“Doing one thing really well is much better than being okay at a bunch of stuff,” says Spencer Wright.
In 2014, Wright and his longtime friend and collaborator Zach Dunham put that philosophy to work inventing The Public Radio. Since many people listen to just one radio station, they reasoned, why not strip away all of the unnecessary knobs and dials? Their compact, single-station FM radio is housed in a Mason jar and has only one knob, which serves as both an on/off switch and a volume dial. It comes pre-tuned to the FM station of the listener’s choosing.
“We were building a product that we wanted, and there wasn’t anyone there to tell us that it wasn’t worth pursuing,” Wright says.
In 2017, Wright and Dunham returned to Kickstarter with an updated version of The Public Radio. Just as streamlined as the original, it incorporates a few mechanical and functionality tweaks suggested by their early Kickstarter backers.
For designers and engineers developing their first product, “it’s important to be confident in your work and direction, but also to have a sense of humor and a healthy dose of modesty,” Wright says.
Transparency matters, too: “As we’ve developed a community around The Public Radio, we’ve made sure to be public about our goals and strategy. It has been really fulfilling to see that resonating with our backers.”
Learn more about The Public Radio’s design here. As Wright and Dunham like to say: “Sometimes it’s nice when things are so simple.”
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