It’s common practice to see a project and purpose evolve over time, sometimes into something entirely different to when the idea is first cooked up. Timur Daudpota, COO & Co-Founder of Blurbiz, talks to us about the journey of his career and building Blurbiz, a SaaS platform which allows users to create and publish vertical videos, birthed from selling unique skateboards.
"By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer traffic."
We’ve seen the predictions that by 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer traffic. Along with the huge impact social media has had on business acting as the ultimate sharing platform for all forms of content, video has been dubbed the future of content marketing. Timur and Hamza Amir, CEO and Co-Founder, launched Blurbiz - helping users schedule, optimise and edit their videos.
“Blurbiz is a SAAS platform that allows brands to create, distribute and monetize videos on Snapchat. We started out with a focus on Snapchat and we now publish content everywhere with vertical videos. Our goal is to allow anyone to create content like Buzzfeed, Tastemade, The Lad Bible and UNILAD.”
So, how did it all get started?
American College. Depicted in movies as a sunny oasis of young people doing pretty much everything except what they’re supposed to. Timur and Humza on the other hand, came up with an idea for their first company whilst studying at Houston University. They both had a passion for boarding but found that the skateboards available, like the longboard, were impractical. So, they saw an opportunity to do something about it.
With inspiration from the movie ‘Lords of Dogtown’ and the discovery of an old Hawaiian board called the Mokaha Torpedo, Timur and Humza saw their window to bring a fresh product to the market. They gave the boards an overhaul and branded them Kandy Kruisers. Things accelerated quickly and with the help of a South West incubator, they soon visited all the major distributors across the US, Canada, Japan and Australia. They got into Wal Mart and Sears. But there was a big problem they were facing:
“We were finding distributors but nobody was coming to our website. So we asked ourselves, what is the issue? We’re not being that technical so what can we do to hack the system?”
Later, they found themselves at a skateboarding event studded with Instagram models and social media celebrities. One of them then shared a photo with a Kandy Kruisers board, and Timur found they had 30 website sales within the hour. “30 sales. Just because he posted a picture with our board. Crazy. So we said to ourselves, something is working here. So, we followed the tour and got introduced to all the celebrities and we started managing these kids because nobody else was.”
"With image and video time limitations, how can a brand gain exposure amongst the younger generation?"
Big brands like Coca Cola, Burger King and Disney noticed how Timur and Hamza were incorporating these new influencers into their brand expansion and started to approach them for consultation. They found that brands were having some serious problems infiltrating the social phenomenon that is Snapchat. In an app where images and videos have short and strict time limitations, how can a brand gain exposure amongst the younger generation? This thinking was the premise that built Blurbiz.
"Big brands were having some serious problems infiltrating the social phenomenon that is Snapchat."
Since launching their product in March, Blurbiz has grown to eight people and their design process has become more and more refined. At first, they had a team of developers who were creating mockups in Photoshop but got stumped when it came to finding ways of animating their work. Timur tried using Adobe Suite to solve this but thought “there has to be better way.”
Then he stumbled across Sketch which suggested to use Marvel for prototyping. “Once we started to use Marvel we got hooked because it is so easy and simple to use. Everything is self-sold and self-explanatory. We use Marvel for pretty much everything.” Blurbiz uses Sketch to compose their design, sync with Marvel to add animations, figure out the flow, test user experience, and spend time cleaning and refining their project.
Blurbiz’s digital product is partially composed of user analytics, such as looking at when a story is sent out, how each metric is doing performance wise, how many views it has, number of screenshots and the duration etc. Timur explains that a great thing about Marvel is being able to add minute details. He can click on a point in a line graph and add an overlay which will present the exact figure of the data.
“All the product guys at Blurbiz use Marvel, simply because of what you can create in such a short amount of time and the simplicity of the tool is fantastic.”
“It saves us a countless amount of money on projects. Now we know exactly how it’s going to look and work. Before this, I’d spend entire days explaining what each button did.” In a space that is always changing and evolving, along with companies themselves, Marvel gives designers the opportunity to enhance the interaction with their digital product before going into coding.
Blurbiz’s official launch will be coming soon, but for early access to their trial visit their website here.