Vidme began in 2014 as a simple experiment. We wanted to see what would happen if we
created the world's easiest way to upload and publish videos.
It's maybe hard to remember, but video sharing was actually still a pain back then.
Sending a video over SMS often didn't work. Facebook and Twitter didn't have native video.
Even uploading on YouTube was an annoying process and required you to have a Google Plus page. (ew)
So, we built a basic tool that let you upload videos of any size in just a few clicks, no account required. This blew up quickly. In our first few weeks, multiple videos frontpaged on Reddit, driving hundreds of thousands of new users to our platform. A year later, we were delivering videos to 40 million unique visitors per month.
Eventually, the upload problem was solved elsewhere. SMS got better, and Twitter and Facebook started focusing heavily on native video. Our traffic began a slow decline. Plus, we had a tough time monetizing our videos with ads. So, we decided to narrow our focus to solving problems for video creators, not just anyone who uploaded video. We developed tipping and paid membership features with the goal of helping creators make more money without being subjected to YouTube's ambiguous and stifling policies.
While we saw encouraging trends in tipping and subscriptions, they weren't growing quickly enough to justify our burn on team and infrastructure. The cost of storing and delivering petabytes of video each month caught up with us, and after lots (lots!) of deliberation, we made the tough decision to push pause on Vidme and pursue another business idea with our remaining capital.
Vidme ultimately served 6.3 billion pageviews to 848 million unique visitors. We were lucky to raise $8.2M in capital from some of the best investors in LA and SF who believed in our mission to help video creators be more successful.
Here was an interactive video collage I exhibited at MOCA Los Angeles in 2016.
This generative piece was projected on a large screen in the Ahmanson Auditorium. As visitors stood in the theater, a mirror of their silhouettes tracked them on the screen. These silhouettes masked hundreds of videos taken by Shelley Holcomb and myself, each capturing an everyday moment from somewhere in Los Angeles. Visitors used these videos with the movement of their bodies to paint the video collage.
Curate LA is an arts discovery platform I created with Shelley Holcomb. Our goal is to make it easier for anyone
to discover great art in Los Angeles.
The website and iOS app provide an extensive crowdsourced map and listing of art galleries, museums, alt spaces, fairs, upcoming openings and exhibitions. Curate LA also publishes videos with artist interviews, studio visits and recent cultural highlights from around greater Los Angeles.
I, like you, found myself suddenly interested in politics in 2016.
I learned that writing letters to our representatives in the U.S. government can have an impact.
I found ways to do this via email and fax, but couldn't find an easy way to actually send a physical letter
without buying stamps and envelopes, writing it out and mailing it by hand. I've long forgotten
how to write anything by hand, so I decided to build a service that would do this for me (and you).
Stampede lets you easily send physical letters to our leaders in the U.S. government. Each physical letter costs $1 to send, no stamp licking required. Letters can be sent en masse if you wish. You also get a link to a copy of your letter that you can share anywhere.
GIFs + sound. I designed a video app that records your voice over Giphy GIFs, and spits out a sharable video like this.
Back in 2012, I started to feel a little isolated as our office was in Silver Lake — a far cry
from LA's classic startup hub in Santa Monica and Venice. While I had a hunch there were more startups on the east
side than I knew, I thought a listing or map would help me (and others) find them.
I teamed up with Tara Tiger Brown to build represent.la, an interactive map for the LA startup ecosystem. I developed the website and populated it with some initial data, while Tara helped crowdsource the rest. Over time, it became the best way to see who your neighbors are in LA startupland.
After the site caught some media attention, founders from outside LA asked me how they could build a similar map for their own cities. So, I open-sourced the underlying code as represent-map, which hundreds of cities used to create their own startup maps.
represent.la isn't actively maintained now, though most of the data is current. If you're interested in helping maintain it, give me a shout.