Daniel Friedman – Ninja Blocks

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Daniel Friedman is a Co-Founder and CEO of Ninja Blocks, a company which provides a platform that securely turns the physical world into software.


Focus on our community. From the beginning we wanted our community (via our forums) to play a part in shaping the product/platform. We invited them into our offices, consistently talked with them one-on-one, and ensured they were part of the conversation around where the product should go.


We launched via Kickstarter, and so had an initial base of willing (and forgiving) individuals who believed in the idea.


During the process of developing our Kickstarter product we realized that part of what we had promised, namely wired sensors and actuators was, for lack of a better word, fail. We would still ship what we had promised to, but decided to integrate a cheap and readily available wireless tech into the product (including several wireless sensors), and give this to our backers at no cost. We, in my view rightly decided that we valued our backers’ experience of our product over minimizing the cost of developing the product.


Take a step back and consider exactly what problem we are trying to solve. It’s easy to loose sight of the problem when you’re bogged down in the details, and often easily drawn toward irrelevant distractions. This is especially true of the problem space Ninja Blocks is playing in, so it’s important to try and maintain perspective.


The determination to go to war. Admittedly a bit hyperbolic, but there are many battles to fight when trying to have an impact on an issue. You’ll likely loose quite a few, but if you’ve found a real pain point you have to be willing to ‘go to the mattresses’.


Kickstarter was a really interesting experience for everybody in the company. Our backers were incredibly supportive, and the momentum we got from Kickstarter allowed us to raise our Seed round. Kickstarter allowed us to express our vision for the product, and demonstrate traction behind the idea to investors. However, we learned that Kickstarter is the start of a journey, and not the destination. We learnt so much in the process of developing the product we had promised, and had to navigate delivering what we had promised with what we had learnt in the process of developing it.


I have pretty strong opinions about how technology ...

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