VidMob’s First Two Weeks: The Relative Nature of Time

The VidMob platform is now officially two weeks old. And depending upon your perspective, that’s either an infinitesimal blip, or a spirit-crushingly long time.

For those of us here at the company, it has gone by in a flash—a burst of light in the form of information that we’re only just beginning to learn how to read meaningfully. While the overwhelming majority of projects created on the VidMob platform have gone start to finish without a hitch (more than 90% of projects created to-date have resulted in a 5 star rating for the editor), in a handful of cases, there have been glitches.

For those few users and editors, time has been stretched by questions and feelings of confusion driven by technical bugs and instances of design shortcomings. Want to experience relativity? Try paying for a project, messaging back and forth with an editor for 2 days, with excitement building all along, then getting delivered a first draft of the video that you think will change your life, only to find that it won’t play for you. Or you can’t hear it. Time slows mighty rapidly when you’re waiting for customer service to respond to you and fix your problem.

But fix all of these things we must. And we will. You can’t hear your video? Is your phone in silent mode? Yes. Ok, turn that off and let us know if it works. It does? Great. But that’s still a bug. We’ll fix it. And now we have.

Your video didn’t play? Let us reach out to the editor and find out what format the video was uploaded to our system in. Do we support that file type? No. Try this. Does that work? Yes. Great! But that’s another bug. We’ll fix it. And now we have.

Time has also been slow for some of our editors, who are desperately waiting for their first jobs. To them, we can only say “Hold on.” This is the battle scene in Braveheart where a thousand heavy horses are charging across the field, while William Wallace yells, “Hold…hold…..Hoooold!” The jobs are coming. But the platform needs to be ready before we can truly open the spigot. That said, we will continue to open it up slowly in the weeks ahead. It looks like VidMob will be featured on the daytime talk show The View early next week. And some of our corporate partnerships are developing quite nicely.

Another consistent theme from our editors has been one of questions. Why do we not allow editors to see other editors’ bids on a project? Why do we keep pressing folks to create auto-bids when the old system of pricing a project only after getting full details on a project was more comfortable? We have tried to answer any and all questions from our users in as close to real-time as possible.

But a couple of the ones highlighted above get to the essence of what we’re trying to build, and so I thought it might make sense to take a moment to stand back a bit and highlight the underlying logic. Because if you understand our intent, I believe that some of our tactical decisions will make more sense in turn.

The intent behind the editor auto-bid system and the way we present bids is first and foremost to protect editors from two things:

1. Setting up a system where editors bid each other down to the bottom, thus collapsing prices; and
2. Creating a system where editors have to spend hours bidding one-by-one on all open jobs in the hopes of getting each one.

So those are the two factors driving our decisions. This is why we do not show editors other editor’s bids—to protect against this “race to the bottom” scenario. It’s also why consumers only see a small handful of bids when they create a project, rather than the entire universe of available bids. And it’s why we’re laser-focused on figuring out a workable solution with auto-bids—so that editors can “set it and forget it,” and let the work come to them.

We understand that the more traditional model had editors wait for a call from a client, listen to what the client wants in-full, present a price to that client, and then begin work. This system has the benefit of perfect information for the editor, but the problem is that it didn’t happen enough. Too many editors found themselves with not enough work. We are attempting to build a solution that, if we can get it right, will create effectively limitless work from the 3 billion people with smartphones who don’t know how to edit, and the 50 million companies with social media presences but no idea how to create the content they need to feed those social channels daily.

We understand fully the difficulty of building a working auto-bid system, but we are 100% confident that it can be done with a bit of back-and-forth with our editing community. As we’ve said all along, the VidMob system will not be perfect from day one. No marketplace is. eBay, Airbnb, Uber…and many more, all took years to perfect. But in the context of the relative experience of time discussion above, we understand that this is too long to ask people to wait.

The good news is that we have the benefit of learning from these wonderful companies who have blazed somewhat analogous paths. We have a new feature list for the app that numbers in the hundreds and we can’t wait to roll out every one of them. In this, we’re experiencing the odd warping of time as well. Probably worse than you can imagine.

In the drive to get the marketplace up and running, we spent far more of our time focusing on the client-side experience (eg. the App), since App users are the ones paying for the work. But now that the app is largely in good shape, we’re turning our attention to the Edit Suite. We expect it to make exciting strides in the very near future, but we will continue to ask (err…beg) for your feedback to help us make it, if not perfect, as close as we can possibly get it.

Please keep the feedback coming. If you promise to do that, we’ll promise to listen and keep working to improve it every day. Eventually, time will realign into its natural pace for us all. The jobs will flow like a torrent. And that will be something we can all experience—and enjoy—together.

-Alex

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