Justin Wallace is the co-founder of YayNay, a new social media website that focuses on helping people easily and entertainingly get opinions on personal matters that they may have. With an entrepreneurial track record, prior to YayNay, Wallace was involved in several startups, one of which was recently sold. The idea for YayNay was ultimately incepted after much discussion with Wallace’s friend about certain personal issues that he was facing at the time, where they both felt the need for such a website. Combining the intellect and know how of top people from Harvard University and M.I.T, development for YayNay was completed earlier this year with soft launch beginning last week.
Wallace joins the Asian Entrepreneur today and speaks to us about why YayNay is the next big thing and his insights over working on this exciting social media project.
What is YayNay and how is it different from all the ideas out there?
In simple terms and one word, YayNay is all about opinions. To go into further length, YayNay is a social media platform that allows people to acquire and share opinions on things that matter to them in a very simple and intuitive way. I would easily say it is different from other ideas out there, because to date there is no website like YayNay in existence.
How does the platform actually work?
Well you would really have to visit the website to really experience it but to explain it, I would begin by saying its a cross device platform. So we really pushed for mobile integration as much as website integration, we wanted all sorts of people to be able to use it. You could access it on the phone, tablet and the computer. All you need is the internet. With that being said, we envision it as a place where users can easily sign up and begin to post content and questions and quickly acquire the community’s opinions on the post they create. There is a lot of interaction so far and in our vision, the site is defined by interaction.
You mention that the website is different and unique, how is it different from others existing?
Well as I’ve said, there are no websites like YayNay to date, so it is entirely unique in its own. I guess if you really wanted to compare it to something, Yahoo Answers would be in the same spirit of YayNay, however the technical functionality, approach and the entire user experience is absolutely different and what sets YayNay apart from everything else, is simplicity and design.
How did YayNay come about?
Well, there is an interesting story to it. One of my best friends actually had an argument with his girlfriend over a very trivial matter. They had different opinions about it, and just couldn’t settle it between the two. They decided the easiest way was to bring it online and ask for people’s opinions about what the matter in an attempt to settle it. The thing is there really wasn’t a place to do this, as easy as the task sounded. They tried Yahoo Answers, but they received no replies. My friend eventually told me about it one day during a dinner and we really started to think about how much easier life could be if there was such a place and thats how YayNay was conceived.
What was the process behind creating something like YayNay?
To create something like this or in fact anything, I would say it entirely lies in finding the right team. For us, we brought the idea of YayNay to a greater bunch of committed and passionate people, because my friend was a student at Harvard University, we brought the idea to friends there. We eventually assembled the right team and started to really brainstorm how we could make a website like this work. After much thought, we approached contacts in M.I.T to actually develop the site. The entire thing was a joint collaboration, and it was a really, really fun project to work on. Profit has not and is not our intention with this.
Did you guys encounter any difficulties working on this project?
I would say there were 2 distinct difficulties that we faced, but they were all quickly resolved. The first difficulty was to turn something ethereal into something tangible. What I mean by that, is initially my friend and I both felt that there was a need for such a platform. However, beyond that we didn’t know what it was, and how it would look like. That was really hard and required a lot of brainstorming and market research. The second distinct difficulty was funding. I suppose this is a difficulty for most startups. The thing about social media projects is that tech development can be very, very expensive. It is a very lucrative industry and finding the right developer at the right price was a hard thing to do. Fortunately, we had developers in the later phases of the project and we also had minor investments, so this difficulty went away quickly.
And how did you guys approach the marketing of the site?
That is an interesting question and in reference to the question just asked, I think this is the major obstacle for us. To answer you, I would say we are taking marketing in an organic and piecemeal way. We believe there is real value of the site, and we truly believe that it is something that will grow once more and more people try it. So we aren’t taking the paid approach and spend big bucks on press releases or launch parties. As I’ve told you earlier, we are in our soft launch now, so we have been spreading it on our social networks at this stage.
And what is the market reception so far?
I would say it has been quite good so far. As I’ve just said, the approach at the moment is soft launch within certain social networks, but regardless of that there has been quite a lot of sign ups and our member base has certainly grown, this was quite unexpected. It remains to be seen how it will go as we move towards full launch.
Could you share some insights you’ve gained working on this?
I think the main insight I would share is to think outside of box sometimes. A lot of people in this world can be very conventional, the thing is the world is defined by conventions. What we need is people who think outside of the box and someone who is able to create something that is truly outside of the box. I learnt this working on YayNay especialyl in the idea development stage where we considered how the site would be, it was very easy to fall into the trap of creating something that was already existing but we opted for more and I am glad we did.
In your opinion, what are the ingredients to entrepreneurial success?
I would say initiative. It is very easy to end up becoming a wantrepreneur, someone who just thinks, talks and wants but one that never does. The boundary dividing the doers and the dreamers is very thick and I think to cross it makes all the difference. You have to understand that you are probably going to fail at some of the things you do, but true failure is when you accept unexpected results with defeat and success is defined by those who persevere and continue. That is my opinion on what true success is.
Connect with Justin Wallace and YayNay today: