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Pizza lovers unite! With this deceptively simple app, Mike Mueller scores right where it counts. If the answer to a fine dining experience is pizza but you don’t know where the closest one to you is, look no further. In this interview, learn how picking the right niche is crucial to leading a tribe; how launching quickly is more important than waiting for the right idea; and where the best pizza in Chicago is. Bon appetit!
Allentrepreneur: Welcome to Allentrepreneur Mike! Give us an introduction to yourself and how Pizzashare came to be.
Mike: I am a student out in Orange County at Chapman University studying advertising. Originally I am from Chicago which is where I got my love for pizza. The idea came after talking to a friend of mine, Scott Scheper , who started something similar for Start-Ups and after reading Seth Godin’s book Tribes, I wanted to do something that revolved around my greatest love…pizza, so I decided just to do something simple and see if it would be valuable for other pizza lovers.
Allentrepreneur: Did you intend Pizzashare to be a collaborative effort? How do you go about accumulating locations?
Mike: That is the point of Pizzashare, I want other people to add their favorite pizza places, so that when I come to your city I know exactly where every one’s favorite pizza place is. Users can type in the name and location of a pizza place that they love and it will pull it up on google maps then they can click on it to share it. The more people that share it the bigger the dot gets so they place with the biggest dot is the most shared. I started out by just having my friends on facebook add their favorite places then I talked to some pizzablogs and they gave me some support. slice.seriouseats.com worstpizza.com pizzatherapy.com thank you guys!
Allentrepreneur: I noticed you use Google maps. Did it require additional programming/tweaking in order to embed it into your site?
Mike: No Google makes everything pretty easy, right now it is more of a simple web app than a site so it wasn’t that difficult to get everything to work.
Allentrepreneur: How do you plan on marketing Pizzashare to all pizza lovers out there?
Mike: That’s a good question, I want to keep going where the pizza lovers are, which is everywhere, but more specifically pizza blogs, college websites, local food review websites. Fortunately almost everybody is a pizza lover so anywhere people get to hear about the site I am reaching my target market.
Allentrepreneur: I’m convinced people all over will love your service. Can I assume you’ll be adding even more locations and features?
Mike: Definitely, this is the most basic version of this site that I could put up and see what people thought, since I am getting so much positive feedback already I am going to start working hard on developing the beta. Thankfully I got a lot of good feedback already, so some of the new features will be things like a microblog for people to discuss each place, a way to get coupons, a recommendation app, tags to find more specific places(organic, glutton free, cheap, fancy, etc..)
Allentrepreneur: Your idea is simple enough and once again proves that you don’t need a complex idea to get started. Off the top of my head, I can think of a bunch of food-related niche that could benefit from this idea. Do you eventually intend to cover more than pizza?
Mike: Yes I do, I think this could be a prototype for a lot of things even beyond food, but my next focus is working with a friend on burgershare.com
Allentrepreneur: How about a word to entrepreneurs out there waiting to make their own mark.
Mike: Here is the two best pieces of advice that I have gotten:
1. You don’t have to wait until your idea is perfect, you are never going to get $1 million to start something, so do the simplest and cheapest version of your idea right now to see if it has value then try and get money and expand when the time is right. Things always sound perfect in your head but you don’t know what problems you will run into until you start.
2. No one has an original idea, I am sure 100 or more other people had this very same idea for Pizzashare, it is all about how quick you can get it out and if you are willing to put in more effort than the other guy.
Other than that I am a relatively young entrepreneur so I am still learning a lot myself.
Allentrepreneur: Finally, where’s the best pizza in town?
Mike: Giordano’s Pizza in Chicago, no one even comes close.