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While winding down the weekend, I came across a site from India called Funpiper. My first reaction is that it's similar to Twitter as most of the users are creating short messages about what they did over the weekend.
I spoke with the founder Ajitesh Shukla who said that the site's motto is, "Your Weekend starts at FunPiper.com." The site is live just over two weeks and has several hundred entries so far. Ajitesh is looking to expand the site beyond India and hopes to help people around the world share their weekend stories. There is a social networking aspect to Funpiper as well. My suggestion would be to clean up and polish the design and try to make the site more "fun." The weekends should be fun and it's important that the environment for sharing what we do on the weekend be fun as well.
Funpiper reminds me of a similar app that closed earlier this year called Weekendr. I prefer the design of Weekendr, it just felt more "fun". I miss the Weekendr guy, he was cool and just made weekends seem fun.
This type of "specialized micromedia" could be a winner.
I came across Weekendr (ironically) last weekend. I think its a cute little app. Is it the next Google? Probably not. But is it a nice fun web app for smiling and sharing? Yeap. You can read my Weekendr review. I thought it would continue the fun to talk to the creator of the web app and find out where the idea came from and where it is going. Andreas Schneider, the creator was kind enough to participate in this interview.
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Allen: Can you provide a brief bio?
Andreas: My name is Andreas Schneider and I am the founder of Weekendr.com. Well, there is not much to say about me. Beside Weekendr I am the CEO of a mobile game and PC Casual Games Development and Publishing company. Before that, I ran a webdesign company here in Germany for about 10 years. I am 37 years old and I live in Germany near Cologne.
Allen: What does Weekendr do?
Andreas: When I first had the idea about Weekendr it was more a joke rather than a big idea for a social networking site. I didn’t know that there are sites like Upcoming or Skobee. I thought it would be great to know what others are doing on their weekend or free time, see some pictures from parties or simply a campfire at a lake. So Weekendr is a tool to write and share your free time activities with your friends and with the world, add images, details like location and time when the event will take place. You can also plan free time activities with your buddies and invite them to your event, leave comments on photos and plans or even write your own little blog. Weekendr is also a really good service for independent bands to promote their next gig – I hope in the near future we can integrate an audio player for use on Weekendr profiles. Weekendr also allows you to include YouTube videos and other content to blog and profile entries.
Allen: How many users do you have so far and what has the feedback been like so far?
Andreas: Actually we have around 300 users after one week – which is ok – but we want more. Most of the users like the service and we have received a lot of emails for new ideas and improvements. It is really important to know what your users want, so we will add new features based on their feedback soon.
Allen: The man and the overall design is very good – can you share who did the design?
Andreas: I did it.
Allen: What is the technology behind Weekendr?
Andreas: Nothing special, simple Microsoft Active Server Pages – not even .NET :) I know – most people think I should have used Rails – but I didn’t have the time to learn Rails and I only know a little right now. Weekendr was done in around one month.
Allen: How do you plan to monetize (if you do) Weekendr?
Andreas: To be honest, I don’t have a plan – let’s see what happens. I can say that we got two emails from VC’s so far – it’s quite funny these days. I think, Weekendr is more of an experiment at the moment and I am not frustrated if it won’t work. There are a lot of sites out there who need some time to grow. Weekendr will always be free and there will be only one way to monetize: Ads.
Allen: What does the Weekendr team look like? Where are you based?
Andreas: Well, to be honest again – there is not a real team. Weekendr was done by me and my girlfriend helped me a bit with some things. So there is not a team. We are based in Germany.
Allen: Can you speak about your marketing/PR activities to gain users for Weekendr?
Andreas: We don’t have the budget for marketing, we are right at the beginning – but perhaps we will try some Google Adwords. We also don’t have ad’s on Weekendr so far – but we will change that soon. A few weeks ago we started whoareyou.weekendr.com – as a PR/Marketing thing for weekendr and it was really good. And it was only good, because we created something where people talked about – some love it, some hate it- so it was on many blogs and it worked well. PR on blogs is very important – I see this all the time – but to reach the target customer you need more than a review on a tech blog.
Allen: What do you think are the most important characteristics that are needed for a startup to be successful?
Andreas: Know the right people at the correct time and hit the correct time slot for a new idea.
Allen: What would you say is the top thing you have learned since you started Weekendr? positive or negative?
Andreas: Positive: It is amazing how blogs are a successful PR tool and how easy it is to start something on the web right from your seat in your office from anywhere in the world. (Some parts of Weekendr were developed from my notebook during our holiday in Spain.)
Negative: If you don’t know the right people, nobody will write about you and nobody will know about your site.
Allen: Since you are based in Germany, what is the web market like there? Is it hot? Is it hard to gain acceptance – share some details please.
Andreas: I would not say that the web market is hot – there are some new companies with nice ideas like Qype from Hamburg! In Germany it is hard to get acceptance – many people are very skeptic about new things. We got a lot of emails from Germany where users ask us, “Why do I need Weekendr” – well, I can only answer: “Why do I need MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube and so on” – they don’t get it that is simply free and fun. The most important thing for a German user is : “Is my data safe?”
Allen: Which web apps do you use on a regular basis?
Andreas: Well Google is always my friend and I really like the new Docs & Spreadsheets thing – it is wonderful. Also Google Reader is great. It is amazing how Google has changed our lives! I also use Basecamp for Project Management.
Allen: Where is Weekendr going in the next 1-2 years?
Andreas: Well, I don’t know. Let’s wait and see – it all depends on new users filling the site with interesting Weekendr plans and have fun on the site. I don’t know what Tom from MySpace said after the first week of MySpace. Most people say, “We don’t need another MySpace”. I think users always try new things – so they never stay at a service for years. We saw that a lot of users on whoareyou or on weekendr have a myspace account. I think there is always space for a new Social Networking Site. So I hope we will have a lot of users in 1-2 years!
Allen: Anything else to share?
Andreas: Have fun on Weekendr and thanks for the interview Allen!
Thanks Andreas for chatting with me – I think Weekendr is a fun app. I like it because I don’t think I do enough “fun” things on the weekend and maybe your tool will help me to do more of them.
If you would like to participate in a conversation on CenterNetworks, or if you have any comments or questions, let me know.
Overview from Weekendr
Weekendr offers the following overview on their web site (http://www.weekendr.com):
Use weekendr to plan weekend activities with your buddies and share them with the world to make new friends.
The idea is that you can either see what your friends are doing this weekend or you can add your own events and have your friends check your events.
Signup is easy, just username/password and confirmation of e-mail address.
From what I can tell from using Weekendr for a few days, the team really thought about how to create this site. It appears very well put together with the features that friends need to communicate with each other. You can e-mail friends and block people and then create a blog of your choosing. You can skin your site to match your mood or season/holiday. Lots of tagging abilities make finding your friends and activities easy. Overall Weekendr is a fun site and could work – see my second concern below for my only fear for survival of Weekendr.
What would I like to see added to Weekendr/My Concerns
- It appears they have about 300 or so members so far which is great considering they launched a week before this review. Will they be able to continue to grow once the press buzz slows? This type of site requires lots of traffic to work.
- Perhaps they could add a way to be notified as my friends post events – that might help with the stickyness of the site.
- If they are a German company – why is there no German version? Bitte?
I like Weekendr. It is well designed and the team has considered the mainstream audience and designed it appropriately. It has a lot of cool Web 2.0 bells and whistles but still remains true to the idea of sharing weekend plans. So is it only for weekend activities or for during the week too? :)
Screenshots – click to enlarge