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Bird Buddy, code, the kid years, and creativity

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Greetings all,

Bird Buddy has now crossed over $2.1m raised on Kickstarter!

On the podcast this week, my guests Franci Zidar (mybirdbuddy.com) and Kyle Buzzard (protaventures.com) discuss the Bird Buddy story from idea to this wildly successful Kickstarter campaign.

Bird Buddy is a smart bird feeder that notifies users of visiting birds with a live stream and AI-assisted photo capturing features. We discuss many aspects of the story to date, including early validation work, design interactions, and the incorporation of feedback from interested customers. We also dive into practical advice for aspiring hardware/IoT entrepreneurs considering a Kickstarter campaign as part of their marketing strategy.

Check it out: The Bird Buddy story, raising over $2m on Kickstarter, and growing an IoT company :: with Franci Zidar and Kyle Buzzard

Learn to Code

I recorded a quick intro video this weekend and placed it at the top of the learn to code series. For those not yet following along, I answered the following questions here:

  • When does the class begin?
  • How do I best get help if I can't attend class / office hours?
  • Is this course free?
  • What if I’ve never written any code before?

Check it out: Course update Dec 13, 2020: Learning to code (plus, office hours / class session **this Thursday** Dec 17)

The kid years and creativity

I turned 40 this past summer. Along with other young GenXers, it’s been fascinating to think of the 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s as corresponding with my kid years, teenage years, 20s, and 30s. I respect the 80s and 90s because of the beauty of the pre-internet days, but I’m also embarrassed by them; our lack of human empathy was - and continues to be - egregious.

I think the purest form of empathy comes from being able to walk in someone’s shoes during their kid years. The culture, geography, economic status, family and friend dynamics, etc… during the first decade of someone’s life sets a powerful stage (one that is hard to break free from).

I’ve had conversations recently with friends around the idea that the most “creative” people among us - and throughout history - have tended to be people that had a painful childhood. See, for example, How Artists Can Turn Childhood Pain into Creativity. It’s clear that many creative people had terrible kid years, and I think one of our first steps as a society is to simply understand and “feel” with them.

From there, I wonder if that kind of social empathy could unlock a collective creativity. If we took the time to deeply understand how people experience the kid years around the world, perhaps that would be more fuel for art and entrepreneurship.

Indeed, based on my own kid years - on levels I am only now beginning to understand - I am wired to be creative through the venture-building process. This is also why I am so compelled to help teach others to code and be entrepreneurs; it’s a practical way that I can create value for people. I am thankful that my day job allows me to spend so much time with founders - and future founders - who are building the next great thing.

Have a great rest of your week!