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Saturday, July 30, 2011

CEO Corner : Mike McCue from Flipboard Talks About iPad and Asian Market

We haven’t update the CEO Corner for quite a while, but now we’re back with an interview with Mike McCue. Mike is the CEO and co-founder of Flipboard, a news reader for the iPad. McCue and former Apple iPhone engineer Evan Doll founded the company in January 2010 with Silicon Valley power-investors backing them up.

In this interview, Mike will give his insights on why he believed and put a big bet on the iPad, and of course how does Flipboard see Asia as a potential market. After all, the iPad has been a success in the region.

Here’s our interview with Mike  :

Hi Mike, can you describe a bit to our reader about Flipboard?

Flipboard is the world’s first social magazine. Inspired by the beauty and ease of print media, Flipboard’s mission is to fundamentally improve how people discover, view and share content across their social networks. The company’s goal is to bring everything that matters to a person together in one place.

Flipboard provides an entirely new experience of social content and news on the Web. Instead of scrolling down a stream or timeline and lets users read what the people that matter to them are sharing like a magazine. Instead of linking to a Web browser content is re-formatted and contained within one beautiful, continuous experience.

Readers can create their own sections in Flipboard based on content from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sources and quickly flip through the latest stories, photos and updates from friends and trusted sources.

Flipboard is one of the hottest companies in the Valley. How did you get here? What’s the story behind Flipboard?

We definitely were excited about launching Flipboard to the public one year ago, but we had no idea that it would be so popular so fast. We expected to have a slower build up that would give us time to get more feedback and expand more slowly. That said, we were thrilled at the response and the feedback from Flipboard users has been fantastic.

Why Flipboard is so successful probably differs based on the user, but one thought is that we bring together three things people love, their social media, fast access to the amazing content shared around the Web and an experience that was designed for the iPad. Ultimately, like at many start-ups, Flipboard’s philosophy is that the most important thing is to build a useful, beautiful and enjoyable product. We believe that if we have a great product, we’ll be able to build a great company. We spent many months before launch developing Flipboard, so that when people first got this product, they’d have an aha-moment.

Obviously, you’re putting a big bet on the iPad. Why do you believe in the iPad? Any specific reasons for choosing the iPad as your main platform?

The iPad is creating a new format for reading content. We first started thinking about Flipboard before the iPad existed and originally we thought we’d create a product for the Web. When Apple’s iPad came out, we realized it’s the perfect format for Flipboard; for a social magazine.

However, we see the iPad as a starting point and we definitely want to take Flipboard to other devices and platforms over time. Because we have invested in the iOS the next platform we’ll take Flipboard to is the iPhone.

Just like on the iPad, we want to embrace the special features and form factor of each device. We put a lot of thought into what Flipboard would look like on other devices.

The iPad is a lean-back experience. We see that people read Flipboard most in the evening. On an iPhone, on the other hand, it would be different: it’s a lean-forward experience. We have to think about what can we relay in 15 seconds, and still feel like Flipboard.

As Android comes to market on tablets and we start to see one or two emerge as the leaders for Android, we will look at how we might embrace that platform as well.

iPads are huge in Asia (including Jakarta too), and there’s a large market for other mobile & tablet devices as well. Do you have specific marketing plans for Asia? How do you see Flipboard’s positioning in Asia?

Asia is an important market for us. We already see a lot of people in Asian countries using Flipboard today. Since you can add any source to create your own magazine, Flipboard can be in anyone’s native language. We are still developing our international strategy – in the coming year, we will take our first steps into markets outside of the U.S. and start localizing our product and partnerships.

You’ve probably heard this a lot, but are you guys planning to support other platforms? (I hear Android tablets are doing pretty well.)

See answer to question 3

You’ve been a successful serial entrepreneur in the tech area, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs in emerging markets?

First, build something you are truly passionate about… your users will see that passion shine through in the product itself and you will be driven for years to come through all the inevitable ups and downs.

Second, recruit a professional designer who is proven at building great user experiences. I’ve never met anyone who was both a great designer and a great developer and to win large numbers of users your app needs to be both beautifully designed and well built.

Third, less is more. We deleted more code than we shipped for Flipboard 1.0. It’s OK to ship a small subset of your ideal feature set but the resulting product should capture the core essence of your vision and be inherently useful. Finding this balance is tricky so don’t be afraid to iterate until you get it right and you know people are going to LOVE your first release.


Thanks Mike, Dian and Christel from Flipboard for this interview! ;)

View the original article here

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