Daniel Brusilovsky
Jason Stein

Daniel Brusilovsky & Jason Stein

Co-Founders of imoji

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 15, 2015

Discussion

Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
Hello! We’re really excited to be a part of this Product Hunt LIVE chat. Jason Stein and I are two of the co-founders at imoji, the largest sticker library in the world. When we launched over a year ago, we were blown away by the creativity of users all over the world who have helped create millions of stickers using the imoji app. We’ve since gone on to build a really awesome SDK and API and have over 40 partners who have integrated imojis into their apps. We’re super excited to talk about all things mobile and stickers. Ask away!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, Daniel and Jason! Two questions: 1. How did the idea for imoji come about? 2. What's your favorite imoji of all time?
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@rrhoover Hey Ryan! First of all, thanks again for having us. You know we're some of the biggest Product Hunt fans and it's a big reason why our launch was so successful. In terms of the idea for imoji, it came from us as a group of friends being bored with the existing emojis built into iOS. We wanted to express ourselves further, and what better way then building your own tool. Clearly others agreed with us. :) My favorite imoji definitely has to be anything with Drake. He seems to liven up any conversation you're in.
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@rrhoover Ryan! Thanks for having us, this is really great to be part of PH Live. I agree with what @danielbru said above – additionally, we looked at the rise of the messaging apps in Asia (Kakao, Line, WeChat etc…) and how they were using stickers in every day communication. With the rise of emoji and photo-based networks in North America, we also looked for a way to combine those concepts and build a unique product that people would be familiar with and could use for better expression in messaging. Favorite imoji of all time? That’s a tough one, but I’ve got a few of @danielbru that are pretty amazing. If only there was a way to comment with an imoji here… ☺
Kingsong Chen
Kingsong Chen@kingsongchen · Dev
Hi Daniel and Jason, what are some interesting ways you grew the userbase for imoji?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@kingsongchen Great question -- when we launched, we received a strong amount of PR which helped launch our product and spur initial growth. Also, we built in the ability to share across multiple channels (iMessage, Twitter, Instagram etc.) to increase awareness and gain traction with early adopters. One of the first things we tested before we launched was “What does someone say back to you when you send them an imoji?” Most answers were something like: “What is that” or “How did you do that” …which helps users naturally discover the product. IMO, the best way to grow is through happy customers and word of mouth.
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@danielbru & @thejasonstein thanks for joining us today. During your career to date, what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given? Flip side - what's the worst?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@ems_hodge Thanks for having us! It's great to be part of this Live session. I think some of the most important things I’ve learned in my career so far are to always keep an open mind, listen to your customers/clients and be humble. Also, take time to exercise and build a strong routine.
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@ems_hodge Hey Emily! Great question. I think the best piece of advice I've gotten is to never be complacent. You always have to learn, be quick on your feet, and always keep an open mind. Also, make sure to surround yourself with great people who continue to push you and motivate you. I'm extremely fortune that three of my best friends are also three of my co-founders at imoji.
Mike Barash
Mike Barash@maringuy · founder & CEO, Knock Twice @knock2x
Uno Alooonsoooo wants to know whose idea Imoji was originally, and how much vaping was involved?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@maringuy Who is Uno Alonso? Sounds like an urban legend. Tell me more...
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@thejasonstein @maringuy I've heard Uno Alonso could possibly be from Los Gatos ...
Ryan Gilbert
Ryan Gilbert@ryangilbert · Making FAQ Pages easy @askfrequently
Hi @danielbru What is your favorite thing about working with the Warriors vs your own startup, imoji? And vice versa? P.S. Go Bucks! :P
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@_ryangilbert @_ryangilbert Hey Ryan! Great question. My favorite thing about working for the Warriors has to be the excitement of 20,000 people in Oracle Arena after we win a game. It’s pretty incredible when you have that kind of emotional connection with fans, not just customers. In terms of the differences between the Warriors and imoji, the biggest has to be the seasonal aspect of the Warriors vs 24/7 at imoji. Sports has quickly become a 365 business, but it’s still very dependent on games. With imoji, there's always something that has to be done and it's a none stop hustle. P.S. Go Warriors!!
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What are your favorite stickers?
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@ems_hodge I'm a fan of anything with Drake, Kim Kardashian (for the amazing facial expressions) and Beyonce. Thankfully, there are millions of imojis to search for, so you can always find something.
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@ems_hodge I really like the entire "Trending" category on our platform. Our content team does a great job keeping up to date with all the latest trends, themes and events to make sure imoji has the best sticker content available anywhere.
Mike Barash
Mike Barash@maringuy · founder & CEO, Knock Twice @knock2x
I read something about a Donald Trump keyboard today in TIME Magazine – http://time.com/4149938/donald-t... – are you guys going to do more keyboards? What was the inspiration behind this one?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@maringuy That's right! The Donald was actually a project by a developer named Brad Flaugher. He used our SDK to quickly and easily build an iOS keyboard that had some of our amazing Trump content in it...and it was perfect timing since the debate is tonight. In our Developer Portal (https://developer.imoji.io/devel...) we offer pre-built UI to make the whole operation seamless for integration partners.
Mike Barash
Mike Barash@maringuy · founder & CEO, Knock Twice @knock2x
Hey guys this one's for Jason Stein – what kind of music do you most enjoy listening to, and do your tastes change when you're listening in the sauna? I'll take my answer off air.
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@maringuy I like niche apps like the DJ Kuki app...1hr+ streams of live mixed music. It's a party in my phone. Great for the gym or the road...I'll leave it at that!
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
And that's all the time we have! Thanks to @rrhoover and the Product Hunt team for creating a great environment like this. @thejasonstein and I have to get back to work making Drake imojis. :) Have a great night everyone!
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@danielbru big thanks to you and @thejasonstein for being here today! We've hugely appreciated your time and insight to all our varied questions 🙌✨😘
Hi guys, what have been your biggest challenges with imoji? What has been the biggest pleasant surprise?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@oshmanm I think the biggest challenge with imoji has been scaling and figuring out the right product/market fit for our business. We built a few tools and products early on that we thought were going to be huge, but ended up not working the way we had planned. Our team learned that you have to continue to quickly iterate and try new things until you find that right traction and fit. Right now, we’re seeing really strong and continued growth with our API, with many happy partners using the imoji platform.
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
What has been your a) most challenging moment and how did you overcome it? b) proudest moment and why? c) most surprising moment?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@ems_hodge Great questions. I think the most challenging (and proudest) moment was launching – it’s incredibly exciting and nerve-racking, at the same time. Some companies or teams build and never actually launch their new product or feature, so everyone should have a great sense of accomplishment when they launch. Most surprising moment was seeing how many imojis my Dad made this year…apparently he’s a power user.
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
If you had to give only one piece of advice to someone setting up their first business - what would it be?
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@ems_hodge I would echo the same advice I once got ... never be complacent. Always strive for more, and surround yourself with great people.
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@ems_hodge Listen to your customers. I think as a founder, you can get caught up in building and can make things over-complicated. It's important to listen to feedback from your users and make sure that you address their needs.
Hany Rashwan
Hany Rashwan@hany · CEO, Ribbon
@danielbru In developing and building imoji, what surprised you the most or provided you the most surprising insight?
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@hany Hey Hany! Great question. I have to say, I was pretty surprised to see how much content our users would generate. The fact that you can search for pretty much anything and find imojis is pretty amazing.
Mike Barash
Mike Barash@maringuy · founder & CEO, Knock Twice @knock2x
Which sticker category has the most content, and which category has the most engagement? Why do you think this is the case?
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@maringuy The sticker category with the most engaging content is our trending and reaction categories. Our team does a great job of monitoring what's trending in the world and showcasing it to our users. People like to talk about what’s relevant, so this is a quick curated list to help enhance their conversations. Keyword search is also a huge engagement driver for us. People love to search, and we have so much content (with a long tail) that you can search for just about anything …
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Do you have any mentors? If so, what have they taught you?
Daniel Brusilovsky
Daniel Brusilovsky@danielbru · Digital @ Warriors | Co-Founder @ imoji
@ems_hodge Mentors are incredibly important, both for your company and for your personal growth. Our investors at imoji (Joe Lacob and Goodwater Capital) have been incredible in helping guide us on this journey. Having their support every step of the way has been instrumental.
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@ems_hodge I agree with Daniel! We’re lucky to have such great investors. My dad has also been a great coach for me. He spent a long time in the HR field, and has incredible business insights relating to the importance of people and team building. But I’m always looking to meet new people and learn from the experience of others.
Nicholas Sheriff
Nicholas Sheriff@nicholassheriff · Founder, Medic Ventures
@thejasonstein @danielbru Have you guys seen any unique trends tied to engagement indicators around what imoji's users create vs share based on key demographic metrics. Are certain trends or ways of communicating with imojis only centered around a specific culture or demographic on your platform?
Jason Stein
Jason Stein@thejasonstein · Co-founder, imoji
@nicholassheriff Great question, Nicholas! I’d say that for the average user, creation usually involves something personal and something funny (could be a friend, celebrity, meme or pop culture reference). Early on, we also saw a lot of creation around common “missing” emojis like tacos, unicorns, bacon etc. In regards to trends, we see a lot of usage and keyword search. We have a huge database with a long tail of content, which enables users to search and find exactly what they’re looking for. This is a great solution because different users and demographics can search millions of imojis to find the best way to express themselves. Also, if you search and can’t find something, you can always create it and add it to the community for others to use.
Junius
Junius@juniusfree
hi! @danielbru How will you divide your time if a user gives you one hour to solve his/her problem? Thanks!