We are super happy to report that our second release has gone off flawlessly. This release is largely based on what we were hearing from our audience. Some of the features you can see in this release include:
I am feeling pretty good about it but as usual, I already have moved onto the next phase of what we need to be doing.
To give an overall update on things, we are still in the process of raising money. Needless to say, I have learned a ton over the last few months. One thing being is how “conservative” the Seattle investment market is. What I mean is, while Seattle is pretty innovative in terms of start-ups and technology, the investment community, specifically big investment houses “like” more traditional business models. They want to see early revenue and ideally get a good idea around projected revenue based on these facts. I think that is one of the reasons why you see more social platforms come out of the San Jose area then you do Seattle.They are willing to look at “non-traditional” models that social networks require. All that being said, you/I cannot approach something like this already telling yourself “they are not interested”. While I have heard the word “no” to many times to count, I believe in what Jumyo is to become.I see the twinkle in peoples eye when they get it. It may take me a hundred more conversations but Rome was not built in a day.
In terms of development of Jumyo, it has been good to talk to people and have the opportunity to step back. Giving the time to really think about where we are at and the path we are on. We have spent a lot of time, with very limited resources developing a version 1 and 1.1 product, I am proud of what we have accomplished. But… I am not satisfied. So much I still want to streamline, refine and improve upon.
I have been reflecting a lot about the last few months and the decisions we have made. Any early stage entrepreneur will understand this, but you make sacrifices. Whether those sacrifices are personal, financial, or technological. With Jumyo, we certainly have made sacrifices across the board. One area that we sacrificed was using non-native technology for Jumyo. Basically, to develop ‘native’ applications on apple product, it has to be done in a language called objective-c. We decided to develop Jumyo using HTML5 and some other technologies. We chose this because we felt it was more simple and allow us to iterate faster. What we lost, was quality… or maybe better put, is the quality we expect. That being said, we have pretty steady usage and we have proved that fundamentally we have great idea… Now it is time to move to the next phase on Jumyo… Looking forward to the tomorrow….
“Nothing is too small. I counsel you, put down in record even your doubts and surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to you to see how true you guess. We learn from failure, not from success!”
Bram Stoker – Dracula
Good Morning everyone…A chilly morning here in the Northwest. I had a great weekend and looking forward to a great week. I am spent some time this weekend, building our Pinterest boards, catching up on twitter and making some retina graphics for our next build. As you know, we are spending a lot of time building up awareness of Jumyo. Recently I have been looking for people in media (radio, tv, blogs, etc) we could talk with. In doing so, I remembered an interview that I did on NPR about the last startup I was with, SynapticMash. Much to my pleasure, I was able to find the interview on NPR’s site…
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122298649 -( click – listen to the story to hear the interview.. its short )
It is so funny to listen to this interview almost 3 yrs later. I never even realized Ryan and I were the only ones actually broadcast. They interviewed quite a few people. If someone came to either Ryan and I and suggested that we would be working together on a mobile application at our own company, I think we would have said your bat sh*t crazy. Not that we didn’t respect each other, but it wasn’t something either of us would have thought about at the time.
It truly is one of those things that makes me smile about life… the people you meet, the place you go. You never know who will touch your life. Who will have an impact. I love the paths life takes you down. Keep exploring them people!
As you can imagine, we are doing everything we can to get people to download our app. It is not the easiest thing in the world to just have happen. The unrealistic part of you plans on waking up one morning and saying to yourself…”Wow.. 5000 people downloaded Jumyo last night.. Right on”.. but alas.. that does not happen. It takes a lot of hard work, patients and skill. Knowing your audience and working with them in an authentic way to build credibility and interest. One of our efforts is to also let review sites know about us. This is one of the first.
FROM SOCIAL MEDIA CHAOS TO MEANINGFUL, CONNECTED EXPERIENCES Needed to post our first interview from the tech cocktail event Ryan and I went. To be bluntly honest, I don’t even remember doing this at all. Regardless, I think it came out pretty good.
Happy Thanksgiving all.. As usual it has been a while since I last wrote something. We have been incredibly busy over the last few months releasing Jumyo to the world. Our official birth was November 8, 2012. A proud day as a father, releasing our baby to the world and believing what we have put out there is a great product.
One of the things we have hoped to see/learn from our first release was what the world thought of Jumyo. I am happy to say that it is being well received. I think one of the key indicators is people coming back to use it again and again. That is what we want.. repeat users willing to share it with their friends. That is the key to this and really any social app out there today. Planting the seeds of virility and getting it to take.. While some may claim it is a science, I think it is 95% hard work with a 5% pixie dust sprinkled on top for good measure. Yes.. there is a hair bit of luck involved with getting people to notice you. Getting Katie Couric to build a story.. or getting Ellen DeGeneres to talk about you just doesn’t happen but Ellen, if your reading this.. I will come on your show and do my best Tom Cruise, jumping on the couch screaming “I love Jumyo”.
The second “big” thing we were watching for would be bugs, general issues, usability etc. Especially watchful of issues that were unknown to us… or something we totally missed. I can confidently say that almost all, if not all of the issues brought up have been ones we are aware of. Stuff we know we need to improve upon or fix. Our next build, which will be released in couple weeks. Will address some of them.
Ryan and I have spent a fair bit of time.. and some of it heated around what should we put into this next build and how to make things more clear for our users. Emotions are high now because we have so much on the line and we are both so passionate about it. Things can move from a heated debate into something more sustainable very quickly. I think for the most part, we have been fortunate, during these heated moments we have been able to keep our heads and listen to each other. That is key for co-foundering relationship and well… heck.. any relationships. Listening.
Well.. on this day after Thanksgiving , I wanted to give thanks for the opportunity to work on Jumyo. I feel incredibly fortunate to be here today. I am thankful for my co-founder, Ryan for all of his hard work his direct nature, his natural flair for style and his recommendations of beer. I am thankful for my family and the support they have given me.. especially my kids. I am thankful for all the people that have believed in us both financially and emotionally. I am thankful for the people that have started documenting their lives with Jumyo.
The next few weeks/months will be critical for us both with what we bring to the people of Jumyo but in growing the business overall.. I am looking forward to continuing this story.
We are days from submitting to the app store. It is a mixture of excitement, and anxiety. The past 6 months of work are all coming to a head. I feel like we are on the launch pad, already having had a few wave offs because of bad weather but this time… the forecast is clear. Sure, so much could still hold up launch even after we submit to Apple.. heck they could call a no-go for all sorts of reasons. However, we have checked all the gauges, read all the reports, tightened all the hoses… we are ready.
I was walking to the office today thinking about everything that has gone on and what is about to happen. In a few weeks we will be out there… two guys, an idea and passion to change the way we share our experiences. We have not taken the easy road. We both have given up stable positions at great companies. We are stepping into a somewhat crowded ring with not one but a couple of Goliaths. All of which could potentially and most likely try to stop us. Do I have fears? Yes.
Fear can do two things to a person… it can debilitate or make you fight. It can push you to stay alive. It can push you to change tactics when something is not working, even if you thought the other way was the best. It can push us to survive no matter what and will push us to work harder then everyone else.
I am welcoming this fight because I know we are solving a problem. There are billions of disconnected thoughts and images not having any meaning. We have a solution that documents experiences with people around you. A solution that brings meaning to the swirling bits of information all around us. In some way we will complement another organizations. In other ways, we are looking to flip their market upside down. I have my concerns and it would be foolish if I did not but I am also confident we can win.
There has been a lot going on at Jumyo headquarters since I last wrote. We literally have been up to our eyeballs with work.
In the past few weeks we realized we needed to address the User Interface (UI) issue sooner than later. The problem we faced is, Ryan and I were not capable of this type of work at all. Local designers in the area wanted a certain amount of money, which in my eyes is very much justify but still. I can justify a Maserati but do I really want to spend the money on that.. now.. No.. So we decided, somewhat reluctantly to use a company called 99 designs to do this work.
Basically what happens with them is you describe your solution with as much detail as possible and they send it out to a bunch of designers all over the world. You spend the next few days selecting designs you like and don’t like. In the end you work with a couple designers to refine further.. eventually you get to the point where you finalize a design. If it doesn’t work out, get your money back. It’s a pretty good deal if you can get it to work. What concerned us about using them for the UI was the lack of dialog. You get no opportunity to sit down with anyone to discuss direction, ideas, thoughts.. etc. While we have a simple interface, its difficult to just give over control like that.
All that being said.. I think we made really good progress with the design, thanks to New Pixel Designs through 99. Take a look for yourself. Both Ryan and I agree, we cannot wait to hire and work with our own team directly but.. we got to make this happen with the tools we have.
Another exciting bit about our progress is we have released to over 20 people so far with more coming on everyday. They have the latest design and functionality. We have already started receiving feedback from the group about things that are working or not. It is pretty exciting for us to be getting it in peoples hands. Just makes it feel that much more real. We have people from Washington, California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Melbourne, Australia and Perth, Australia using it.
One final note.. we moved into our first office. It is up on Capital Hill in Seattle and for those that don’t know, it is a pretty eclectic part of town.. Its called Agnes Underground and it is perfect for the creation of Jumyo.. also great food and bars in the area which is essential. It is a share office space we are getting for $200 a month for both of us.. Internet, Coffee, Printer(which we don’t use). Really we couldn’t be happier right now..
So that is it for now.. as usual thank you for all your support.. testers, investors and believers.. thank you thank you thank you!
Action is the foundational key to all success.
Things have been getting busier and busier for us at Jumyo. It is like one day we were walking down the street talking, turned the corner and saw the tidal wave heading right for us. Next…Ryan and I turn to each other, flash a mischievous smile and start running…
Few days ago, one of our board members and advisors, Jonathan Rosenbaum came up to work with us for the day. I have to say.. it is really great to have him on board. Great guy and smart mind.. anyway, we rented some meeting space at a local share office space called surf incubators.. which I highly recommend. The three of us spent the whole day doing over the app in its current form, setting the schedule and discussing what has to happen in terms of feature set and design before we release to the app store. Our current target date is to submit to the app store by October 26th…excitingly agressive. Overall it was a highly productive day for all three of us. While we come to the table from different places, we are all on the same page about its purpose, the community, and the need for simplicity and elegance.
Last night we attended our first real event where Jumyo was showcased. It was a tech cocktail event with the purpose of start-ups pitching their product, investors learning about happening and general networking for entrepreneurs all the while beer and wine were being consumed. I personally loved the event. Anywhere I can talk about Jumyo is where I want to be. I love seeing people’s reaction to what we are doing, from excitement to curiosity. Some people want it right now and others (more techie people) ask very pointed questions about how we are doing this or that. I loved it all.
One of the cool things we did last night was to create a story of the event itself. From the moment Ryan and I got there, till the end, we added pictures and narrative to the “Startup Showcase” story. As the night progressed, we used this story as our demo… We really got a lot of positive feedback because of this approach.
The really fun aspect of the event was the other startups that were there. Being able to talk to people about where they are at in terms of going live, development, funding, marketing, etc was invaluable. While this is my second startup, the first was so focused around a specific market (education) that we did not involve ourselves with the startup community much. We primarily stayed in the education circles. So now, developing a consumer app and being in this startup space, it is amazing to find this community of people facing the same highs and lows. It is also a community of people wanting to help you succeed. A community of people that are always looking for opportunity.. . Hey, I am doing X and you’re doing Y, why don’t we do Z together to help each other out… it really is fantastic.
I wanted to give a shout out to some of the amazing startups I met last night and please forgive me if I don’t do justice to your company description.
First and foremost, Adorii.. Ryan and I talked with the CEO, Matthew Matsudaira and he is a real down to earth kind of guy with a great vision. I look forward to possibly working together in the future..Adorii is an online product and local services finder for the wedding market, all at a significant discount. It basically seems like a place where if someone needs flowers, dresses, shoes, plates, etc for my wedding, you can get it all at Adorii. Check it out for yourself.
Trubalance (Jana and Keith Harper) is a really cool young startup, still in beta. Trubalance is focused on what I understand to be predictive budgeting. What I believe they do is look at all your upcoming expense and income and tells you how much you can spend. It’s a brilliant idea and I wish them the best.
Pirq is a very cool way for people to discover deals for food and drinks… it seems to be a really unique approach to the way businesses create deals for consumers. In the end, giving the consumer a better deal and experience because it is not this generic, non-personal approach that groupon or livingsocial push. I was fortunate to speak with Keegan Hall from Pirq. He heads up there marketing arm. We had a great conversation about building audience and the lessons he has learned over time. He has great insight about how to bring on new customers and keep them on board, which is critical for any consumer facing app…
Another company that I thought was cool was LikeBright, a unique approach to social dating using your friends and friend of friends.. Rather than these random dating sights where you don’t know anyone, Likebright uses your network of friends to make those introductions.. so you actually have some connection to the people… great idea..
Anyway.. enough for now… and thank you to all the cool people and ideas from the Tech Cocktail event..
Good day folks… A quick little update from Jumyo…
We continue to make refinements to the app.. We have recently added the ability to title a story, add text to pictures and delete story elements.One of the features still yet too come is the more of the narrative features which I believe will be in the next push of the app.
Right now, both Ryan and I are testing the mapping of stories which I am excited about. This will give people the ability to find stories and events around them. This is one of the critical pieces we need to leverage the concept of public events, news or business promotion.
One exciting piece that Ryan has teased me about but yet to show me in our app is the photo editing pieces. Meaning filters and so forth.. He has shown me a sample of how it will work but I feel we need to refine it down to just some very essential feature. One of the cool things we have now is how quickly a story is built. It feels different than anything else I have used and I have tested way to many apps. That being said.. i want to add a little more of that fun factor without sacrificing the simplicity.
I believe with these features and some user interface refinements, we will be ready to open up to the wider test group… which will be 100 people. Unfortunately that is the limit our testing platform (testflight) gives us. Again, let us know if your interested.
As of this week, the friends and family investment round has been great.. raising an additional 32k. My focus is to keep this up for the next few weeks to carry us through to angel round which I am anticipating to be in the January-March time period. That will give us time to build audience and really show traction to the next round of investors…(oh.. if anyone is interested in investing in the Friends and Family Round, please let me know)
I also spoke with an amazing marketing person, Elizabeth Case with Yellow Dog Consulting about how we can grow our audience to 1 million by January..Her and I talked for a fair bit about some gorilla marketing plans we could employee.. I am excited to learn about the next steps there and will let you all know.
I am also talking with Mark Dyce from 206 Media next week.. They are the company that built the Got Milk? campaign. I was very fortunate to briefly work with him in the early days of SynapticMash. The work him and his company do is truly amazing. I look forward to learning from him and of course, getting him all excited about Jumyo..
I had a very powerful conversation yesterday with an investor that works with a few different angel firms in town (Seattle). Needless to say, he has been around the block a few times. We had a really good conversation.. starting with my pitch and then getting into the core of what we are doing. He thinks we have something pretty great here. He felt we have a very compelling solutions around event based stories and authentication and GEO-Located content. The conversation really has given me a lot to think about. This has brought me back to the core of what we are doing…
What is a story?
This is something Ryan and I have talked a lot about. How we ensure it is fun and easy to create something that feels like a story but also makes money. So… I decided I was going to ask the ever knowing Google for the answer to “What is a story?” and this is what I get back.
An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment, a report of an item of news, an account of past events in someones life or in the evolution of something.
When I read it nearly…almost jumped out of my chair Tom Cruise style… why… because it is exactly what we are building.. We are building a way for people to tell their story which is comprised of images, people, thoughts, events, places and time.
What is unique about us is our ability to promote specific content… directed content to people based on time, place and interests. These same people can participate in the content in a way that has never been done before… creating a story for an event, a business or with their friends.
At this core of all of this.. and I have said it before, we have to stay focused on what we are trying to achieve and that is the ability to tell a story. While we will make turns and pivot around this concept, a story is at the core.
In a year.. I want millions of people to be telling stories… laughing when they see or read something, feeling shock, dismay or joy when reading a real-time news events or excitement when they see all the sale items from the fancy shoe store down the street… I honestly have pictured this happening…. It is fun… it is where people will go to see real time stories created by real people.
Oh.. btw…. The investor I spoke with yesterday has agreed to help us move forward and guide us to the angel round. For those that do not know.. the rounds go.. Friend and Family (which we are in now), Angel round (500k/a few million), Series A(Million+) and onwards. Finding someone like him to guide us in Seattle is an incredible opportunity for us. Thanks