Damien King has left his post as Head of Development at Virgin Media to join BeeLiked full-time as Chief Technology Officer. Damien founded the company with his business partner Damian Dutton (CEO) in 2011.
Both co-founders worked together at Virgin Media, when Damian Dutton left in 2008 to head-up former company Whaddado, Damien King stayed in his role at Virgin, while acting as a technical advisor for the new startup.
Damien has over 12 years experience in the web industry, specialising in delivery and application development, offering BeeLiked an array of technical expertise. He now joins the team in Australia and is excited about the future.
What made you leave a corporate like Virgin Media to create a Startup?
I've always been involved in startups and even created my first one when I was just 19. That's what initially lead me to leave a financial startup and work for Virgin. I really admire what @RichardBranson has done with his businesses and felt I could learn a lot from working on the inside. In my time there, I was able to really balance my development skills with that of management, business, delivery and commercial. This has been the greatest improvement to my skill-set, which will be crucial in the success of @BeeLiked. After 6 years @Virgin, I knew it was time to get back into the startup scene with great confidence in the product Damian Dutton and I had produced.
How did you and your co-founder Damian come up with BeeLiked?
Damian and I had both worked together on a previous startup, Whaddado.com - a Pinterest for Bars and Restaurants. It was a great experience for us, even if we didn't reach the success heights of Pinterest, we learnt that businesses were very interested in engaging with their audience online and wanted to have a simple way to market themselves on a variety of social networks. We saw a gap in the market, primarily in Twitter competitions, and how many businesses, from coffee chains, to corporates like Virgin, needed an easy solution to gather, moderate and pick winners that included some compliance. They wanted to engage on Twitter but found it difficult; we have gone one step further by providing widgets and custom microsites, that help drive traffic back to your main site for online conversions. These have added the benefit of allowing ad campaigns like InSkin and hijacks for further monetisation. See here on our features page.
Why do you believe it will be successful?
Social media isn't a passing fad, consumers are expecting instant responses from all the brands and businesses they interact with on a daily basis. Our product allows businesses to deal with these ever increasing complexities by providing various 3 step campaigns.
We suggest spending just 15 minutes a day on BeeLiked checking your campaigns, following up on your new connections, responding to @mentions, DMs, FB comments, Instagram photos, YouTube videos and we even integrate with an array of review sites if your identity is a venue (Yelp, Qype and Foursquare).
What is your biggest goal for the company?
My biggest goal would be to own the 'Social Media Campaign' space. We don't see ourselves getting involved in the Wildfire 'Facebook territory', however, I do see us extending our simple and easy marketing campaigns to Pintrest, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google+ amongst others. We have already started development on Instagram and YouTube campaigns, which are quite exciting.
Expansion is key and we decided early that we would need to setup in dual locations, UK and Australia. Our next goal would be to have a US office in New York or LA.
What will be the biggest impact of your role?
My strongest impact for BeeLiked will be around delivery, having a technical person who understands the product and allows for smarter decision making in prioritisation.
I've had a weath of experience in Agile for startups, and I've experienced some archaic waterfall projects, like those of @VirginMedia and @BBC. From this experience I've created an even more 'Agile methodology', I like to call "Extreme Lean". It means we can change even faster than traditional startups, using standard Agile practices. One of the most challenging things with 'Extreme Lean' is it tries to introduce a 24hour development day by spreading resources across different timezones. It's quite a challenge, but pure genius when it works.
Whats are your major challenges right now?
When we started we had a number of road-map decisions on which network to focus on first, and we both felt Twitter was the right choice. Today though, due to the change in policy it has become our greatest challenge. We were really disappointed with some of the decisions they are currently making, and the lack of support they are offing to startups like ourselves. The Twitter rate limit has already had a negative effect on our current product and will require some new engineering and extra work for us to do, even upgrading to 1.1 costs us significantly. It's these types of challenges that can sometimes be the difference between success and failure for a startup.
We have now applied to be part of the Twitter Certified Products Program and are hopeful they will support us.
What's next at BeeLiked?
There's lots to come for BeeLiked, like any startup we have too many choices for what to focus on next. We will officially launch our first version into the Chrome Store shortly, and allow as many people to experience the product for free, as part of our 60 day trial. From this we are expecting a wealth of information on usage that will help to qualify our existing road-map. Next we'll be launching richer campaigns across other Social Networks such as Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, Pintrest amongst others, and will start incorporating some more diverse review systems such as TripAdvisor and Urban Spoon.
We're very excited about the future and confident that we can improve the product to meet our clients needs and ambitions.
Damien would love to hear more from you so feel free to get in contact