Nick Shabazz

Nick Shabazz

Gear Reviewer, YouTuber, and Generalized Jackass-of-all-trades

‘Stealth Review’ Consulting

So, the basic idea is that you send me gear, in the form of a prototype, pre-production sample, or even 3D print, I carry/use/examine, and then give feedback. The sent items do not have to be final products, and I’m happy to reference prototypes with lists of upcoming changes,

This is something I’ve done for around 20 companies and/or makers, of varying sizes. In many cases it’s been a one-off thing, or a sequence of single reviews of items, but in others, I’ve looked at a series of prototypes over many iterations. I’d tell you who all I’ve worked with and what I did, but that would entirely defeat the whole ‘stealth’ bit. Anyways, here’s a bit of detail:

This is not the right road for ‘exposure’

First, a stealth review is not a sneaky or paid way to get a public review. On some occasions, a stealth reviewed product has been excellent enough that I think my viewers would be passionate about it, and I may ask about (or purchase independently) a post-release sample for public review. But this is not generally the case, and there are several companies who send samples for stealth review, but whose products never appear publicly on my channel, and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Again, this is not a wink-wink-nudge-nudge way to get your product exposure, stealth is stealthy, and public reviews are an entirely different thing, and are not available on a paid basis. You’re welcome to provide product for me to check out, but you can’t buy your way onto the channel, and all the provisos on my disclaimer will apply.

The Process

The process is pretty straightforward.

The Feedback

Stealth reviews are designed to give you some feedback from a passionate member of the community who has handled more EDC gear than most. Feedback will consist of…

Please note that your product will only be discussed in the context of publicly available products. In the same way that your stealth reviewed products ‘don’t exist’ until made public, theirs don’t exist either. I have nothing to win and everything to lose by sharing details about upcoming releases, please don’t even ask.

Confidentiality

During this process, there is zero public exposure of the products. Not on YouTube, Instagram, or anything. Not in the background, not on the sly, not to my patrons. In fact, without your consent, I won’t even mention that I’ve gotten a product from you at any point. This is something I take very seriously, and the lack of pre-release items on my channel is evidence of that. You don’t know who I do this for, and it’s going to stay that way. I’m also willing to visit you on-site if you’d rather ensure that nothing leaves your facilities, as I’ve done before, but at your cost.

Note also that even once the item is released, I continue to hold in confidence the things discussed here, as well as any changes from the prototype(s). It’s easier for me to simply forget that the stealth review ever happened, publicly and privately.

I’m open to signing limited and targeted non-disclosure and embargo agreements, as I have many times before when consulting. But I encourage you to avoid being too heavy handed, as legal fees on my end required to evaluate and negotiate overly onerous NDAs will need to be passed on as a part of the consulting fees.

We’re on the same team here, but as somebody who will (potentially) be looking at your products publicly later, many NDAs are over-broad, and my inclination will be to pass on the opportunity if your lawyers get too creative. This is something that I do mostly because I love seeing great products get greater, but this isn’t my day job and I don’t ‘need’ this to happen, so if you (or your lawyers) are making this difficult, I don’t have much motivation to proceed.

Cost

My main motivation is to create publicly available content, and my Patrons pay for that to be a major component of my time. When I’m carrying something I can’t talk about or review publicly, there’s an opportunity cost and writing my reviews is not quick. This, alongside the expenses associated, is why I ask for payment.

My general fee structure is in line with industry standard design consulting fees:

That said, I’m passionate about the gear and helping the community and makers, and I’d rather see great gear get better. If you’re a new maker just getting started in the industry, I’m happy to waive this fee for your first product you bring to me, asking only that you cover shipping both ways. And for other makers, particularly small businesses, I’m happy to work on a sliding scale.

I wish I could do this for free for the world, but I hope you can understand why I need to charge for my time and effort, and respect my perspective enough to make it worth my while.

What I need from you

If you’re interested in setting this up, send me an email (nick at nickshabazz.com) letting me know…