Every week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views. Well, actually six questions, since we also ask the start-up to who he or she is passing the mic to.
This week we’re interviewing Wojciech Kosinski. He’s a developer at Polish start-up Mapness. Our UK WebTipr David Petherick met him during start-upcamp in London. Mapness is a Google Maps-based service that allows you to share your travel experience. You can pinpoint on the map where you’ve been and what you saw – videos and photos are easy to add.
How did you come up with the idea of Mapness?
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“Founder Mike is a keen biker and travels a lot. He has a map of Poland hanging on the wall in his house. He used to put little pins in the places he has visited, connecting them with a thread thus creating a kind of a route taken on a journey. One day he found out that there is no good place on the web to do something like that. That’s how the idea of Mapness came to live.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“I’m thinking about two things. One is working hard together and staying good friends is quite a difficult task. We’ve had a few disagreements but we’re still together having a lot of fun developing Mapness. The other is the fact that we were well prepared technically and experienced in design and development. The biggest challenge we’re still facing is marketing Mapness and generating the buzz around it. I hope you can help us a little with that just by writing a few lines about us (laughs)”.
Can you describe the Polish start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“I live in London and you know how it is here but Mike and Tom live in Poland, Eastern Europe. You asked that question to make me sad and cry now, didn’t you? We’re light years behind here but we’re muddling through and hopefully in 15 years time or so we’ll be where Silicon Valley is now. Everybody, from VC’s through lawyers, to business accountants and so on is just starting to get a dim idea about all those web2.0 and start-up things. Did I mention that general public here generally views entrepreneurs as crooks and thieves? Yeah, that too… That may be a bit exaggerated but sometimes one can feel like that.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“Mapness will be an active community generating a steady flow of semantically meaningful content. Geo-tagged, rich multimedia content, meta tagged with RDF, XFN… plus we’re going mobile as soon as we can and that seems to be the future of Internet.”
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What do you plan to do next?
“We want to keep developing Mapness as there is still a lot of interesting and amazing things to do. To help us do it quicker and better we would love to have someone invest in our idea. Besides that of course we’re aiming at total world domination and free beer for everyone.”
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