Triberr 1.1: Interview with Triberr co-founder Dan Cristo

Triberr

We all have aspirations. Dreams. Like the singer of Tears for Fears croons, everyone wants to rule the world.

Making it happen is another story. Sharing the idea is as far as most people get. Getting people excited about the potential of that idea – enough for them to roll up their sleeves and pitch in or reach for their checkbook – is the actual first step in making it happen.

These are the stories that aspiring netpreneurs and entrepreneurs need to hear and read about. That’s why I connected with Triberr co-founder Dan Cristo. To get him to share how he and Dino Dogan jump started Triberr.

For those that don’t know about Triberr, you can read my previous post here.

Thanks to Dan Cristo for sharing his time and answers with us.

Everyone wants to rule the world, Tears for Fears
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What was the idea that got you excited about Triberr – excited enough to build an app?

I credit Dino with the original idea. He’s a Twitter power user, and he’s had experience with all the major Twitter tools. He knew there was tremendous power in cross-pollinating Twitter streams, but none of the current tools really did this.

One week he called me up and said, “Dan, I’ve got a million dollar idea. It’s so good I couldn’t sleep all night”. I know that feeling well, so I agreed to meet up and hear his idea.

When Dino and I met, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But while he was explaining the concept, I knew it was going to be a fun project. I wanted to be involved, but wasn’t expecting to program it myself. I had never worked with the Twitter API or RSS feeds before. However, I was familiar with building web apps with memberships and social features.

We tossed around ideas on how best to get this thing built. Finally, I volunteered to handle the development.

How did you and Dino get to the other side of the concept – where you both looked at each other and said, ‘Yeah, we’re doing this!

As soon as I decided to do the progamming myself, I said to Dino, “Why don’t we lay out what pages will be on the site.”

So I ran across the street to a stationary store where I picked up a sketch pad and some pencils. Dino and I started laying out the pages.

That night, I went home and started developing. By the end of the weekend, I had the basic membership in place. By mid-week, I had the RSS piece in place. By the next Saturday, I had the Twitter piece in place.

In about a week, we had a functional prototype. We got together each weekend after that to refine and test the program.

People have ideas about building the next killer app. But what does it take to build an app like Triberr?

If you’ve got an idea, but don’t know how to program, you can always outsource the development work. I use oDesk.com quite a bit, but elance.com is also a great site for this. In fact, I hired a programmer from oDesk to help me with the Twitter API piece of the site early on.

The downside of outsourcing is that it takes time to find a developer, communicate your idea, then for them to actually complete work. If you’re outsourcing, the scope and design of the project needs to be well defined from the start. It’s costly and time consuming to add features. Changing the course of your project mid-way, of course, can kill a budget.

I was lucky enough to have started programming basic stuff a few years ago. I’m no programming wizard, but I do love the fact that I can come up with an idea and execute it in the same day – exactly as I see it in my head. There’s nothing worse than having an amazing idea that you can’t turn into reality.

What three things helped you to get Triberr off the ground?

1) I am HUGE subscriber to Gary Vaynerchuck’s Crush It! mentality. I leave for work at 8am and get home at 7pm. Have dinner with the wife, then program from 8pm to 12pm – every night. On weekends I wake up at 8am and program straight through till 9 or 10pm.

2) Dino is a true influencer. He pulled in a core group of alpha and beta testers early on that make a very strong initial community. Special thanks to @LiveUrLove for doing an outstanding job as our Facebook community manager. After the site was stable enough, Dino and that core group of awesomeness reached out to some big hitters in the blogging world. People like @AskAaronLee and @DannyBrown were early adopters that added creditability and prestige.

3) We use the system ourselves, every day. This gives us an instant feedback loop to fix bugs or develop new ideas, plus if you’re using something every day you want it to be was easy and powerful as possible to the site.

Is building an app like Triberr, rocket science?

Not at all. Triberr may look complicated, but it’s all built on a very simple logic.

My first two websites that I built were a scheduled SMS service and a video sharing social network. Those two sites had some incredibly complicated functionality. After working through the issues on those sites, Triberr was a very straight forward build for me.

PHP, the programming language used in Triberr, does most of the heavy lifting when it comes to importing RSS feeds. Twitter has a great API that makes tweeting easy. The most complicated part of the system is organizing which people should tweet which posts and when.

What’s Triberr going to be in 12 months? Killer App, start up, or a step up to bigger and better?

12 months is an eternity in my world. I can tell you that we’re focused on building out Triberr’s in-site economy. We’ll do this by releasing more premium features, as well as new ways users can trade bones with each other. We’ll also build out the social aspect of the site, making it easier for users to connect with each other. I also want Triberr to become a powerful analytics tool, helping your posts become more effective.

I was a huge gamer, so a lot of the “fun” mechanics we’re building into the site come from MMORPG’s. You probably wouldn’t notice it if I didn’t tell you, but we’re slowly morphing Triberr into it’s own environment or world, as opposed to just a tool. A place where you hang out with your tribesmen, talk about the latest news and tips, discuss strategies for accomplishing your goals, etc.

Being the first to market means that you get to enjoy 100% market share for a while, but soon competitors will crop up. In fact, I’m sure there are already copy cats being developed as we speak. They can copy the idea, but they can’t copy community.

Triberr is going to be the undisputed 800lb gorilla in the social space, and we’re going to get there by caring about our community more than anyone else can. Soon we’ll reach the point where it wouldn’t even make sense to create a competitor, because there’s simply no way a Triberr member is going to leave the community. That’s our short term and long term goal.

Triberr is an invite-only community. How can people get an invite to the beta and see what Triberr is all about?

If you have a blog and a Twitter account, contact me, Dino, or any of the Triberrs out there.

Here’s my contact info:

Thanks again to Triberr co-founder Dan Cristo.

You can check out Triberr here. If you’re an aspiring rockstar, check out the Rockstars and Chatlanian tribe here.

Here’s what others are saying about Triberr:

Triberr by JackB

Have you tried Triberr? What do you think?

Stan Faryna
7 April 2011
Bucharest, Romania

If you’d like to connect with me, follow @Faryna and tweet me up on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/faryna

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About Stan Faryna

Mr. Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

Stan Faryna served as a Global Voices author and translator. Global Voices is a non-profit global citizens’ media project founded at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, a research think-tank focused on the Internet’s impact on society.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago DefenderJurnalul NationalThe Washington TimesSagarSaptamana FinanciaraSocial Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna also served as editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content: If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. Generally speaking, as long as you are not acting as an agent or on behalf of a corporation or institution, I am not interested in any payment for the quotation or use of a complete article. Nevertheless, you may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission via Facebook. Or tweet me up me on Twitter.

6 Responses to Triberr 1.1: Interview with Triberr co-founder Dan Cristo

  1. nisha360 says:

    Great post Stan … I’m on Triberr and I love it. I hope to interact with Dan someday. Does he have Twitter/Facebook etc?

  2. Dino Dogan says:

    I think Dan is being modest. He IS a coding genius, he just makes it look easy.

    Thnx Stan for being interested in our little project that could 🙂

  3. […] which caused him to rethink the way he was working. I also recently read an interview with Dan Christo, who spoke about his work schedule outside of his full time job. I know co-creating something as […]

  4. bhsu21 says:

    Really nice interview. Very cool to read about how Triberr got started and the process it took to get to where it’s now.

    I use Triberr and love it.

  5. […] remains relevant. Triberr inspired blog soup! I also have faith that Dino and Dan will tune it to a higher relevance. There will be ups and downs along the way, but that’s like […]

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