eHub interviews Nebul.us
Thanks to Alexander Huf of Nebul.us for taking time to do this interview.
eHub: What is your web application/service about?
Nebul.us: Nebul.us is a vibrant tool for understanding your web usage as well as sharing the stuff that you love online. We’ve been careful to appeal to a wide gamut of users on the internet. From casual surfers who want to save interesting content to their personal clouds to power users who not only quantify their usage but actively curate an image of who they are online. The users who choose to share their personal clouds contribute to the discovery mechanisms we call the social and public clouds. These are the areas that highlight trending content and sites within your social group or Nebul.us as a whole.
eHub: Why did you start this project?
Nebul.us: Nebul.us was born from the perception that there’s a profound lack of contextual understanding on the internet. Websites, for the most part, continue to exist as walled gardens. What’s lacking is a big picture made up of where we spend our time and the sites we trust from that time spent. One glance at your personal cloud and within a few seconds (without a language barrier), you’ll understand the context of your time online relative to everything else.
eHub: How much time do you devote to its growth? Do you have a day job?
Nebul.us: Nebul.us is a 24/7 commitment. My co-founder and I, while currently unpaid by Nebul.us, are lucky enough to have supportive environments that allow us to focus fully on the company.
eHub: How large is your team and what are your backgrounds?
Nebul.us: We currently have 7 people on our team, including myself. My background is multi-specialty integration, with a focus on social dynamics research. My co-founder is from London, G.B. and has a background in business and management. Our lead developer is from the Portland, OR tech scene and is the release manager for Symfony 1.3 & 1.4. On the front end, we have 3 members who constitute the respected UseAllFive firm from Venice, CA. Lastly is our branding and marketing expert with over a decade of professional experience in bastions of both old and new media.
eHub: Please include the full names and roles of team members.
- Alexander Huf – Co-Founder & CEO
- James Prior – Co-Founder
- Kris Wallsmith – Lead Developer
- Levi Brooks – Lead Designer
- Jason Farrell – Flash Designer
- J.J. Kaye – Jack of all Trades
- Matthew Keller –Communications
eHub: What is your design philosophy?
Nebul.us: Clean designs that are easy to approach and understand. If you start smudging your screen because you instinctively want to touch the website, we’ve done our job correctly. We want Nebul.us to leverage the power of beautiful infographics. Additionally, we purposefully designed Nebul.us to be touch-friendly in order to play into the upcoming wave of internet tablets.
eHub: What technologies are you currently using?
Nebul.us: We’re currently using Symfony
1.3 1.4, hosted on Amazon Web Services, with scaling managed by RightScale.
eHub: If your project is live, what are the most requested features from your users/community?
Nebul.us: The most requested update, coming in a few weeks, is qualifying comments for items you post to your cloud. We’re working hard to implement this and other features by the end of the year.
eHub: Does your user base reside in a primary geographic location or is it distributed?
Nebul.us: The user base is surprisingly distributed. We’ve seen good stats from not only from the US and Western Europe, but also Russia, Japan, India, and China.
eHub: Where do you see the project heading in the next 6 months? The next 2 years?
Nebul.us: In the next 6 months, we plan to rapidly iterate on our initial launch product. We’ve already got a laundry list of feature evolution and introductions. Around the beginning of the New Year, we’ll launch our Public Beta, and we’ll see where our user base takes us. It’s really critical to us that we listen to our user base, hear how they’re using the product, and let that help guide where we take it in the future.
eHub: What is the greatest challenge to your success?
Nebul.us: Convincing users that we’re not Big Brother and that we’re actually a bunch of guys who are passionate about good design and making the internet a better place for self-expression.
eHub: What is the one thing you need to get to the next phase of the project?
Nebul.us: Series A Funding and the continued interest and evangelism of Nebul.us by our users.
eHub: Do you have a business model? If so, what is it?
Nebul.us: Our potential business models are currently under wraps. We look forward to talking about these later in 2010.
eHub: How much traffic or usage do you see on an average day?
Nebul.us: It’s still too early for reliable usage numbers. However, the day after our TechCrunch launch we experienced around 3,000 unique visitors. We continue to build on that.
eHub: What is the one thing you’re most proud of about the project?
Nebul.us: We set a clear goal at the beginning of development. We wanted a way to visualize everything we do online, while making it as easy and passive as possible. This presented a lot of potential privacy problems, however, the team eventually came up with unique solutions to unique problems. At launch, Nebul.us exceeded all our expectations. It’s beautiful in its power, yet elegantly simple.
eHub: How would you describe the shift that’s occurring with the web right now to future generations?
Nebul.us: The internet has gone from being a curious tool for collaboration and communication to the de facto forum for human engagement. The shift is primarily psychological. The one element that has been missing is a way to accurately present the “self” online. Not just one sliver of who you are via a profile on a particular site, but the big picture of who you are online. Adding that level of understanding has the potential to bring a measure of humanity to internet that doesn’t yet exist today.
eHub: What site(s) do you visit or have in your RSS reader other than your own?
Nebul.us: Techmeme, TechCrunch, AVC, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, Scobleizer, VentureBeat, ArsTechnica, Engadget, Gizmodo, Luminous Landscape, dpreview, NPR, BBC, New York Times, LA Times, PaidContent, & Brand New
eHub: How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
Nebul.us: I’m a big fan of Polyphasic sleep schedules. Admittedly, they aren’t for everyone.
Consequently I sleep 2-3 hours at a time, multiple times throughout the day; instead of losing 8-10 hours of productivity in one go.
Once again, a big thanks to Alexander Huf of Nebul.us.