Hacking Silicon Valley – Astghik Piliposyan #FuckupNights Armenia

How we fucked up our first startup? Let’s
start from the beginning. I got married to my husband
and we moved to Silicon Valley right away. Both of us were programmers, I was
doing the front end he was doing the back end and we are in Silicon Valley,
like first thing you do in Silicon Valley you think you can hack the world
you just need to have the right idea, and make the app and sell it and be a
millionaire. sSo we just needed the right idea, we thought “What we like the best?
…we like movies!” hmm it was getting harder and harder for us to find a
better movie to watch, a movie that we like a movie that it’s not mainstream that will
leave us with some thought after we watch it. But it was hard and we decided,
okay that’s one thing, and at the time it was 2011 I think, the whole social media
thing was blooming it was the right place to be and we decided to combine those
things: social media and movies, so here’s the thing. When we have our friends to
recommend us movies, it’s very valuable to us, we’ll watch it,
he’s opinion important, he might be interesting person, we might share some
similar likes or dislikes and his opinion is important about movie, so this
way we decided to have Movitto Movie recommendations from friends yeah and we,
we loved the idea, we started to develop it, without doing any research without
finding out the people made, it are we just solving our problem?, is that
something that people need?, none of that was done, none of that, what with it
is we just invited more friends to brainstorm together, to come up with some
cool features, to just do it like to make the app happen,
none of the research was done, I’m assuring you. And we spent months -about
two months- developing it and yeah here was it, we had like the basic app, we had so
many features here, you had your personal shelf of movies, you can sort them by
here, by directors, actors, genre, yada, yada, yada and like I’ll tell you all movie
recommendation website they have rating system, five stars that’s like the
everyone does that, but we decided to reinvent our own rating system; so we
decided to have like on a top right corner you see we have this rating
system which was two thumbs up for the awesome movie, one tubs up for the “eh” movie,
good, not bad, not good and come down for the bad movie yeah we even did that so
this is the movie page here you can see that I rated it as a good it was not
awesome you have this awesome features like other friends voted that as awesome,
some of them want to watch it you can view the trailer, you can add it to watch
list, yadda, yadda, yadda. So we were really into it like really into it developing
it thinking about a day and night, and one thing led to the another… (did you
download this? because I have a video here, did you download this?) it’s
it’s a video here we create a video like telling what kind of features we have. Okay yeah, we created a video, it’s like
it’s it’s just one minute, let’s watch it how many things we did like without
doing any research without asking people without having any user interviews,
whatever we’re just developing it and like you have all these movies, you can
see how your friends rate he did, who’s your favorite director, David Finch yeah
and you can see what your friends think about it like just hover the cover and
you can see all your friends opinion about the movie, yeah most importantly we
integrated it with Netflix, so you can watch a movie directly on Netflix by
clicking it, yeah we did a lot of work a lot of work yeah let’s go back to
presentation. But what happened after doing so much work, what happened to it?
like, we had a Facebook Movitto page which has just 80 people who liked it, and all of this 80 people we’re friends, it’s
like, we did nothing, I mean we just put it a Facebook page, and we just put it
some post there and like ask our friends to like. Don’t get me wrong, we had
really loyal users, one of them rated thousand and 517 movies, if we think that
every movie is approximately two hours and if we do the math, it’s hundred and
sixty, a hundred and twenty six days of your life that he was watching movies,
and I’m not counting the movies that he watched twice or didn’t rate,
like hundred and twenty-six movies he rated, hundred and twenty-six days he
watched movies, so that is our loyal user. But let’s face it, we were dummies, we
were marketing dummies, we didn’t do anything about marketing, we have no clue,
none, none, and we’re just basically adding more features brainstorming how
can we do our product better and waiting for overnight success, like just sitting
there and we are wanting something exciting to happen… it was not happening
and we all had our full time jobs, and time after time we started to develop
more a less of movies oh and it was just sitting there. But someday, one day,
something exciting happened, and it was not to us, it was another startup, doing exactly the same what we were doing, and Google
acquired them for ten millions, they were doing exactly the same, except what well,
instead of Facebook they were using Twitter but, potato potato, the same. And
then something exciting happened again, too Matcha, Apple acquired them. I’m happy for them… not really, so what’s the bottom line of this story? I mean it’s not a
bottom line, we were so young and naive, we were just there, this is like the basic 101 failures developers do when
they starting to develop an application not doing research not talking to
anybody, just counting their friends opinion, developing a product that only
they, only for them, they will use it, so we failed it. Thank you!

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