bringing a LOT more inventory than last year, and all at special SegwayFest! prices!

fathertime: Segway of Chicago will also have some specialized products that are custom made for the HT

Carla_Vallone: I’m not sure about “parts” like the front bumper - but we’re bringing the accessories - including…….Black 12.0 and 25.0 Cargo Bags.~

QuadSquad: What does LLC see as their primary market target today?
QuadSquad: What is their profile?

Morgan_Smith: We learned a ton about our early adopter customers (great people)… and now we’re on to the next phase.
Morgan_Smith: We see a nice range in our customers - people who need a smart transportation device to get from point a to point b
Morgan_Smith: to those who just want to get out, enjoy the fresh air, and have some fun.
Morgan_Smith: We welcome everyone interested in fun, smart transportation. Come on down!

Dez250: Can you announce any new products that will available soon, and if they will beavailable via the new online store and/or local dealers

Carla_Vallone: I know this question is on everbody’s minds - We will announce new products in 2005, and every year after that. But like most companies, we don’t release the juicy details under we’re ready to sell.

GadgetmanKen: Can you give us any hint to the new products that are about to be released?

Carla_Vallone: hmmmm……tempting…..but I can’t tell you about products that will be released. I CAN tell you that an interesting product idea, from Segway, will be featured in the next issue of Popular Science.
Carla_Vallone: Visit your news stand on Oct. 19 for all the details!

John_Grohol: Welcome to the chat! We’re glad you could make it out tonight and spend some time with us. We’re chatting tonight with Jim Reynolds, SegwayFest! organizer, and two members from Segway’s marketing team, Carla Vallone (PR) and Morgan Smith (Brand).
John_Grohol: Just to let you know we’re at about the half-way point…

jrunner192: I know that we can expect mostly new accessories but might there also be products more substantial than just accessories?

Morgan_Smith: Every year we’ll release new products and accessories.

amturnip: Are dealers gearing up to troubleshoot and perform repairs, so that folks won’t have to worry about the hassle of shipping the HT back to HQ?

Morgan_Smith: Oh yes, Dealers can offer service, just like Segway HQ. Call your local dealer to check their offerings.~
Morgan_Smith: We’re trying to extend our overall offerings, including service, which is why we are concentrating so heavily on building a solid dealer network.

KSagal: What is LLC’s position on after market modifications to Segways. I mean primarily in the accessories area. I would imagine no endorsement of anything that compromises safety, other stuff?

Carla_Vallone: We get really jazzed up when we see the customization and accessory solutions y’all come up with.
Carla_Vallone: It keeps are juices flowing and keeps us informed about what you want.
Carla_Vallone: Of course, safety is our first priority, but we realize that there are lots of “off the shelf” solutions that are very useful.

BenjiUK: How come Morgan appears so many times in the 2004 Segway promotional video on

Morgan_Smith: Because a) I was in charge of recruiting the talent, b) the talent didn’t ride as well as Segway employees so we had to step in, c) I have an ego problem, or d) it was fun to “act” and yes - it was a blast.

dzdk6s: Has anyone ask about the “Hitch Hauler” yet?

Carla_Vallone: Yes, we did, it will be available early next month on “Segway Shop” or at SegwayFest! Soon thereafter, dealers will have it to sell.

BenjiUK: WOW Segway Shop sounds great, please consider allowing overseas shipments from the shop if only for accessories, I need some new batteries! :-)

Carla_Vallone: Since we are setting up international distributors, who will in turn set up dealers, we want to leave those business opportunities to them.

dzdk6s: Is Segway looking at Li-Poly batteries for lighter weight and better range?

Carla_Vallone: I don’t know about that technology specifically (remember I’m the PR girl) but I know that increasing the range of the Segway HT is one of our top 3 development priorities.
Carla_Vallone: So we are looking into lots of different options.~

The_milkman: Carla & Morgan….what are your biggest near/long-term challenges you face at Segway?

Morgan_Smith: Good question Milkman - I guess the answer is the same for both… more passionate people on Segway HTs!

Carla_Vallone: For me my challenge is MORE POSITIVE COVERAGE! I’ve learned its never enough!

dgbint: Hey Morgan - that sounds like a great byline - Segway HT - for people with passion !
Dez250: You said increasing range is one of the top 3 development priorities, what are the other two of the top three?

Carla_Vallone: Oh, that’s right, 2) longer battery life 3) further distance

RAG1247: Morgan: Hi - is llc working on a child carrier for the segway?

Morgan_Smith: Hmmmm…. you must know that I have been busy working on my own Segway family

GadgetmanKen: Has the new midnite blue model taken off as well as planned and is there more colors in the works?

Morgan_Smith: Safety is always our top consideration, but I know of some folks who’ve enjoyed sharing the experience with loved ones.

Carla_Vallone: Yes and YES!

GadgetmanKen: Do you have a large team of people working on ideas and mods for the HT?

Carla_Vallone: There are times when our Product Development teams spends full days, or even weeks, coming up with a ton of new ideas for products and accessories. It’s always a fun time around here when they are “creating”.~

Dez250: Since Segway LLC recently moved out of the Millyard and completly into Bedford, has anything been effected by the move?

Morgan_Smith: Well our eating habits for one… Bedford has less choices than Manch-Vegas
Morgan_Smith: We all like working under the same roof though - Things are a lot more integrated

John_Grohol: Just a few minutes left to get your questions in! We’re here until the top of the hour.

dzdk6s: How can we better spread the word about Segways in our local communities?

Carla_Vallone: Now that so many states have passed EPAMD laws, the work with regulators comes down to the local level.

Morgan_Smith: And I love being able to glide around our production line - too cool.

Carla_Vallone: I’d suggest meeting with your town council to introduce them to the Segway HT, so that their experience with the device is positive from the start. You can also find a lot of great “ambassadors” in environmental and smart growth groups in your town.

Morgan_Smith: And don’t ever forget to glide, glide, glide! The more the merrier.

dzdk6s: So work with local city councils and fire and police depts to better inform them of the Segways safety and ease of use?

Morgan_Smith: We’re seeing a lot more fire and police departments buy Segway HT fleets - so they’re helping too.

Carla_Vallone: Absolutely, even if you are in “peace time” negotiations, you can meet with them and say “Hey, if you ever hear of any questions or concerns, give me a ring.”

GadgetmanKen: What would Segway marketing like to have accomplished in the next year?

Morgan_Smith: Happy and overly satisfied customers, impressed and eager buyers, advocates who spread the word…
Morgan_Smith: we want the entire Segway community - employees, dealers, customers, you name it - to help grow the Segway business

Dez250: Whats the news about the company that produced the Gearboxes for the Segway HT closing, whos currently producing the gearboxes?

Carla_Vallone: We are now making the gearboxes.

John_Grohol: I’d like to thank Jim Reynolds, from SegwayFest! and Morgan and Carla from Segway marketing for joining us this evening!
John_Grohol: It was great having them all here for tonight’s chat.

fathertime: Cheers! See you at
fathertime: SegwayFest! 2004

Morgan_Smith: Thanks everyone - time has flown by. I look forward to seeing everyone at SegwayFest! 2004

Carla_Vallone: Thanks everybody! It was so much fun, can’t wait to see you all at SegwayFest! Jim has an excellent show planned.

John_Grohol: A transcript of tonight’s chat will be posted later tonight on and tomorrow on
John_Grohol: Thank you all!

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