Off the Shelf is Dead: Hello Makr


That's what people used to want.

You moved from the little room that you grew up in to the little dorm room to your crappy little first apartment.  Then you got a nicer apartment, which was inevitably a bigger apartment, and then maybe a bigger one after that--or maybe a house.  

And you filled it with stuff, like TVs.

When they came out with a bigger TV, you bought it, because it was bigger.  Now you needed a place with a much bigger living room to fit your big TV.

And your kids, they had to go to a bigger name school than you did--one higher up the rankings than yours.  Tuitions, they got big, too.

Bigger, bigger, more more.

Welcome to the American dream.

Only, you weren't any happier.  

"You may ask yourself, how do I work this? 
You may ask yourself, where is that large automobile? 
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful house 
You may tell yourself, this is not my beautiful wife"
It just didn't feel...well... yours.

And when the bank took it all away, turned out it really wasn't yours.  But thats really what you clamored for.  Yours.  It didn't have to be the biggest thing.  It had to be *your* thing.

Somewhere in trying to make *a* mark in the world, we lost the idea of making "your" mark in the world--but now that's changing.  Call it mass customization, the maker movement, DIY, or whathaveyou, but more and more, what we want is unique.  We want a hand in calling the shots in the creative direction of our lives.

I am the only New Yorker with "CEONYC" on my license plate.  There is no mistaking *my* car.


New Plates

Crazy, silly, idiotic, whatever.  It's mine and there's nothing more satisfying about it than seeing a Tweet like this:


You can have a Mustang, too...  just different than mine. 

That's why when I met Ellen Johnston and her exceptionally creative team at Makr, a new app that launched today, I got it right away. 

Makr takes personal branding to an all new level.  Have you ever been at a networking event and had someone hand you a Vistaprint business card?  Your expectation level for how inspiring this network is going to be just falls off the table.  

"Oh, great... yeah... um...  I'll definitely call you about that."

All of the sudden, everyone seems like a networking drone.. mindlessly handing out the world's dullest business cards.  That's because these customization businesses were built a decade or more ago--when the hard part was hooking up a bunch of printers to the web and figuring out the logistics.  

Design was an afterthought.

In today's world, design can't be an afterthought.  It should be the initial thought.  Why even bother customizing your brand's look and feel if the tools can't truly express your individualism.  

Makr changes all that--and not just for business cards.  Nearly anything that you can think of that might have your personal touch will be able to be created at Makr, all from the convenience of a tablet.  Honestly, even if I hadn't invested in the company, I'd still think this was one of the most beautiful, powerful creative apps ever.  

Just check it out:


Check out the app on your iPad today.  Whether you're an Etsy seller, home brew your own beer or cook up your own bathroom gin, you shouldn't ever let your products leave your hands without carrying something personal--a thank you note, a label, an insert, an invitation to your next customer appreciation event--something that you designed.

Because off the shelf is dead (Just ask Makerbot, Quirky, Shapeways, etc)--and Makr can help you personally tell that story for yourself, your family, your small business or your startup.  

I'm excited to that my fund, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, is a backer of Ellen, and Makr, along with Lerer Ventures, Betaworks, Collaborative Fund, Founder Collective, Undercurrent, David Tisch at BoxGroup, Taylor Greene, and Nicholas Callaway.  Ellen is a designer by trade, a first time CEO and one of the most creative people I've ever met.  

Oh, and did I really need to tell you that this company is located in Brooklyn?  :)