Have you ever been to an anniversary or birthday celebration which included video well-wishes from friends and family? Or, have you ever wanted to collect a series of video testimonials from customers?
If you’ve ever tried to gather a bunch of videos from people, you know it’s not easy. It’s a hassle to nudge people, it’s a hassle for them to record a response, upload it somewhere, send you a link. You invariably get it in all kinds of different formats and locations. And nowhere is the information easily sortable, searchable, taggable or organized.
I wanted to do something about that. I’ve launched a new, free tool called popsee which allows you to gather videos easily, from anyone with either a webcam (desktop or laptop) or an iPhone/iPad.
How It Works
Popsee is now in alpha, and only supports one use-case (the townhall described below.) But the basic steps are:
- A curator creates a popsee. Think of this as a short video survey.
- Curator gets a coded weblink which they can send anywhere
- End user following that link can easily respond via webcam and any browser, or iPhone/iPad. There’s no Android app get.)
- popsee does basic validation for you — on things like video length, etc. End-users can re-record clips as many times as they’d like before uploading.
- As videos roll in, curator gets a handy dashboard to manage and sort them. Curator can download movies in standard movie formats and edit as they wish.
- Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and celebrations
- Townhall style forums
- Product Testimonials
A citizen group I’m part of, SPEAK OUT Seattle!, is organizing a series of townhall-style candidate debates for an upcoming city election. As part of this townhall series, I volunteered to film a series of questions from citizens from around Seattle to be projected on the big screen.
When I started to think about the effort involved in driving around Seattle to collect about 80 videos, it dawned on me just how many people have webcams and good-quality smartphones, and that this technology can really help with the sourcing or “audition” process.
Most important, I wanted the tool to be easy. I wanted it to also include simple “metadata” that the curator wanted; in this case, the question in written form, and contact information.
I was surprised at the lack of tools to allow a curator to initiate a video request from a group of people via, say, a specially-coded weblink (like a shortened URL.)
Sure, you can write an email or do a Facebook post and ask people to record a video and upload it to YouTube and send the link, or maybe put a bunch of videos in Dropbox, but I wanted something point-and-click simple, and I wanted it to optionally include simple survey questions based upon what the curator wants. And when old-style videos do arrive, I wanted them to arrive in searchable format, with “metadata” such as their contact information, email, or perhaps what the subject is. Over time, I’ll be looking at automatic transcription tools, search and indexing tools, word clouds and more. I wanted a platform where a survey-initiator can build a simple survey, with one or more of these questions being submitted by video.
But currently, it’s a Minimum Viable Product ready for some testing.
It’s in alpha testing.
Meaning: it’s being used just for the SPEAK OUT Seattle event.
The free iOS app is in review by Apple and should be available in the next two weeks. This app currently just lets you respond to popsee requests; I expect it will allow you to initiate them some time later this year.
I’ll be building out a great dashboard for the curators, which will include the ability to kick off new requests. If you’d like to try it out, follow and send a DM to @popseea on Twitter.
Learn more at https://popsee.com.
Send In Ideas
I’d love to hear your ideas and scenarios for requesting videos from people. How can it be made easier for you? Tweet your ideas to @popseeA.
Steve’s a Seattle-based entrepreneur and software leader, husband and father of three. He’s half Canadian, and east-coast born and raised. Steve has made the Pacific Northwest his home since 1991, when he moved here to work for Microsoft. He’s started and sold multiple Internet companies. Politically independent, he writes on occasion about city politics and national issues, and created Alignvote in the 2019 election cycle. He holds a BS in Applied Math (Computer Science) and Business from Carnegie Mellon University, a Masters in Computer Science from Stanford University, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, where he graduated a George F. Baker Scholar. Steve volunteers when time allows with Habitat for Humanity, University District Food Bank, Technology Access Foundation (TAF) and other organizations in Seattle.