Business Insider takes the reader step by step through the life of Ben Silbermann, the founder of Pinterest. It shows his thought processes, gives the reader a background of his life and helps them to see how he came up with, what Business Insider calls, the new “hot social startup.”
I believe that a person’s thought process stems from their background, therefore in order to understand how Silbermann came to found Pinterest it is important to map out what his life was prior to the invention of Pinterest.
Growing up, Silbermann looked up to entrepreneurs, namely Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and George Eastman. Even while looking up to these entrepreneurs Ben continued onto his original goal of becoming a doctor, as was a common career choice for his family, including his parents and both his sisters.
“In contrast, prior to insight solutions, subjects
reported little or no progress toward solution right
up until the point in time at which solution was
imminent (cf., Smith & Kounios, 1996). Metcalfe
and Wiebe, therefore, concluded that insight was
fundamentally a diﬀ erent process, one that involves
critical mechanisms that go on outside awareness,” (478, Insight)
Not finding what he was looking for in the field of medicine he switched over to business where the movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates led him to move to California where he got a job at Google in customer support.
The motivation to move to California may not have been solely based on the movie he saw about some of his favorite entrepreneurs, but the decision to move had a lot to do with a single quote from this single movie, “There might be something going on in California.”
“Taking a break from the problem after impasse, a
period known as incubation, can promote the solution
of insight problems (Christensen & Schunn, 2005;
Segal, 2004),” (483, Insight)
Sometimes one has to step away from what they are comfortable with to come up with a new idea. They need to break the bonds that are holding them back. Ben’s move to California was him breaking free. Then, after settling in and realizing Google would not allow him to build products, it was his girlfriend who encouraged him to strike out on his own, and that is exactly what he did. He quit. He later explains that he is thankful to have had his girlfriend by his side, “to call him out on his own bullshit.”
“Researchers have often noted a link between
positive aﬀ ect and creativity (e.g., Amabile, Barsade,
Mueller, & Staw, 2005), and several studies have
directly examined the role of aﬀ ect in insight (e.g.,
Isen et al., 1987; Subramaniam et al., 2009),” (484, Insight)
The idea for Pinterest was not built overnight; instead it followed Ben throughout his life. For example, when he moved to California he claimed to believe that by simply “being close to people that inspire you is a very good first step.”
Pinterest is a place where people have the ability to inspire others who see their work. Also, after the site was up and running, its users did not use the site for things that Ben, nor his coworkers, had thought of. I believe this fact shows that Pinterest continues to improve as its users inspire Ben and his coworkers to modify the site to fit the users needs.
As an active user of Pinterest I must say that Pinterest has inspired me to do many “do it yourself” projects (DIY). Also, although I strongly believe that people are becoming more and more interested in technology and less interested in spending time outside or with people; I appreciate that Ben created Pinterest in the hopes that it would inspire people to get off the web and do things.
After reading a little about the history of Pinterest and its creator, I began to scroll down the homepage of Pinterest and noticed a couple projects that popped out at me: Being a strong believer in doing one’s part in saving the environment, an edible cup caught my eye. Cups are not meant to be edible but if they are then they have the dual purpose of holding one’s drink as well as decreasing waste products, such as plastic cups. Not to mention who would be opposed to a tasty treat after quenching one’s thirst. After that, as I continued scrolling I noticed a lamp with take along glow balls for walking around in the middle of the night! This provoked me to think about all the causalities I have had in the past years; stubbing my toes, running into walls, etc, all due to the fact that I could not find a light switch! To think all this could have been prevented, by this amazing idea!
Pinterest is essentially a place to collect thoughts and I believe Ben Silbermann and his co-workers have stumbled upon something truly exciting, and I know that I will continue to include Pinterest in my daily life.
Be sure to check out Ben Silbermann’s full story on Business Insider at http://www.businessinsider.com/pinterest-founding-story-2012-4?op=1