iFixIt, known for their Apple upgrade guides and supplies, is branching out into cloud services for hardware, appliance, and chemical manufacturers. The new project, called Dozuki, is currently in beta and it aims to streamline the process of technical documentation by creating a Wiki-like environment for documentation and how-tos.
The company has been testing their software with Make Magazine for the past year and they point to Autodesk’s acquisition of Instructables as an example of how ripe this environment is for disruption. “I think AutoDesk’s purchase of Instructables shows that big money is chasing this space,” said Kyle Wiens, iFixIt’s CEO.
“The technical documentation industry is huge and the software that’s out there now is pretty old,” he says. Dozuki has been used to create simple instructions for iFixIt customers and the plan is expand to companies like Ryobi and Home Depot. For example, a client can create a manual like this one for a RROD fix for the Xbox using a cloud-based server that supports multiple editors at once. An entire team can talk about each part of a device separately – think a folder of “how-tos” for major hardware items for woodworking and metalwork, for example – and offer helpful tips to customers in store or after purchase.
“You have lots of service manuals for your tools, but they’re in legacy PDF,” says Wiens. “You could put them online, and use them as the start of an online community and maybe your tool manuals are just the start — you encourage your customers to share how to make things with your tools.”
“So they’ve got all this useful information about how to learn plumbing, and they sell all the parts, but they haven’t made it easy for people to connect the two. We would give them an online how-to site and a mobile app for both consumers and point of sale.”
“That’s the big lesson we learned with iFixit. People can’t use our products if we don’t teach them how.”
The site is in beta now and will launch this Fall. You can sign up for a beta account and the service will cost about $100 for small corporate clients and $499 for larger organizations. You can see pricing here. “The going rate for social content software for big companies is a bit north of $100k/year,” Kyle says.
“The opportunity is huge,” he says. “I’m not one for lavish estimates because I don’t have to pitch VCs, but we’re going to make millions.” Hopefully he can make a how-to when he’s done for the rest of us.
Incidentally, this is a Dozuki. It’s a Japanese saw used for very precise cuts.