Blurtt is a photo sharing app with a twist – you can add funny captions to your photos before you share them (a little like Hipster, but not) and essentially turn your dull life into LOL life. I spoke with founder Jeanette Cajide about the process of building an app from the ground up and how important it is to have a strong pivot.
The app originally was supposed to let you create and send real postcards from a print shop in Dallas, but as the founding team assessed the cost – and the competition – they built a way to have a bit of goofy fun (and serious fun if you want to get all mopey in your captions) with photos you take on the go.
TC: Tell me about yourself and your team? What did you do before this? Is this a full-time thing?
Jeanette: Blurtt is a company that is run by a Cuban-American, with another founder named Kuba Tymula who is not Cuban but Polish, and another founder named Laura Gurasich who has many skills – one of them is serving as my English-As-A-Second Language translator, as I learned English watching “Sesame Street”. We all met in at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. We did not off-shore a single line of code for Blurtt – it was all built in Dallas.
Truth about what I was doing before: I was working to lift the Cuban-US embargo before joining Blurtt, but Fidel Castro wouldn’t take my calls. I’d have to be mostly incompetent to be considered a good diplomat so I bolted and decided to live my dream of being an entrepreneur.
And yes, this is most definitely full-time for me. The rest of the team comes in when needed. We run a lean operation.
TC: Blurtt used to be a postcard creation service that actually sent postcards to people. Now you can add captions to photos and share them with friends. It’s definitely changed a lot over the past few months. Why did you pivot?
J: I shit my pants when Postagram launched. I am a huge fan of Matt Brezina, and Postagram was funded, so I had to make a decision within a day. Do we keep trying the postcard biz or pivot? I was still stuck in fundraising mode with no product. I saw writing on the wall. When Apple announced postcards I was glad we pivoted. We love Postagram and hope to see blurtts in their system someday.
TC: Why another photo sharing service? Don’t we have too many?
J: Yikes John. Calm down. Blurtt is not a photo sharing service. We are a communications tool – we enable you to make a visual statement about what it is you want to say or feel. Yes we are using images but Blurtt is about taking the image in your head or heart (from our image search engine powered by Bing and Flickr) and turning it into a digital expression with your own words. You can also use your own pictures. Like this guy who made me laugh this morning.
TC: What have you learned building Blurtt?
J: Building and deploying an app is like learning to build an airplane in the air. Our best practice is to keep calm and drink margaritas when things go well and beer when things don’t go so well. It keeps everyone happy. I am also lucky I have the best team of engineers anyone can ask for. They are my secret weapon. The key thing I learned is you cannot create awesome stuff if you are always asking for permission.
TC: Why should anyone download this?
J: For starters, Blurtt will put therapists out of business. Just think of all the crap you can get off your chest in one minute increments. Happy, sad, frustrated, elated. People are blurtting consecutively sometimes. All these human emotions you feel all day. And best it can be easily shared via Twitter or Facebook, so rather than making your status updates boring as hell – you can increase engagement by rocking out an awesome blurtt that people will want to share with their friends and like on Facebook. Blurtts can go viral pretty fast. We are waiting for it but it’s only 6 days old so I’d give it some more time.
TC: What’s the favorite Blurtt you’ve seen so far?
J: Right now I’m loving this one.
I am a political junkie. I watch C-SPAN. That’s my pick up line at bars. I’m also still single.