Phinkit Up On This New Social Media Platform
Watch out Facebook and Pinterest: there’s a new kid on the block and he’s planning a British invasion of the social media world. Phinkit bills it self as a social multimedia website, with an emphasis on community, business, and brand building.
The site allows its users–who they call “Phinkers“–to post interesting content in text, video, or photo form. Their focus is on the value of the content published, not on acquiring friends at rapid rates. So instead of just messing around on Facebook and posting random photos of cats, Phinkit wants you to go a bit deeper.
Co-founder and “head honcho” Martin Lucas gave us some enthusiastic, on-point responses to our informal grilling. Check it out.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
We wanted people to think differently, to be more creative and to have some fun. We had some terrible working titles but stayed strong. You know, when you know, you know? It was right in front of us – Phink/Think- twisting the perspective on the way people think is our entire ethos! It also enabled us to call our members Phinkers, which really fits our community.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
Check in with the whole team, see what is on for the day, then make a cup of tea, with milk and sugar! We are very British.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
It was just me a year ago, then I built up the team so there are 5 Co-Founders today. We also have 6 full-time and 4 part-time advisers.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
I sure do! It’s been the hardest, most rewarding learning curve of my life. The anecdote repeats over and over in the concept days; endless people told me, ‘You can’t do it’, ‘You don’t have the resources’, but my favourite was the guy who tried to belittle the idea and tell me I couldn’t do it for under £1 million – not even close. It just takes self belief and finding the right people to share that belief with you.
How do you handle frustration? When/how was the last time you dealt with frustration?
Badly! Yesterday, I spoke to a guy so hung up on ‘doing’ social media that he wasn’t even considering why. After four months, he had 3 likes on his Facebook page and 27 contacts on LinkedIn. I call it the Social Fog. But these are the people I like to help and seeing them succeed is the ultimate frustration antidote, which keeps me motivated.
What’s your office environment like? Is it the kind of place where everyone is bumpin’ away to house music or is it more traditional?
It’s full of whiteboards, creative sessions and laughter. You can’t do anything creative without a healthy approach to laughing! When we’ve had enough of the office, we’re going for food or coffee to keep the ideas flowing. We’ve even got creative with ideas on the mini golf course!
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
I think all of us would just like to know we helped a whole bunch of people in their life and work. If we’ve done that, we have hit our goal of helping people create and gain value. How big? Everyone dreams, but I’d settle for a sustainable income, derived from a site known for its vibrant community.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food? Give us the deets, dude!
Quote: Henry Ford ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’ – I dig it because we would never have got money to build what we have. People wouldn’t have got it and stayed glued to their comfort zone.
Richard Branson (risk taker), Ruffles, Twizzlers, mint M&M’s (I love US trips for snacks alone), comedians… If you can laugh at life, you can live a much better one.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Self-funded all the way. Our shoes are going to need some more strings!
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
All the clichés – nothing beats hard work. Have complete self belief and stick to your vision. Do not settle for average people, you can find who you need. NEVER, never let someone tell you NO.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your current startup / projects)
South East Asia all the way. The people, food and culture. It was my dream at fifteen to retire before I was 40 to see the world. We have some time!
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
No, not yet. I think just knowing people understand and like our service. The feeling of success will come when we start to feel that buzz as people take value from it and get talking about it.
Website you couldn’t live without and why?
BBC – Dull pick but it has stacks of sport, news and video. Works well on my phone, laptop and mobile.
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
Photo booth – free app on ipad – I love pictures, it’s like a house of mirrors and you can spend countless hours making yourself look weird and then sending the pics to people to freak them out.
Dogs or cats?
Cats. Much more cunning than dogs and play by their own rules. I can relate to that!
iOS or Android?
iOS, man I hate my Android phone right now and it hates me!
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet?
Good one! South Korea, much like Japan I really like the culture, fashion and the food rocks.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
That you don’t need a single connection to get your message heard.
What one thing would you have done differently if you started over?
Go with the gut! At the beginning, there were so many people impressing their opinion on what they thought Phinkit should be and how it should work. I took time to listen and factored in time-consuming changes.
However, I soon realised the strong vision, purpose and even character of the site was starting to get watered down. So I stuck to my guns. I cut my losses, found the right team and hugely upped the effort to create what I know was the right approach. Our launch day was a very proud moment.
Why are you a Phinkit founder?
Si Jack – Got mightily fed up of the petty politics and restrictive thinking in the city job. I’ve spent most of my life going against the grain and doing things a little differently to explore new potential. Phinkit came along and I jumped at the chance to make creativity happen on a huge scale.
Marty Lucas – I worked for a big company for most of my twenties, I was frustrated. I had ideas, I wanted to give people something more creative, not derived value, just true up measurable good ole fashioned value! After three years of running my own business I had THE idea and here we are.
Ian Lackie – I was 24 when I decided life was not fulfilling me. I went back to university and re-booted my life with a degree in web development. I knew Marty for a few years and he asked me ‘Do you want to help people be creative?” Tough one to say no to! I’m loving every minute.
Where can our readers get ahold of you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog? Any other projects you’re working on that we should check out?
www.phinkit.com – We’re all on there!