Jason Rappaport stopped by Walnut St. Labs this morning to share his insights and the story behind his unusual entrance into the startupsphere.
Rappaport became an entrepreneur at 15 when his mom loaned him the cash to purchase ZeldaUniverse.net, a fansite to which he regularly contributed Walthroughs or how-to guides for completing video games. As a high school student he grew the community into a hugely popular resource for fans of the Nintendo franchise, even leading a Legend of Zelda Wiki.
He has now returned to the Walkthrough business as CEO and Founder of the crowdsourced how-to website Squareknot. His mission is simple: help people do more.
A typical Squareknot page guides users step-by-step through a creative process. It may be applying a filter to an image in photoshop or a how-to on building a greenscreen in your basement. Steps cascade down the page and encourage deviation in an innovative way; a vanilla soufflé recipe may fork at step three and offer directions toward a chocolate soufflé. Squareknot seems designed to accommodate will and whim.
“We wanted to do for the how-to guide what Medium did for blog posts” said Rappaport, speaking to Squareknot’s elegant, user-friendly feel.
The idea for Squareknot came to Rappaport after years’ work on another education startup. That project, GoodSemester, failed to gain traction with students and teachers but it left Rappaport excited about developing a new tool to help people learn skills. “There are a lot of things wrong with college,” said Rappaport, “it’s just not a good way of learning how to do things.”
Squareknot is based in Philadelphia and those interested may request invitation into the public beta via Squareknot.com. Rappaport hopes to grow investment and expand to 15 employees by this Fall.