Think about Facebook’s friends or Twitter’s followers. Their content enhances the experience for an entire community and gives them (the users), the ability to connect with others in a more meaningful way. User generated content is a more than a movement. Its mainstream adoption has made it a highly valued growth proposition for tech products and media outlets to build a long-term, loyal user base.
Jake Jacoby, a seasoned abort with competence in technology & small business markets, is taking user generated content to the next level. It’s called Station, a local discovery application that aggregates social feeds to make user generated content relevant to where you are.
Jacoby is a proven leader with experience as a CEO and founder of three previous successful technology companies. His ability to create, build and grow technology companies has resulted in numerous multi-million dollar transactions and successful exits of prior companies.
CG met up with Jacoby to hear how he plans to become a major player in local discovery and make your social experience much more personal.
CG: Jake, what’s the deal with local discovery?
Jake: Think about it. Before Facebook existed, you didn’t know every single thing everyone was doing at any given point in time. But now, it’s hard to imagine not having this kind of access to other people’s lives online. Station will improve that experience on a local level. That’s what local discovery means, and no one has nailed it yet. Think about how the biggest tech products have their niche, but they also complement the other mainstream tech products out there. Google has search, Snapchat has ephemeral, Facebook is social sharing, Twitter is current events, Station is local discovery.
“It’s all about proximity. There are things I would never have discovered without Station.”
CG: Where did the idea for a local discovery solution come from?
Jake:I went on Facebook and realized that a more the content I was consuming had nothing to do with where I was physically. Everyone has friends any where the US or in the world, but the content is not geo-specific. I wanted to make a product that talked with other social media platforms and aggregated their feeds to make it more relevant to where people are physically.
CG: So is this another social media company?
Jake: No. We don’t need another social media company. We don’t want to build another social network. We saw the value in user generated content. People are out there capturing content and shooting video stories from their phone and writing about things relevant to more people. Everybody has a device to create content. We wanted to take leverage of this “citizen journalism” and build something on top of it, a broadcasting platform for multiple platforms that makes local discovery easier and way more efficient.
“I know what’s happening in Nepal, but sometimes I haven’t idea what’s happening two blocks away from me. This is an incredibly common issue.”
CG: How do you marry that type of input/output from users?
Jake: 20% of the people generate the content and the other 80% consume it. This is true for all social media outlets. Our platform, or app, is comprised of users and your profiles. There are also buckets of information, called stations. Take a local festival near you. With Station, you can see a combination of Instagram pictures, comments on Facebook, and Tweets about the festival from anyone anywhere, plus all the content being posted by the actual festival in real time. Stations are aggregated user content and branded content at a local level.
CG: What exactly makes it local?
Jake: Because stations are customized to locals. Brands, events or users can make their station invite-only, private, or ephemeral. They can also make it public to the world or target a local geographic. It’s completely controlled by the user. You can allow others to pick up your station and if The New York Times or Wallstreet want to tap into it, you could have millions of people watching your live stream on Meerkat, for instance. Or it could be set up like a Snapchat that’s completely personal. It could be an invite-only Facebook group limited to a number of people, or it could be a global broadcast on Google Hangouts. It’s all controlled on your own Station.
“We bring all these social feeds and live streams into our application through the millions of stations that are being created.”
CG: What’s your big vision for Station? How will it be used in near future?
Jake: The goal is to have people open up Station and discover what’s going on around them. Lady Gaga, for example, has millions of followers on Facebook, but with Facebook’s new posting limitations she has a very difficult time reaching her Little Monster community. Station allows direct communication with your audience. Instead of paying Facebook extra to get your message to your audience and followers, you can reach them for free on Station. The point is to give user control to create content and communication directly with your intended audience.
“Lady Gaga can reach her Little Monsters without paying for it or a local small-town band can get needed exposure, for free on Station.”
CG: Why do you care about this issue?
Jake: Millennials care very little about privacy, but there are so many people out there who do. People also want the freedom to control their content. Station is a platform that gives control and power to the people – to the users to use it as they wish. No one has really done this effectively and on such a mass scale that integrates with every other social media platform out there.
CG: What’s next for Station?
Jake: We’ve raised $1.5 million so far and over 1 million stations have already been created, and we are growing every day. We predict 10-15 million stations created by end of year with over 150,000 new events added per month. We are working with big brand partners who want to enhance their local discovery and with people who want a better social experience.