You thought Social TV was going to solve all your advertising market problems, and stop the annoying things that make being a TV consumer annoying? Oh, well, it will. Just not immediately.
But, we do have an Israeli startup that has a solution they are demo'ing at the Israel Incubator Demo Day in Silicon Valley. That would be Stevie.
Gil Rimon (Founder), Yael Givon (Founder), Assaf Oppenhheimer, Benjy Cook
You can follow them on Twitter at @MyStevieTV
Here is a video and then our interview with Stevie.
What have you learned about managing a technological business that you would pass on to the next generation?
It’s important to be versatile, have a core team that can do everything, and communicate the priorities to everyone. If everyone in the company breaths what’s important and are competent, things will get done quickly.
What was the most difficult challenge your business faced this year?
The industry we’re in, connected TV and social TV, is still growing and defining itself. We hoped that by now the world will be much more exposed to Connected TV platforms of all sorts - It’s obvious it will happen, and it’s an exciting industry since it’s still taking shape and we can be part of creating the future of entertainment, it just requires patience :)
How do you know when you are failing in product development and how do you make a correction - do you make the decision on your own, or do you consult your team?
Usually, product changes and pivots arise from user comments, or from our own QA and our partners thoughts and ideas. We mostly start the discussion between the two founders, and then move it on to an open discussion with the whole crew.
What signals from your consumers do you look for to signify that you are winning?
More users (when you don’t buy them) is usually a good sign :) - but also - any user who writes us, even something critical, is someone who cares. Every investor or VC who calls in and asks questions, even if he’s not completely serious, is someone who is interested. And of course, good blog posts and articles by people we never met - Are a great sign.
When you need to ask questions on your team, who do you go to? Who do you usually turn to outside of your organization to ask questions?
We have some good friends from the industry that we trust, and they are our helpers and wailing walls. Other entrepreneurs with more experience are always a good place to look for advice.
Who would you like to be your mentor, and what would you ask him or her?
A very experienced TV professional who is also very active and knowledgeable in social media and the web.
Who is your mentor, and what was the last great thing he or she told you and your team?
Eyal Keren helped us a lot - He has given us confidence and a good story to tell when meeting potential investors. Gil Perez helped Gil before going on stage at Techcrunch Disrupt NY. Gil taught me how to stay calm on stage, look at the audience, take a breath before talking, be meaningful when talking and get focused.
What has overjoyed you in the past month?
Reading a flattering article about us in an important American magazine (that we never asked for) Getting a surprising phone call from a big VC (Which we never approached)
Seeing our new iPad/AirPlay version in action.
Who inspired you the most this week, and why?
The “Israel Loves Iran” campaign on Facebook. We love idealistic, viral campaigns that really do the job. They already have millions of exposures on FB, and now they started collecting money using Indiegogo (http://www.indiegogo.com/peacefactory). They make great use of all the new tools we have now to communicate messages and to make a change.
When was the last time you fell in love with a product?
(Gil) When I bought my Samsung Note. This phone is not really a phone - It’s more of a mini tablet with a phone. It takes me back to the days of the PDAs (like Palm and iPaq) - And I love it.
What does something in your business vertical need (to happen?) in order for the product to be successful?
Maturing of the connected TV, social TV and IPTV space, having real implementations and scale in this space will accelerate our business beyond current OTTs - Stevie will easily become a real channel on your TV set at home!
What came first for your company - the product idea or your existence on the Internet?
The idea. We did nothing before the idea came up except for buying domain names. Only months later, when we were already funded and had an alpha version, did we have a functional website too.