Interview with Richard Oerlemans (Socialgimme)
Socialgimme is a web design app that let’s you easily create Gimme pages without coding.
I interviewed Richard Oerlemans, Socialgimme founder to find out more. This interview is the hundred and eighth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Richard for the interview!
Describe Socialgimme in under 50 words.
We help people express themselves in an fun and elegant way. No tech, no coding, just a creative mind and an interesting subject. We provide the tool so people can go and create (and monetize) content rich pages, not in hours, not in minutes but in seconds.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Family guy, enjoying life itself. Embracing the lovers, avoiding the haters.
What is your background? What made you decide to start working on Socialgimme?
In the recent past we have built a number of websites, amongst others a social network for sportsmen in the Netherlands. Socialgimme is a spin off of a tool we created that enabled these clubs to create an online weekly sportsmag for their members.
Who uses Socialgimme?
Our platform is used by individuals who just want to create a nice page about their interests, and businesses who want to create a professional online presence. People don’t read websites, they scan them. And since over 35% of all internet traffic is generated through a mobile device, people need a way to express themselves in a way that fits the bill.
Gimme pages are responsive, so they look great on any device. Nobody reads 6 columns, 12 menu-items websites, those days have long gone (if ever). You need to catch peoples attention in seconds, and we feel that should be by creating easy to read, enjoyable and entertaining pages.
What planning did you do before you started up?
We do visualize our goals. I have learned that if you do that, and you can see it, feel it and experience it, go for it, then it’s already there, you just have to walk the walk to get there.
If on the other hand, you are visualizing the heck out of it, but you just can’t see it, leave it, it’s not for you.
In terms of planning, this meant that we dealt with a lot of things like crossing a bridge when coming to it ;-)
Where are you based? Who is the team behind Socialgimme?
Socialgimme is based in Amsterdam, we are Dutchies ;-) Just a small team of myself as the creator and co-founder, Sander Voorn as our developer, Jurjen Damste as the co-thinker and angel behind the scenes. Further more we have been able to mobilize some friends with a graphic background to hop onboard now and then.
Who came up with the name?
That was me. Hope you like it ;-)
Is it free?
The service is free for everyone to use. We do have a premium version of our service, but that’s if you want to include banners, analytics, adsense and have an unlimited number of Gimme pages. If you just want to create a Gimme page, the free version is a great choice.
How many users upgrade to the Premium Plan. What’s your philosophy on converting free members?
I believe that the service should cover a complete package as a free version. We like to convert the more professional users, who are able to monetize their Gimmes, or use it as support for their online business.
What was technically the most challenging part of developing Socialgimme?
As the late Steve Jobs used to say: “Good technology is invisible”. With this in the back of our minds we created Socialgimme. Users shouldn’t be bothered with programming and coding, since that will limit their creativity and feed their frustration.
So whether it’s the setup of a contact form, embedding a video, including Facebook or Twitter feeds, it’s literally done in seconds. We make sure that our users have to go through as little steps as possible, and the steps they do have to make, are extremely simple.
The challenge was building the technique that supports this.
You are very close to launching a Facebook app that you say ‘will rock the online landscape like nothing else’! Tell us more.
I promised my team not to elaborate on this, but all I can say is that we will revolutionize the way companies can create pages on facebook, and the way they interact with their friends and likers. A liker is a liker, but we are providing the tools to convert those friends and likers into customers.
The timeline rollout has got a lot of companies thinking. They have included Facebook in their on and offline campaigns, and are wondering what it brought them. Our app will make them see that Facebook as a marketing tool has been worth the effort. Well, this is what we hope ;-)
What do you wish you’d have known 5 years ago that you know now?
How great it is to have a kid!
Has Socialgimme got the feedback and growth you expected since beta launch?
We have only been in public beta for a couple of weeks, and that means a shift in our mind set, from developing over the last 18 months, into PR and marketing in the coming period. But we did manage to get great coverage on websites like Arctic Startup, Crunchbase, Feedmyapp, Mediatapper, MakeUseOf and that’s only the beginning. Twitter is picking up right now, we are talking to bloggers, so things look quite promising.
Where do you see Socialgimme in 5 years time?
In 5 years, I see Socialgimme as a permanent part of the online landscape. We did not just try to create another tool to build websites, but more like a new way of expression, and engagement with an online audience.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Managing the growth of our company. We seem to manage this alright now, but we have to stay on our toes to keep up with all the developments. But if we manage to stay alert, things should work out fine.
What does a typical day in your life look like?
Drinking immense quantities of coffee, the good stuff ;-)
What are you reading at the moment?
“Winnie the Poo” and “Name the farm animals” to my 16 month old son Dean ;-) And I am a big fan of Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist. The way he can visualize the crazy world of quantum mechanics is just awesome.
What one piece of advice would you give to startup founders?
Never lose your spirit. Not one of the biggest companies in the world became the biggest, if there wasn’t at least one person in that company with the ambition to become the biggest.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
The launch of our Facebook app, and the growth we are experiencing with Socialgimme. Just watching people use our system and loving it is an absolute thrill.
Can you convince the reader to start using Socialgimme in under 50 words?
If you want to express yourself online, in the easiest and yet most elegant way possible, then Socialgimme is the thing for you. Just hop along for a test drive and create your very first Gimme page. You won’t be disappointed, and we’d love to have you.
Finished reading? Check out Socialgimme!