Sometimes i feel like i have my head in the sand when i run across something like this.
They have an interesting model - a little bit of Crown Sourcing - Design - A little bit of kickstarting - into full projects…


anyone have any experience with them?

Wow, seems like a really cool concept. I’ll have to check into it a bit more. Just watched the video, was a tad bit long, but seems like a pretty cool idea.

Quirkys been around for a little while now.

They have officially “pimped” out brainstorming/ idea generation! I think its $5 per idea to submit.

Props to them though, they’ve have definitely blown up…

$10 per submission, per week…

Wow. Bank.

So wait, you pay them when you submit an idea that they might turn into a product from which they will profit? Was this thing founded by Tom Sawyer?

Sounds like the ultimate result of the slow trend away from design being of value. Can we start admitting this is a legit problem?

@ Mr-914,

I disagree, they ARE designers. Its not like its just a bunch of people submit ideas and some engineers cad them up and send it off to be manufactured. They are like a design consultancy only they takes IDEAS from people and then DESIGN them instead of getting clients from corporations. I think we can all agree that IDEAS are not DESIGNS. Not to mention they have an entire community of users that are giving input on many of the stages of design.

In a way it’s a win for design because they have control over which projects they do, and how they do them, and they are informed every step of the way by users that are giving input, rather than some corporate big wig saying “Make it red, my wife likes red.”

I know I’d like to have that kind of freedom in my work.

You will profit as well if you come up with the idea, or contribute in some way. Although I’m not sure why you have to pay too submit an idea, I guess it’s to weed out the crap. If not even the inventor believes in the idea enough to risk $10, why would anyone else.

I agree with TheMonet…I am a firm believer that this is the next generation for Design. Where Design takes the reins and drives product the way it should be driven (in my opinion).

I think the message they send is great. My problem is that I an still not a believer that Design is a democracy. The social aspect of it, while intriguing, has to be managed very tightly I would imagine. The risk is that there are a bunch of Homer Cars flooding the market place.

A few minutes spent in their “Learn; FAQ” section reveals…

▼ > What’s the difference between a Quirky Brief and Quirky’s regular product development rounds?
In a Quirky Brief, we’re telling you where we want to go. And since we’re giving you a target, we won’t ask you to pay to submit your ideas. In our regular product development cycles, it’s the other way around – you’re telling us where Quirky should go (nicely, of course). To prevent ideators from suggesting time machines, we charge $10 for regular submissions.

▼ Why does is cost $10 to submit my idea?
Well, you’ve got to ante up to give your non-brief-based idea the fair shot it deserves. Best case scenario? Your $10 investment takes your idea from a tiny sketch to a professionally manufactured product, on shelves worldwide, earning you a heckuva lot more. Worst case? That 10 bucks get you detailed analytics on who liked and didn’t like your idea, as well as extensive community feedback. You then have the option to resubmit your idea, or you can use the valuable market research data to make the thing on your own.

▼ > Can I submit more than one idea a week?
But of course… submit as many ideas as you want. > $10 a pop> .

▼ > Will my idea be safe once it’s posted for all to see?
We’re making invention accessible by allowing regular people to bring their ideas to life without sacrificing their livelihoods. And we’re paying out thousands of dollars in the process! Can we guarantee that someone reading your idea won’t run off and attempt to do something similar? Well, no. But we can guarantee that if your idea is selected to move through our unique development process, our expert staff will work their tails off to make it the best it can be, without any additional capital investment on your part. In our opinion, it’s worth the risk.

▼ What if my idea doesn’t get selected?
You know what? We can’t all win every time. But then again, when you submit your idea to Quirky, you’re a winner no matter what. We’ll give you detailed analytics on who liked and didn’t like your idea, along with extensive community comments and feedback. That way if you choose to go for it on your own, you’ve got valuable research you can use to build the product. And if you want to give your idea another week, > just throw down another $10 > and you can resubmit with edits based on the feedback you got.

▼ > I lost… boo. How do I resubmit my idea for next week’s evaluation?
On your “My Account” page, you can view all the ideas you’ve submitted. Click on the little “resubmit” link to edit and upload your idea for a future round. > It’ll cost you $10> .

Do you pay your clients? Or do they pay you?

I’ve got notebooks full of good ideas, but on general principle I’m not going to pay someone $10, or even $1, for the privilege of deigning to look at them.

Scott, clearly you are not an evangelist of the Idea/Execution multiplier then?


"Ideas are just a multiplier of execution

It’s so funny when I hear people being so protective of ideas. (People who want me to sign an NDA to tell me the simplest idea.)
To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.


GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000

To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.
That’s why I don’t want to hear people’s ideas.
I’m not interested until I see their execution."

I think Quirky is a good place where good ideas and good executors can find each other and collaborate, and I also think we have no reason to fear it, because their product design execution is fairly generic, and they rush to market so they aren’t really playing in the same space as well-known brands. Who knows, though, things may be different in 5 years? I do like the idea of paying $10 to get some good feedback on a product idea, though, it’s easy to get myopic no matter how experienced you are as an ‘idea’ person.

If I’m pitching an idea I am paying the client in terms of investing my time into it. In return, I hope to get payed to be a part of the development process, or cash for the idea. The third option is they don’t like it and I get nothing.

So you rather have your ideas die in your notebook than buying a lottery ticket for $10 or even $1? Sounds like you don’t believe in the odds of your idea making it. If you plan on developing your idea yourself one day, that’s another story. But that will cost you way more than $10.

I have two businesses that can execute most of the crap I come up with, so no, I have no interest in paying someone else to do it. When I come up with some random idea that doesn’t fit either business, it either stays in the book, or goes to a friend who can do something with it. Maybe if it’s good enough, I’ll start another business and try to use it myself. The barrier to getting most products to market is pretty low now, and only getting lower. That’s how companies like Quirky can exist at all, because they know this, and the average non-expert doesn’t.

And I absolutely believe that execution is more important than the idea. That’s not really the point. If Quirky’s business model is truly intended to execute ideas, then it’s shortsighted to charge people to post one. They are going to get far fewer submissions that way, and miss out on a lot of good ideas. The costs incurred by a submission are minimal- they can crowd source the good ones to the top at no real cost to them. So why charge? Because it’s an easy revenue stream.

The real point is that they have figured out it’s more profitable to take $10 from all the amateur inventors out there with bad ideas (and there are probably a million of those for every good idea). It’s the same business model followed by invention submission agencies, and other bottom feeders that advertise on daytime TV.

They aren’t exactly making cars or airplanes, it’s all China-sourced plastic landfill fodder, “as-seen-on-tv” kind of stuff, although well executed. And they post their sales figures (which is pretty cool), so you can see that the average in production product has done about $20k tops. And they have 16 products in production, so that means their revenue from product sales is circa $300k. Figure 100k of that is product cost, and they claim to give back 30% to the inventors/designers/etc (only 10% on wholesale sales), so that leaves about $100k left, and I’m sure their overhead has consumed more than that.

Want to hazard a guess at how many ideas have been submitted at $10 a piece? I bet it’s more than 10,000.

More power to them. But it’s more than a bit premature to call this the future of design or anything.

Edit: Just saw the flexy power strip thing has sold more than everything else combined. Not surprisingly, because it’s the best design up there. They have paid out about 15k on it, on probably roughly $500k in total revenue (mostly wholesale). But that 15k payout is being split by 855 “influencers.” They guy who actually came up with the idea gets over a third of that, so roughly $5k, or about a 1% royalty. Would you take 1% on a project like that? Would he have done better pitching it to someone like Belkin?

I agree with everyone that posted after me. Cameron is absolutely right, execution is everything. However, Scott is also right, this sounds like a bottom feeding “inventor” scam, just with well-executed designs and marketing that makes us feel warm. I stick with my knee-jerk reaction, which is that design is more valuable than this. If someone has a good idea and can’t execute it themselves, find some people who can: design consultants and manufacturers. We’re not hiding.

… this sounds like a bottom feeding “inventor” scam, just with well-executed designs and marketing that makes us feel warm. … If someone has a good idea and can’t execute it themselves, find some people who can: design consultants and manufacturers. We’re not hiding.

As galling as it is to think about … that is what the folks at Quirky are doing? Marketing “design” to folks that don’t have the budget to develop their own products. I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent over the past thirty years listening to “inventors” with their pet projects only to never see them again after their “education” (at my expense) on the realities of getting even the simplest idea into a box and on a shelf.

The crux of it is… .

The real point is that they have figured out it’s more profitable to take $10 from all the amateur inventors out there with bad ideas (and there are probably a million of those for every good idea). It’s the same business model followed by invention submission agencies, and other bottom feeders that advertise on daytime TV.

p.s. I’ve always maintained that there is a “what-if-designer” on every bar stool. Some one just figured out how to cash in on them… . .

$10 a pop. … just throw down another $10 … It’ll cost you $10.

If you “listen” to the contracted words I think you can get a sense of the way these folks operate; easy going, informal, this isn’t rocket science, we’re your friends, let’s all make some money, etc… .

I really don’t see the scam, I think it’s great, for everyone.

$10 to find out your idea sucks.
Much better for the inventor to find out that way then blowing a few grand on a consultancy to tell him that, or wasting the consultancies unbilled time for them to tell him not to pursue something.

Also, the community validation system kind of diffuses the inherent tension or mistrust someone has when you tell them their idea stinks. You can’t get mad at a bunch of strangers who are experts in various areas of product development. Well, you could, but it would be much more difficult than rejecting one expert.

I became aware of Quirky through this discussion. I have to say like the concept for small ideas. The part about the detailed analytics has me curious, depending on the detail, it could well be worth the 10 bucks on vetting some of the disposable ideas that sit in the sketchbooks. The 150 dollar retail cap eliminates lots of projects, but that is certainly the sweet spot of the retail market.

The other alternative is here on core77, and submitting ideas in the projects section here offers little incentive for people to really examine and discuss or dissect an idea. The structure of rewarded participation seems like a good strategy to get a wider range of feedback. I’ll have to give it a shot and see what kind of information comes in.

Those are the good ones that never come back, your education worked. The tough ones are the ones that come back every year with more and more invested into something that is completely off track.

Cameron, that concept is gold, thanks for sharing it.