Before I introduce the start-up of the week today, I have two questions for you.

How do you keep track of the places you have visited? 
Where do you mark the places you want to visit?

I know you have two different answers for both of my questions. But what if I tell you that there is one single solution to the above questions - Live My Journey!

Live My Journey is your personal bookmark for the real world. It lets you keep track of the places you have visited (could be anything from a food joint to a tourist attraction), lets you recommend places you have visited to family and friends (like an expert) and bookmark the places you want to visit.

Isn't Live My Journey is one perfect travel tracker and planner?

Amit Wadhawan and Sandeep Nanda are the brains behind Live My Journey. Both of them are avid travelers and their love for traveling and technology combined together is Live My Journey.

Live My Journey is a simple and free website. You can sign-up through Facebook or Twitter and connect your social accounts to your Live My Journey account. Once you sign-up, you can instantly bookmark the cities/countries/places you have visited or you want to visit. You can list your favorite places under different categories like food, shopping, nightlife etc. Review places you have visited and share those reviews with your followers. Live My Journey indeed lets you live your journey to the fullest. Read on to know more about Live My Journey in our exclusive interview with one of it's founder, Amit Wadhawan.

1. Hello Amit, please introduce yourself and the team behind Live My Journey to our readers and tell us about some of your work.

Hi. I'm Amit Wadhawan and I'm the CEO and Founder of Live My Journey. I design the user interface and user interaction for the web app and am also developing our iOS app (coming soon). I've loved traveling all throughout my life and have traveled to several countries including backpacking through Europe and some of South America. My background has always been in Finance but I decided to combine my love for travel and technology and start Live My Journey. 

Sandeep Nanda is the CTO & Co-founder of Live My Journey. He's the architect and engineer behind our web app and our API. He's a computer science major with experience in domains like Big Data analysis, Routing & Switching, IP Route analytics and Web Development. He's an avid traveler and ever so often, love's to get on a motorcycle and take a road trip to some remote part of the country. With a technical mind and a traveler's heart, he got involved with Live My Journey to make traveling more fun. 

2. What was the thought process in the creation of Live My Journey? Is there a personal experience that led you to innovate?

Live My Journey was born soon after I finished backpacking through Europe. Through my travels, I realized that there was a big gap in having an organic travel experience and the information that was available online and in travel guides. All the places and experiences you usually find are generic and touristy. Although we are all tourists when we travel, we do want to have an experience where we can live like locals and find places you usually wouldn't find. 

The idea evolved over time when my friends started to ask me for recommendations and I couldn't remember the names of all the places I had loved while traveling.

Also, when you visit a travel site, there's always a ton of "junk" on the screen where they want you to book hotels or airfare. On an average, travel websites use only some where around 30% of the screen to show you what you're looking for. I wanted to create something beautiful that people would enjoy using to keep a record of places they've been to and loved and also easily be able to find what others love in a city.

With Live My Journey, I wanted to get rid of the outdated rating system and just tons of data of generic places that websites add to increase traffic. Instead, I wanted to focus on places that you loved on your travels and for people looking for great experiences from locals and travelers alike. We all strive to find the local hidden gems in cities that we live in or travel to. Live My Journey is a great tool for saving and sharing those places. No ratings and reviews. Just what you love. We also want to focus not on the amount of places that people add but the quality of the content. 

Live My Journey makes keeping a record of the places you've been to easy and beautiful while also making recommending places to your friends a breeze. It also helps you in exploring places others love you so can create your own memorable experience.

3. What were the biggest obstacles that you faced in the journey from conceiving the idea to getting it live?  And what is the best compliment that you have received for creating Live My Journey?

The biggest obstacle that we faced, and I think every entrepreneur faces, is to just launch the product with a minimal set of features. Your product is always evolving and getting better. It's really easy to look at your product and say that we should just add a ton of features before we launch but that's a trap that we've all fallen into at some point. The trick is to figure out the minimal set of features and just launch it. What we've done with Live My Journey is from day one, we've just built it "live" so we've don't really have a launch. What ever (feature) we build, goes on live as soon as we build it so the website is changing and evolving every day.

The best compliment that we've received for Live My Journey has been from a user that added a ton of places and then emailed me saying that it let her easily recommend places she loved to her parents who were traveling. She also added that the website was very addictive and intuitive and found it to be a great way to keep track of the places she loved through their travels. 

4. Being a start-up how are you planning to promote the website once you go live? Your personal take on promotion via social media versus word-of-mouth promotion?

I think with startups, it's usually a combination of various efforts that you have to make to get the word out and for every startup there is a channel that just sticks and works. The objective is to try and figure out what is working for you and concentrate your efforts towards that channel. So to start, we'll be going for creating the core group of users who would be travel and food bloggers for whom I think the site would be very useful in not just keeping a track of their places but also getting the word out about their own blogs. Getting ourselves published on tech and travel blogs. Using Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to spread great travel content. Working on SEO and SEM. These would be our initial strategies to get a core group of users. I think that planning for one big launch is a mistake. For your product, you should have a strategy that involves a certain kind of launch every day or week if you want sustained growth and not just a peak that flattens out once the hype is gone.

I think social media is great. There is a ton of noise on it but if you filter it out, you can find some really great content. I think the key for promoting via social media is not how often you send out content to your followers but it's quality. Users are smart enough to figure out what's junk and what's good. Give them good content and they'll spread it for you.

With word-of-mouth, the key is to build a really good product or offer something of real value to the user. If you don't have that, they're not going to tell other people about it. So the key is to focus on your product, listen to your users and figure out how to make your product even better. Word-of-mouth is slow but sustained and once you've achieved it means that you're on to something that your customers are loving.

5. Some of the articles on your blog are absolutely amazing - like the ones about some of the most beautiful places. Where do you draw inspiration from to write these articles and how do you manage to get the content?  

Like I mentioned before, it's all about creating great content. We don't write these articles often because each article takes a lot of research and time but the ones that we do post are really great. The key is to figure out what your users are interested in and research. Figure out different themes that your users will love and give them content that's interesting and beautiful. Of course, our own travel experiences also come in play so that's a big bonus. Write about something you're really passionate about.

6. What other activities do you like to pursue when you are not working on Live My Journey? Anything that you would like to do personally that you have not done so far?

Other than travel, my interests revolve around photography, music and soccer. I'm also a huge foodie and love finding awesome hole in the wall places for great food. In my spare time, I play my guitar or play soccer by finding pickup soccer games. I also spend a lot of my spare time reading other startup related blogs.

There are a couple of things that I really want to do. One is to go to a FIFA World Cup and see as many games as I can, including the final, and the other is to backpack through South East Asia and eat at as many hole in the wall places as I can.

7. What other business leaders/entrepreneurs do you look up to?  If you could work with one of them then who would it be and why?

Steve Jobs, Dave McClure, Mark Suster, Brad Feld, Eric Reis, Steve Blank, Reid Hoffman and Fred Wilson, among many others. I would have loved to work with Steve Jobs but since that's no longer possible, it would have to be Steve Blank. I've seen his lectures and talked to him a few times but it would be amazing to work with him.

8. Where do see Live My Journey a year down the line? Do you plan to add any new features to the site in the future?

We love listening to our users and building a product that would help them get what they want out of the product. A year down the line, we would like to see us having built a great product from the feedback that we get and having a great set of core users who love using our app. There are still a lot of things we need to do with Live My Journey but we would like to see us have great content on cities around the world and a strong and growing community that supports and loves what we're doing.

We're planning to add many features over time but over the next couple of months we'll be working on making Live My Journey faster and easier. We'll be releasing our beautiful mobile apps for the iOS and Android in the coming weeks. We'll be making searching for places and people really easy so you can find places that are of interest to you and find like-minded people to follow. 

We're also adding in a travel planner that will automatically make trip plans for you. We'll also be introducing leaderboards and badges so it makes the experience even more fun and addictive.

9. What advice would you like to share with budding and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Launch fast and fail fast. Don't wait to build all your features to launch. Figure out a minimal set of features that you need in your product and launch. Figure out what people like about it and only focus on that. Don't worry about what people will think if your product isn't complete when you launch it. You'll find that people don't care about features, they care about how they can benefit from what you have to offer. Get feedback from your users by letting them use your product and build accordingly. Building a product isn't hard. Building a product that people want is really hard.

Also, build something that you're really passionate about and you would love to use. If you do it for any other reason, you will fail. Building something great requires a lot of work and is hard. If you're passionate about it, your users will see that passion and it'll also make it that much easier to build it.

Thank You Amit for taking out the time and doing this interview with us. We'd like to wish you and Live My Journey the very best for the future.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

Post a Comment