Beauty of Minimalism

Wouter de Bres on Vision, Fundraising, and Lovable Products

Wouter de Bres is a co-founder and designer at Gibbon, a platform that makes it incredibly easy to learn from individuals like you. With Gibbon you can curate content that you find on the web into a playlist(s) that people can learn from. Want to learn about CSS? Check out CSS for Superheros. How about how to create your own job? Check out Need a job? Invent it. There is a lot to explore! Dive in (after you read this interview, of course).

Be sure to download Gibbon for your mobile device.

[alert color=”blue”]Quotes. They’re inspirational, wise and motivating.  What is one of your favorite quotes that encourages you to keep pushing forward and that you would happily frame on one of your walls? What does it mean to you?[/alert]
“Build Less” — 37Signals

The book Getting Real is almost like a bible for product development for me. It describes perfectly how you make sure you build great & simple products.

[alert color=”blue”]Let’s jump right into it!  What made you decide to build mobile products?  When and how did you get started on the journey you’re on now?[/alert]
After Finishing my Masters in Social Psychology I co-founded the Leiden International Film Festival. For this festival I created the branding, website, posters etc. I discovered two things in this period:
1. If you work really hard, you can make things happen. Even if you don’t know how, with a “F*ck it, let’s do this” mentality you get very far and learn a lot.
2. Creating things like websites is much more fun than being a psychologist.

[alert color=”blue”]Take yourself back to the beginning of wanting to build a new product. How do you decide what idea to work on?  Where do you hunt for inspiration or discover problems worth solving?  What does this early discovery process look like?[/alert]
1. I always have an “Idea list” with a gazillion product ideas.
2. Pick the one you feel most eager to work on.
3. Do a lot of research about which products are already there that might be the same. What are the strengths and weaknesses. It’s the best when there are a lot of similar products but they suck. Because it indicates that there is a need for it, but you can win on execution.
4. Forget all your research.
5. Play! Sketches, sketches, sketches, brainstorm.
6. Pick an approach and get to a prototype as fast as possible.
7. Show it to a million people and adjust your direction accordingly.
8. Build a minimum lovable product & ship!

[alert color=”blue”]Each product carries its own set of challenges. What product(s) are you currently working on?  What has been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome and/or have yet to overcome?  What’s your biggest need?[/alert]
Currently building Gibbon—Playlists for Learning. Gibbon is a place where people can learn from each other by collecting the best articles & videos to learn a topic. The hardest thing for us was balancing the time you spend on raising funding and building your product. When you are with a small team like ours it is quite a challenge to spend enough time on your next financing round—and understanding the game that is played in that world—AND moving fast with your product development.

[alert color=”blue”]Building an audience for a new product can be incredibly challenging for newcomers to the mobile space.  Even veterans stumble with this one.  How have you got the word out about products you’ve created?  Is there one thing that you make sure to do with every product you create?[/alert]
For us Dribbble and Twitter have been the most important channels to get the word out. The first few thousand users came from just a couple of Dribbble posts and we got on TechCrunch because one of their editors saw my tweet about the launch.

[alert color=”blue”]Let’s go back to some of your the first products you’ve worked on.  What’s one of the biggest mistakes that you ran into?  How did you learn and adapt?[/alert]
One mistake we made years ago is that we thought we couldn’t get a product off the ground by ourselves (we were 2 programmers and 1 designer) so we partnered up with two sales/marketing focussed guys. Quickly we discovered that this doesn’t work when your visions are not aligned.

Lesson learned: It is super important you and your co-founders have the same vision for the product.

[alert color=”blue”]Take a moment to talk to the new guy or gal, hungry to build a mobile product.  If you could give them one piece of advice as they begin their journey, what is the #1 thing they should not ignore?[/alert]
Stop thinking, start building.

[alert color=”blue”]There are a lot of resources out there that we can take advantage of even if it’s not directly applicable to products. Are there any books, or articles, that you’ve read recently that’s worth sharing?[/alert]
Ha! This is exactly why we built Gibbon 🙂
Check out my Playlists about UX design and product development with the best articles, videos and books:

The Hard Road to Simple Products

User Experience Design from A-Z

[alert color=”blue”]Thanks so much for your time!  Where can we find you online and keep up to date with what you’re up to?[/alert]





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