The Titanium Executive - A Collab with Ernest and Doc

October 18, 2021

The Titanium Executive - A Collab with Ernest and Doc

When I started yoyoing as a kid there wasn't much media. Youtube wasn't really a thing so you only had a few options to learn tricks from. Kens World On a String was a classic go to with jpegs of how to do tricks, and if you wanted to watch videos it would be a painful download of Quicktime or flash videos. But I remember vividly watching a video of a man doing the most creative tricks in an elevator shaft - you would know him as Doctor Popular. I must have learned a dozen of his tricks (and likely you unknowingly have too).
Visiting San Francisco has always been able to leave fond memories. The first time I went solo (7 years ago), I actually didn't get a chance to meet Doc. It was where I met Ernest for the first time - another accomplished player I knew from my childhood internet days. I have memories of us getting It'sits (the San Fransisco ice cream sandwich that Anti-yo Eetsits are named after), and below photos of where we went to a local Kendama meet. It's amazing when a stranger welcomes you to their city with open arms, and finding out the people you looked up to are actually just really cool, down to earth people is a great feeling.

When Ernest and Doc reached out in regards to this project I was more than stoked. The Executive project they did on Kickstarter a few years back was a huge success and involved so many good people. One of them was Onedrop, who manufactured and designed the original Executive - bringing Ernest and Doc's conceptual drawings to life. This meant I had a really good base to start with as far as converting an aluminum yoyo design to titanium.
The one thing that they nailed in the original Executive was the profile. Something about the original undersized shape just felt right in the hand for a pocket throw. It was an aspect of the yoyo I wanted to leave completely unchanged since it was such an recognizable and iconic design. The main challenge was converting an existing design to titanium since the material is so much more dense than aluminum. The weight in the hub was extracted quite a bit to remove dead weight. The change from the thicker Onedrop pads to the 19mm slim pads helped shave more material off the hub. This also meant that a captive nipple was needed for the axle - both adding function and from a style perspective, a classic nod to the Luftverk design language.
We agreed that the look of the yoyo felt right - and all said and done it looked very similar to a titanium version of the Proyo Ace, a yoyo I have referenced before in the past as an inspiration to my designs. The engravings are also a design layout inspired by older generation nostalgic topography. I like the term "reimagined" since with this collaboration I felt as this was a yoyo I converted into titanium more than designed from scratch, attempting to preserve what made the original Executive so special.

The original Executive branding was a fun playful representation of a classy business man's pocket yoyo. It involved original art ideas from Ernest and Doc, which was then brought to life by another dear San Fransisco friend of mine Paul Escolar. When I found out he did most of the original artwork I felt a need to include his work as a thank you to his contribution to the yoyo world. Me and Paul were actually in the process of making an Escolar edition Luftverk yoyo when he passed away, and including his artwork in this project was a subtle nod to the positive influence he has had in my life. The pin you see here and the t-shirt motif on the certificate were both artworks created by Paul, for the original aluminum Executive release.

Seeing the iconic signatures of both Ernest and Doc on the certificates are something very meaningful to me - something that the childhood me would have questioned how I got to where I was now. I printed these and sent them out to them signed - in the ideal world I would have loved to fly out to San Fransisco and hang out for the week. It just wasn't in the books this time, due to the restrictions and extra precautions in travel so we opted for many video calls. I still learned quite a lot of history from both and was fascinating hearing their perspectives on how the yoyo world has changed.

In regards to the actual play characteristics, the original aluminum version is a bit lighter at 55.6g. We initially did a prototype weighing 58.4g, but when I sent that version to Doc and Ernest, they offered some well needed changes. One thing we noticed was the lack of stability in the first titanium prototype (the unengraved one in the photo above), and the overall heft of the yoyo landing at the bottom of the string. For the production version, I knew i needed to cut down center weight, and add slightly more to the rim. This proved to be a bit difficult considering how small this yoyo is - there just isn't that much room to work with. The production version features a shorter nipple, and a decrease of overall weight by one gram, to 57.4g. This might seem insignificant but the combination of the weight distribution change, it played much more nimble. 

With such a small shape, I was shocked how well titanium worked with this profile and design. The overall package is very impressive, and the weight of it feels perfect for the small 45mm size. Personally I found the aluminum version to be a bit lighter than I'd like, so the weight for me was a welcome change offering a bit more performance. It will be interesting how owners of the original think of this new version.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with both Ernest and Doc, and with no surprise. Both have been such iconic players in the yoyo world, and their insight into this project has taught me a lot. It makes me realize the value of having a second or third pair of eyes during the design process. We are aiming to release these next week - Doc and I put together a podcast episode which should be dropping soon as well so keep your eyes out for that!

The Titanium Executive will drop Tuesday October 26th, 2021 10:00pm EST time.
Material: Titanium
Width: 30.0mm
Diameter: 45.0mm 
Weight: 57.4g 
Response: 19mm Silicone Pads

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