July 22, 2012
Even the most passionate startup or the wittiest CEO can sound flat and dry over email. So Boston startup Vsnap is bringing back more personal, engaging communication with up to 1-minute video messages.
And Vsnap keeps what is good about email: you can still attach files, and track views and shares by your customers. (See 3 Tips for Startups Making Videos from Vsnap.)
Vsnap has also started a power user program, where a few select businesses dedicate 15 minutes/day for 3 weeks to learn how to perfect their video messages, send vsnaps to customers, and give feedback. Click here to see a vsnap where cofounder Dave McLaughlin explains the program in more depth (including how a light saber is involved). If you want to participate, send a vsnap to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below, McLaughlin explains why we’ve settled for email and how Vsnap can make us fall in love all over again.
Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Vsnap? What do you enjoy most about working on it?
Dave McLaughlin: I used to be a filmmaker and a playwright, so I really enjoy the unpredictable process of teasing out ideas and figuring out how to express them. But probably what I enjoy most is the people part of the business. We have an awesome team where everybody is really a rock star in their own domain. I love digging into a problem with them. Also, I love getting to know our users and understanding how we can help them grow their businesses. That’s kinda what gets me out of bed. And I think that’s reflected in the product. It’s really something that is designed for people people.
Tech Cocktail: Who is your greatest competitor?
McLaughlin: Our greatest competitor is a thing called email. Most people kinda hate it, because they’re drowning in it and it’s pretty impersonal and it gets noisy very fast and it doesn’t capture feeling or tone, or any of the non-verbal stuff that really drives how we make all of our important decisions.
But, you know, it reaches everywhere and it’s pretty well entrenched among our target demographic (um, businesses). Also it’s pretty easy (at least it is when it’s short) for senders and for recipients, and both groups are used to it and comfortable with it. And folks have lowered their expectations. They don’t expect a communication to be both personal and easy, both emotionally rich and convenient. So by and large they think they have the best solution.
But they don’t, not for the subset of messages that actually matter, the ones where something is actually at stake. So we differentiate by taking advantage of the gorgeous display screens that we all have in our pockets and on our desks. We create an opportunity to engage customers and prospects in a format that conveys sincerity, emotion, enthusiasm, tone, warmth, appreciation, etc. We differentiate by helping businesses be more human – which the humans your business depends on really, really love. And we differentiate by making all of that very easy, very intuitive. The result is improved sales, satisfaction, retention, and referrals.
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about you, your team, or your office culture?
McLaughlin: I wrote and/or directed movies with Eliza Dushku, Amanda Peet, Donnie Wahlberg, Rose McGowan, Will Arnett (twice), Amy Poehler, Joey McIntyre, Lawrence Tierney, Anne Meara, and Mike O’Malley. (And my parents. I like to put them in my movies, usually at a wake or a wedding.) And yes, that’s two of the five New Kids.
In terms of our office culture, I’d say it’s siblingesque in a way that reflects the barbed-but-loving-and-hard-working banter of a huge Irish-Catholic family. Oh yeah, another quirky fact is that I have 10 siblings.
Vsnap was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail Boston mixer.
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