At Internet Week in June, I got a quick look at a 3-D printer or fabricator that was being demoed by the folks at MakerBot Industries. Their device is one part of a larger do-it-yourself movement in which both serious inventors and designers or ordinary hobbyists can prototype products in their own living rooms.
Inventing is a lonely process and development costs, though they have come down with this new crop of 3-D printers, is still a consideration. So why not crowdsource the design, protoyping, and marketing phases? That’s kind of the idea behind NYC-based Quirky.
The company was founded by Ben Kaufman, who is himself a product designer-entrepreneur: he started mophie, the iPod accessory company. Quirky is his newest venture, and it enables would-be inventors to submit (at $99) and develop their product ideas with feedback from the community, but without taking burdensome financial risks. Through the company website, the Quirkians offer refinement and ultimately vote on the worthiness of the idea—Quirky’s expert staff weighs in on the feasibility and votes as well.
If an idea is selected, Quirky steps in and does the actual design work and places an initial pre-sales order, which the idea originator has to purchase and resell. Once it has proven itself in pre-sales, the product heads to the virtual shelves of the Quirky store. A portion of the revenues is then directed back to the community and the product originator.
You can check for yourself the results of the Quirky crowdsource model at their store. There is an emphasis on toys, housewares, and electronics. BTW: Be sure to take a look at the very clever Pivot Power flexible power outlet.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Quirky Store (quirky.com)
- Quirky’s 23-year-old CEO finds love with the supply chain (venturebeat.com)
- Quirky Raises $6 Million For Social Product Development Platform (techcrunch.com)
- Quirky Crowdsources Your Product Ideas into Reality (mashable.com)
- MakerBot Industries