Get customer feedback the right way with ideaphore
Maxim Price is the co-founder of ideapho.re, which is a tool that companies of all sizes can use to properly capture the ideas and feedback of their customers. He is also the host of the NY Plays with Tech meetup which is a real-life way for startups to talk to an audience of eager entrepreneurs. His background in IP law has given him a unique perspective into the intricacies of how business ideas should be shared and built upon.
What are you currently working on?
We are an open (crowdsourced) innovation startup. We're searching for a repeatable, scalable business model that helps companies connect with their current and potential customers to bring innovations from outside into the company. Open Innovation has been growing extremely quickly since the early 2000s and it now must to be part of any company's new product development strategy. At its heart, it is customer development: the concept known by every lean startup. And we set out to make it easy and affordable. Our first products are ideaphore, which is the backbone of our idea sharing technology, and ideaphorum, which allows companies to run ideation competitions at varying levels of complexity. Unsurprisingly, ideation contests have the dual benefit of innovation and marketing. And we're excited to keep building and offering more products for our customers including some innovation games which we'll be releasing soon (keep an eye out for "start up and take my money" coming soon).
How did you get the idea for ideaphore?
I was working in N.Y. as an intellectual property (patent) litigation attorney for some of the biggest tech companies in the world. I began to follow and study startups, their concepts, and culture. It became clear quite quickly that "customer development" or asking potential customers what features they really need, is key for any startup. It's a concept that big companies have used for many years. But how does someone get that input, especially when they are just starting up? How do you incentivize people to share that information? What are the intellectual property pitfalls of getting your business ideas from people who don't work for you? Social media seems - in theory - to provide a fantastic platform for open innovation. But in practice, it becomes clear pretty quickly that it's just not built for that. Neither the company nor the customer know what to expect or how to organize ideas in the mess that is regular social media. The signal to noise ratio is really high.
I started thinking that we could solve these problems - make the intellectual property arrangement clear, organize the ideas, and help guide companies through the process. I brought together a team of my closest friends. Together we have education and experience in law, web development, big data, math, finance, startups, and ideation theory. We quickly put our vision of social media for open innovation into action.
What are some of the coolest ideas that have been submitted on ideaphore?
We often have users submit ideas to companies or industries that they think will be great but simply don't have time to work on - not even to research their feasibility - donating them to whomever does have the time and resources. The more ideas we can share and discuss, the better off the world is, we think. Here are some interesting ones we've had on ideapho.re:
- Improvement to robotic prosthetic arms
- A new money making product for iFixit
- Migraine treating helmet
- Rent-a-friend website
Do you have any tips for running a successful meetup group?
Make sure you set up the meeting regularly, at approximately the same time and on the same day (if monthly), and announce as early as possible. If you only give people one or two week's notice, you'll get a low turnout. Find a relevant activity that people respond to, that gets them talking and active, and do it every time at the beginning of each meetup to open people up and get them to start interacting. And try out all of the different online platforms that let you list your meetup, including eventbrite. Don't give exclusivity to any one site, some may ask you for it.
What do you like most about working remotely?
I'm sure I am not alone in this, but being around other people who at least seem to be working diligently makes me work more diligently. I am less likely to get distracted or search for entertainment on the web if I am in a room full of working people. I also like to listen in on other people's conversations. You really get a feel for the issues other people are facing and often enough you can learn how to handle them by listening and watching even if they are in a completely different field. I don't meet many people in the co-working spaces, but the ones I do meet often become close friends.
What is your favorite Croissant space and why?
It's difficult to pick one. It really depends on what you're looking for that day. Workville is nice because the people are friendly and easy to talk to. Grind is great (i've been waiting for this space to become available because I used to use it before I found Croissant) if you really need to get work done - as the name quite implies. Rise is also a good place to focus. I haven't been to Bar Works yet but it looks awesome.