eHub Interviews SWIX
eHub: What is your web application/service about?
SWIX is a tool that allows social media marketers to track the success of their campaigns across several different social media properties. It aggregates social media stats from all sorts of tools and give them to you in one dashboard. Lastly, SWIX also allows you to assign dollar values to your social media efforts to calculate the ROI of your activities. It’s like Google Analytics for Social Media.
eHub: Why did you start this project?
SWIX: I started SWIX mostly out of need for a good reporting tool for the social media marketing campaigns I was running. I’ve always liked the idea of using a unified dashboard to show important data so that’s how the idea for SWIX was born.
eHub: How much time do you devote to its growth? Do you have a day job?
SWIX: devote all of my time to SWIX however I subsidize its growth with a healthy dose of consulting. All my consulting work is in social media so I consider it “market research” for SWIX
eHub: How large is your team and what are your backgrounds?
Scott Lake – CEO
I’ve been leading software companies for the past decade. I was a founder and the CEO of Shopify.com, one of the largest hosted e-commerce apps on the Web. He also founded one of the first social media marketing firms in Canada, ThinkSM. In the past, I was a VP of Technical Services at Tomoye Corporation, where he helped implement online communities at some of the largest organizations in the world, including Lockheed Martin, John Deere, the G8 and the US Army. I’ve also worked as a bike messenger, a university lecturer, a driver at NATO and I have a PhD.
Craig Fitzpatrick – VP Products
At 9 years old, Craig became obsessed with software and started writing his own before switching to the dark-side (management) over 14 years ago, when he began leading software teams. In more recent times, Craig was the CEO of Devshop.com, a game-changing project management application for software developers. SWIX is the 6th software company that has considered Craig one of its fearless leaders.
Mike Grouchy – Developer
Mike is responsible for making sure that everything works. He is one of the brains that implements Scott and Craig’s vision. He hails from St. John’s, Newfoundland. As a teenager, he ran one of the largest Metallica fan sites, something he has been trying to live down ever since. Mike has also been a contributor to open source projects for Memorial University and was a recently a participant in Google’s Summer of Code program. He also frequently posts amazing development techniques to his blog – mikegrouchy.com
Jad Sadd – Manager of Customer Relations
If you have a question, Jad is likely the first person that you’ll be in contact with. Jad makes our customers happy by solving their problems and helping them get the most out of SWIX. He got into software after graduating with a mechanical engineering degree, Mechatronics specialization (we don’t know what that means either). Jad is the director of all the SWIX application videos – a skill he picked up while working on film projects in Vancouver.
Jad’s lived on three continents and travelled in two others. He once almost fell out of a roller-coaster while hanging upside down, and under the right circumstances, his go-to dance move is ‘The Robot’.
Will Armstrong – Social Media Analyst
Will is responsible for much of the strategy and research work that SWIX does. He is a seasoned researcher and analyst in the social media marketing space and has helped develop social media strategies and white papers for several types of organizations. He is an organizer of the Ottawa Innovation Challenge, a participant in the TalentBridge program, and a former researcher at the National Research Council.
eHub: What is your design philosophy?
SWIX: Just the most important things you need, presented in a way that is easily understood and completely intuitive.
eHub: What technologies are you currently using?
SWIX: SWIX is made with Django / Apache / MySQL / JQuery. Django is amazing!
eHub: If your project is live, what are the most requested features from your users/community?
SWIX: SWIX tracks important stats from many social media tools, however we get an amazing amount of requests for different types of twitter analytics. Extending the ROI capacity is also a big one. People have discovered the benefits of community marketing using social media and they essentially are looking for tools that can help them quantify their success.
eHub: Does your user base reside in a primary geographic location or is it distributed?
SWIX: Our user base so far is global. The only real anomaly is that we seems to be quite popular in Sweden and Finland. The only barrier we have is that the app is only available in English. That may change in the future though.
eHub: Where do you see the project heading in the next 6 months? The next 2 years?
SWIX: In the next six months we’ll be building out our ROI capabilities. The current version pales in comparison for what we have planned for the ROI part of SWIX. In the next two years we’ll have launched several other analytics tools in the social media space. The end goal is to have the perfect mix of products for measuring all aspects of social media marketing.
eHub: What is the greatest challenge to your success?
SWIX: As with any startup, resources and time are the greatest challenges to our success. We have so many amazing things in the works that doing them all at the same time can sometimes be difficult. That being said, we also get to come to work everyday and do exactly what we want to do so it’s not bad.
eHub: What is the one thing you need to get to the next phase of the project?
SWIX: We’ll need a little luck on the adoption side. So far, our signups have been very strong but a few high profile blog posts could really push us forward. In short, getting the word out is what we need to do now.
eHub: Do you have a business model? If so, what is it?
SWIX: Our business model is the standard subscription model with a deprecated free version. You can check out all our plans here.
eHub: How much traffic or usage do you see on an average day?
SWIX: Currently, we get on average 500 users logging in a day to SWIX. That not bad for a service that is a little over 2 weeks old.
eHub: What is the one thing you’re most proud of about the project?
SWIX: I’m most proud of the sheer determination that it took to bring SWIX into existence. It truly went from nothing to something in less than a year. The biggest part of that was the building of a great team of people I like and trust.
eHub: How would you describe the shift that’s occurring with the web right now to future generations?
SWIX: I think that we are really in the early days of social media. In five years will look back at things like twitter and facebook as they are today and they will seem dated to us. I personally believe that social media is just in its infancy and that one day all marketing with have an online social component.
eHub: What site(s) do you visit or have in your RSS reader other than your own?
SWIX: I read all the standards. Techcrunch, Mashable and Chris Brogan. That being said, I don’t worship any of those blogs, they simply break the stories that I am interested in first. Techmeme is also pretty valuable for me.
Aside from blogs, I almost exclusively use twitter for keeping up to date on things that are interesting to me. My Tweetdeck always has more search columns open than anything else.
eHub: How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
SWIX: I used to think that as an entrepreneur I didn’t get much sleep. Then my wife and I had a son, now I really don’t get much sleep