Interview with Eric Santos from Dwibbles
Cristian: Hi Eric and welcome. Thank you for accepting the interview about Dwibbles. What is Dwibbles?
Eric: Hi Christian, I am glad I could be interviewed. Dwibbles is an easy way to manage all your social media accounts and receive a feed based on your interest. Over time, Dwibbles learns what is important to you by detecting the topics and people you follow the most in order to bring you a more relevant feed. Dwibbles helps you make social media manageable and relevant.
Cristian: How did you come up with the idea?
Eric: My Co-Founder Ken actually came up with the concept for Dwibbles, and he approached me with the idea. He was familiar with my entrepreneurial background founding Soshowise, and he felt we could possibly work together on Dwibbles. I loved the concept, because it relieved a pain I felt personally, and I gladly partnered with him. We brought on another co-founder who would help us with our design and mobile efforts, and we haven’t looked back since.
Our team choose to work on this idea because it was a pain our team experienced. We’ve engaged in Social Media for a while now and during this time we noticed several things. Ken doesn’t share lot on his social media accounts, but he follows a large number of people and publications. He was noticing that he was missing out on the content he felt that was most “relevant” to him. I may not follow a large number of people, but I am constantly promoting my business and sharing content on all my profiles. I felt there should have been an easier way to share content across my services instead of having to always jump across tabs. We both noticed half of the information we were receiving on our social media accounts was of little interest to us, or in some instances, just plain garbage. While the content we actually wanted to see, more often than not, got missed. There is too much information out there and not enough time. We felt the solution is a platform that brings together your relevant information together. So that’s exactly what we built.
Cristian: I know that ideas are plenty, but going from an idea to actually doing something is the hardest part. How did this work in your case?
Eric: In our case, our team is very blessed to have two very talented technical co-founders. We started building the app soon as we came up with the idea. We’ve built several different iterations every time our idea has tweaked. We turned out idea into a product that people use, now we just need to start generate revenue from this product and turn it into a business.
Cristian: So you weren’t afraid there are other similar solutions available on the market? Most people stop at this thought. And how is Dwibbles different?
Eric: Afraid of? No. Cautious of? Very. Dwibbles has a unique place in the social media domain as it has attributes of both an aggregator and a dashboard. Aggregators are usually used by individuals who many not share a lot on their social networks, but enjoy following their favorite people and topics. Dashboards are usually used by power users who need to manage and share content on a number of networks. What about the individuals who don’t only want to receive a feed of relevant content, but want to be able to manage all their accounts too? That’s where Dwibbles comes in. Currently individuals are using both flipboard and hootsuite independent of each other, they shouldn’t have to. Dwibbles acts as an aggregator and dashboard.
What differentiates dwibbles from all other social media managers out there is our use of natural language processing and a “smarter” feed. Along with using natural language processing to perform token extraction on social updates, tweets, posts. Dwibbles will use a Bayesian filter to make in inference on social update relevance. Much like a spam filter filters the spam for the ham. We will be doing the opposite and filter the ham from the spam.
Cristian: Have you already pitched co-founders and investors? How does this work nowadays?
Eric: Yes, we pitched to our stellar board advisers and a couple of investors. We have a great board of advisers including Jonah Lupton (Boston Area Venture Capitalist), John Ricci (Founder of U.S Angel Investors), Erin Wilson (Head of Talent Engineering at BrightRoll), Sean Fullop (Associate Professor at CSUF), and Jeff Macon (Program Manager at CSUF). With the exception of Jeff, we didn’t know any of our advisers before they became our advisers. What we did was found influential individuals, who we wanted on our board, pitched them, made them believe in our product and team, and got them to join.
As I mentioned earlier we have pitched to a couple of investors and an angel group. Although no deals have been made, things are looking promising. The couple of investors that we pitched too, we actually met through our advisers via AngelList. AngelList is a social network which Start-ups create profiles highlighting their product and team for investors, and angel investors create profiles looking for startups to invest in. AngelList is a great social network to make connection and introduction to Angel Investors. The one angel group we have pitched to came about after sending them an application via Gust. Gust is another great social network to meet investors, specifically angel groups. The majority of angel groups in California only take applications via gust.
Cristian: So who do you think it’s going to be the most avid user of the platform? The social media professional? The agencies?
Eric: As much as I believe Dwibbles will be used avidly by the social media professional and marketers, I think the normal consumer will be our most avid users. If you think about it, there are no twitter clients out there for grandmas. All the social media dashboards out there may have a lot of cool features, but they are hard to learn and the UI’s are usually pretty clunky.
Dwibbles platform is tailored for the everyday individual in that all the features are up front and easy to use. Dwibbles provides a user experience that keeps our users coming back. Dwibbles only provides the functionality that users actually need, keeping our user interface clean and simple. Social Media Managers such as HootSuite may provide power users more features and capabilities than dwibbles, but dwibbles provides a more easy to use and aesthetically pleasing feature set to our target market of everyday social media users.
Cristian: How secure is using Dwibbles? I mean, yeah, I’m handing over my Twitter and Facebook passwords…
Eric: Dwibbles is totally secure. You are not actually handing us over your twitter and facebook passwords. You are logging into them to access our app, but we never record your password or your other account sensitive information. Dwibbles is also https encrypted. Https encryption prevents your social media feed from being hacked in public locations (e.g. when you are reading Facebook posts in a Starbucks).
Cristian: And how do you plan to have revenues from the platform?
Eric: Dwibbles has a freemium business model. We have a three tier pricing model. Tier 1 (FREE) allows users to connect two services and they are displayed ads. Tier 2 ($4.99/month) allows users to hook up to 5 services and no ads are displayed. Tier 3 ($9.99/month) allows users to hook up all the services, receive high-level analytic, and no ads are displayed.
We will generate revenue from targeted ads displayed to our free users. Dwibbles will also generate revenue from selling data analytics to businesses and market researchers. Once our analytics system is fully deployed, we will be able to analyze any information posted on social media accounts through Dwibbles. Our use of natural language processing ables us to pull data more targeted than anyone else out there.
Cristian: I know that looking into separate social media accounts can be a hurdle sometimes, and I get that Dwibbles helps with that, but what else does it do besides showing entries from several platforms?
Eric: Besides just allowing you to manage all your accounts under one roof, Dwibbles actually provides you with a currated feed based on your interests. So we are not just showing you entries from several platforms, we are actually showing you the entries you want to see. Dwibbles learns what is relevant to you through topic recognition and noticing the patterns of individuals you interact with the most. If you happen to interact with your friend John on Facebook more than all your other friends, or happen to share a lot of technology stories on twitter, Dwibbles will pick up on this pattern and prioritize your feed so that John and technology stories come up first on your feed. Dwibbles helps make sure that our users don’t miss an important tweet/post/photo/etc. When only relevant content is displayed to users, it saves them time and gives them peace of mind that they didn’t miss an update that’s important to them.
Cristian: What platforms are included already and what are the next ones?
Eric: Currently Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are included. RSS should come out within the next week or so, we are pretty excited about that. After that, we will start scaling quickly and adding Google +, LinkedIn, Pinterest, App.net, YouTube, and more!
Cristian: Do you think social media and the way people consume information will change overtime? It’s already hard to make a difference across all the noise.
Eric: Yes, I am a firm believer that social media is in store for some big changes. Everyday more and more social networks come out leaving the social media experience saturated. Social Networks were created to connect us to the people and topics we care about, the irony is now we are so over connected it has actually caused a disconnect due to the sheer volume of noise on social media. We are exposed to soo much content on social networks; we tend to miss the stuff we actually care about. Social Media now has too find ways to be more relevant, whether it’s the social networks themselves providing you with a more currated feed, or apps like Dwibbles that learn what’s important to you.
Cristian: What about the future? Where do you plan on going from here?
Eric: Right now the main things we are working on is refining our curration algorithm and developing a mobile app for ios and android platforms. We plan on doing this over the next few months. During this time plan on marketing our current product like crazy and growing our user base. Once we have a mobile app we would like to start adding more services such as Google+, LinkedIn, App.net, YouTube and plenty of more!. The end vision for Dwibbles is to have an application that connects all your relevant social media services.