Infactio.us founders Loyd Zhao and Shek Ho want to turn digital content into a virus of sorts, helping to spread it from person to person in a quick and seamless manner.
“Content discovery is an old problem, but we feel that current solutions are inefficient, and share some fundamental flaws,” explain the founders.
We chatted with Zhao, 30, and Ho, 33, for the latest installment of Startup Spotlight.
Of course, viruses have negative connotations, and not everyone will like the idea of associating with one around the content. Nonetheless, both of the entrepreneurs are of the belief that applying virus-like behavior to content will help quality content spread.
Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Infactio.us is a one-of-a-kind content discovery and promotion platform that uses your location to rank and find content that’s most related to you.”
Inspiration hit us when: “About a year ago, we were chatting about how difficult it is for individual content publishers to promote their content on social websites such as YouTube. There are several problems: Content on these sites use a global “bucket” for ranking which implies there can be X number of winners at a time. Newer content is usually put in a disadvantaged position because it doesn’t have enough views to boast ratings. Because they don’t have enough views, it won’t be easily discoverable.”
VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrap because nothing beats the freedom and ability to make your own product decisions every single day. We strongly believe in lean startup methodology and started out to do so at the beginning.”
Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our back-end algorithm that models the spreading of social content as the way real-world viruses spread. The idea is simple, when something is viral it infects. When people are infected, more people will be exposed to the virus. It goes on and on until it hits a brick wall and tapers off.”
The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Choosing the right platform for the right product. We spent some time evaluating different platforms and their pros/cons before settling down with Scala/Lift. This is a decision that continues to boast our productivity everyday.”
The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “As engineers, we are not born designers. We spent quite a significant amount of time working on UX which may be more cost/time-effective to crowd-source.”
Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg. Nobody knows social networking better than Zuckerberg. Facebook has its own solution for content discovery and promotion (a.k.a. facebook wall), but we believe it’s just one piece of the puzzle. We believe our solution can complement what Facebook didn’t fully solve.”
Our world domination strategy starts when: “More people get a chance to try out the experience and appreciate its unique advantages over existing content discovery methods.”
Rivals should fear us because: “We are bold and innovative. It’s a disruptive idea that will redefine content discovery and promotion landscape.”
We are truly unique because: “The way we tackle the problem is highly unique and novel. Everybody knows how viruses spread, but nobody ever imagines it can be applied to this space.”
The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Finding time to work on the project. Both of us have busy daytime jobs, and it’s our persistence and enthusiasm that got us this far.”
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Get feedback as early as possible. Keep iterations short and focus on one change in each iteration. Repeat the cycle until it’s ship-ready.”