There's no doubt that the Nomad ChargeKey is a clever idea (as is their ChargeCard). My cell phone may have dozens of uses, but once the battery is run down, it's little more than a flimsy paperweight. By having a USB cable, even a short one, I've got a fighting chance at recharging the phone (of course, I'd have to find a USB power source, but that's getting easier and easier).
However, reading about this ChargeKey giveaway, it wasn't the cable itself that impressed me, but this short statement:
They cost only $25 ($2 off for sharing on social media). Or, in the nomadic spirit, they also accept barters as a way for people and businesses to exchange their goods for theirs! Yes, you read that right. So far, they’ve been offered anything “from custom bikes and die-stamped office furniture to wall art and artisanal popcorn”.
And it's true, you can head over to this page and request a barter.
I love this concept for so many reasons. First, it shows that innovation doesn't have to mean fancy tech. In this case, they've added a totally new way to purchase their products using little more than a web form.
Second, it primes their business for serendipity. Sure, they may get a bunch of bogus requests, but they may also get some truly unexpected and wonderful offers.
Finally, I love how it shows a level of trust of their customers. They are assuming the best of people: if I give you the option, you're going to suggest a fair trade with me. Compare that stance to companies who refuse to put up a support phone number or require you go through an automated process before talking to a human. I read that as: "I'm assuming that you'relazy and just want to waste our precious support resources, so let me put as many barriers in your way as possible."
As for the ChargeKey itself, I've fallen in love with my Anker AStro 3E charger, so I think I'm good in that department.