I love these entrepreneurial websites such as Kickstarter. It’s a vicarious pleasure in seeing other people’s ideas and helping these people succeed by investing in their products. I found a new one today – Quirky – which I think takes the idea development to the next level. Quirky refer to it as a “A Socially Developed Product (TM)” and they help you take a product from the idea through product development to production and sales.
Here’s Quirky’s product development process.
What seems to be unique about Quirky (and to be fair, I haven’t exhaustively researched the topic) is that part of the process is to encourage feedback from Quirky members to improve the product. They call it “community curation”. It’s a great idea especially if it leads to better products.
Taking it further, Quirky has this notion of influence. You earn influence by submitting ideas or commenting on products, and influence converts into a proportion of the profit from those objects that you worked on. The explanation is a bit opaque in places and I’d be interested to see what sort of money people make but it seems to be way to reward everyone who helped make the product a success.
There are some really interesting products on the site and the one that currently has my eye is the Converge docking station. It’s probably less docking station and more charging station but it looks great and solves a problem that many of us have.
The Converge is in pre-sale and so far it looks like it has garnered only 69 orders out of the 1300 needed to put it into production, so I don’t know how many products actually make it from pre-sale to production.
Overall, I like the idea and I’ll be following along but with all of these things, exercise caution. If you’ve got a great idea, it might be an excellent place to get a product into the market. But you need to read the small print and understand ownership of the intellectual property and design, your portion of the profit and so on – I haven’t delved into any of these things yet. If you aren’t happy, walk away.