This weeks TZ Startup Hot Seat featured Justin Kan of Socialcam and Justin.tv. Justin is most known for broadcasting his life 24/7. In 2007, Justin Kan stopped broadcasting and Justin.tv relaunched into its current form as a network of thousands of various channels. Based on the research they have done with their release of the Justin.tv iPhone app, Socialcam was born. Let’s take a look at what Socialcam is all about, and also get a few tips for startups/entrepreneurs out there.
Give Us the Fast Pitch
Socialcam is the easiest way to share videos with your friends.
What made you decide to begin working Socialcam?
About 6 months ago we launched the Justin.tv mobile applications for iPhone and Android (our live video broadcaster). We learned a ton about the way people want to capture, share and view video on their phone. The insights we gleaned from that work led to the development of Socialcam.
What is the market opportunity?
The market opportunity is huge. First, smartphones will soon be ubiquitous. The camera hardware is getting better and better, and will soon rival camera devices like Flip. And users are becoming more and more comfortable with sharing their life moments via social services like Facebook and Twitter. It’s becoming part of a daily habit for millions of people. That tidal wave can’t be stopped.
How big is your team?
We’re currently 26 people with 20 on the tech team, and we’re hiring.
Are you Funded? How did your company get its initial funding? How much funding do you currently have?
We are funded on less than $10 million dollars with our start coming from Y Combinator.
Have you ever needed to change direction/focus? If so, what was that like?
We’ve not changed focus since launching Justin.tv as a platform back in 2007. Of course, Justin.tv was originally a live broadcast from a camera on my head, so I suppose the second iteration could be considered a switch in focus. But since then we’ve been true to the original vision – helping people connect through video.
How do you deal with competitors? Do you keep up with other companies doing similar things?
Of course we watch the space closely and we are always up to date on what our industry pals are doing, but we don’t obsess on it. Our products are driven by what our users want, not what our competitors are doing. We’ve remained successful precisely because we are hyper-focued on the user experience and on what our community wants.
What is the most difficult and best things about being an entrepreneur?
For me, the most difficult thing was making the transition from hands-on developer to manager of engineers. They are very different skill sets, but if you’re an entrepreneur you need to be ready to make that move. If you have a successful company, you’ll find yourself in that situation sooner than you think.
Mobile computing is blowing up right now, where do you see Mobile (Phones, Tablets, etc.) going?
I believe that mobile is not only blowing up, it is quite simply the future. Everyone should be iterating based on a mobile/social paradigm.
What’s one of your most successful decisions?
My most successful decision thus far, of course, was to turn the Justin.tv show into a platform for everyone to broadcast video. You might think that was the plan all along, but it wasn’t.
Where have you struggled? What mistakes have you made that you believe other entrepreneurs could learn from?
I’m not sure I have any specific examples, but I can say that the steepest learning curve has been how to run a company. Having a great idea and a great team to implement isn’t enough. You need to be able to motivate, plan, keep things efficient, focused.
Who are your three most influential entrepreneurs?
What does “failure” mean to you?
Failure is a product that nobody uses.
What does “success” mean to you?
Success is a product that people find value in. In other words, a product that people use.
What is coming up next? Your goals, new products, new direction? (Either for you as an entrepreneur or for the company as a whole)
We are super focused on Socialcam. We believe that the opportunity there is huge. And we have some other tricks up our sleeve for Justin.tv but we can’t really talk publicly about those yet.
Thank you Justin for giving us the inside scoop on what Socialcam and Justin.tv are up to. For those who are really into video you may have seen me posting up a few videos through Socialcam on all my social networks. It is an amazing product and really allows you to engage with your friends. Try it out for yourself [Socialcam.com]and let us know what you think in the comments below.