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Nils Westerlund of HowDo

Can you tell us about yourself and your creative background?

Hi I'm Nils, my background is in electronic music and web hacking, playing gigs and experimenting with audio interaction. Before HowDo I was at SoundCloud doing business development and got hooked on the internet. My co-founder Emma has a background in design from Central Saint Martins, and has done an amazing amount of work from researching the future of opera to using technology to improve mental health services. Mixing her design process with a data driven mind set was a key to why we wanted to work together and it's been very interesting so far.

Can you tell us about HowDo and how you started?

HowDo is a platform for makers to share micro guides and tutorials - like Heather's Lotion, Filippa's Hardware store bling or Riccardo's Drawing Bot. Using step-by-step picture and audio chapters, a HowDo is real easy to capture with your iPhone and simple to follow from anywhere on the web. Having a background as makers, we found it frustratingly complicated to share how you do things. HowDo started with the idea of making that simple and fun, and the micro guide format came shortly thereafter. You can download it for free on the AppStore. We would love to see some more Scottish representation on the platform!

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Having people coming together from different backgrounds, in profession and culture, is a good way to break the patterns of everyday solutions. Using the insights from other fields in your work you quickly see interactions repeating themselves. For me some of that inspiration comes from music, good reads and late conversations in the bar.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting up a creative business?

KBK which in Swedish translates to "kör bara kör" and means something like “just do”. Ignorance is bliss and putting the potential future problems aside is a great way of getting things going. The most dangerous game is to risk compensate. The more risk the higher valuation, I think that's true for many things in life. If you have a great idea and wanna go for it the only thing that will keep you from making it happen is you not making it happen.

What makes Edinburgh a good city to visit?

Visiting the Edinburgh Maker Faire we've come to understand that the maker and craft scene here is amazing. We met a lot of new friends and inspiring people who share the vision of making. Wandering through the city late at night it looks like a fairy-tale. Clueless of the surroundings and eating some seriously juicy Fish n' Chips we stumbled upon a magic castle for sale. Where else would that happen?

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