PicBounce: Fergus Hurley And Next Generation Media

In a previous article, “Fergus Hurley And The Silicon Valley State Of Mind“, we spoke with Fergus about what it was like to work in Silicon Valley and his experiences surrounding getting Clixtr up and going. His latest project is PicBounce, an iPhone app that allows you to take a picture and post it on Facebook or Twitter with just two taps on the device. In the first two weeks of its release, PicBounce has been downloaded over 200,000 times and over 100,000 pictures have been uploaded.

Fergus has been very busy recently, to say the least, but he very kindly shared with Technology Voice a small portion of his time to give us another update on what it is like being an entrepreneur doing business in Silicon Valley.

How did PicBounce come to be?

“One thing we learned from Clixtr is that we became experts in this whole area of photo sharing, real-time photo sharing more specifically, and more specifically than that, real-time photo sharing to social media services. There is just this need, which is very, very common, where people want to get their photos as fast and as simply as possible from their iPhone onto Facebook and Twitter. With PicBounce it is two taps to take a photo and get it on Facebook, that’s it.

“We’re pushing out the boundary here on the whole area of life-streaming. People don’t want to stream everything. For a long time, people thought that people were always going to stream their location. But people [prefer to] check in because they want to selectively share where they are. With this photo service, it is the same thing. People don’t want to be streaming all the time, but they want to be able to take photos and videos and be able to share them instantly and easily.”

There are over 300,000 apps in the iTunes store now. How do you compete with that?

“To be successful in the iPhone application store, you have to have a really simple, shareable use case or concept that gives instant gratification to the users. If you look at any of the top apps in the app store they all match that criteria. For most applications that are successful in the app store it only takes users two seconds to recognise the benefit of the product.

“You just need to catch people straight away and you offer them instant gratification. People download the application and they post their photo and they are like ‘cool, awesome, done’, and it is just two taps and they just use PicBounce in the future as their camera app on the iPhone.”

How important is it to be developing products such as Clixtr and PicBounce in the Valley?

“One of the advantages now at this point in where we are is that we are able to get meetings with people at Facebook, Google and Twitter very easily and be able to get talks going about potential partnerships down the road. I don’t have to get on a plane to be able to do that. I just e-mail one of them and say, ‘Hey, do you have time for lunch next week?’ By getting these meetings, you get to understand what their roadmaps are, what their goals are and how we could potentially work together.”

What have you learned so far?

“What we found is we have nearly twenty times more content is going to Facebook than Twitter. The overarching theme here is that the photo-sharing category and the media-sharing category is an industry that is just getting started in terms of the real-time stuff. There are huge businesses to be built there and that’s where we see the opportunity.

“We are just on the content creation side now where people are posting these photos. But content consumption is where the majority of the time is spent. There’s one Facebook creator for every hundred people who view it, if not more, most of the time. We need to build out the viewing experience. It’s about building the best products, so we need to build the best products for viewing this content as well.”

Where to from here?

“We have started off with this very simple little app. We wanted to build the minimum viable product to determine what people actually want to do in that market and how people are actually using the product.

“The roadmap is to build out a lot more functionality into the application itself. Being able to do video, being able to have multiple Facebook accounts and multiple Twitter accounts and being able to have other services such as Tumblr and Posterous.

“We have built this real-time media sharing platform, and so we consider ourselves a next-generation media company. Instead of being a newspaper or something like that, we are a media company in terms of showing people relevant content to them based on their social graph and building tools to enable that. PicBounce is a utility tool right now but there is a lot of interesting things we can do around that in terms of adding social relevancy to the application.”

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