Au’loni Magazine had the opportunity to have an exclusive Q&A with the founder of the innovative new start-up Hootboard’s Satyajeet Shahade on how the emerging company’s journey plans to shape the way we organize and share knowledge.
AM: How did you come up with the idea for it?
Satyajeet: At HootBoard, we have always been very passionate about all the communities we are part of. We looked at communities as groups of people who have come together to fulfill a common mission irrespective of what it is such as schools, workplaces, faith based organizations, non- profits or professional societies. We set out to build tools to help communities efficiently work towards their mission.
After talking to and observing hundreds of these communities, we found out that the biggest problem most communities face is effective organization (or lack thereof) of knowledge and information that is shared by members of these communities. Members share tons of valuable and informative content with each other such as videos, announcements, documents, slide decks etc. through email or group applications like Facebook or Linkedin Groups. However, all of this valuable information gets lost a day or so after it was originally shared and the same topics, discussions and content kept coming back again. This happened since these applications are organized as news feeds where the newest content overshadows everything else. Once we understood this, we made it our business to solve this problem.
HootBoard not only allows members of these communities to share all of this content (we call it “collective wisdom”) but also automatically organizes it so that members of these communities can find it again even months later. All this content is laid out in a very appealing bulletin board like format so that it is easy to scan through and organize. Also given the visual nature of HootBoard, members are able to make visually interactive and actionable announcements to get their message across and can be used for local & in-community promotions.
AM: How does it operate on a daily basis?
Satyajeet: HootBoard provides a visual bulletin board to share and organize all of the knowledge, information and announcements within a community. Administrators or leaders of these communities create a board and invite others to join and post. Also people who are not members of these communities can follow these boards so they can see public posts by community members.
AM: What hardships did you face when developing it?
Satyajeet: Building a rockstar team is always a challenge for startups. We were generally fortunate enough to attract top talent who also saw the problem as much as we did but making key hires is always hard. We now have a team of 6 highly dedicated team members who are passionate about our mission.
Another issue we faced was really identifying the core problem. Most communities didn’t realize this as an explicit problem initially since leaders are mostly grappling with more immediate issues that require urgent firefighting. However, once identified they realize that building a knowledge base of valuable content or the collective wisdom was critical to the long term success of their organization.
AM: How were you able to overcome these challenges?
Satyajeet: The one word answer is “perseverance”. It takes a while to find out what people are really struggling with and to hire great people.
AM: What advice do you have for others interested in entrepreneurship?
Satyajeet: Given the above response, my advice to others interested in entrepreneurship is to be in it for the long haul. It takes a while to see things clearly and understand what matters to your users and customers. Stick with your core mission but don’t be afraid to change your product if need be.
AM: What are your short-term and long-term goals for the business?
Satyajeet: Our short term goal is to keep working on HootBoard so that communities that use it love it. We have over 130 new communities signing up on HootBoard every month and our goal is to make all of them happy.
Our long term goal is to make HootBoard a go to platform that allows all communities to not only organize knowledge and content but also enables them to conduct various aspects of their business. To do this, we will invite developers for various apps to solve specific problems for communities that are using the HootBoard platform.