Smivi takes video seriously. Since KillerStartups first wrote about the company last December, this social video search engine has been given a recent major upgrade. The newest rendition includes new features like: a Favorites List (to keep track of favorite videos), a Watch Later function (for storing videos you don’t have time to immediately watch), and enhanced search filters. The site also has a new, improved design.
KillerStartups had a chance to chat with Smivi founder, Danny Witters, while the company is still in beta testing. A bootstrapper to the core, hear what he has to say about stubbornly believing in your efforts and not taking any opportunities for granted.
How long have you been involved with the internet?
I can’t really remember life without the internet. I kind of grew up in the Internet era. I remember sharing a computer with my sister in 1st grade, back in the days of dial-up. In 3rd grade, I had a bet with my mom on the stock market price levels. She said by the end of the year it wouldn’t pass a certain level and I, not having a clue what I was talking about, said it would. The agreement was that she would buy me my own laptop if I was right. For 2-3 months, I was just checking those stock prices everyday and one day, sure enough, I won the bet. It was the coolest thing at the time. I used to lock my laptop in my drawer before going to school. I didn’t want anyone using it while I wasn’t home.
What time do you usually start work each day?
It depends. The beauty of working for yourself or starting your own business is that you can really dictate the terms. If you want to work from midnight to 5am, then you can do it. There’s no 9-5 BS. You just got to be disciplined about it. For me, I’m a bit of a night owl. I work great around 12-3am. When everyone else is sleeping, it’s dark and quiet outside, it’s prime time. Usually, I’ll sleep around 3-4 and get up around 9-10.
Do you have an office or work at home?
I do some of my work from home. Every now and then, I’ll go work in a cafe just to change up the environment.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
Work out. Whenever I’m mentally exhausted, I just need to do something physical to maintain some balance.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? After working for 16 hours?
Anywhere really. Even when I’m technically not working, I’m constantly thinking about things in my head. I’ve come up with ideas in the shower, laying in bed at night, while browsing the web, it really depends.
We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
I have my laptop hooked up to my external monitor, a mug of coffee, a bottle of coconut water, my keys, cellphone, watch, and my wallet.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
You know what, life’s short and unpredictable. Our time here, it’s all temporary. Why wouldn’t you go after your dreams?
The vast majority of kids born into the world today don’t even get a chance to pursue their dreams–everyday literally is a battle of life and death. I’m extremely fortunate just to have the chance to go after what I want. I’ve already won the lottery. I know there are people out there who dream of having this chance. For me, it’s an easy choice. Make the most of your opportunities.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
Embrace the struggle. Everyone trying to build a business encounters more road bumps than they had in mind. The more you suffer, the sweeter it is when you get there. You can find 100 reasons to quit, but you got to find that 1 reason to keep pushing.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
There’s no one person I can single out as being my biggest cheerleader. I have the best friends and family in the world. I have their support. That’s all that matters. Anyone else who thinks I’m crazy for doing this, its just extra motivation to prove them wrong.
3 people you recommend we follow on Twitter, and why?
If you’re a mma fan, without a doubt @danawhite. The most fan friendly owner in all of sports. If you’re an entrepreneur, @mcuban. Offers a lot of great insight. And @ConanOBrien, cause he’s awesome.
We also love to know the fact and figures… Care to share?
You know we’re still very early on with our product. The focus right now is purely on executing and building a great product. We’re right now testing in private beta. We would like to invite the readers of KillerStartups to be one of the first ones on our site, with the invite code: earlyaccess1000. Ask me this question in [a] year’s time and hopefully I’ll be able to give you a better answer.
What advice do you have for those with great ideas, but no technical expertise to execute on them?
Nobody starts out with the technical expertise. Everyone at some point learned it. I can definitely relate to this. I had absolutely no idea how to code when I wanted to build my site. The idea of learning how to do so seemed impossible. You just got to do it. If someone else can learn it, so can you. Approach it with the right attitude. Trying to build a web business with no technological expertise is crazy. Even if you’re the so called “business founder,” it’s a huge advantage to have some sort of technical knowledge. It’s like getting into the restaurant business and not knowing what food is.
Are you hiring right now?
Yea. This thing is just getting started. I’m looking to expand big time in the near future. For anyone who likes what they see and is interested in being a part of this, contact me.
Where can our readers get ahold of you?
Facebook – www.facebook.com/danny.witters
Twitter – @dannywitters
Don’t forget the limited special offer for KillerStartup readers to test drive Smivi with the invite code “earlyaccess1000”!
Photo and Video Credits