Who didn’t want to be as weirdly cool as Jesse Camp or as squeaky-clean appealing as Carson Daly back in the days when MTV still focused on music? The term “VJ” is one I haven’t heard in awhile, I have to admit, but fuhshniZZle, “the ultimate video jukebox,” may be poised to bring video dj-ing back into our lives.
fuhshniZZle gives you access to the entire Youtube library and lets you create badass video playlists right on their site. Didn’t you know that audio playlists are so 2011?
Founder Len Blumenthal chatted with us here at KillerStartups about shark diving, being proud of what you do, and his dear-departed golden retriever.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
The name was somewhat organic – for many years I was kicking around the idea for a truly integrated productivity/task management/web publishing app and wanted to implement a search feature for the content that would be very fast. While describing it I got tongue tied and said I don’t remember what, started kicking around similar words and ended up with fuhshniZZle. When I directed my attention to the music video playlist site, I thought it was a perfect fit – fun to say, easy to remember.
What’s the very first thing you do at work everyday?
I check the day’s emails and reports from my programmer, see where we are at with the projects and copy all the DB backups. Next, we conference to discuss where we are at, make strategic decisions and try to integrate architecture, GUI and marketing.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
The company has 2 members (we are an LLC) and that has not changed since 2009 when we formed. The concept has always been to keep small; leverage APIs and outsourcing; and automate as much as possible. I am floating this boat all by my lonesome, and am loathe to consider venture capital.
Remember the early days starting up? Maybe you can share one anecdote that describe the struggle you went through?
We are still in the early days – still in Beta. The biggest struggles are maintaining organization – with a 2 man op and literally dozens of vital tasks that need to be developed and integrated, it is vital to stay organized.
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?
Since fuhshniZZle is the ultimate video jukebox, I build myself a mix of whatever type of music I am in the mood for and let it play minimized in the background – just because I am developing a music video site, doesn’t mean I can’t just enjoy the audio experience.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
Being a front runner in social, music and video entertainment.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food? Give us the deets, dude!
James Bond – the dream (or fantasy) is to be able to end the grind, travel the world and experience all that I can. The dream led to the need for our highly leveraged (technologically), nearly automated architecture so that all I need is a wi-fi connection and I can handle full operations from anywhere.
Then to temper my self-indulgence, I really respect philanthropic ventures and would love to create a foundation with two areas of interest – education support for our kids (college grants and scholarships) and pure science funding – let’s get those particle accelerators up to speed and solve the mysteries of the universe.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowd-funded? Where’d you get the money, man?
Self-funding from my 13 years as an attorney; and a large stack of credit cards. We are currently venturing into the crowd funding domain.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Use your resources and do not re-create the wheel. Perform extreme due diligence on any technology, tools, service, etc. you intend to use to develop the business. Make sure the tools and knowledge base can be applicable to multiple phases of the business. Do not be afraid to buy or license third party products – some licensing agreements are far more negotiable than you might think.
What would you be doing if you had one year off and $500,000 to spend (and you couldn’t spend it on your currently startup / projects)
Travel. Specifically – shark dive (in a cage) off S. Africa; see Victoria Falls, travel Alaska; all over Europe.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur right now? If not, what’s it gonna take to make you feel successful?
Yes. Whether the market embraces me or not, I have built a product I am extremely proud of, with my own capital, without having to compromise a single feature. We are beholden to no one for any decision we make. That is success even if it does not lead to commercial success (which, by the way, I am confident fuhshniZZle will be a success).
Mobile App you’re in love with and why?
This is embarrassing – Word Warp – it’s a stupid word game but when stressed I can get lost in playing it – sort of a sanity check.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs (though I currently only have a cat as my golden retriever passed a few years ago). In fact, he’s the good boy you see all over fuhshniZZle as I dedicated the site to him.
iOS or Android?
iOS – for now.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website/idea?
fuhshniZZle turns any user into a viral VJ. We leverage the entire YouTube video collection and turn it into your personal music video library – that is over 4 Million songs – most with live versions, lyric videos, etc. – the total number is staggering. And it is incredibly easy to quickly make awesome playlists.
Where can our readers get ahold of you?
We are on all four:
Fuhshnizzle.com / Flickr.com