The Four Iterations of LAMA

How we went from managing a successful celebrity shoutout platform to co-founding the video interview platform for entrepreneurs.

Who we are
Hey there! We’re Alex, Mario, and Robert, the co-founders of LAMA, the video Q&A app that connects people in the startup world. We come from Austria, Poland and Italy, and LAMA is the second app we’ve developed!

How We Met
We came up with the idea for LAMA while working on our previous venture, Greetzly, over eighteen months ago. We had already developed the “video shoutout” app to connect celebrities and their fans, and we saw the benefit of creating a similar platform for startup founders.

The Problem We Wanted to Solve:
Throughout our work with Greetzly, we helped fans connect with their favorite celebrities and influencers. This work was extremely rewarding, and we saw the potential benefit for individuals being able to connect with their favorite startup founders and entrepreneurs for knowledge sharing. Furthermore, we wanted to incorporate aspects of the popular platform, Quora. As Quora users ourselves, we had realized that, while knowledge is shared via text on the platform, many users were interested in the person behind the answer. The first iteration of LAMA was based on a simple concept: the video counterpart of Quora.com. We sought to break down the barriers of platforms like Quora and promote face-to-face interaction and community learning. Thus, LAMA was born!

How We Built This:
In May 2017, we drafted the first mockups for the open video discussion platform, and developed early iterations of the platform. Over the next three months, we perfected the app and tested beta versions with core users. We also integrated our backend and CMS for the platform.

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Our original homepage and video mockups!

The Original MVP: The Video Quora

We launched the first version of LAMA in August 2017, and since the beginning of 2018 we have been working full time on LAMA. Initially, we focused primarily on the educational aspect of LAMA — we encouraged seasoned entrepreneurs to share their knowledge, and wanted newer entrepreneurs to ask the right questions to foster lively discussion within the platform. With feedback from our users, we saw that the large majority of the community came to learn, but a much smaller proportion came to share experiences and educational lessons. There wasn’t as much organic conversation occurring within the app that we’d hoped, so we started brainstorming how to appeal to both of our user bases.

Part Deux:
With feedback from our early adopters, we adjusted the concept and changed it to a video Ask Me Anything platform (based on Reddit’s popular Ask Me Anything series). Users had the opportunity to write a short story to introduce themselves and their professional/academic experience, and other users from the community were able to ask send questions directly to them. Our KPIs were showing that the new feature (self-promotion) worked really well, however the second part, users asking questions, needed improvement. This is when we decided to start working with journalists to streamline the interview process of LAMA. We wanted to improve our database of questions that could be posed to the users, and we shifted the app’s user journey to encourage discussion by prompting the users with a new question to answer each day. We also realized we needed to get more content on the platform, so we started collaborating with successful entrepreneurs to interview them about their best practices — this proved to be very effective in growing our user base. People were looking for casual knowledge-sharing and discussion with people who they would never otherwise have access to. At this point, LAMA started evolving into the iteration we see today.

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Early version of today’s LAMA.

Third Time’s a Charm!
We saw that LAMA’s main draw could be a tool specifically for self-promotion, so we decided to give users more opportunities to curate and share their own interviews. Starting in February of this year, we adjusted LAMA to serve as an innovative interview platform and provide our users professional interviews. We adjusted the backend accordingly, and started working with a team of journalists to help curate thoughtful, educational interviews for our users. Instead of focusing on the “Ask Me Anything” aspect of the app, we started working with founders and entrepreneurs to curate interviews that they could use and share across their own channels and networks. The interviews showed the person behind the startup, and that became a main selling point. By this iteration, we had a fully operating backend, and had finalized the desktop version of the platform. We also started developing and testing personalized landing pages for our interviewees, to go along with the self-promotion aspect of LAMA.

Where we are today:
We have over 100 finished interviews, as well as an interview waiting list of over 500 founders. The desktop version of LAMA is now live, and every finished interview is transcribed and published with a personalized landing page for the interviewee.

Our landing pages are already live, with published video interviews from our users. The landing pages, as we had suspected, have proven to be a fantastic tool for founders and entrepreneurs, since they get to show a different side of their personality through LAMA’s video format. Instead of stuffy print interviews, in which they often don’t have control over how their words are used, LAMA allows interviewees to have a say in the questions posed by our journalists. They’re able to present themselves and their work how they wish. Once they’ve answered the interview questions and their videos are transcribed, we publish their landing page. They’re able to send the landing page to their networks, clients, and customers to promote their work.

Today, LAMA consists of five permanent team members and a number of freelance journalists to help with interviews and articles. We’re continuing our work interviewing founders and promoting their work through LAMA’s platform.

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Our LAMA magazine is now live and features fantastic founders and entrepreneurs.

What’s next

The process isn’t over. We’re always improving the platform and responding to the needs of our users. After extensive feedback from our core LAMA community, we have seen the need to automate the interview process to meet our current demand. Soon, we’ll be developing an automated interview segment of LAMA. Once new users register with LAMA, they’ll be able to select a number of interview questions they want answered, and curate their own content within the app.

We expect to begin Phase 2 in May and will also focus on SEO optimisation during this time. Our enthusiastic users already share LAMA in their social circles, and we want to reward their dedication to the platform. This is why we want to integrate a referral reward program in the next phase of LAMA: those on the “waiting list” to be interviewed by our journalists will be given greater priority when they refer new users and offer social benefits for interactions and sharing. We hope to become the premier interview platform for entrepreneurs!

If you’re a startup founder, entrepreneur, or independent free thinker, we’re looking for you. If you’d like to be interviewed for LAMA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch — our journalists are waiting to interview you!

 

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