If you took the time to write down every thought that bubbled up in your head, how long would the list be by the end of the day? Stepping out of the bounds of a traditional social network, SodaHead.com is asking everyone a very important question, “What’s Bubbling in your head?”
As the brainchild of Jason Feffer and Michael Glazer, SodaHead.com allows their members to ask questions and share their own opinions on topics posted by the other members. With every bit of the interaction that anyone would expect from a social network, this is one website which will also offer their visitors something to think about.
What was the inspiration behind SodaHead?
Michael (Co-Founder & President) and I wanted to create the best place on the Internet for people to discuss their opinions and connect with others on a more substantive basis than other social networks.
When someone stops by your website, what will they find?
Visitors will find a very active community of people expressing their opinions on the hottest topics of the day, ranging from people outraged about the bailouts to iPhone vs Blackberry debates.
As you reached your one year anniversary in September of 2008, what changes have you noticed took place over that period of time?
It took some time for people to understand the intent of the site. At first, people think of it as a polling or survey company. Then members realize that the site offers a fun place to connect and express opinions on a peer-to-peer level. Polls just offer a quick way to get people to take that first step toward expressing their opinions.
Do you have any goals that you’d like to accomplish over the next year?
SodaHead plans to offer more mobile functionality and connecting with third party sites using services such as Facebook Connect and OpenID.
How has your previous experience as the Vice President of Operations at MySpace helped you when applied to the growth of SodaHead? Are you hoping this community will take off much like MySpace has or are you hoping to take another route?
I’ve encountered similar issues related to growth that we saw at MySpace. More interestingly, I’ve seen some new issues, which pleasantly surprised me such as “vertical virality,” where people invite their parents, children, bosses, etc… At MySpace, users felt uncomfortable sharing their profiles with non-peers. SodaHead members proudly express themselves and welcome intellectual challenge and discourse. SodaHeads also form more meaningful connections with more people they don’t know than I’ve seen at other social networks, where people connect with former friends, former classmates or former co-workers.
How has your experience as an investment banker helped with the launch and growth of SodaHead?
My experience as an investment banker has been tremendous for the launch and growth of SodaHead. I have worked with many early stage and growth technology and biotechnology companies the past 10 years and what they all have in common is the goal to build their business by driving customers and launching technology. I have worked with the owners of these businesses strategizing about products, services, growth, key financial metrics and how to best position the company for a strategic transaction. As an investment banker, you learn from top CEO’s how to build a business, what is important, what should be focused on and to really separate the product or service from the business of building a company. I have seen mistakes made from growing a sales force too fast, spending too much money before product was fully working, forging strategic partnerships too early, supply issues and many other hard lessons companies learned. I have a good understanding and the wherewithal to grow a business and build customer loyalty. There is a lot of work ahead of SodaHead, but we have the right team to execute our ambitious growth plans and I feel confident I can lead that team to reach our goals.
What inspired the name, SodaHead? Did you have any other names that you considered?
Mike and I sat thinking about the name while drinking a few adult beverages. We wanted something fun, energetic, and thought about our drinks. We wanted to use a name that would allow the feeling of belonging to a passionate community. We couldn’t name the site “beerhead.” When we matched SodaHead with the slogan, “What’s bubbling in your head?” we knew we had the right name. Plus, people could easily remember it, spell it and the domain cost less than $8.
What kind of niche do you feel your website fills?
SodaHead found a niche for thoughtful people who like to discuss the current events with like-minded individuals. They openly discuss their opinions and agree or agree-to-disagree with each other, but either way they enjoy the discussion with smart, passionate people from all walks of life.
If you were to retire tomorrow, do you feel like you have done everything that you would have liked to do?
Never! I look forward to working on charitable causes and helping other entrepreneurs get started pursuing their dreams.
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