Although it launched nearly a year ago, I'm surprised that an app called How.Do didn't turn up on our radar—after all, an app for making quick'n'dirty how-to tutorials is right up our alley. Thankfully, co-founder Emma Rose Metcalfe reached out to us on the occasion of the launch of How.Do Two.Oh (Version 2.0, that is), which was released yesterday on the occasion of iOS7 and the World Maker Faire this weekend. (Supported by venture capital, her fellow co-founders Nils Westerlund and Edward Jewson round out the Berlin-based team.)
Viewable both through the free app and online, the Micro Guides are concise user-generated slideshows with audio, an ideal format for step-by-step tutorials and on-the-go reference guides. Insofar as the app hits a sweet spot in the maker/fixer/lifehacking movement, the How.Do team will be reporting from World Maker Faire tomorrow and Sunday, offering a unique window into the festivities at the New York Hall of Science—follow them on Twitter @HowDo_ to get the scoop!
As busy as they are this weekend, Metcalfe took a few moments to share her thoughts at this exciting time for the growing company.
Core77: What inspired you to create How.Do in the first place?
Emma Rose Metcalfe: How.Do is the intersection of my MFA research in sharing and distributing meaningful experiences and Nils' interest in the challenges of scaling projects for large communities. He had left SoundCloud to finish his studies at Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship where the two of us met. Long story short, we came home from a design bootcamp in India wanting work on something together. We shared the belief that knowledge is deeply personal. The space created between the emotional power of sound and the fantasy of image is incredibly profound—we wanted to harness that to make sharing and learning feel good.
What are the major new features in 2.0?
Editing Chapters and Offline Drafts: The simple editing feature had become super important for the community who want to share professional-looking guides, while offline drafts are an extension of of capturing on the go mindset.
How does iOS7 lower the barrier for Makers?
We've concentrated on opening up the interface, taking advantage of the whole screen for browsing and interacting. Overhauling the capture flow, we guide people through with a bit more handholding through the capture process. From seeing the soundwave as you're recording sound to being able to drag and drop chapters to reorder, How.Do 2.0 should be a friendlier place for new Makers to share what they're up to.
It's interesting that you're launching at Maker Faire, since it seems like the tutorials are closer to, say, Lifehacking tips than Instructables. Who do you see as your core audience? Similarly, does it seem like users tend to be either doers or advice-seekers?
One of the challenges we saw with How.Do is to create an engaging format that is inspiring for people who might not want to dive into something as 'serious' as instructables.
I think the Maker Faire understands this too: the edge of the Maker movement is not 3D printing in basements—which is cool—but the lifestyle of doing that is popping up everywhere. The lifehack approach is very natural fit when you applying the maker way of thinking to everyday life.
Our audience can be split into two main camps: the DIY bloggers and makers, who are a bit more serious about what they are capturing (usually replacing other formats of tutorial making with How.Do). The teenagers, on the other hand, capture anything and everything that they know how to do and share it proudly. Whilst traditional creator platforms like Youtube or Instructables adhere to the 99–1% consumer-to-creator ratio, we see between at least 5–10% of our community actively creating.
The trolley will be assembled and in action for the Faire
What are you looking forward to seeing at Maker Faire?
A bunch of ideas and inspiration! There's a few exciting companies and ideas coming out of the movement currently like littleBits, Sugru and all the new kits from Adafruit that I'm excited about. But really, it's stumbling upon a maker tucked away in a little corner making something absolutely bonkers, who can share their story that I really look forward to.