The Least Important Ex-CEO

 

In light of our ongoing strategy to focus our efforts and resources on Wink, our founder, Ben Kaufman, will no longer serve as the CEO of Quirky.  Ben has always been, and continues to be, deeply committed to the spirit and values of Quirky's community of creative people around the world, as well as its inventors and its partners.  Ben continues to believe in Quirky’s core mission to make invention accessible and believes that mission will live on.  Effective immediately, current Chief Financial Officer Ed Kremer will be the CEO.

How to make a perfect video pitch

A video pitch can be an inventor’s most powerful presentation tool. When done properly, videos comprehensively portray concepts to audiences better than a sketch or feature set ever could. However, a few production missteps can distract from a good product idea, leaving viewers confused and closed-minded. Here are 6 easy tips to help you nail your next video pitch.

Use a Phone or a Laptop:

Fancy recording equipment or software isn’t necessary for a great video pitch. Simply record a video on a phone or computer then upload it to Youtube or Vimeo.

Film Horizontally:

Streaming services are built for showing videos landscape style, so to get the most out of your efforts, film your pitch horizontally. There’s actually a lot of literature to support this.

Find a Quiet Place:

The audience should be 100% focused on you and your invention — not your cat, toddler or washing machine making a racket in the background.

Use Props:

Leave nothing open to interpretation. Spotlight a sketch, proof of concept, or working prototype to ensure maximum audience comprehension.

Stay on Topic

Briefly introducing yourself is fine, but stay focused. Identify the problem you’re trying to solve, and explain how your product uniquely works/would work to solve that problem.

Do Multiple Takes:

Ain’t no shame in perfecting your game.

Follow the steps above and you’ll be sure to churn out a stellar video pitch. Want more? Here are a few pro tips from our video team:

  • Minimize the use of text

  • Steer clear of animation software as it distracts from, rather than adds to, your presentation (Powtoons, Voki, WeVideo, etc.)

  • Preview it to friends and family and ask for honest feedback

  • Make sure you film in a well-lit location natural light is always best!

  • Use multiple angles to show off prototypes or products

  • Use your imagination and keep it fun

  • Consider storyboarding to help keep your pitch on track  

Hack your summer: 5 awesome DIY’s

It’s summertime, makers! The weather is hot and it’s the perfect time to DIY. From hammock hacks to delicious drinks, we’ve picked our favorite summer projects for you to try.

1. Wine Bottle Torch

Need the perfect mood lighting for your outdoor BBQ or party, but want to stay eco-friendly? Look no further than this easy DIY using recycled wine bottles, a bit of hardware, and a little torch fuel. Your guests will be fired up in no time.

2. Watermelon Slushy

What do drills, watermelon and vodka have in common?! This awesome DIY. Guests will be equally as impressed with your maker skills as they are with this refreshing beverage. All you’ll need is a watermelon, metal hanger, drill, and liquor of your choice.

3. DIY Hammock

A simple summer hammock provides the perfect spot to relax and say “Aaah.” Craft your own using a towel, rope, and some pieces of leather. Perfect for decks or backyards. (Fire escapes do not qualify as decks. That’s illegal.) Just remember—the sturdier the fabric, the better!

4. Terra Cotta Smoker

Got mad cooking skills? Show ‘em off with this ingenious smoker. Made from terra cotta planters, it’ll blend right in with your outdoor decor. Feed your inner maker, and get started on this cooker now!

5. DIY Air Conditioner

Too cheap to buy an AC? We’ve got an awesome hack for you. With a computer fan, battery, soda can, and some ice, you’ll be cool in no time. While not quite as smart as Aros, this AC provides some quick relief on those super-humid days.

Got a hack of your own? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

An Ecovative idea: biodegradable mushroom packaging


Ever think about where product packaging comes from or where it goes after you use it? Scott Shephard does. As Quirky’s “VP of Cardboard,” everything we package goes through his hands.

 

One of Scott’s biggest challenges? How to make packaging sustainable. Most materials, although recyclable, release chemicals and toxins when composted. Recycling is actually downcycling; the process reduces the quality of a material over time, until its lower-quality products are eventually incinerated or landfilled.

 

In a world where throwaway products have become the norm, it’s hard to think outside the (cardboard) box. But what if we could eliminate the concept of waste entirely? That means designing products, packaging and systems that biodegrade and become food for our earth, instead of toxins.


Ecovative is a company that’s stepped up with a solution: a no-waste, biodegradable material. Their mushroom packaging material is non-toxic, and can be grown anywhere from factory to in-home. It only takes a few steps:

1. Design a mold

2. Fill with agricultural waste

3. Add some ‘shrooms

4. Wait a few days…

...And voila! You’ve got your very own biodegradable packaging.

The end result is compostable, packs like styrofoam, and tastes great! (According to Scott. Please don’t eat.) Are mushrooms the future of packaging? Sound off in the comments below!

@ecovative

ecovativedesign.com

The Launch of Quirky 2.0


For over a year now, we’ve been working to redesign our process and platform to take into account all that we’ve learned over the course of our last six years. One of the major takeaways was the importance of giving community members more control when bringing ideas to life. After a bit of time in beta and a positive response from the community, we’re excited to introduce significant improvements in how we operate.

Welcome to the new Q. Here are some of the great new features and tools you will experience when you jump in:

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More control in the hands of our inventors and community

  • Ability to post ideas and collaborate in private: This allows you to keep your idea under wraps until you’re ready to share it with the world.
    • Ability to easily use our tools for collaboration and take your ideas off the platform and onto other platforms: Moving to Eval is now an option you have as a community member, not a requirement.
    • Control over what makes it through Eval: Every idea at our live weekly product evaluation will be decided by a full community vote rather than the previous staff voting system.
    • Control over what goes to Eval: Previously a mystifying process, all you need to do is complete a set of submission projects and you're guaranteed a spot at product evaluation.
    • Control over Influence: We’re taking control away from Quirky; now you’re in full control of your reward structure. Keep the royalties for yourself, or give some away to your fellow community members if you need help completing submission projects.

Built around our go-forward (powered by Quirky) business model

  • Our platform now highlights our flagship partners and the categories that they cover.
    • The platform is now available for our partners to use internally, in private for their own product development purposes and projects.
    • Our new technology allows for swift and regularly occurring Invention Challenges, which have been wildly successful in the past.

A more stable code base allows us to roll out updates and changes much more frequently

  • We officially have no more “technical debt,” so we can quickly iterate and make Quirky a constantly improving invention platform.

Pure focus on platform and invention

  • Our prior site was trying to be a commerce platform,  an invention submission site, a collaboration site, etc. By eliminating commerce we’ve focused our platform on the one thing we (and our community) do best: collaborative invention online.

Thank you to our community who got us this far and taught us so much.  Although getting a handle on the new process may take some time at first, your feedback has largely manifested itself in the architecture of this new site, and we’ll continue to look to you for guidance on what features to prioritize moving forward.

Our new platform does not represent the entirety of our vision,  but the changes we’ve made represent a giant leap forward in our ability to continue to build a community and platform that makes invention something that everyone in the world can be involved in.

Happy inventing,

Ben