Gibbon - Playlists for Learning

Location and time don’t matter anymore, you can learn from everywhere

Gibbon is an informal learning tool where users can collect and share articles, links and videos to learn a topic. They gather them in playlists, but you can see them as little online textbooks on different subjects. Others can follow these playlists and learn from the content. Gibbon is an open platform, this means everybody can learn and teach. Late 2012 the "gibbons" came up with the idea, but they have been working together long before that.

"We start our day with a daily standup meeting in our classroom office in the old crafts school of Leiden. Moleskines with checklists in hand, we each go through our tasks for the day. Even though we’re still an early stage startup we have the luxury of a great office, a little leftover from our previous company. It’s a huge space where we have island pixel and island programming. From this space we’re building Gibbon", say the founders.

The journey

"It all started about seven years ago when we were working together for a web agency. We were the main three employees and at a certain point we felt we were held back by our boss to try new techniques. We wanted to focus more on quality instead of quantity. That’s when we came to the conclusion it is better to start our own company.

At that moment Bread & Pepper was born, an online agency where we focused on building quality websites and apps for large companies and growing startups. None of us had a formal education in design or programming, but over the years we taught ourselves. We mainly learned from the internet. By following thought leaders and reading blogs and articles with best practices. Soon enough we found ourselves making products for companies like Mazda and MyTaxi. Although we now had the knowledge to work for these great clients we never stopped learning. Business was going really well and we were looking for a new challenge".

For three months we put all client work on hold to build something for ourselves. A challenge to see what we could build if we put our minds to test.

We came up with the calendar app Invy, it was completely over-designed and over-engineered, but it was ours. No client requesting irrelevant features, no deadlines accept for the one we set ourselves. It felt great.

From that point on we started generating ideas more often. Although we did have to do some client work to pay the bills the tone was set. We wanted to become a product company and purely focus on building one thing that was our own, instead of having to work for different clients.

At that point we build up enough experience and exposure that a funny thing happened. The script was flipped, now aspiring designers and developers came to us asking for help. We would often send them emails with some videos and articles that could help them. In a way these were the very Gibbon playlists we’ve ever send out.

Building Gibbon has been an exciting journey. We started out with a trip to New York to find validation for our idea. Back then Gibbon was just an idea for an iPad app. Soon enough we found out that the iPad is a great tool for reading but not so great for creating content. Since our platform is only as powerful as the content generated by our users, we quickly switched to a web app.

Last summer when Gibbon was in private beta we took a second trip to the USA, this time to Silicon Valley. Earlier that year we were selected for the Rockstart Accelerator from Amsterdam. Together with them and six other startups we spend a month meeting successful entrepreneurs in the Valley. An inspirational trip that got us even more excited to build a global community with Gibbon.

We launched last December and even though we’re reaching thousands of people every day there is still a long journey ahead of us. From our old classroom in Leiden we are slowly building our global community and adding our touch to the redefinition of education. It’s amazing to see that people from New York are learning from somebody who lives in Kuala Lumpur. Location and time don’t matter anymore, learning happens everywhere", the guys conclude.

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