Building Storybyte – It sucks (sometimes)
Over the last couple weeks, Kyle Stewart, Mike Alonzo, and myself have been feeling a bit burnt out on Storybyte. We’ve been hustling to get new users, improve features, fix bugs, and just trying our best to succeed in general. And, we’ve been getting kicked in the balls. We’ve been feeling this in spite of the fact that our progress has actually been decent. It’s just that it’s been a slow grind, and it’s been taking its toll. We needed a break.
We always made fun of Kyle for saying, “I need to take a break from work — I’m going to work on a new project tonight”. Take a break from work by doing more work? Idiot. On Sunday night, Kyle sent Mike and myself a new iOS app he’d built called A!ive. For the last week he’d been playing around with incorporating animated gifs into Storybyte — which will be awesome, FYI — and in the process of testing a grouping algorithm, he had combined a bunch of gifs together into a pile of animated awesomeness. Tons of gifs; automatically created from the photos on his iPhone’s camera roll; all playing as you scroll through them. It was fucking hilarious.
GiFmojo has no long term business strategy. It has no revenue source. It’s a fun app that we could share with people and hopefully get a laugh.
What we wanted from it was simple — to feel good; to create something that people thought was so awesome that they couldn’t help but share it with their friends. We wanted what we’ve been struggling to get with Storybyte. We cared so little about the typical business worries — how much money GiFmojo would make, or what marketing channels we could leverage with it, or how we’d impress investors — that our conversations pretty much went like this:
Guy #1 (G1): Do you have to sign up to use it?
Slightly smarter Guy #2 (SSG2): Hell no.
G1: Well, does it matter that we won’t have their contact info for later marketing?
SSG2: No. Who gives a shit?
G1: Well, do we at least charge for it?
So on, and so forth. You don’t have to register to use GiFmojo. You don’t have to pay for it. We swear in the product description — it’s hyper casual. We just want people to download the damn thing and smile when it turns their photos into gifs … and, when they share that shit with their friends and get some lolz.
A couple of idiots
For the last 3 nights I’ve been at the office until 1:00am. I smell gross and I’m tired. But, I haven’t had this much fun in a really long time — working insanely hard on something stupid that will probably never make me a single dime. By building something, we were able to give ourselves a break from the frustrations of building something. Hilarious.