Q. What are the new features that you have now incorporated that you think will make Zumbl a better product?
If you remember, we spoke about Zumbl a month back which aims at creating a platform that connects strangers so that they can talk and share with each other. The idea behind Zumbl is to allow strangers across the world to do the ‘talking’. With the provision of ‘sharing’ too, Zumbl would be any social person’s heaven. Be it on train journeys, coffee shops, hostel rooms or little nostalgic meetings people love to talk. Like how on journeys people land up talking to complete strangers, if the world becomes a common place like a compartment of a train, many strangers might land up having the most interesting and diligent talks. Such is this platform created by Zumbl. You can read about our report on Zumbl here.
We got a chance to speak to them again now that they are launching on November 1, 2012. Here’s what they had to say:
Q. You went live with your third iteration on Sep 23 perhaps. What do you think was missing?
We had three iterations by now. Every iteration was meant to teach us precious lot about behavior of our users. Infact, we can truly claim that most of the features like video sharing, trolls etc. came up during the iterations and thus Zumbl is what Zumblrs ask for. The basic philosophy of doing it like this lies in the principles of lean startup, and iterating it fastly.
Coming to the question, in the third iteration to bring in users (which happens to be the biggest problem faced currently by us), we tried offline methods of publicity like posters. While this bring in users, quite a few of ’em actually but also realized that we should instead focus on organic methods of bringing in users like SEO, Social Media Marketing, to make sure all our growth approaches are scalable.
While a large amount of work has been done to make Zumbl faster than any earlier iteration to provide a richer experience we have added features like demo (you can use zumbl without logging in for sometime), trolls, sentiment mining which we promised since the very inception of the idea, new user interface, and finally the new avatars. The features available this time can be browsed at http://zumbl.com/how_to.
Q. How has been the response so far between your alpha release and your last iteration? Can you share some feedback with us?
We have received about 200 feedback mails by now, which has been really overwhelming for us. The feedback ranges from suggestions to bug reports and finally wishes from fellow entrepreneurial hearts. In fact, some of those are pretty extensive bug reports which have helped us in a long way to solve some issues which we were oblivious to, but our users weren’t.
People liked the idea, but the lack of the number of users is sometimes being felt for. Reviews have been really positive with the exceptions of some absolutely negative one-liners like ‘this site sucks…..’. We are working hard to get our first 10,000 users in the first week of November itself and meanwhile scale our infrastructure to serve with even better response times as that is critical for any service.
Q. I know as a founder you will always want to add more to your product and sometimes you feel the product is never ready. What will you advise other young founders who are working hard in developing their products, especially those who are studying as well?
A very important consideration indeed. When we started working on the idea we were students too and were working part time on this. We took about 6 months, to come up with our first iteration which I believe is a really long time for the same.
The key in my opinion is to set realistic deadlines, and then to put all your efforts to follow ’em. As an entrepreneur, your love towards your product induces a greed to add more and more features but you need to stop working at a respectable time before your launch and just gaze at your analytics, talk to users, attend startup events, etc. To set deadlines, first come up with a bare set of features which will help you validate your claims, and then make them complete from the users’ perspective. And then make sure, you don’t add any feature until absolutely necessary.
One other important thing that I feel specially for my technical co-founders is to make sure that they do an extensive customer interviews before starting working on the idea. People with technical background feel free to skip this part, which hurts them later.
Here is a teaser video about Zumbl:
Well, I think a very valid point has been made in the last answer. Sometimes, founders do get too attached with the product and obviously want to keep improving on it. But, delaying your product for that reason doesn’t make sense. I feel that day never comes when you are totally satisfied with what you have created. You will always find scope for improvement.
So, it was great talking to the Zumbl team again. I ope this gives encouragement to more student entrepreneurs too. We wish team Zumbl loads of success. I hope all our readers will try and the service and give their valuable feedback. Let us know what you think in the comments below.