Interview with Paul Brown (evemi)
evemi is an interest based social website for meeting new people.
I interviewed Paul Brown, evemi founder to find out more. This is the hundred and thirty second in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Paul!
Describe evemi in under 50 words.
evemi is a fun social message board for following the things you love and connecting to new people.
Tell us a bit about your background. What made you decide to start working on evemi?
I guess my main reason at the time was to learn how to code, one year ago I knew nothing about developing and only had a little design experience. As evemi took shape it turned into an experiment for me. I got curious to see if I could create a platform to connect new people through a shared love of design, tech or anything.
As you say yourself, evemi’s interest based idea is nothing new. Recent attempts, from other interest based social networks, haven’t performed as well as expected. How does evemi plan to gain popularity and have the success that others haven’t?
We see evemi more as the ‘forum re-designed’ than as an interest based network. I used to spend a lot of time on forums, they are the thing we all grew up on and loved in the good ol’ days of the internet. I think with social networks (and interest based ones) these days they are heavily focused on self expression and keeping you connected with friends, not really doing what forums used to do.. I miss the old days of hanging around in small forums and having meaningful discussions with random people – I think this is a bit lost these days and I think if we can capture the essence of the forum in evemi we have a good chance at being fun and useful for a lot of people.
Who is the team behind evemi and where are you based?
The team is tiny. I do the design and development, my girlfriend Kate helps out with the community and I have a good friend Matt that helps with product advice, but the majority of evemi comes from me (and lots of tea to keep me going!). We are based in Leeds, UK.
How did you come up with the name?
The original concept of evemi was a site that is ‘everything for me’ so it was kind of a shorter version of that.
What technologies have you used to build evemi?
PHP and MySQL.
How do you plan to monetize evemi?
Right now I am loving working on evemi, it really is my passion. I am keeping focused on improving evemi and not so much on monetizing – I want the product to be awesome before I even start to think about anything like that.
Do you have any new features in the pipeline?
Soooo much in the pipeline. There are lots of things we are getting rid of and lots of things we are adding. At the moment I am working on some major improvements to the mobile web app and then there are some big changes coming to the site along with Android and iPhone apps.
What’s the startup scene like in Leeds?
Hmm, sometimes I think that ‘I’ am the startup scene in Leeds because I don’t think there is too much going on here.. I am sure there are other startups in Leeds and I am always trying to reach out and find them, I guess it is sort of my side project to stir things up in Leeds and find other people like me working hard at something.
Where do you see evemi in 5 years time?
I see evemi as beautiful, popular, unique and a lot of fun – even now, so I hope that in 5 years time we are still doing just that and continue to connect new people around the world and hopefully add a tiny little bit of happiness to lots of people’s lives every day, that would be really cool.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
The biggest hurdle so far has been in communicating just what evemi is to people. I think a lot of people on first impression think it is just like instagram/pinterest/facebook/etc/etc, I know evemi is totally different but my biggest hurdle and something we are working on all of the time is in trying to clearly communicate why evemi is unique and why people should come along and give it a go.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I made the classic mistake of waiting a little too long before we opened up for beta. evemi is only the second website I have ever made, so I think I really wanted to make the right impression to my family and friends and wanted to show a polished product when really I should have just put my ‘first draft’ live to start getting feedback from the start. It is amazing how much a product develops once you have real people playing with the thing you have built, it is only then that you find out what is good and what sucks.
Which entrepreneurs do you most admire?
My dad. My dad is an amazing mechanical engineer and has run his own small engineering company for 14 years. He has taught me so much about engineering, business and life, I am always learning from him.
What one piece of advice would you give to soon to be startup founders?
Start making something. There are so many ideas that float around and never get built. I had an idea and just started making it on day one, so many people dream but few work on turning the dream into a reality – stop thinking and start making something.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
At the moment it is really exciting watching the community grow. evemi is still really small and sort of finding its feet but it is really cool every time someone new comes along and gets involved.
Good luck with the site Paul! Finally, can you convince the reader to sign up to evemi in under 50 words?
Request an Invite and I will give you $100… or maybe a nice personal email to say thank you! We are only letting a few people in right now whilst we are in beta but you can sign up for early access now.
Finished reading? Check out evemi!