So Dino, tell me what is “Triberr“?
It’s interesting that you should describe it as a weapon seeing as that’s how I’ve seen it since day one. Berrie Pelsner was kind enough to invite me into the beta fold and I’ve been a hardcore advocate ever since.
How did this start?
It all started with the realization, back in February of 2011.
There is inequity in the blogosphere. There is inequity in real life as well. Attention always pools at the top.
1% of superstar bloggers get 99% of attention. And attention = money. But the superstar bloggers are not making superstar content. In fact, their content is safe, it’s boring, it’s regurgitated, it’s just plain mediocre, at best.
And they get 100s, sometimes 1000s of social media shares. Why?
Meanwhile, there are so many amazing small bloggers writing kick-ass content that no one ever sees. I decided that enough is enough. These small voices need to be heard, and we are stealing the attention away from 1 percenters.
What’s next for the service in your mind?
We have managed to be effective at extending the reach and grabbing attention for small, quality bloggers.
We feel we’ve fixed that problem at least for bloggers who are members of Triberr.
Our next step is to enable bloggers to do more, in less time.
This means single-click approval for multiple destination networks, single interface for managing all your comments, eliminating the need for guest posts, etc.
Talk to me about launching an actionable social service with a minimal budget?
Our budget wasn’t minimal. It was non existent.
Dan Cristo and I both (still) have full time jobs outside of Triberr, so getting few hundred bucks together to cover the hosting fee, domain registration, etc. wasn’t that big a deal.
Not having to beg for money also enabled us to keep our independence and our intentions pure.
It sucks to have to work 80hrs a week, but when you believe you’re doing something that matters, it doesn’t matter.
How did you use social media to build Triberr?
The first few hundred members were all trusted, and loyal friends I’ve been blessed to have because of my own blog, DIYBlogger.NET.
But since Triberr is a killer social platform all on its own, we’ve had to do very little to get people in the door. Our members usually write about us in order to bring their audience into Triberr.
So it was the blogs, and NOT the social channels that played the major role. The social channels did play a supporting role since those blog posts would be shared through Triberr to many other bloggers, thereby raising awareness for those who were completely out of the loop.
A virtuous cycle indeed.
You seem so open minded about getting feedback and improvements. Tell me about the process of deciding what’s important, what’s phased and what ideas just aren’t right.
We’re building Triberr for me, first and foremost.
Both Dan and I are bloggers. So we know where the pain points are. We know what’s missing. And we’re not afraid to piss people off.
For example. When Triberr first opened doors (in March of 2011), all sharing was automatic. We called it automagication :-)
Imagine joining a tribe of say 30 or 40 bloggers, and every time you publish a blog post, you get guaranteed 40 retweets. Thats HUGE!
But many didn’t like this. The ones that didn’t like it were either 1 percenters, or drinking 1 percenter cool-aid.
We’ve added manual mode about a month later, and now manual mode is the default.
What’s more interesting to me is that now that auto-sharing is available to 1 percenters, no one is making a peep.
I’m talking about Facebook’s auto-share function available for major media properties. So for example, you can enable auto-sharing for NYTimes.
Interesting, don’t you think? It’s interesting that no one is making a peep about this.
But to answer your question in more specific terms. We listen to feedback, we implement what makes sense to us. We make mistakes. We correct those mistakes. Then we listen for more feedback.
What advise would you give an entrepreneurial web tool start-up?
You tool will never be perfect so you might as well ship what you got.
Tell me about DIYBlogger.net?
It started out as my own personal blog.
I figured I’d get into this “blog about blogging” racket and call myself a social media expert jerk off. Why not? Everyone else is doing it.
But now I basically use it to test Triberr features. The content is still solid, but it’s basically proving ground for new Triberr features.
You seem to be involved in so many things, how do you find time?
We all get same amount of time. For me, finding time is easy. Finding balance is more difficult.
There are essentially few area in life that you have to find time for.
Relationships, work, fitness, sustenance, and…well, I cant think of fifth.
Work is easy. I love what I do. Relationships are hard, but I see relationship building as I see breathing. You have to do it, so I do it.
Fitness suffers. Often. But I’m back in the gym nowadays. And as far as sustenance, I try to remember to eat three times a day.
What if any automated social media tools are you currently using?
Since Triberr, I’ve made a point NOT to use any other means for driving traffic to my site.
No SEO. No guest posting, nothing that would boost my traffic outside of Triberr.
I do this to measure the effectiveness of Triberr. I feel that if I did use other tools it would taint Triberr results.
What social technology hasn’t caught on in your opinion?
Everyone is talking about aggregators. But do we really need yet another social media mission control center that sucks in information about your from around the web? There are so many out there already.
What we need are distributors. Triberr is one example of a distributor. It takes your post and distributes it to your tribesmen, who then distribute it to their audience.
But getting financing for aggregators is easy. It’s a proven business model. You know exactly who you’re targeting. You don’t need to sell a million pieces of software to make the money back, etc.
Distributors are different. They rely on adoption, and a tool will not get adopted unless it’s actually useful.
And no. Twitter and Facebok are not distributors.
So many ideas are out there. What does it take to bring one to market?
Timing. Luck. Dedication. Perseverance. All that bullshit you read about in Self Help books.
Talk to me about what makes a great business model?
Selling through the side door.
The business funnel is flipped. It used to be you buy Marlboro cigarettes and THEN you get to play with Marlboro miles.
In other words, it used to be you would be a customer first, and only then you would get to engage with the company.
That model is now reversed and companies that understand that are thriving.
Google is a great example of “selling through the side door” model. The give away the search for free, and they make money via ads. In other words, you engage with the company first, THEN you buy from them.
Zynga, the makers of FarmVille and Mafia Wars, is the fastest growing gaming company because they understand this model very well. You and I can play the same game of FarmVille, but if I want to advance ahead of you faster, I can choose to pay. In fact, about 7% of FarmVille players are paying customers. 7% may not sound like much, but there are millions of people playing FarmVille.
This is something new, and they don’t teach this shit in business schools.
What is your business mantra?
I don’t have one. Why? Should I have one?