Some time ago Scott Wilson, founder of the Chicago-based product and design studio MINIMAL, had an idea: to create two watch enclosures for Apple’s latest iPod nano and transform the Apple mp3 player into geekiest wristwatch ever. All he did was to put his project on Kickstarter with the goal of raising $15,000. And when he did so, he probably wasn’t expecting his project to become the most successfully funded in the crowdfunding site history.
Six hours ago the funding closed with really astonishing numbers: in total, 13,510 people have contributed with $941,558.
It’s a huge record, and we’ll probably keep writing about it for a while. But what amazes me the most are not the huge number of people participating or the total amount of money wilson’s project gathered. What’s new and enlightening is that we’re not talking about software, code, internet tools and other digital stuff like this.
We’re talking about hardware.
Wilson will use (and is already using) the money gathered online to build something you will buy, touch, use and appreciate in the real world. He is just back from a trip to China where he met his suppliers, tested the first prototypes, made new arrangements, posted a video to give his supporters a glimpse into the process of manufacturing the product and show “how much craft, hand work and care goes into the metal and even the silicone strap”.
The products (the TikTok ($35) and the LunaTik ($70) model) look beautiful and more than 13,000 people have already told Wilson they do like it (isn’t it a hell of a focus group?).
All this feels so real and makes me think about the possibilities: we are used to say that the Internet is changing the way we get and share informations or ideas or the way we interact with each other. But what Wilson and his project are proving right now is IMHO that – if properly used – the web can help us transforming a beatiful piece of design, a simple and smart idea into a real mass-market product.
A few days ago in Paris I had a nice chat with Matt Mullenweg – founding developer of WordPress – about the popular open-source blogging software and its future developments, as well as the way in which WP helps democracy along with anything else that enabes open communications, transparency and publishing.
There was also time to point out that Rambo is blogging on WordPress and that the partneship with Microsoft won’t eventually lead to any acquisition.
And when at end I asked him “if you had to start developing today, on what would you like to work?”, Matt answered “On e-mail, which I think is still really painful”, adding that what Facebook is doing goes in the right direction.
So let’s just hope that he really will, one day or another.
While in Paris for LeWeb, I had the chance to interview MG Siegler, who is a writer for the technology blog Techcrunch where he covers the web, mobile, social, big companies, small companies and much more.
The audio interview is divided into two parts: in the first one, he talks about his job as a hitech blogger at Techcrunch and how challenging is to create meaningful contents in the real-time web era.
In the second part I ask him what he thinks about Wikileaks and the way big players like Amazon or PayPal got rid of Julian Assange’s web site, rising a simple but vital question:
Who does really own (and so control) the Internet?
Gary Vaynerchuck is pure Energy. When you hear him speaking and rocking on the stage of LeWeb, you really start believing that everything is possible, that a real and deep change in the relationship among people and companies through social media is taking place right now.
That there is light, so to say, at the end of the “corporate communication tunnel”.
I had the chance to ask him some questions while he was giving his talk:
and then again at end of it during a short audio interview.
He told me that:
– not every company should engage with social media;
– There is light at the end of the tunnel but it’s going to take time to reach it;
– Virtual currency is going to be the next big trend;
– The most important site in the Internet right now is search.twitter.com, because when you use it you can see the communications, so its ok for you to reach out and engage with the people out there;
– The ROI of your mother can’t be measurable (couldn’t help to ask it him again ;-))
and last but not least that:
– Italy is a shocking country. More surprising even than China. A big question mark under lack of acceptance of this technology and this movement. Italy is a tough one, where something in culture is really pushing back an where the only way to break through is not being apologetic and push, push push.
Mike Kerns is Vice President, Social, Games & Personalization at Yahoo!. He is “responsible for developing experiences that drive richer personalization, support meaningful social engagement, and create new social advertising solutions, across the entire Yahoo! network of sites”. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Citizen Sports, maker of social and sports-related applications found on the Facebook, Android and iPhone platforms, acquired fromYahoo! in 2010.
During our short chat, we discussed about the opportunities for Yahoo! in social media environment and I learned that:
– Yahoo! uses the informations about the users it gathers from third party sites like Facebook and Twitter to better personalize their experience on its network;
– the big trend of social media in 2011 will be location. As he told me, “in social media what is important is your identity (who you are), your reletionships (who are your friends), your interests (what do you care about) and now increasingly your location (where you are);
– Facebook Places will be successful but there’s room also for the other services. For Yahoo! the opporunity is about providing meaning around users’ location;
– next phase in competition with other players like Google will lead the company to invest in personalizing the user’s media consumption experience.
This and more you will find in the following seven minute podcast