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What is Freak’n Genius?
Freak’n Genius is an odd, yet effective mix of art and science, working to truly bring people closer together through creativity, humor, fun, and technology. We recently launched YAKiT, a mobile app that allows people to bring photos to life in seconds to create and send hilarious video messages to friends and family.

What’s your traction been like thus far?
Some highlights are that we’ve seen over 50,000 videos created, our most engaged users are using the app between 2-7hrs a day, and on average are seeing about 8 videos a day created. We’ve received a wealth of data as to how people are and are not using the app, which has been helping guide our iterative updates. Launching into the App Store has also been a humbling experience, and our full attention is to gaining visibility and driving downloads.

What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started Freak’n Genius?
We started our company with using the Kinect, and although had an audacious vision and sexy product prototype, were trying to work with a large organization where we were met with bureaucratic barriers that prevented the ability to ship within a timeframe that was possible for a scrappy startup. We don’t regret being so optimistic and bold with wanting to build on the fringe, as it helped open many doors, we just wish we could have arrived to the product we were going to ship sooner.

What’s a hypothesis that you’ve had that has failed? And how did you respond?
Harking back to the previous question, a hypothesis we had was that a small startup could navigate the waters of a large organization, create advocates, and ultimately ship a product in a closed ecosystem. The second we realized it wasn’t going to happen, had an “oh shit” moment, but a day later were back on our feet and outside talking to people. It was in that period of learning that we really started to connect with people and get out of our heads.

How would you describe your company culture?
Our culture is unlike anything I’ve ever seen or experienced prior, even through traveling and connecting with many early-staged teams. It’s truly a combination of freaks & geniuses, arts & sciences, and pure fun with the right amount of process around communication and organization. It’s a culture of wide-eyed learning and rapid iteration with a staunch eye for detail and experience.

What’s your favorite startup in Seattle? (Besides your own!)
Yikes! I have so many amazingly talented friends doing things that make my brain melt and this world a better place… Ok, picking one, my favorite startup in Seattle would have to be UP Global, the new parent organization to Startup Weekend and SW Next. Not only would Freak’n Genius not exist if it weren’t for that organization, both having come out of Startup Weekend and participating in SW Next, but that group is ravenous in their unwavering mission to empower communities and the entrepreneurs in them. I have personally seen lives drastically changed with every single event I have been to, doesn’t matter what city or culture, anywhere in the world.

What’s your favorite thing about being a startup in Seattle?
No doubt the community. Our community-driven War Room social media launch is a perfect example of how willing smart, talented, and busy people are to set aside their own lives to help you succeed. It’s an effective mix of humble, humility, and hustle with a pay-it-forward mentality.

What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
My deep-rooted passion for connecting with and affecting multitudes of people is only fully tapped when having the creative freedom and resources available that comes with being an entrepreneur. My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is also my favorite thing about being an illustrator, designer, and artist. I get to step up to the canvas and make a mark. Some days my mark serves to communicate ideas, sell dreams, solve problems, or just express this relentless itch to just be creative and fun. The only thing that’s more amazing, is the orchestrated collaboration where all of my efforts are only a piece of the production, and the final result is beyond anything I could do on my own.

What does the future hold for Freak’n Genius?
We’ve just begun to scratch the surface of making our devices form to the nuance, range and diversity of how creative, fun and funny people can be. We aim to be here for quite some time, learning, digging and delivering.

Seahawks, Sounders, Mariners or Huskies?
To play on or root for? I’d say Seahawks for their stadium, Sounders for the uniforms and rabid fans, and Mariners for the Moose.

If Freak’n Genius were an animal, what would it be and why?
I’d say we would be the offspring of a Doozer and Fraggle. As a Doozer, we’re relentless in our work, and value cooperation to further the common good. However our Fraggle nature lends to the competitiveness and how we take pride in our individuality and passions.

If you were to take Freak’n Genius on a date, where would it want to go?
Given that I’m already married to my company and don’t have to woo it, we’d probably just hit up a low-key restaurant (since we’re too busy to cook for ourselves), and call it an early night. We have to find balance in the craziness somehow!

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