Quirky Is A Social Network For Product Development

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Have you ever thought of a quirky but innovative product that might be useful to the masses but didn’t follow through with the idea? Sometimes these flashes of genius get lost in the shuffle. Startup quirky is hoping to be the platform for product ideas that are born on napkin doodles and in other unorthodox ways. The site then tries to use crowdsourcing to develop the product, by engaging participants in collaborating on every aspect of product creation – from ideation, design, naming, manufacturing, marketing, to sales. It’s like a social network for product development.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Ben Kaufman (he created mophie and kluster), quirky lets users submit their product idea for $99. Users can also vote, rate, and influence other people’s product ideas. Every week users can post ideas on quirky to be rated by the quirky community. After a seven day evaluation period, the quirky community chooses one product from the pool of submitted ideas to move forward through the process. quirky’s community engages and contributes to every part of the product’s development, weighing in on everything from naming to logo selection to packaging.

The product is pre-sold at the quirky online store. Once the product hits a pre-sales threshold, credit cards are charged, and the product graduates to production and delivery. $0.30 of every dollar generated from the sale of a quirky product goes back to the creators, and the people who voted, commented, and rated the project idea along the way, giving the community an incentive participate and engage in each product’s development. The creators are given $0.12 of that $0.30.

With the launch of the site, quirky has also revealed its first product, created by friends and family of quirky employees. The Sling Back is a universal wire retractor that holds up three feet of any type of wire ( headphone cords, small power cables, USB cords, firewire cables, or printer cords) up to 1/8″ in diameter. On the development page of the Sling Back, quirky lists the creator (in this case, Ben Kaufman) and the top “influencers,” the people who contributed to the development of the retractor. The site says that so far, two other products are currently being developed. Each product lists the stage of development they are in and how much time is left before a decision will be made. For example, “The Ouch Pouch,” a designable sling that has pictures and decorations needs a logo.

quirky seems like an innovative idea although, I do think that the creators of the product which ends up being developed may get the short end of the stick when it comes to sales, especially given that they are putting up $99 per idea. But, on the flip side, these ideas, which may be otherwise discarded or forgotten, are given the chance of being created. The site is similar to one of Kaufman’s previous ventures, NameThis, and other sites IdeaBlob and Innocentive.

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