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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.
Jon Wheatley has an early start. At just 21 years of age, he has created one of the most original startup on the block called Dailybooth. The concept is simple: a picture a day for years to come. In this fascinating interview, learn why focusing on building a good experience should trump everything else and how age doesn’t matter as long as you’re committed to deliver something of value to everyone.
Allentrepreneur: Hi Jon, very nice of you to share your story with us. You recently recounted your start-up experience in an excellent blog post. How about you tell us a little about yourself?
Jon: I’m a 21 year old entrepreneur from the UK. I’ve been working on the internet in some form or another for almost 10 years now. Ever since getting my first 500 free minutes AOL dialup CD I’ve been trying (and failing mostly) to make cool things that people enjoy using.
When I was 17, a website I was running at the time called onlinegames.net was acquired for what was (at the time) a non-trivial amount of money. This is what really got the ball rolling in my entrepreneurial career. I had a bit of money to play with and I had loads of ideas I wanted to develop. From that point on I’ve been working hard trying to make things happen.
Allentrepreneur: The concept behind Daily Booth is quite simple. A picture of yourself, everyday for years. When you first came up with this idea, what made you invest your efforts in this particular project and not another?
Jon: I thought the concept of taking a picture of yourself every day was an insanely cool idea but I knew deep down I would never keep up with it. I also thought it would be something that other people would probably like to do, if there was a way of easily doing it.
Slowly the basic idea was developed further. The more I thought about it the more it seemed like something that could have some legs and hopefully something people would use and enjoy.
The concept seemed really “sticky”. With other social networks users visit once every so often and see what’s happening, then leave. With this users would be coming back to the site every day to snap a picture of themselves and also have some great content to look at every time they return. I decided to roll with it.
Allentrepreneur: So far, what has been the reaction to Daily Booth? How big is the community?
Jon: So far the reaction has been fantastic. We launched the site 4 days ago and already over 3,000 people have signed up.
Allentrepreneur: How did you manage the marketing aspects of Daily Booth, such as getting the word out and building a community?
Jon: All I’ve done that could be even remotely classed as marketing is sending out a tweet saying the site was launched. Since then everything has just snowballed. We’ve been featured on a few blogs which has helped and some awesome people have made some awesome videos on youtube that have driven a lot of traffic.
I’m a firm believer that if you build something good, people will come. You only need to have a marketing budget if whatever you’re building isn’t good enough to market itself.
Allentrepreneur: Do you intend to monetize Daily Booth sometime in the future?
Jon: We have a few ideas but we’re not really worried about that right now. We’re just making sure we’re building a great community.
Allentrepreneur: What are some of the biggest lessons, business or otherwise, you’ve learned from working on Daily Booth?
Jon: Deadlines are impossible to hit however liberal you are with your estimates. That was a lesson I learned again and again.
Allentrepreneur: Care to give us your personal suggestions for facing setbacks?
Jon: As cliché as it sounds, and I hate myself for saying it, but just don’t ever give up however hard things might get. — The bigger the mountain is you have to climb the nicer the view will be when you get to the top.
Allentrepreneur: What’s next in line for you Jon?
Jon: I’ve been working on a side project for the past few months called moof.com which will be launching very shortly. Moof is a pretty cool project that is based around socially listening to music. That wont take up much of my time though and my main focus for the foreseeable future will most definitely be dailybooth.
Apart from that, I’m not sure. Just keep trying to make things people enjoy using.