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Why I left my corporate job to build a social-sharing platform

Vartika Manasvi
4th Jul 2017
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Today, being social means what you do online. Shouldn’t technology enable more in-person interactions, and not reduce them?

When I was younger, my parents and their friends had a car pool system as they daily headed to the same office. My dad would drive to the office on Monday while his friend would drive on Tuesday. They rotated the process every day of the week for about a year. During weekends, I used to rent CDs of latest movie releases and exchange with my friend next door (another movie buff, like me) to watch two films at the cost of one. That time I had no understanding of what this was leading to. I just felt my dad was too busy to be driving daily and it’s just smart to watch movies at home like that and save my pocket money.

Image : shutterstock

That time I had no understanding of what this was leading to. I just felt my dad was too busy to be driving daily and it’s just smart to watch movies at home like that and save my pocket money.

However, today when I think of it, the motive was to save costs. Driving one car instead of two at the same time was saving the cost of fuel and the most important thing -- time. Quite clever, right? With the advent of Uber and AirBnb, actions like such are monetised today.

Social media and digital platforms have left us more digitally connected than ever before, but it doesn’t allow for chance meetings and meaningful connections in real time.

The real connections and interactions that we crave are artificially being fed by the notifications and likes (read reactions). Shouldn’t technology enable more in-person interactions, and not reduce them?

This quest led me to resign from a decade-old life governed by ‘get a degree, get a job’ philosophy where my month end pay-cheque ensured a safe and secure routine. I broke this pattern to build IMeYou (a geo-social platform to context connect people at places that matter) and here are the three reasons to my why:

shutter

People do business with people, not brands

Ninety-seven percent of marketers are stuck in the broadcast age, and all they’re doing is publishing content, a lot of content in fact -- videos, gifs, blogs, and what not to chase their audience attention. A total of $35 billion is spent globally to get in front of the eyes of users on these platforms. To me, the big reason of social platforms which was to connect with people and not brands got lost somewhere. We are building to bring that back.

The social utility of one

In tech, the word “social” is quite misleading because users first care about their own image, (i.e. selfies). What I really care about is building daily utility even for one user for him to care enough. We just need 10 more people and then it’ll get fun is no more a valid argument. The general principle here is that any platform should have utility when only one person is on it.

Digital trust currency

Our naked photos aren’t the only thing we’re trusting apps to keep safe. These companies know a lot about where we go, who we talk to, and what we’re saying. Some of them know our credit card numbers, our addresses, our medical records, and what we buy or even what we intend to buy. They’re gate-keepers for event invitations and chats with our friends. We sacrificed our own data, our privacy for added convenience and now who do we trust? Trust, not money, is the currency of business and life. Here our imperative is to build crowd voted local heroes, the one who walk the talk by doing something for someone.

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