Interview with Kate Hiscox (Bablingo!)
Bablingo! is designed to be used by PR professionals and brand managers needing highly targeted news release distribution across newswires, the web and social media.
I interviewed Kate Hiscox, Bablingo! founder to find out more. This interview is the fortieth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Kate for the interview!
What made you decide to found Bablingo!?
Gaining and managing significant publicity is a challenge for any organization. As founders, we have experienced this with our own startups, prompting a series of discussions with PR agencies and organizations of varying sizes. The results demonstrated a need for a solution that offered highly targeted press release distribution, reaction monitoring and media list management.
How did you come up with the name?
Bablingo! is a play on babble and lingo. Its one of those memorable, nonsensical web 2.0 names!
What technologies have you used to build Bablingo!?
Bablingo! is a drupal build. I can’t add much more to that but I can say we have some of the top Drupal engineers in Vancouver on our team.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Bablingo!?
The most challenging (and satisfying) is the identification process we use for locating relevant journalists, bloggers and industry influencers to whom we distribute a release.
How long did it take to put together Bablingo!?
You have quite a background in startups! Tell us how you got to be where you are now.
I’ve had hits and I’ve had misses. You definitely need the misses to enable the hits. Never dread or lament a miss, it will be your biggest learning experience.
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
This response won’t fit with Bablingo! because it was a lengthy R+D and developmental process. But I love the 30 day 1.0 Ha! I love a 24 hour 1.0! Agile is the only way to go with developing an app or solution. Its such a simple concept. Throw something out there and let your users finesse your product cycle. I’ve been caught in a couple of waterfall development nightmares with never ending billing. So agile.. wish I had embraced agile.
Where do you see Bablingo! in 5 years time?
Bablingo! would have played a pivotal role in the evolution of PR distribution from email and phone (or even fax believe it or not) to social media, primarily Twitter with smart distribution. Gone are they days where you choose distribution from perhaps the 100 top US cities or South Eastern Canadian cities etc. Bablingo! doesn’t work on pre-formatted distribution lists, it builds a list tailored to the content of the release. Simple and effective.
Has Bablingo! got the feedback and growth you expected during beta?
We are still in closed beta with a handful of users as we work out kinks. Bablingo! has a lot of moving parts and while we’d love to bring a ton of users in to use Bablingo! from the get go, it makes sense to roll out slowly. We have no shortage of interest and request for beta keys though which is a good problem to have.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
There are a few when it comes to press and social media release distribution and hosting in general. Our strength lies in the technological experience of our team and our ability to take a evolutionary approach resulting in a faster/better solution.
You say you eat, breathe and sleep product strategy! But what do you do to relax!?
I work out, I read, I cook, I spend quality time with my family. I actually trade equities from 4.30am every morning so quite often by the end of the day, I am zapped!
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Work wise, obviously Bablingo! Family wise, we’re just starting the adoption process. That will be my biggest success to date!
Can you convince the reader to start using Bablingo! in under 50 words?
That’s easy, user feedback. We’ve had one user who says their release got more coverage than they have ever had. We also had another release picked up and shared by a journalist on Good Morning America. At $19.06 per release, its a pretty fabulous service.
Finished reading? Check out Bablingo!