Welcome to the twenty-first edition of “Startup of the Week” which features many great startups and interviews with successful business heads. This week, I interviewed Pete Rojwongsuriya, the founder of BucketListly, a community that helps people unlock achievements in real life.
I’ve asked Pete a series of questions about BucketListly and tips for budding entrepreneurs. Have a read at what he had to say.
How did the idea of BucketListly come about?
I was attending a tech conference in Beijing with my friends a few years back (before the tech startup scene took off in Asia). It was my first time for a lot of things when I decided to go on this trip. My first time traveling to China, first time traveling abroad by myself, first time attending a tech conference, and first time speaking at a conference.
A lot of the events that transpired during the trip inspired me to create BucketListly so that I could have a place to keep track of my achievement and share what I did to accomplish it. After that, I was introduced to the American concept of Bucket List (that’s where the name came from) and so I began building an MVP. That’s when BucketListly was born.
Simply, what does your business do?
We let people create their own bucket list to keep track, visualize and share their life achievements while encouraging and inspiring people to do the same. To put it simply, we let people gamify their lives.
Did you have a business plan?
The goal here is to create a niche community of travelers and upsell relevant content and products to help them achieve their life goals.
What were the challenges you faced when creating BucketListly?
The travel industry was basically unknown to me. I had no experience whatsoever when it comes to creating a community of travelers but I knew the money is there. I did not realize how big and diverse the industry was, and it turned out to be so big I had to reevaluate my target audience and align my product more precisely toward the niche I aim to create a community around.
I came from a tech background where finding a niche is as easy as searching for websites on Google and participate on the sites that appeared in the search result. So it was challenging to adapt to the industry.
What is the difference between you and your competitors?
User experience is the key here. The competitors are more focused on allowing users to create and maintain a list. That’s boring. We at BucketListly focus more on allowing users to create visual stimulus both to themselves and to others in the community, hence the focus on photos. The layout is clean and minimal while creating a perfect balance between minimal, content and usability. We believe visuals are the key to unlocking human potentials, and I believe our product delivers.
What were you doing before BucketListly?
I was building another tech company, MyColorScreen before I sold it to one of the companies in the US. I was also doing a lot of freelance at The Pete Design and personal projects related to web design and development as I was interested in it.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Focus on finding your niche and build a community around it. I realized my “niche” was not precise enough later on, and I wish I would have spent more time on building the community rather than adding new features that I ended up removing later anyway.
In one word, describe your job?
People: Pete Rojwongsuriya
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