Recently, I met Alex Zito-Wolf, content manager for FaveCast, at Boston's WebInnoMobile2 event. Favecast is an app that allows users to share positive video recommendations about great places they've discovered. I think of it as the convergence of Foursquare and Yelp, with a splash of video. In this interview, Alex talks about the future of FaveCast and why it is set up to disrupt the way we use video as an experience sharing medium.
1) Tell me about yourself, how you came up with idea, the basics of what Favecast does, and what pain point for the consumer does it address?
I am fascinated by technology's ability to change the way we interact with one another, and I am happy to be involved with an industry in which each day brings amazing new developments to the table. Being the third person on board at Favecast and serving as content manager, there's no question that I believe in what the future of video and apps like this have in store for next-generation content sharing.
The pain point we are addressing now is: "How do I search my area for experiences?" Right now you can search for places via Yelp, Foursquare etc. but this is a meaningless profile. What you are really trying to find are specific and granular experiences. We give you a way to discover and share those experiences in a short video format. Favecast solves the problem of local food and experience discovery. There are awesome experiences happening all around us and it's about time that we organized them into a form that allows for easy investigation and discovery.
Say you are looking for something to do in a new place, what do you do? You might ask a friend, who will suggest a place based on his own very specific experience there. What if you had thousands of friends, all willing to share their experiences at local places with you?
2) What went into your strategy to disrupt this space?
Our main strategy for being disruptive is using video as an experience sharing medium. Text and photo are dead and I think people are catching on to that because it just does't satisfy the appetite for being able to get the most out of those recommendations and conversations. We also distinguish ourselves from competitors like Instagram by making ourselves more utility focused and personalizing questions like "What is there to eat and do near you?"
3) What would you say is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenge is that our product is a concept radically different than that of Yelp or Foursquare, and is a completely new take on place discovery that has yet to be fully tested. Right now, we're seeking beta testers to really help us understand how we can differentiate ourselves in a new space where video really hasn't been used like this before.
4) Having been through building, strategizing and launching, do you think you would do this again?
I think that building and launching aren't as much preparatory tasks as they are fundamental to the operation of a startup. Launch is never over and we would do it a hundred times if it brought us closer to success.
5) What do you think the future of Favecast is? How do you define success?
Success for us is defined by massive content generation. We want people to want to share their experiences and recommendations with their friends and the world. We want to define the world as what it is: a collection of distinct, personal, real experiences. If we can do that, we'll be able to look on what we've been able to do with video and Favecast and feel that we've been successful.