The World We See When We Close Our Eyes: The Creative Vision of a Software Company
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been into making things. No, I didn’t design a fusion reactor or develop a billion-dollar app or launch a satellite from my backyard. I mean making things in an ordinary way. My favorite toys were generic wooden blocks that I combined with books to make a different castle every day. When I would get packs of trading cards, I would make palaces out of them, not just mainstream double-storey houses. My most treasured memories early in my life involve learning Sketchup, and making games with some trashy interactive game development studio for kids, and navigating the 1990’s interface of Lego Digital Designer, and making movies with some mediocre drag and drop kids animation software, and filming trailers with my sister using iMovie.
Those memories of creation-infused play so early in life hatched the dream you are about to hear.
Vision — noun
- what you want to accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future
- the state of the world/ being that all your work builds towards
Creating new things is a principle as fundamental as nutrition. You can neglect it, but you’ll probably end up with problems later or live life at half-fullness.
I believe creating gives you life, and creating with purpose gives you a soul. Sure, making things is healthy, but that’s a baseline. The real wholesomeness comes from making things that point to a purpose. Your purpose, not your boss’s agenda or your university’s degree requirements.
It’s so uplifting and inspiring to make something new. Just like practicing healthy nutrition, it feels good, too. But after doing life for a while, I noticed how often it was missing in people. Even in creative fields, I realized almost nobody actually has the spirit of making just to make, and even less make with purpose. I realized the spirit is so rare that you can see it in someone’s eyes when they do have it, as if their eyeballs are bat signals.
As I was making things and thinking of what to make next and getting to know the world a bit better, I fell in love. I fell in love with the idea of making things that people use to make things. “What if, to encourage people to make things, I make things for them to use to make things?” I thought it was the coolest thing I could ever do, and I still feel the same. I’m telling you, there’s a visceral excitement in putting your creation in someone’s hands and seeing them be creative with it. That’s the idea Tika, the creative group I co-founded, was born out of. Our goal is to ease, enable, and enhance creation.
We want to make things that allow people to make their own things. And things that let people make things they couldn’t before. And things that make it easier for people to make things, so that making things is more fun and seamless and encouraging and rewarding.
That’s the world we want to build. That’s our vision. It seems so simple, it’s almost ridiculous to use all these paragraphs to describe it. What will give this substance is an implementation.
Broadly speaking, we think there are three aspects that make a good approach to achieving this vision: charm, functionality, and flexibility.
Because it’s currently our main piece of work building towards this vision, I’m going to talk about these three aspects in the context of Mink, the idea garden software we’re building. It’s basically a platform where you can safely grow and share your ideas, and we previously explained how it realizes our vision here.
Enticing and Pleasant
To a new person hearing about this spirit of making for the first time, something that’s welcoming or familiar will be a lot easier to try than something complex and old-age. In terms of software such as Mink, we think it must feel so pleasant that it makes you slide lower in your chair, calmly exhaling in relaxation. In fact, one of the reasons we decided to make Mink is because all the existing options were aesthetically challenged, and weren’t conducive to the kind of creativity we were shooting for.
You are what you eat, but in the modern day you are also the software you use. That’s why we think it’s crucial for our software to be designed impeccably, and we strive for nothing less.
Something intended to help people make things must itself work as intended, consistently. For instance, in Mink, the purpose of fostering ideation and progressing those ideas is focused on throughout. Our choice of supported features and integrations is also geared towards improving idea progression for as many of our users as easily as possible.
If you want more Mink feature tidbits, we’ll link a more product-oriented post when it’s hatched here.
A generic, universal offering can only go so far in achieving this vision. Instead, a tool people can make their own is one that will allow them to create at the level they desire, at the pace that works for them. That’s why Mink is open and customizable by design. The centerpiece of the software is your ideas, so the experience is defined by your ideation.
In addition, various tiers that cater to different needs ensures you get a Mink that works for you. To be perfectly honest, however, we’re too early in the product timeline to make more concrete decisions on improving flexibility. We’ll need a deeper understanding of the range of user needs before committing to anything.
And there you have it. Our vision (so far).
Of course, we’ll make adjustments as we get more responses from pitching this to people and building more stuff, but we just wanted to show this off early so that you get to know us better, and perhaps feel more inclined to listen to us ramble on about this kind of thing again in the future.
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