ImageSurf Founder Vishal Shah Talks Entrepreneurship And Backpacking
Vishal Shah left a comfortable job to start his own company. I’ve read coflicting advice on these kinds of decisions, but Shah’s not one to think about too long without coming up with a good solution. He built ImageSurf which is a way to not only store your photos online, but a way to view them. Shah’s description of what it’s like to view images with his online app is like “liquid.”
Shah is a dedicated entrepreneur who is driven was driven to built his application from the ground up all the while teaching himself the technology he needed in order to build what he wanted.
We had a chance to speak to Shah recently, and here’s what he shared with us:
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
The gives the user a great sense when surfing the web. You can pan or zoom images. It’s fluid. That’s why it’s called ImageSurf.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
First, I check if there is any customer feedback, suggestions, or complaints. So, I first solve those issues before doing anything else.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
I am still the only one full time working for the company, though I am looking to hire few people now.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describes the struggle you went through?
How do you handle frustration?
I don’t get easily frustrated. Although when I do, I keep working on the thing causing frustration. Last time I dealt with it in a big way, I just slept one full day when I couldn’t come up with the right design solution for a module of ImageSurf.net. Then, all of a sudden, boom – the morning I had perfect solution in mind.
What’s your office environment like?
My laptop is my office! When professionals want to meet me, we meet either at my home office or at a coffee shop. A couple of times I rented out conference room at a hotel nearby. Since this is purely a software company at the moment, I prefer the anywhere and anytime model and when I need to, I do online conferencing.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I envision Multiple products and lots of users.
Who or what inspires you?
A problem inspires me. When I see the things that are not the way they should be or I think that they can be better, I love thinking about the solutions.
How’d you fund this venture?
I’m self-funded for now. There are free and paid subscriptions available to users so to expand we might look for outside funding.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Get addicted to whatever you are solving and keep chipping away at it.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend?
I have multiple products being developed in parallel actually. I am sure I could utilize all that money to get those products done faster. But if it was something not related to this kind of work, then l would spend my time to start and expand a charity that I have in my mind.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now?
An entrepreneur? Not sure but thousands of satisfied users using this product actively will make me feel successful.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
ImageSurf.net. I have about 10GB of my own photos on it and going through them so quickly was never so easy. In addition, the way some people are using this product and the feedback I received is very satisfying.
Also, Google. Technically what they have done as a search engine is honestly great for an internet application, although I would have done it somewhat differently – probably better.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
None right now but I’m building an app for Imagesurf by the way.
Dogs or cats?
iOS or Android?
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet?
I’d like to visit so many countries although if I had to choose right now I would backpack the Middle East or Europe.
What’s the greatest thing about your company?
It allows hundreds of images to be viewed easily and quickly. It also allows one to zoom and pan them simultaneously!
Where can our readers get ahold of you?