I rarely respond to blogger pitches these days but an interesting one came across my gmail account last week. Christina Daigneault of Orchard Strategies noted in her personalized e-mail that based on my coverage of social and technology that I might be interested in speaking with her client, Tej Bhatia, CEO of MediaMerx — the company behind RecreateMyNight.com. In addition to correctly targeting her pitch, she kept the e-mail simple giving me a little background on RecreateMyNight.com and provided a link to a demo.
The result? A blog interview to be followed by Tej joining my co-host, Jennifer, and me on our Quick-n-Dirty podcast show on August 12. For a sneak peak at some of the things that Tej will talk about on the show, I asked him some questions via e-mail. My answers and his questions are below:
- Give us some background on you. Where have you worked. What led you to your current project?
My team and I first met at ESPN where we built a product then called ESPN360 (now called ESPN3). We started our own company a few years ago with a focus on aggregating media in a relevant manner. Our current project, RecreateMyNight.com, aggregates all forms of social media, including photos, videos and status updates and curates this media based on time, location and social network.
- Talk a little bit about how and why you decided to launch RecreateMyNight.com
We decided to launch RecreateMyNight.com to help groups of friends share experiences across multiple media types and multiple social platforms. We had some real world experiences such as weddings, reunions, birthdays and happy hours that led us to believe that the time was right for such a product.
- Twitter, Facebook, Flickr etc. have some pretty big investors/financial backing. I know you are using their APIs but aren’t you running a risk of competing with them (especially Facebook)?
We may be competing with other social media companies in terms of time spent on our site versus on theirs but in reality the success of our company means even more success for the big social media companies. For example, with Facebook, our site encourages more uploading, sharing and friending on Facebook itself. In addition, RecreateMyNight helps users filter through a lot of “stuff” that is on Facebook that they might normally miss. All that “stuff” needs to be on Facebook in the first place for our site to work well. In other words, we see our site as enhancing all the other social platforms. The social web is an ecosystem of mutual dependency with some sites being more dependent than others.
- One of the biggest issues with piecing together an event across the social web after the fact is that people have “moved on.” How do you make this idiot proof and ensure that it’s “worthwhile.”
The social web seems to be all about the here and now. The beauty of here and now is that it implies time and location. Everything is documented. We organize all those digital breadcrumbs for people who like to relive those moments. While people on the social web move on, people in the real world still like to hold on to their most precious memories and that is what we help them do without changing any of their existing social web behavior.
- What companies do you admire/wish to emulate (big or small)?
I admire my former employer, ESPN. They have managed to capture a deep rooted cultural passion and turn it into an incredible product. Equally as impressive to me are the multiple business models that ESPN has beautifully architected. In all my business planning for my current products, I often rely on what my team learned there. I have many friends and mentors who are executives at ESPN that continue to support us and wish us success.
- Which leaders/writers/bloggers give you your inspiration?
Before starting my company, I read a lot of Paul Graham and Malcolm Gladwell. Since starting my company, I have found inspiration in the Lean Startup movement and also in President Obama’s books.