MakingSociety Podcast is back with a new episode. Today, Sally Carson tells the story of how she and Eric Jennings created Pinoccio, open source tiny wireless controller for the Internet of Things. Their story is a great example of how makers can now build successful niche products using crowdfunding, grass-root marketing and online tools.
What I like in this episode is that Sally really takes the time to share how you go from a a DIY project to a prototype, and to defining a market and launching an actual product.
She shares her story on she started collaborating with her business partner (she’s is a UX designer while Eric is a computer science and electrical engineer), how they made sure that the prototype would make a viable product (she takes us through the process of pivoting from their original idea, creating personas, doing interviews…)
Before the big jump
A few thoughts comes to my mind from this episode. Sally really explains how her previous work and community experiences shaped part of her success. So even if you’re not ready yet to start your own company, it’s smart to start building early skills.
For example, Sally and Eric have been involved in the maker community for a long time. Sally studied abroad to Ivea in Italy, where Arduino was created. Both team members worked in tech companies and startups in the San Francisco Bay Area (Yahoo! and more). They got involved with the maker/hacker movement, going to the second Maker Faire Bay Area, and more.
“I had my professional career, working on the web, and then I had this passion, hobby, that I wasn’t able to cultivate more”, she says.
Follow your guts
Pinoccio really first product idea was a soil moisture sprinkler product, but they decided to not go with it. “We felt like in foreign waters”.
Sally also explains how they went to maker events doing early product idea testing. Doing casual interviews with potential customers, with open and exploratory questions. She gives great detail on how to create personas for building your brand.
How to define your rewards
How to prepare the campaign
When and how to contact the press
Listen to the podcast
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