Foo Café: Startup challenge - 10 million downloads is not enough
This is the story of Triposo. The mobile travel guide start up I founded together with Douwe and his two brothers. I met Douwe working on Google Wave in Sydney. When that was cancelled we started looking for the next Big Thing.
Douwe had in his spare time worked on various travel hacks. Little cute things which would crawl the web and figure out the top sites to see in the world or the best burger or the best museum to go to on a rainy day. It started out as a hobby project and 5 years later we had taken on ~4 million USD in funding, had about 10 million downloads and at the peak about 20 employees.
This is the story of a fledgling start up struggling to figure out a working business model. It is also the story of a system that evolves from a simple hobby project to handling several million users. How it changes under the pressures of the business trying to figure out which functionality is going to get the customer to stick around and spend more money. How we managed to build travel guides for the entire world with just 10 engineers, some clever geo and natural language processing tricks, blood, sweat and tears.
Jon Tirsen was the CTO of Triposo for 5 years. Before that he was tech lead at Google Wave and founder of ThoughtWorks Studios the product wing of the agile consultancy ThoughtWorks. With more than 20 years of experience in the tech industry he has never been able to pick a particular field and has worked with things such as user interfaces (mobile and web), distributed systems, geo, data processing, large scale systems, devops and so on. His work has taken him to many places of the world having lived and worked in Sydney, Stockholm, London, Bangalore, Beijing and San Francisco. He is currently working at Square, remotely from Stockholm.