Quick Pitch: Pinterest is a digital pinboard for things you love.
Genius Idea: A bookmark that makes it easy to save photos from any webpage.
When Pinterest founder Ben Silbermann was looking for an engagement ring for his girlfriend, he turned to his own product for inspiration. He found the right one on the list of a jewelry enthusiast, and pinned it to his digital board.
He also used Pinterest to help plan the wedding, keep track of potential future vacation destinations, list his family’s favorite recipes and just remember images that fit the title “little things I love.”
This flexibility is part of Pinterest’s draw. Expressing passion for a hobby is just as easy as browsing for your next purchase. But what’s even more addictive about the site — a collection of collections — is that it’s just as much about the users as it is what they’ve posted.
“The things you collect say a lot about you, and we wanted to bring that experience online,” says Silbermann.
Here’s how Pinterest works: Users create lists about anything and fill them with photos from around the web. They can follow other lists and users, and “repin” specific items. An Instapaper-like bookmark makes adding to a list from anywhere much easier than writing a blog post or uploading an image to a photo-sharing service. And the browser experience is ideal for the small attention spans of web readers — almost no text, almost all pictures.
Pinterest revealed Friday that it had raised a $27 million round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz.
The site is still not open to the public, and users need to request an invitation to use it. Silbermann says that there are no monetization plans in the works. It’s unusual for a startup in private beta to get this much attention from a top investment firm — especially a startup with no clear path to making money.
I'm a multi-disciplinary designer-strategist at HP. My passion is whole product design: the seamless integration of HW+SW+Web to deliver compelling experiences to users. I'm currently swimming upstream to bring Web 2.0-style community participation to HP's consumer printing business.