Another successful NYC hack fest. Boom. Photo courtesy Doug Kanter
We started building DIY a few months ago and now we’re sharing the first thing we’ve made. This is a company that we hope to spend decades crafting, but it’s important for us to build it out in the open, bit by bit, to encourage our community of kids and parents to share feedback with us continuously. From Zach’s experience making Vimeo, we understand that this sort of culture fosters collaboration and admiration between a company and its community, and ultimately leads to something that is loved.
Our ambition is for DIY to be first app and community in every kid’s life. It’s what we wish we had when we were young, and what we’ll give to our kids. Today we’re releasing a portfolio tool to let kids collect everything they make as they grow up.
We’ve all seen how kids can be like little MacGyvers. They’re able to take anything apart, recycle what you’ve thrown away – or if they’re Caine, build their own cardboard arcade. This is play, but it’s also creativity and it’s a valuable skill. Our idea is to encourage it by giving kids a place online to show it off, so family, friends and grandparents can see it and easily respond. Recognition makes a kid feel great, and motivates them to keep going. We want them to keep making, and by doing so learn new skills, use technology constructively, begin a lifelong adventure of curiosity, and hopefully spend time offline, too.
We’re looking to you parents as partners to make it all work. It used to be that you hang your kids’ work on the fridge to let them know you’re proud. Now the Web is becoming a part of their life at home and school — and there’s a new opportunity to connect you to their creations and cheer them on.“Creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.”
- Sir Ken Robinson
When you get your kid to join DIY early, you’re helping to recognize creativity as an essential part of every kid’s education, and possibly a requirement for their satisfaction as an adult. Sadly, most adults don’t believe they’re creative although we’re all capable of it at any age! We believe that to accept yourself as a creative adult you must start as a kid who is fearless of learning new skills and doing it yourself. Encouraging your kids to be inventive and self-reliant now will better prepare them to participate in a world that keeps changing.
Here’s how it works today:
- DIY kids sign up and get their own Portfolio, a public web page to show off what they make.
- They upload pictures of their projects using diy.org or our iOS app.
- Kids’ projects are online for everyone to see, you can add Stickers to show support.
- You also have your own dashboard to follow their activity and to make sure they’re not sharing anything that should be private.
Kids are ready for this. They’re instinctively scientists and explorers. They’re quick to build using anything at their disposal. They transform their amazement of the world into games. They’re often drawn to learning that’s indistinguishable from play (think about bug collecting!). And, most important, they embrace technology.
We’re grateful for your help to make this company, and grow the next — hopefully larger — generation of creative kids.
- Zach Klein, Isaiah Saxon, Andrew Sliwinski, Daren Rabinovitch
(and Dave, Brian, Mike, Courtney, David, Lucas, Shawn, and Sean!)
There have been a lot of bits published about Instagram. Here’s the thing you really, really need to know in a nutshell about their success. Instagram was a combination. Specifically, it was a mashup of two already successful services: Hipstamatic and Foursquare. It took Hipstamatic’s great idea, made it free, even easier to use and added the nitro glycerine of a social feed (plus simple external social publishing). Kevin and Mike were also incredibly disciplined about not adding features, Eric Ries/MVP style. Sounds simple. It’s not.
"There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented."
Launching a new product is as much an art as it is a science—a risky endeavor with no guarantees. Successful products aren’t lists of ingredients—they’re thoughtful recipes. Success depends on the perfect mix of ingredients, time and craft. The market’s tastebuds are fickle and there’s only a few degrees difference between a success like the iPad and a failure like the TouchPad. This video is fascinating because it shows the focus Apple applies to its recipes and shows that its products aren’t lucky flukes, marketing hype or the result of Steve’s reality distortion field. They’re the result of laser-like focus on a product category and feature set.
I recently had the honor of product consulting with Gauri and the fantastic team at SpotOn. In one exercise, we reviewed the iPod product launch because it so beautifully demonstrates the questions product-focused CEOs ask themselves about their offerings. If I had to summarize the strategy from Jobs’ pitch it would go like this: 1) Find something meaningful to you; 2) Find something meaningful to others; 3) Survey the existing landscape; 4) Identify the valuable segment to focus on; 5) Create multiple improvements to that segment’s existing offerings.
Obviously these lessons apply to the more recent successes of the iPhone and iPad, but the parallels between the iPod and Apple’s previous innovations in personal computing and the GUI are striking to me too. Apple’s less an R&D house and more a synthesizer and popularizer of existing research. The company excels at translating innovative technology experiences to mass markets. Panasonic used to claim that they were “just slightly ahead of their time” but I think it’s a better slogan for Apple. Too far ahead of your time and you have expensive technology that won’t find a market (Apple learned this lesson with Lisa, Xerox with the Star). Too close to your time and you’re chasing the puck on falling prices for commodity hardware. The Lisa made a home appliance out of a decade of research from Xerox. But the Mac reduced Lisa’s price by 75% and changed the world. Likewise, with this video we see how Apple’s laser-like focus created a new product category and forever changed how music is listened to and distributed.