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Start-Ups by Designers December 8, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in entrepreneurship.

(image source)

One topic which makes me think on a regular base is the role of designers in the current economy and the way we educate for that role.

Already my professor, Hans (Nick) Roericht, challenged the role of a designer as a consultant and demanded a culture of “DIY for designers/entrepreneurs”:

Wirklich neue Ansätze, meint Roericht, blieben hierzulande oft auf der Strecke. Grund genug, sich als „Selber-Macher” zu betätigen. Was er auch seinen Studenten einschärft: Nicht auf den aussterbenden Posten des angestellten Designers in der Industrie spekulieren! Nicht mehr um die Gunst des Kapitals buhlen, sondern selbst Dinge in Angriffnehmen! (source: design report 5.95)

(Rough translation: Good ideas are often stuck with nowhere to go. That’s a good reason for designers go DIY. Roericht teaches to his students: One should not stay in the dieing-out role of an designer for hire! One should not court for the grace of capital, but should just do it!)

This way of thinking is today more right than ever as the cost of new “products” are getting lower and lower due to modern production technologies and due to the acceptance of digitale products!

A couple of month ago I posted my joy about a Start-Up Seed Fund addressing designer, who are starting a new company.

Our concept behind Fritzing is also to reduce start-up costs for hardware-based innovations – Please check out our production service for Fritzing-PCBs, which we launched a couple of weeks ago.

And of course the very basic idea of me teaching Service Design is to prepare students also for a role as an entrepreneur!

So, I am very happy, when my MA-student David Ikuye pointed this project to me:

(image source)

Enrique Allen, one of the founders of above mentioned designers fund, is preparing a book on designers founders:

Designer Founders: stories by designers of tech startups, is a non-profit book of 35+ rare personal interviews with founders who have various design backgrounds such as Chad Hurley (YouTube), David Karp (Tumblr), Matt Shobe (Feedburner), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Brian Chesky & Joe Gebbia (AirBnB), Ryan Freitas (About.Me), Rashmi Sina (Slideshare), Jeff Veen (TypeKit), Dave Morin & Dustin Mierau (Path), Daniel Burka (Milk), Christina Brodbeck (TheIceBreak), Aza Raskin (MassiveHealth), Alexa Andrzejewski (Foodspotting), Khoi Vinh (Mixel), Lisa Strausfeld (Major League Politics), and legends like Mitch Kapor (Lotus). (source)

I am looking forward to this book!



1. Johannes - December 9, 2011

I can also recommend you Bastian Allgeier and Hartmut Wöhlbier, founders of open.we, who develop and maintain the (in some regards delicious like) zootool.

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