Join Ayah Bdeir for an in-depth discussion in this video Meet Ayah Bdeir, part of Creative Insights: Ayah Bdeir and littleBits.
[MUSIC]. Ayah Bdier: My name is Ayah Bdeir, I'm the founder and CEO of LittleBits. LittleBits is a startup based in New York, we make electronics that snap together with magnets for learning, prototyping, and fun. I have a background in Computer Engineering from the American University of Beirut, where I grew up. And actually spends most of my time in engineering feeling very bored and very constrained, but then I graduated and I went to Boston once for the Summer and fell upon the Media lab at MIT and instantly fell in love and realized there is a very, very big power that comes from combining engineering and with creative processes.
I always really liked making things with my hands, I was always taking things apart. I had a lot of chemistry and electricity sets growing up. I increasingly became as I grew up a very digital person, and very attached to my devices, and my computer and really though like a programmer. And so I became really interested in how to bring together the physical and digital world. How could you continue to play with materials, but infuse some Digital intelligence to them and so the idea really became that, you know, electronics, particularly light and sound and sensors can become as easy to play with as cardboard or as easy to play with as Lego.
And if we allow that to happen, we're essentially creating a very physically experience out of a digital product. I first started working on littlebits, I put up the first prototypes of them that's on my website. It got picked up by a friend's blog, then got picked up by InGadget, and suddenly hundreds of people from around the world were emailing to buy the product. And it was something that was hand-made, there was only one of it, and it was sitting on my desk. You know, fast forward a couple of years later, the press kept coming in, orders kept coming in, but the product still didn't exist.
And so, when I started the company in September 2011, we sold out within two weeks, we spent then most of 2012 trying to catch up with demand. We went to Toy Fair with our little ten by ten booth that we hand made with cardboard, and hand made, sort of construction tools, and we won Best of Toy Fair, ahead of Hasbro, and Mattel, and, and, and Lego, and some of the largest companies. LittleBits is very much a child and a and a product of the maker movement.
And is a movement where, that basically says that you are what you make. And you have participate in the world that's around you and create for yourself and not take things for granted. The way we contribute to that is we bring the barrier to entry to a much, much younger audience. That makes the movement grow and that makes these ideals expand around the world.