3. Media: reputation, loyalty, NPS... many way to measure the positive/negative virality of a customer for marketing. We think opinions for the media industry are important, and we would definitely like to contribute to empower each and every user with more powerful tools to express themselves. MySmark has this feature too, thanks to the widgets designed to keep into account users subjectivity while posting a comment, sharing a link or giving feedback. In other words, we would be able to understand the difference in between 2 like, given by 2 different users.
How many employees do you have now?
At the moment we have 5 full time people and some external collaborations.
We are planning to grow our organization in the coming months, looking at doubling it by the end of the year, in accordance with our new investors.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced so far? The greatest victory?
I think the greatest victory for such a venture is to be able to shape the vision and the direction of the journey every day, funnel in a lot of energy and empathy with your team, and help each of them to deliver. Externally it is fundamental to keep the public profile relevant with good PRs and continue the discussions and meetings with target customers and partners in order to really involve them in the idea development. As many (if not all) other startup projects we have got many ups and downs in the past 3 years. We have been able to pass through difficult times together and attract a lot of great people to back us in this project. I disagree with the motto "fails fast is better" since I think that no entrepreneur is prepared to fail. I agree with a good combination of lean approach and strong entrepreneurial motivation. Continuity is the greatest victory. Look at how many stories of entrepreneurs who decided to keep on doing even if the reality looked like a failure out there. Many of them did it, in desperate conditions. If you feel what you are doing is right, don't stop and do it.
What's been the most important lesson?
Most of the teams just think that their idea is unique and their product is the best, and all the world has simply to understand it. Well, after a while you realise that none of this is properly real, and that you need to go back and do a constant competitive analysis and prior art for your idea, try to make one of the best executions, and stay constantly in touch with your potential users and customers, since your product will need quite a lot of iteration and fine tuning. So the most important lesson to me is the need of changing a little something every day, and ultimately be flexible and realistic with your vision, which has to be connected with state of the art of innovation (Moore's Law) and rapid market changes.
What are your plans for 2014?
In 2014 our main target is to build the best showroom of use cases for MySmark and provide the team with the proper resources to boost the venture. We are working very close with irish and italian markets, and that is quite unique since we are one of the very few italian startups in Ireland (actually I don't know any other). On the other hand we think that UK and US can really be great opportunities for us, since we are positioning MySmark as a marketing proposition, and London-NY are 2 of the most important places of marketing decision making. So our idea is to be soon in both cities to promote our services and acquire new customers.
What advice do you have for other people/companies starting out in your industry?
Marketing is a crowded space. It is also at the crossroad of a huge metamorphosis, which will bring a lot of new opportunities. You can decide to catch a trend and go for an incremental innovation, or you can decide to fix in a great new way old problems. Especially if you start outside of US, I think you have to carefully build something new, unique and smart. We are trying to do it through S-marketing, smart marketing. Finger crossed :)