Carol Meinhardt of SocialPoint
How did you start your business?
We are a small Internet development company. We have developed several other Internet sites—ourtown.com
. We involve our small staff in year-end discussions about "what we want to do next." SocialPoint is an idea that was generated from these discussions.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
One of our programmers, Matthew Bitter, said that he and his friends were heavy users of social media, but that there were no services available for the everyday user that helped them sort and make sense of all the information that was constantly coming at them from all of these sources.
The sources that were available were for business users and were centered around "stats" and "reach." These are things that the casual user doesn't care about. They just want to stay in touch with their friends.
With the many different social media sites that are now available, that was becoming more and more difficult. In talking it through, we all felt that we had found a need in the marketplace and decided to move forward with SocialPoint.
What local resources did you take advantage of and how did they help?
We had the expertise internally to develop the website, but this is a service that cried out for a mobile app. We have used an independent local developer who has worked with us to develop the app, and he has been terrific. We also needed graphic help and called on John Enia at Lamson/Enia
. We also have called on our many friends and colleagues to help us beta test the site.
What would you do differently if you started your business again?
Like all businesses, we would have worked faster. This industry is moving so quickly it is hard to keep up with it. We started out thinking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. As we rolled out the site, we found we needed to add Instagram, Tumblr and Foursquare. Thankfully, we have a very small, but very dedicated staff who have put in a lot of extra time to make sure that we get this right.
What’s next for you and your company?
In the near term, we are working on adding new features and feeds to our Android app, and we are working on an iOS app that will be available in mid-June. As more social media sites come into the market, we want to add them to our offering as well. As soon as Pinterest has an available API, we want to add that to both our website and our mobile apps. We also have a few more projects on the back burner that are still in the early development stages. They include both M-commerce and mobile gaming.
Interview by Sean Peters