Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Meet the Man Behind Mixel, an Instagram for … Collages? (Video)

More than a year ago, Khoi Vinh quit a Big Deal job as design director for the New York Times’ Web site. Last night, he took the wraps off his newest gig: Building a social art app called Mixel, along with co-founder Scott Ostler.

There’s a promo for the iPad app at the bottom of the post, but you can also watch Vinh describe and demo the app himself in this video I shot with him earlier in the week; even on the shakycam, you can get a good sense of what he’s trying to do here.

Will it work? Impossible to tell, of course. Not only because I haven’t played with the thing myself, but because almost no one has, and until actual, run-of-the-mill people start adopting a social app, there’s no way to tell if it will become … social.

And while Vinh says he was clearly influenced by the wildly popular photo app Instagram, that app took an activity that people were already doing — sharing their iPhone pictures — and put a twist on it. In order for Mixel to take off, it will require people to do something they likely haven’t engaged in since middle school: creating collages.

That said, it sure looks fun. And Vinh’s pedigree makes it worth watching.

Introducing Mixel for iPad from Mixel App on Vimeo.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus