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Create a constant conversation - Alex Smilansky, London Design Festival 2016

17 February 2017

Alex Smilansky, co-founder of start-up Mayku and a Spark finalist, discusses how the sharing of ideas is what will make his business. He shares his alternative approach; creating momentum and building a community to embrace his product.

This video is also available as a podcast.

Transcript

Dan Smith: Hi, I am Dan Smith, a Director in the Intellectual Property Team at Gowling WLG, and today I am joined by Alex Smilansky, co-founder of Mayku, a start-up supported by the Design Council.

So, Alex, how important is intellectual property to Mayku's business?

Alex Smilansky: It's really important. We make machines, of course, but really the value in Mayku is not in our machines, it is in the things that people create with them, and so more than a machines business, we are starting a community of makers, and as that grows, the strength in that becomes less in the defence-ability of our patent and more in the size of our community. So the things that people are creating, the videos they're making, the tutorial we're sharing with them – that's where value in Mayku is, and intellectual property in the traditional sense of a patent is less at the core of our strategy.

Dan: So in a sense you are opening it up to the crowd and you'd even value your competitors' competing machines getting involved?

Alex: Yes, so the more the maker movement has tools, the more things that can be created, and the more things that are created, the more people start creating things. So we really want to encourage competition on the machine side, because the value in our business is really in the community.

Dan: Yes. That's really interesting.

What advice would you give to another start-up, say, about protecting intellectual property?

Alex: Absolutely. So I think when you are really small, obviously you don't have an immense amount of resources and so what you really need is to grow and you need to do that, these days, more than creating a wall around your company, you need to kind of live in public, and you need to start a movement, more than locking down a technology, so I think advice to another start-up would be to share everything that you are doing and open up your process and let people in, and by letting them in, you create a much more powerful company that can behave as though it's a lot larger than it really is.

Dan: Thanks, Alex – that's a really fascinating take.

Alex: Oh, thanks.


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