Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.
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 Marco Menato, CEO of Wauw! Wee. This start-up presented at The Next Web Conference , which got them a write-up on TechCrunch. One problem though: Wauw is a Dutch version of Wow and non-Dutch speakers don’t seem to get that. TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld called it Wuaw! consistently. Commenter Matt said what the guys from Wauw! Wee probably experienced: “Imagine the excitement over bieng in a TC post… then to see your brandName misspelled at every… single… instance…. ouch”.
Wauw! Wee makes it easy to upload pictures and text to your site and networks by using your mobile phone. Read here how they got the idea and how it went from there.
How did you come up with the idea of Wauw! Wee?
“24access Solutions had been in business for a few years when I arrived 6 months ago, and they had brought good product to market, including Mobile Media Center – a PC download that offered to shift several entertainment media from PC to mobile handset. When I was asked to take the role of CEO I was impressed by the technical know-how in the company but realized that the product was highly reliant for its success on mobile operators, their infrastructure and pricing policies. The idea for Wauw! Wee was really borne of observing several trends in PC/mobile convergence, appreciation of the company’s legacy know-how in mobile handsets, as well as pragmatically adapting to the networks’ current ability to support mobile streaming.
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“The biggest challenge in development was managing time constraints. One would always like to bring to market perfect product, but the likelihood of succeeding in such perfect marksmanship is inversely proportional to the innovative elements of the industry, product or solution being worked on. In an environment such as mobile applications, there really is no telling what will work ahead of putting it to the consumer, so the sooner you can test your concept in the marketplace, the sooner you will receive the feedback so necessary to perfect the offering. The challenge is therefore one of launching a value proposition that is sufficiently complete, while still maintaining the resources needed to respond dynamically once the market answers with its verdict. In a nutshell: speed, sagacity and flexibility are of the essence.
Can you describe the Amsterdam start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“I have not worked in Silicon Valley per se, but I presume it compares to the environment in Seattle, where I worked for almost a decade. I believe the start-up culture in Amsterdam is highly impacted by the more protectionist environment created by Dutch labor law versus the one you will meet in the US. The results are not all negative or all positive, in my opinion. In comparison to the U.S., as an Amsterdam start-up you have a limited ability to change teams once hired, on the other hand it forces you to apply a far more self-demanding (but ultimately worthwhile) leadership style; if you can’t fire people you have to inspire them!
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“We hope to influence the next web by providing more truly convergent services linking PC and mobile devices. I believe Wauw! Wee is an example of our approach, and a strong first step in defining our identity and contribution – linking the social networking experience on the web with the mobile phone’s ability to gather audio-visual content of great relevance.
You can make up this question yourself!
What will provide you with indications of progress along the way top ultimate success?
Definitely having the Next Web site begin to adopt our technology to communicate with its audience by embedding Wauw! Wee in its own pages!
Note from the editor: ha! sends us an offer and we’ll think about it ;-)
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