What Interests Pinterest: Cofounder Ben Silbermann Is Inspired By These Things

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider

Ben Silbermann spoke at SXSW this morning. The site he co-founded, Pinterest, helps people create visual inspiration boards from a collection of photos across the web.He was asked what inspires him.

Silbermann says he has always been interested in social products. When he was deciding what company to startup, he admired Twitter. He also liked discussion forums such as Reddit.

In terms of other startups, Silbermann loves Instagram and Kickstarter. “I’m really into Kickstarter; I think it’s amazing,” says Silbermann. “The idea of Kickstarter is very romantic.  You want to build something and people just want to see it become a reality.”

Silbermann also likes tangible objects, especially ones that interact with data.  “I’m very interested in hardware now.  I think the idea of making something, holding it and showing people, ‘Look what I made,” — there is something beautiful about that.”

He says he bought his sister a Nest thermostat when she bought a house; he’s also purchased Fitbit, an exercise technology.

As for people, Silbermann admires Professor Luis von Ahn. He’s particularly enthralled with von Ahn’s project Duolingo. Duolingo is a free service that helps people learn another language via crowdsourcing. Its users translate content for each other.

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