We recently sat down with Alex Olson, Co-Founder of FilmCrave.com to talk about their start-up venture FilmCrave.com, a niche based social networking site dedicated to movie lovers and movies. we also asked him how much longer we’re going to have to wait until we see FilmCrave is the most trafficked movie site on the web.
Me : Before we get into some of the specifics of what FilmCrave is up to right now, please tell us about your background and your role in the company?
Alex Olson : First thing is that I am not the CEO of FilmCrave.com, but I am the co-founder of FilmCrave.com. I grew up on a farm in Eastern Nebraska, but had always enjoyed computers and movies. I would often watch several movies a week with my brother and watch many of the movies that my parents rented. My favorites when growing up were Back to the Future and The Goonies. When I moved on to college (Northwest Missouri State University) I choose a degree that combined both art, computers, and marketing – the perfect combination to create a social network (little did I know). Once I graduated I quickly learned the skills of the trade in the advertising industry – from marketing, design, SEO, and other important tools. The interesting fact is that Josh has an even more interesting background as he moved here from the Boston area and shares the same degree that I do. Nick and I were friends in high school so that is how I know him. He has a computer science degree from Midland Lutheran College.
As stated before, I am not the CEO of FilmCrave.com (we don’t have one). I am the co-founder. I founded the company with Josh and Nick and we launched our first beta in August of 2007. Josh and I originally thought of ourselves as unprofessional movie experts and just wanted to write reviews for rotten tomatoes.com. As we graduated, we realized that there was more potential creating our own site for movies. When we looked at all of our ideas and flow charts, we brought on Nick, the key behind the magic with our website. Nick had affection for movies as well, so it all became a perfect fit. Now, we all share many hats; Josh and I share very similar ones as we try to drive traffic to the site and along with Nick try to come up with the ideas and execution.
Me : What are the main features and services of FilmCrave?
Alex Olson : The main features of our site consist of custom drag and drop reorder-able movie lists, search as you type search, innovatively displayed movie trailers, intuitive navigation and quality user and movie content.
Me : What makes FilmCrave different from other websites competing in your industry?
Alex Olson : While many of our competitors offer some of the same features as above, we believe we do it better and are able to get our users more engaged. We present data in a much easier to read way, we provide higher quality of content, and we also let our users make some of the decisions based on new features via survey.
Me : Tell us more about FilmCrave and it’s success story?
Alex Olson : The hardest part about any social network is going from 5 members to millions of members. We have had a lot of success based on the fact that many of our members tell us we are better than our competitors in almost every way.
Me : What are some of the myths in this industry?
Alex Olson : I think one of the biggest myths in the field of social networking is that people think if you have social network it is going to be successful. The other myth is that all social networks are the same. Neither of these is even close to being true. We are all different and enjoy different things about different sites. Large sites like Yahoo will try to create social network, only to watch them fail because they didn’t put enough effort or time into it to do it right. If all social networks were the same, there would be no one visiting Facebook or even MySpace for that matter.
Me : How do you develop your skills in this continuously changing environment?
Alex Olson : Read. One must read success stories and failures to know what it takes to be successful. You also must be different some how some way and prove it to the world. I think the three of us are all learning and doing that now.
Me : What do you see as the future of the industry?
Alex Olson : Monetization. Some how Facebook and other sites are going to have to figure out how to monetize their site. We are beginning to figure it out on our end. I also see portability as the next big thing. Web 3.0 will be how many sites is your site on. Sites on sites.
Me : What will be the challenges, do you anticipate any drastic changes?
Alex Olson : The challenges will be actually monetizing the site and brining our ideas to fruition. I can’t wait to take on this challenge even further.
Me : Where do you see your company/website in the next 5 years? What about you personally?
Alex Olson : If everything goes as planned, I really think FilmCrave will be the most trafficked movie site on the web and FilmCrave will also be part of a lot of other sites as well. The continuing transformation of our website will be a fun ride and I can’t wait to see the results after all the hard work.