Jan 27, 2012

Dec-a-Porter 360* - Ben Silbermann, Pinterest and Alt Summit

Ben Silbermann & I
 (*OMG this is becoming my screen saver)

I wanted today's Dec-a-Porter 360* to be special.

One of the incredible keynote speakers during ALT Summit was Ben Silbermann, a Founder of Pinterest, and his talk on "How Pinterest Became the Next Game Changer" was the best way to end this amazing week.

Haven't heard about this life changing site yet? Here is one of my earlier posts on How to Get Pinning yourself.

all images via Ben Silberman slides at ALT summit (*apologies for poor quality)
First a little background on the man - Ben. From a family of doctors, and studying Chemistry, there was a moment where "I realized I should 'do business"! That was his junior year at college.
So off he went to buy himself "a leather folder, and made a resume" to look the part.
First job landed, and Ben became the Whiz Excel machine.. whipping out charts like there was no tomorrow.. analysing numbers, and producing reports.

Year: 2004. Tech Revolution taking place.

Ben realizes that "THIS was going to be the STORY of his TIME"..
Move forward in time - > Hello, SILICON VALLEY! Hello, GOOGLE!

This is the phrase Ben uses to get a job at Google. And it worked... but again the job was all about the charts..analysing data, customer service, etc. But this was "a special place. an idealistic place..".

"Main lesson from that time: DREAM BIG!"

"Being able to have a bigger impact and connect with people so far away".. Exciting & frustrating!
"I want to build a product!" - so he decides to leave Google. 1 week later - Market Crashes!

 SO while he struggled to find funding and put together his motto:
"people succeed because they don't stop" and you must have a great support system.

Fast forward... and as an avid collector and a firm believer that "what you collect says alot about who you are" .. and meeting Evan Sharp.. (co-founder of Pinterest, Architect, "Ex-Facebooker") is quoted as saying... "an enjoyable part of [moving to web design] was learning to take abstract ideas and concepts and then solve them tangibly" (source)
Pinterest was born! It launched in March 2010, by the hard work and perseverance of Paul Sciarra, Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann and by October 2011 it had surpassed 421 million (yes, MILLION!) page views.

*again all images via keynote address - apologies for poor quality

From these really early stages, and 50+ versions later, we are at the amazing user friendly version of Pinterest as we know and love it now.
..."it is no accident that all the images are a specific width in pixels, or that the text is on the bottom, or that the feed is on the left...etc"

and Pinterest starts.

a badge created by Steven for SFGirlByBay
See Post talking about launch - MAY 2010        
Yet again, another great chance meeting changes the course when Ben attends ALT Summit a few years ago, and meets Victoria from one of our favorite blogs, SFGirlByBay.

They discuss an idea which is further developed by a plane ride back to California together and "Pin It Forward" begins May 12, 2010.
It was an event which involved approx 300 bloggers creating pin boards and like a chain link they would share this experience in their blogs and other SM outlets as well as pass it forward (so wishing I had been a part of that!)

Every day for thirty days, 10 bloggers would describe their pinboard and introduce the next blogger.
As time goes on, more and more join Pinterest, and it begins to be used by the most incredible people, bloggers, brands and institutions in order to share..share..and share some more. Where great ideas are found and shared, the Pinterest revolution starts to take shape.
PBS News Hours: Asks viewers to share their stories about the way pediatric cancer
had touched their life by sending in a photo
And what it the goal of Pinterest? "To get you OFFLINE, to inspire you to enjoy life, do things, be creative... You can articulate what you like and what you are looking for through images".

This is why the Pinterest Meetups have been such a huge success (and why many at ALT Summit begged for more to be organized). Meeting people in 'Real Life' that share your tastes, desires and inspire you is an incredible feeling. This can happen from meeting those you connect with on Twitter as well.

The beauty of Pinterest is "what people have put inside it".

So much can be understood and is instantly captured through each and every image. It transcends all barriers - whether language, religion, age, race or culture.

What is Pinterest?     It is the NEW UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE.

Top Tip for Pinners: "Pin Wisely. It's not about the Quantity but the about the Quality of your pins."
Pinterest 2.0 - What does the future hold?
  • Possible privacy settings ("it's very complicated to make this simple" ) - This would allow working designers to use with clients, or family members to share private images, etc
  • Better categories (yay!)
  • Better quality control on the type of images being pinned. At the moment, they rely a lot on us flagging the malicious content.
  • Better control of original attribution to images.. and a few more but better not let everything out of the bag, right?

I confess, I love My Pinboards! It has added so much to my life - both professionally and personally. Have you checked out my pinboards lately?

Here is an example of my "Color Palette Inspiration" Board:

Although it is an invitation only site, if you leave a comment on this post letting me know, I will happily send you an invite to join.
So on that note, I sign off this post with some really exciting news to share:

I have been asked to speak about Pinterest & Olioboards with Leslie Carothers from The Kaledscope Partnership: "From Inspiration to Income".

This talk will take place during Highpoint Market ~ Sat, April 2, 2012 at the Antique & Design Center.

For those that don't have never been, the High Point Market is the largest Home Furnishings Industry trade show in the world; bringing more than 85,000 buyers to High Point, North Carolina every six months. Professional designers and home furnishing buyers over 6 days will gather contacts, seek out trends and product shop till they drop. www.highpointmarket.org
Please join us, it's going to be lots of fun and really informative.
Have a wonderful, "Pin-full", Weekend.

Pinterest Team Motto

"Don't hold out onto your idea for ever..and NEVER compromise in the quality of it's execution" - Ben


  1. I love Pinterest, thanks for letting us all know a little more about the guy behind the site. I look forward to your talk at High Point!

  2. Wow, Jennifer, thanks for this post! I love Pinterest and LOVED reading more about its history here. I remember the "pin it forward" posts and I think it was a brilliant idea.
    Congrats on your big news, too! I'm sure you and Leslie are going to rock it!


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