Are you a writer? We're hiring a product copywriter

We're very excited to announce that we've just posted a new position we're hiring for, a product copywriter.  We’re hiring people that want to embark on a hazardous startup journey. We’re looking for people that share our passion for pushing the world’s progress forward, for inspiring the dreamers of the world to explore what’s possible. 

So what does that mean on a daily basis?  A few months ago we launched our online store selling materials and technologies in small quantities for prototyping and R&D.  Right now we have hundreds of products listed on this site for sale like gel magnets and soft touch paint.

Over the next year we plan to increase the number of products for sale from hundreds to thousands.  We hope to create a comprehensive collection of materials so anyone with an idea can browse our virtual aisles to get exactly what they need to build a prototype.  If you're an excellent writer and your passionate about product development this is the perfect opportunity for you!  Read the full posting and apply today!

Reducing the distance between creator and consumer at the Chicago DIY Trunk Show

Last Saturday was the 8th annual DIY Trunk Show, an oversized craft fair showcasing a wide variety of work from Chicago artisans, from home-made yarn to local magazines. The event filled up two rooms of the Pulaski Park auditorium, and felt like a flea market's prideful sibling.

New uses for old materials
Much of the most interesting work displayed involved finding novel uses for well-known materials. One artists would cut rocks into thin slabs that could be used as drink coasters, or reassembled into their original formation. There were bottlecaps turned into magnetic art, jewelry made from junk, notebooks made from scrap leather.

It evoked a certain kind of wonder to see materials used outside their traditional uses, reflected a certain kind of openness, a willingness to understand the actual properties of a material, rather than fall back upon its common understanding. This tendency stands at the center of much invention: one must often separate a material from its normal uses. Petroleum was used for light for thousands of years before it was used for heat, and then it was decades more until it was also used to generate plastics.

Bringing producer and consumer together
One of the booths that most struck me was a booth selling jewelry advertised as "Powder-Coated Steel Jewelry", almost reading like an Inventables product headline.

When I asked the seller for an explanation, she eagerly explained how the metal was charged to attract ionized colored powder, evenly coating the jewelry it before it was baked on. The method itself was nothing new, but it was fascinating to have the process emphasized over the product. If this same jewelry was sold at a mall, their tagline would read something like "colored steel jewelry".

You could see this throughout the Trunk Show. Everyone was eager to talk about the way their craft was made, was eager to advertise the origins of their creation. In most of the modern marketplace, the consumer is heavily removed from the product. We rarely understand how something works, moreover how something was made. R&D is a distant, mysterious realm of thick glasses and tesla coils.

While we may not be selling cat sweaters, the DIY Trunk Show was an engaging showcase of the exact kind of spirit we hope to help evoke.

Scott Wilson + MNML = Cool watch with over 100k in pre-orders

The internet is changing product design by reducing the risk that a product might fail. Scott Wilson is a designer based in Chicago that has worked for Nike, Motorola, IDEO and now runs his own design firm called MNML. Scott and his team designed a watch band for the new iPod Nano so it could be used as a watch. Before actually manufacturing it they posted their design on Kickstarter to try to get enough backers to fund the product. They needed $15,000 in pre-orders to make the product and with 27 days left they already have $155,097 in pre-orders. Check out their pitch video to learn more about the product.

This success starts to put some pressure on established consumer products companies that outsource their product design. It starts to put control in the designers hands.  If they can go direct to consumers with sites like Kickstarter, do they even need the clients anymore? Fee for service relationships might not make as much sense.  A designers true vision can be presented to a customer rather than a watered down version that has gone through the corporate gauntlet.

Bend your mind with circuit benders and other experimental electronics

Last year at ORD Camp the guys from Roth Mobot did a very cool circuit bending demo with some old toys.  They are going to be at this performance/showcase so check it out if you're in Chicago.  It will be a carnival for hacking electronica!

The Midwestern Experimental Electronics Conference and Showcase (MEECAS)

Saturday, November 13 : Lizard's Liquid Lounge, 3058 W Irving Park Rd. (map)
The 3rd annual Midwestern Experimental Electronics Conference and Showcase (MEECAS) is a free, day-long symposium highlighting the past year's accomplishments in the areas of Musical Instrument Design, Performance, Circuit Bending, Data Hacking, and Video Art.
CONFERENCE : Noon - 3:00 PM
The MEECAS begins with a three-hour circuit bent open mic, and an open “horizontal lecture series” structured around a free hardware hacking workshop wherein all participants are both teacher and student. The conversation will focus on networking, hacking techniques, project demonstrations, and setting goals for the next year.
DINNER : 3:00 PM
Order some carry out, and continue the conversation and networking into the evening.
SHOWCASE : 8:00 PM - Midnight
The MEECAS continues into the evening with live performances featuring:
VIDEO - 8:00 PM - Midnight
In addition to the live video mix work of The Machinist, the evening will include pieces from some of the Midwest's (and Europe's) premier Glitch artists, featuring:
The audience is encouraged to explore interactive electronic installations created by:
MEECAS STORE : 7:00 PM - 1:00 AM
Exhibiting and performing artists will be selling recorded works, experimental musical instruments, electronics kits, and apparel to offset the cost of the show.

A tale of 2 homepages - New Materials Resource

Inventables is working on democratizing access to new materials. We're an advocate for the little guy and we hope to level the playing field for small product development teams to be able to go up against giant Fortune 500 companies. With this mission in mind we've expanded our services to include the sale of new materials in our online store.

Since launching the online store the response has been tremendous. Our goal is to continue to remove barriers between "makers" and "prototypers" and their visions. The first way we are tackling this is by offering materials for sale in small quantities that are typically hard to find or unavailable. The second thing we're doing is redesigning our homepage for this new business model. Specifically we have re-designed two versions. The first uses vertical categories. The default view is the most recently purchased products and down the left side you can review all the different categories we offer. Within each category we have subcategories. If this version wins we will continue to develop it and add additional filters to help a visitor narrow down their search to find the products that meet all their criteria.

The second version takes an editorial approach. We tell a story of how the materials sold on our site have been used in the past as a way to inspire visitors to the site to think about how they could be used in the future.

Click the links, try out both home pages, and let us know which one you like better by posting a comment to this blog post or tweeting us @inventables.