Author Options:

The How-Tos That You Do: Instructables Keep People In Step After Step After Step. - Instructables in Helio Mag Answered

Here's an interview I did with Helio Mag in June 2007:

The How-Tos That You Do: Instructables Keep People In Step After Step After Step.

Perhaps your next door neighbor has an amazing recipe for apple pie, a friend (accidentally) learned how to break any padlock or hack into a university database or, better yet, you know how to make a light saber, and not just any light saber, but a dual-ended one -- la Darth Maul. It would be selfish to keep such priceless information under wraps.

While there are numerous places to distribute such how-tos, it's Instructables that has a home for practically all of 'em - from 11 steps to producing an interactive multi-touch display, and building a crowd-stopping invisible bookshelf in nine, to a three-step guide to a cheap, home-made air conditioner.

The site was launched in 2006 by the same innovative MIT alums who started Squid Labs, a collective that has developed over-your-head electronics (such as electrospun metallic nanowires and "E-Rope," which made TIME's Best Inventions 2005 list) and good-for the-world projects such as developing affordable eyeglasses for the Third World and custom solar power systems.

These days, Instructables has upwards of two million hits a month and is truly a DIY haven where thousands of willing collaborators help each other DIY even better.

From the company "control tower" in Alameda, California, Squid Lab's cofounder and Instructables CEO Eric Wilhelm spoke to Helio's Teena Apeles about demystifying processes and how everyone - including Dad - has an Instructable in them.


More news and press about Instructables here.



9 years ago

I like to read interviews.
But there aren't too many out there involving instructables,
What if some users made a list of questions for you to answer, kind of like Q & Eric!

only, we wouldn't bother Eric Beck

Nice interview, I have to ask though... Were you ever stuck at a point during the whole coming to life of 'ibles and the project companies, I read the instructable and whatnot but just wondering if there were points when the whole idea was half sinking. From my own experience I know it has to be went through, an anecdote about the pivotal moment would be cool...

There were periods of doubt during the initial fund raising for Instructables. The site was growing, but I didn't have any real ways to support it. It was frustrating, and many of the investors I was pitching to weren't secure enough to directly tell me they were not interested. While it wasn't exactly pivotal, persistence paid off.

It sounds like you got your idea and pushed it on very fast when you read the business, it's impressive that there werent any major crashes or meltdowns along the way. Most businesses go through the real dumps then recover before getting to the stage you're at.

I guess I'll have to organize a forum post with it, to make it so you don't get a huge load of comments on here!

Its always good to see these. I have been getting more "queries" about the tee-shirts I have been wearing lately (now that I have them)....I am hoping some of them "come aboard" :-)