Software entprenreneurs Sharleen Sy and Vernon Lun would regularly meet at coffee shops to discuss industry trends when one day Lun posed a provoking question: If you wanted to buy someone a gift, would you buy a digital rose over a real one?
The question came out of a discussion on the popularity of social games on Facebook and the success of massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) in implementing microtransactions as a reliable business model. One thing led to another and the co-founders of Play Dynamics Inc. launched Carddit — a mobile method to collect, share and trade digital cards.
“The card acts as a wrapper around your digital content,” explains Sy, “so you can have a photo on the card, an animated GIF, links to web sites, videos and more, along with unique location based metrics. And through the card I can now ‘touch’ my digital goods. I can give you my card and you’ll see the card move across onto your phone, it’s adding real world experiences to the digital realm.”
Femmeonomics virtually sat down with Sy to get some details on this innovative venture, which landed on Apple’s New and Noteworthy (Social Networks) when they first launched.
1. Do you have investors and how much more capital are you looking for?
Play Dynamics is currently bootstrapped. We placed our initial focus on launching Carddit v1.0 and are now speaking with partners and potential investors to take the company and product platform to the next level. Version 1 is just the beginning and we have plans to build an extensive social curation platform.
2. How do you balance being an entrepreneur and a mother?
I’m glad you asked that question because it’s definitely been a challenge balancing both! I was lucky to be able to focus the past few years on my 3 children. I also used this time to study and analyze the MMO and social games industry. This year, my youngest starts school full time, giving me more time to work on Play Dynamics. I love building products and companies, and one of the benefits of mobile technology is that I can work remotely, wherever and whenever I need to. Often times, my most productive work happens at night, when the kids are asleep.
3. Where do you find your inspiration and how do you quantify success?
My awesome team of developers and advisors, and my family inspire me on a daily basis. In terms of technology and UX design, I find a lot of inspiration from the games industry and real life interactions. Initial success for me would be to create a product that makes a positive impact on a user’s life and community, and finding the right market-product fit to gain traction. I would love to change the way people share digital things on mobile. We want to make the experience feel less like “copying a file” and more like handing or giving you a card.
4. Was there a moment when you thought it wouldn’t work and how did you get through it?
If you’re lucky enough to build a team you synergize with and enjoy being a part of, it definitely makes it easier to be optimistic! I know that if a particular feature or product doesn’t work out, we’ll be able to improve upon it or pivot in a manner that works out. The challenge, especially for bootstrapped companies with limited resources, is speed. So we have to be creative.
5. What advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs?
Be agile, be optimistic, and don’t give up. I put my heart into every product I’ve worked on, and I really value agile development teams. There are an unbelievable number of naysayers out there; some days you’ll feel on top of the world, others days the lowest point. But that’s what makes being an entrepreneur so addictive and fun, isn’t it? And then there’s that satisfying feeling of building something really special.