How we got to Getinspired365
A brief history of how we arrived at Getinspired365 and why it's still going today!
By Steve Whyley / 16 March 2017
7 min read
Getinspired365 is a site I have co-created with my good mate Mike.
I thought I'd let you into how we got here, why we are so desperate for it to succeed and why we keep going!
I am not a coder. Given Mike and I have been doing this now for nine years that's a pretty pathetic statement on my part. I should have taught myself, I've had the opportunity to but for whatever reason it never appealed which is crazy given how much I enjoy seeing an idea come to life. It's probably laziness on my part - I have never been good at learning new things, I find the whole process quite difficult but that's no excuse. Mike on the other hand is a coder, and in my opinion (already quite worthless given what I've said so far!) is a quite brilliant one. Reading articles online it sounds like you can either code or you can design but you're unlikely to find someone who can excel at both. In my view Mike is that rare bread who can do both really effectively.
I remember immediately clicking with Mike when I met him and he shared my interest in all things web and startup. My brothers run a successful website so I was surrounded by analytics, wireframes and the like and I enjoyed getting to know the new trends, technologies and websites, and Mike was very much the same. I remember pitching Mike an idea around a bookmarking tool.
Nine years ago, we launched that very thing. After much playing around with names - bookmarkly, favit and the like - we ended up calling it Favilous. Favilous was meant to be able help you organise your links in a graphical way. The idea was that you could essentially create your own homepage and you'd be able to easily discover really cool new sites by following your friends and seeing what they had bookmarked.
I really enjoyed the whole process of getting to the end product. Mike and I would play around with designs (often on napkins over a tea!), discuss functionality, how we could promote it. We launched Favilous and I remember being so excited at seeing people from all over the world using it. Admitedly it wasn't many users but we did have some traffic! We got featured by Killerstartups, Thenextweb and others. We did the whole "Show HN: Favilous, bookmarking made simple" and we got the inevitable "how is this different to X" comments. I think we both found it difficult to sustain that traffic, how could we get users to come back to the site day after day? We used to post to HN (probably too much!) and post to Reddit and the like but we had no real strategy on how to get the traffic.
I remember being frustated at myself at not being able to contribute anything that meaningful - sure I'd blog, email companies etc but Mike was the coder and I felt I didn't bring anything meaningful to the table.
Favilous slowly died, which was a real shame. I still look at that website as such a positive learning experience but more importantly it was brilliant fun - you can't beat the buzz of seeing someone use - and use properly - something that you've helped create. One thing that stood out about this whole experience was how well Mike and I got on. I imagine that running a really successful startup could be hideous if you didn't have the right guy as your co-founder. Running a failed startup could be equally bad - when you are back and forth trying to get traffic and it's not working. When I am asking feature x or feature y to be developed and it makes zero difference to traffic, or when Mike asks me to pull in a load content for the site and that too does nothing. I imagine that whole process could easily strain the relationship but for Mike and I it really didn't. And I am really grateful it didn't.
Ulitmiately I think we are both driven by the same thing. We both want to create something that's really useful and that is widely used. Making money is a bonus. Of course it would be nice to earn something from a site but I think we both share that buzz when we see a user dive deep into a site that we've built, or a random user tweeting out something nice about the site. We live for that but as yet we've not quite had that big success. We've had some moments...
We built a website called Makeusdate which was a dating site that was based on the idea of selecting people you'd like to date but them not finding out unless they happened to like you as well, and a match occured. Sound familiar? We would love to take credit for Tinder but I am not sure the founders of Tinder were one of the 763 people who used our little app! Unless they were, in which case we'd happily take a share of Tinder!
We had a bit of fun with something called the 11KClub where we wondered if people would request access to a club who's purpose and benefits were unknown but that the club was exclusive. Turns out the idea was so popular that we had thousands upon thousands of requests to join, all with amazing reasons to join. The issue? Mike and I never really gave much thought to what the club should actually be! So suddenly we had all these requests to join something but we had no idea what that something should be! In the end we thought the club could be a private network to help members get jobs. For example, if you worked in television and belong to the 11K Club and a fellow member wanted to break into television then you'd help them. Alas, it never really took off but that was a really fun ride. We were featured by mashable and blown away by the reasons people wanted to join including this one:
"My life is going no where. I have just broken up with my girlfriend and fired from my job when I stumbled over this. For some reason something is telling me to apply. Who knows, this decision may change my life. This may be the very thing I need to get my life going again. I hope it is and I hope I am admitted to the club."
After this site, and Mike's fourth child with his lovely woman, we didn't do much on websites. I was gutted that we hadn't yet had our break. Not because I wanted to be rich but because I'd seen Mike put in all this work and as yet we'd not got that much out of it. We'd seen sites launch at similar times to us, some like pinboard seem to be flying high whilst others disappeared altogether.
I started a charity run in aid of a young boy called Harry Moseley and it was this event that saw the creation of Getinspired365. I was not a runner and this challenge seemed almost impossible for me to get my head around. So my now wife started sending me inspiring videos and quotes that I'd look at whilst doing the runs. Mike and I had always liked a site called Mini Motivation (now closed) - it just used to provide one motivating quote on a page that could be scrolled through. I went to Mike and said could he create me something dead simple - just an inspiring video on a page that could be cycled through, one for each day. I registered the name and expected very little from the site as I just thought it was simply going to be a YouTube video, that I had sourced, for each day of the year. Mike though had other ideas! He created, in my opinion, a really great looking site that had a full screen video coupled with an inspiring quote, info about the video and tags. The design was slick and without a doubt this was the best thing that he had created, and that I had been involved with. It was genuinely useful, it was enjoyable to use and it was something that was so incredibly positive that you wanted to work on it. You wanted it to succeed. You wanted to help people achieve their goals and we thought we'd created something that could contribute to that.
Over the next four years we iterated and added more and more features - a quotes database, picture quotes, interesting hand written bio's about some of the world's most inspiring people and a video collection that has been painstakingly put together and which now contains over 1000 videos spanning every conceivable subject. We've got 200,000 quotes and we've just started writing articles and sharing the stories of people who inspire us.
We believe we've created something that could be of real use to people, and what's amazing is that we know it has helped people already. One person emailed us saying that without Getinspired365.com he would not have climbed Everest. And another suggested that Getinspired365 helped a young man with an amputated leg complete his first marathon.
We live for these kind of emails. To see something that we've created being of real benefit to someone is quite humbling. We still don't get much traffic, but it is slowly growing. We've yet to make a dime - we hope one day we might but that will be a bonus. We will continue regardless because we think everyone in life has enormous potential but in some it is not yet realised. And perhaps, the way to unlock that potential is to inspire them - to provide the spark - and we hope our site, and the stories that we share, can do just that.
For everyone who's used our site - a big thanks from us. And without wanting to sound like an awards speech, I wanted to thank my mate Mike - he's worked tirelessly and deserves massive success. He's the hardest working person I know, and the most talented, and these last ten years have been a blast! My hope is that my next blog post can be about the boom in traffic we've experienced and how we are on the way to our first company office complete with a Table Tennis table!