What is Yabbly?
Yabbly’s mission is to help people make awesome decisions. We’re starting out with a community of thoughtful shoppers helping each other make great product purchasing decisions — kind of like a Quora meets Consumer Reports.
What’s your traction been like thus far?
From an external pov, we’ve been really lucky. We were recently a finalist at the 2013 SxSW Accelerator program (along with our fellow Seattle comrades at LikeBright and DiscoveryJar), got some great stories on Mashable, Fast Company, MSNBC, KUOW, WSJ and a bunch of blogs. From a team pov, we’ve put together a really solid core group combining alums from Google, Amazon, Target, Redfin, and Trumba. From a user pov, we’re seeing almost 50% 6 month retention rates and engagement levels higher than Quora. At the same time, we also have yet to really nail user acquisition and monetization so there will be miles to go before we sleep!
What do you know now that you wish you would have known when you started Yabbly?
If it were one thing, I’d probably have put user acquisition farther up our list of product priorities in the early days. It’s very easy to focus on solving a problem and building an engaging and habitual experience but you probably shouldn’t assume user acquisition is a bolt-on feature, it should be a core principle of the product strategy.
What’s a hypothesis that you’ve had that has failed? And how did you respond?
Our original idea was an instant mobile poll for life’s most interesting decisions. Kind of like choose your own adventure where friends participate in your choices in real time. I still think it’s a cool idea but I think we learned from our first prototype that it was a pretty unnatural experience from a user pov. It’s rare that you want to whip out your phone at the restaurant and ask people what you should order because it takes too long and feels a bit toolish. Maybe in the future we’ll build a Google Glass app for that but it seemed to us that this concept was great to talk about as ideators but hard to actually use as real people.
How would you describe your company culture?
Beyond a high bar for horsepower, performance, and passion — our core values are authenticity, transparency, teamwork, audacity, and fun. We’re building the company we’ve always wanted to work at. 🙂
What’s your favorite startup in Seattle? (Besides your own!)
There’s a bunch. Picmonkey is probably my favorite. It takes a lot of audacity to go after such a giant category because it’s like trying to perfectly cook a fried egg. You need almost flawless execution to stand out and I love what they’re doing.
What’s your favorite thing about being a startup in Seattle?
Our underdog mentality. In a way, Seattle is a startup that I believe may eventually disrupt that other city by a bay.
What’s your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
There’s a purity to what we’re doing that cuts through a lot of BS in business. Are you solving a big problem in a unique way and getting tons of people loving you enough for you to make money? If the answer is yes, you can do it again. If the answer is no, it’s one of the most interesting puzzles to work on.
What does the future hold for Yabbly?
I think we’re on the cusp of something huge. We’ve seen enough data to know that product discovery and selection is still a huge problem for most people. We’ve got a varsity team, an amazingly loyal core community, and a product that keeps getting better so we’re looking forward to a breakthrough year.
Seahawks, Sounders, Mariners or Huskies?
That’s easy. We have so many Huskies across our team and investor group that we’re practically a UW spin off. 😉
If your company were an animal, what would it be and why?
Yabbly would be like a smart and loyal dog (named Yabbly). Yabbly would be friendly, authentic, helpful, empathetic, and fun.
If you were to take your company on a date, where would it want to go?
Yabbly would love to go to a chill private party where some of the most interesting and innovative new products could be tried out and tested with fellow members of our community. There would be stuff like a Sonos sound bar, a Tesla, a scale model of the Aulani resort, an Omega juicer, and the 3rd gen Orbit stroller where folks could check them out, talk to members who already own them, and eat some awesome food.