In this episode, we chat with bootstrap founders Daniel and Markus from Storyark. Storyark is a digital memory album for you and your family. It allows you to securely store photos, videos, audio, and text and share them with your family and close friends.
In this chat, we learn about how they are bootstrapping their startup, how Storyark is different than other apps in the market, and also fun stuff about their personality that even they did not know about each other.
I chatted with bootstrap founders Daniel and Markus from Storyark. Storyark is a digital memory album for you and your family. It allows you to securely store photos, videos, audio, and text and share them with your family and close friends.
They got this idea at Oktoberfest and, as you probably guessed, are also dads with small kids.
In this chat, we learn about how they are bootstrapping their startup, how Storyark is different than other apps in the market, and also fun stuff about their personality that even they did not know about each other.
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Past guests on Innovators Can Laugh include Ovi Negrean, Arnaud Belinga, Csaba Zajdó, Dagobert Renouf, Andrei Zinkevich, Viktorija Cijunskyte, Lukas Kaminskis, Pija Indriunaite, Monika Paule, PhD, Vytautas Zabulis, Leon van der Laan, Ieva Vaitkevičiūtė.
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#42 Csaba Zajdó - Top Startup in Europe for E-commerce: OptiMonk
#30 Andrius Rimkunas - The smart, wireless, GPS-powered alarm system
#28 Monika Paule, PhD - Trailblazing discoveries in Gene Editing Solutions
#23 Ieva Vaitkevičiūtė - Mindletic: a mental gym for your emotional balance
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Hey, you're listening to innovators can laugh. The fun startup podcast. I'm your host, Eric on ICO. We interview an innovative entrepreneur in the European tech startup scene. Every week, Michael is to have my guests share their wisdom or having a little fun in the process. Now let's talk. Hey ICO fans today, we're chatting with bootstrap founders, Daniel and Marcus from story arc.
Story arc is a digital memory album for you and your family and allows you to securely store photos, videos in audio and share them with your family and close friends. Daniel Marcus got this idea at October Fest. That's right. October fests. And as you probably guessed, they are dads. So in this chat, we learn about how they are bootstrapping their startup, how story arc is different than other apps in the marketplace.
And also fun stuff about their personality, personality that even they did not know about each other. If you want to listen to this on YouTube, you can find my channel. Innovators can laugh and check out episode 49. Let's dive in. Okay. So paint a picture for me. You guys are out at Oktoberfest. And are you with your kids or with your family, or is it, you know, just, just no kids, no family for let's start there.
So no kids, no family. It was a work event. So we, we work together at the same company at the same at this time. And it's for, for companies in Munich, it's, it's quite usual to, to have at least one table at once during gets over Fest where the company pays for everything you say. And yeah, we did this with this company back then and I had this idea in my head.
Young dads. So my kids, I think were four and two or three and one at this time. And I have to say so you know, these family channels, I think Have every bed or every family that I know at one point started doing this, this written family channels where they where you have this, this two-page of for a week.
And you're right. What you, what you've experienced with the family, how the kids are, what the, you know, how they are developing in zone. And that's this idea you're making me feel awful because I don't do this sort of thing. I wrote an email on his birthday and that's it. And I'll let him read it when he's like 15 or 16 years old, but I don't do this every, every week.
Th that's the thing everybody started, but nobody fasted. Exactly. I have, I have two, I have twin here in, in, in a bookshelf where we did where we started twice. One or two weeks are filled out. The rest is completely empty because again, it says stop doing it because it's like this going to for the CIM, you know, you get this feedback, this this gratification of doing this, you get this away later when you, when you hand it over to your kid, which.
10 12, 18 years later that year that you handed over. And then this is when you, when you get this this feedback thanks for doing that, but I it's also, maybe you can do it. You would do it more often if you're not doing it by yourself, right. If you get your family to also participate and fill out entries into this journal, which normal, you cannot do it, the generalist sitting it's your whole, yeah.
Yeah. I had this little journal for both my kids. And it takes me. I have to know nug, nag, nag, and nag, my brother and my dad's like, fill it out, you know? And it's just like a constant nag. I don't, I think for my second kid, I don't even think they wrote in there yet. And you know, the second kid always gets, gets left short because their journals like less completed.
The there's not as many pictures. Yeah. Did you feel kind of bad, right? Hopefully they will discover that when they get older life. Okay. But so let's go back here. You guys had two young kids. You're Oktoberfest. You work at the same company into, but how, who came up with the idea initially for story arc?
Like how did that come about? Yeah. Is that better? I wants to the idea was to, if, if I would be writing this. But then my family could also see it. So every entry that I add I could send it to my family and my family could, it could, it could do a thumbs up. Emoji reactions could comment on it.
And you know, at this time we'll always share photos. You have WhatsApp when, whenever something you know, And I do that, but yeah, it's, there is a in-between there is a message to when, when do you arrive or what should I cook for dinner? And so it's, it's not this, this, this channel, like the experience where you have everything close by.
So I had this idea of this. Timeline where you can also maybe add at a weight up that dates for your kids, which is something, especially when they were one year old, you, you constantly tracking the weight if it's really growing like a church, right. And then have this nice graphs in your timeline. And, and then, so we're out Preston sitting close to Danny and we have one.
Maybe two or more beers and we are talking about, yeah. W w what do we want to do with that? Yeah. And I have, yeah, this, this idea. And and then Daniel was say, yeah, this is a great idea. You should do it. And then there's no local, there's a local involved. Yeah, there was more than one or two beers to have that kind of excitement.
Why were you so excited? I was trying to recreate this exact this exact use case. Let's say it using Google photos and Google photos has a number of social features. Kind of allow you to do this, but not in the way that I wanted to. So basically I was I was straying to let's say, massage, Google photos into doing what I wanted.
And when Marcus started talking about it, it really resonated with me because this is exactly what I want. I was trying to do. And we had another friend there who was also a young parent. He was also a technical guy. So he was also getting in on the conversation. It was funny how we created a sort of like of the parents there and the other people in the table were not parents.
They sort of started drifting away from yeah. And, and we did a very quick drunky duration of product features and and design. And by the, by the next day, I remember I had a. Hey, so what you were talking about yesterday, are you going to imagine, I said, I have to say the end and I excited today and he's doing really well. This is great.
Yeah, we really should do it. And then fast forward to the next morning, a little bit hung over and then. Gets you really think this was a good idea. We're talking first, first time I meet Al and he was like, stop. I was doing this and yes, she is still
So there's this it's, it's kind of paid out of the, out of our unemployment. You can so you can either apply for unemployment insurance unemployment money from the government. If you are unemployed or you can attend, you need to constantly. You know, start looking for another job or you can write a business case.
And then they can, if, if they think it's it's valid, then they can approve it. And then you get six months of unemployment money from the government while you can still up. Okay. Who's responsible. Yeah. Yeah. Who is responsible for what as story arc between you two? So, so that the main so on, on the tech side, it's I'm back in and then, you know, strengthened, although, biggest story.
Quite mobile heavy. think we can maybe go later into this, why that is. So I'm also helping out on the front end because the back end is not really doing that much for story arc. And then marketing is kind of our where we still need to really get better and still learning a lot.
But it's yeah, kind of both. Try to do our fair share there. Yeah. There's a, there's a big component when it comes to privacy. So I want to hear your guys, your point of view when it comes to privacy and how story arc is a little bit different than some of the other apps out there. Yeah. So I think the, the, the first, the first aspect that we tried to do that we thought was a.
Differentiated to other apps is that we wanted to have everything into an equipment. Obviously you cannot increase in the internet, encrypt everything, if you want to have a social app. But we wanted to get the content at least equipped. So that means obviously pictures and videos and you know, like comments and this kind of thing.
It, and it's kind of it's a tricky situation where you as a developer are trying to block yourself out of. Yeah. Like I I'm, I I'm building this app and I'm imagining my mother, for example, using it at sending a big ship to someone. And I'm imagining how I would be able through my backend access to get, to see her picture.
And then, oh, I could use this way. So I, let me try to block that and make it not available. And I'm trying to actively stop myself from, from being able to see other people's feeds. And once you have these, you have this enter it. It's very security and encryption where the content that's produced by the user is not visible to us.
It's really only visible to the user and to people who we actively and explicitly share. That's one that I, okay. And what, and what are, what are some other things people get excited about when they discover it and they learn about story arc. I mean, that is a huge thing right there. Obviously their kid, their photo of the kids are not going to be out there, just floating around on the internet.
That's probably the main thing, but is there anything else that, you know, they go, oh wow, this is cool. Any other. And that's actually a good question because the privacy aspect, we don't really push it that hard because when it's working, you don't really notice it. The people will get about we'll probably not sit, but most people don't.
So we, we put a lot of effort in, in may, in having like a really. Very delightful user experience. So we don't want to be, this was a explicit design goal, not to be just, you know, Google photos, but encrypted or Instagram button predicted. We went, we want you to have a unique experience. So we have this personas that the person who is archiving their pictures and the person that was sharing their pictures.
And we went to, to kind of Have an app, which is going, we know it's just fulfilling both of their needs but in a very delightful way. So one thing we're doing for example is our gallery. Our image gallery is it's really beautiful. We, we use the sort of blurred version of the photo is a background to the picture itself.
And this creates a very immersive experience. And then because we have access to all of these. Versions of the image when you don't have the image world and on your device, we showed this blurred version where most apps will just show you an empty gray box, this kind of thing. This is where we try to, to, to put a bit of a flare and to make the app really interesting to use rather, you know, than just like a gray box where we say, oh, you know, it's, but it's sending encrypted.
So awesome. Austin. Initially, we, we kind of drifted a little bit away from this very straight parent use case because at one point, so we, we saw also kind of, because we saw there are some similar apps out there already, which none of them as these, these privacy promises. So something, something, so it was, it was a mission right from this w we don't want to have your data.
We don't want to sell you that, that when we put out the landing page, we made sure that it doesn't store any cookies. There is no tracking on the, on our landing page, which was actually doing. Quite hard to bring our framework to not storing cookies because it's just, it's default. It's not used for tracking, but it's used for example, to if you submit the form and then you have this small banner at the top where it says, thank you, this is usually done because.
Do you store this on the cookie that this was that previously a form was submitted. So even these small things, but it it's kind of, it, it was our yeah, our mission. We, we, we it's primacy first and then we get to come back to that. So we, we saw, yeah, maybe this. This is tracking your life and in the kind of this diary way.
But but focusing on photos this is something that, that would also be useful to, to other people. It's not necessarily parents that, that once you have this say after we want to share some sort of been out with the family and the. To nice at a theme park. And I want to tell my friends who also parents what nice experience this was then?
Where would I do this right now? I would maybe maybe you share it on WhatsApp, but it, it feels like a very What's up best, like I'm sending you something NDA media to get notified that I've, that I've sent you something and a push model. Whereas if I would put something on Facebook, then it would kind of appear somewhere in the stream.
So it would not feel so invasive to put it out there. And so. Slowly moved away from this very straightforward children, parents use case. And at one point I think it was maybe June or July last year maybe a little bit, Nathan, we, we, we some larger restructuring of the app and we felt that it was a right the right time to, to, to show it to more people and not only to our family.
And so we had a So, how did you do that? How are you getting the word out about it? So first it was really just family and they love it. So my, my, my dad, my, my mother-in-law, they really love it because they get constant updates of their, the, of their grandchildren. And especially during the pandemic where we were.
Yes. Oh yeah. So it was kind of, we were also going to see your family and. And then in July, August, we, we met with friends, also former employees of so kind of the same people that we went out. I went out with two October and give them an update. Yeah. You're later you're like, can't remember we never, we were here last year.
We had this idea. Well, here's how it's going. Take a look at it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Quite pushy. So when are you finally putting it out there? Don't just kind of build it on your own. Put it out there, then you get the feedback. And that's how we met and we're men. We're not doing any expecting that much.
So it's kind of thanks for dictation. We go go there, we meet them. We show them that. And it's yeah. Nice. Yeah. Great. And then we continue with other things, but the interesting thing was it. We really kept, it really changed the whole event that we had. So everybody installed that. But of course, and then, and so what you can do with an in how you can create this shared space, a space where the right now it's called an album and you can very easily invite other people to it.
W we have QR code, you can send the link and they can join this album. And then, and that's what we did. We did that, where are early in the evening, and then. I already took pictures and immediately uploaded them to this album. And then other people were looking at them and they do a great photo. And so it really changed this whole gaming, maybe had so many photos at the end of the evening which was also quite helpful for some of us who don't remember that much.
It was really interesting to happen.
They had, it was really fun and I don't think we would, we would probably wouldn't have had any photo at all from this evening. If we wouldn't have had story arc and see the kids it's changing the way that you, you had the idea together. And it was really. It was a I think it was the first time where we actually felt that we have a really strong user experience here.
It's funny because we, we, we built story arc to be offline first, which basically means we want the app to be WhatsApp. Does this still point where you can open the app? Even if you don't every genetic sending the message and you close it, then you don't think about it. It will get sent to bed. And starting our as this experience, but you know, also with media, so you can open the app, you can add pictures, you can comment on stuff, you closed the app.
If you don't have internet, it will get uploaded later. You don't have to worry about it. And we worked so hard on making it offline first. Right. But it's, and th this is kind of the. Competing goals, but they're not. The app is also real time. So if you were connected to the internet, your changes are, are uploaded immediately.
And if you're if the person you're sharing with, as the app open, they get your changes immediately and they see them in the app. So if they have it, this album, this shared album, if they have it open and someone adds a picture to it, you see it appear immediately as it's, as it's added. And this creates a very.
What we thought at the time war, it still is. It's, it's really cool to just be with people and, and someone takes a picture and they see it immediately on your phone. It's not only a, this real-time experience. That's great. But you also know, oh, cool. And this will picture will remain here in my lead's called archives in my, you know, in full original qualities.
If you have a particular great picture of you drinking beer, you can even print it when you get home. So, yeah. Yeah. This was really what, when we experienced that. Yeah. I like this idea. Yeah. I like this idea because I have so many photos on my phone. Some of them, when I get around to I'll save in. But then I don't even know what I'm tagging them with.
I don't know if it's like my kid's first name or whatever, and it's just going to be held to like go and find that specific fake picture or video later on years down the road. Right. And so this idea of just having everything organized in like this album that it's really shared with the people that you want to share it with is pretty cool.
So right now, in terms of building it and marketing it, what specific challenges are you guys facing? So marketing is, and so we have both with a technical background. So and usually people, technical backgrounds are not the greatest marketers. Right. So this is just learning. And so we're doing playing a lot with, with Twitter, just because it's we have, we are regular Twitter users.
I mean, it's also, we met, right. Yes. But it's that finding the right balance between creating new features and doing marketing. And so I read lots of people are doing these this one week FAQ one week marketing. But I don't think it would be the right for us and make me, maybe it would work more of if you are solo then because then if I'm not working on, on tech stuff, then, then you can also look back on texts that.
Both would be because if there are dependencies, right. So it's but I, I think we're still at the point where we need to force ourselves to do marketing. It's still not this this, yeah, this is fun doing that. I hope it will be like that. And it probably comes with. With success in marketing. So the way the good thing is is that you're getting user feedback from the friends and family that you're sharing with.
And that's, that's really key right now. So I'd like to shift gears a bit and talk about being parents. We're trying to grow a startup. And you mentioned that your kids, you know, I think they're a little bit older now, but when you came upon the idea, they were like four and two. And how are you guys managing this?
Because I know what it's like. Working at a startup and trying to launch or grow a podcast with two little ones who seem to be always home because the daycare is close or one of them is sick. How are you guys doing it? So I always had this, this shit is more just get back from vacation yesterday. I went to visit my mother in Portugal. So my, my girls are used to going to bed late and waking up late. My daughter came to my room and was sleeping in my bed when it was already nine 15. We're about to start to move her to her own bed. I'm not sure it she's still sleeping.
And so yeah, you almost had then a girl waking up in the background. For this podcast.
How old are your kids? Daniel? They're three and five. So same ages Marcus system. Okay. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. We're still in the trenches. It's pretty hard when they're younger than five really hard. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. What about, what about any tips and strategies for other dads out there who have kids in are also working at a startup or startup founders?
Any advice for them on how to be more productive? Marcus? I'll let you go from prior first priority is try to keep them healthy. If they get sick, then they can adjust the daycare and then they are at home with you. So. I'm still, I don't have a kind of a recipe for doing it if I'm thing time. So what, what is really hard is getting these longer stretches of family can really do deep work because it's yeah.
Even if it's sort of trying to get them better to play with with each other. So if you have to, is this already better than if you only have one. Then they need you. So what do you also do is if, if one of them is sick and needs to stay at home, then we also keep the other one at home too, so that they can at least play together.
Otherwise there will be one boring kid at home, and that's kind of constantly that can, we can do this. Yeah. So sadly we also but already during, during the, the very early days of the pandemic, we, we started letting them watch TV, what much more than we did before then. So we followed that, that my older one watch all us was nothing.
But, I mean, it it's, it, it is what it is. And it's, it's also, she's known age where there, where the other kids are watching. Television series. Paul show was the latest one. And then they talk about this in, in preschool. And if she would feed the one, you've never seen it, then you were in that bed. So, yeah.
Daniel, what about you? Are you a, so a similar one, we also make this I think the one that was working very well for us is just keeping both at home when one of them is sick or needs to be home for a new. The other thing, we, we, we have two offices at home, so we are both me and my wife. They're both doing home office.
So we have two offices. One of them is in our living room and the other one is in our bedroom. And so depending on needs for focus, time and privacy we can either switch to, to treat it. Or if office we both have laptops, so it's. So currently, because I needed to participate in this podcast, I closed myself in our bedroom.
But typically I'm the one working on the living room where the children they're making noise, but I just put my aunt's phones and and put some let's say concentration like metal. And yeah. Yeah. When I'm at home, that's my office too. I'm working on the living room and have my, the dining room table.
I got two monitors. Yeah, I know what you mean guys. So before we wrap it up, I like to ask you guys, somebody asked some questions to reveal your personality a little bit. First question mark is you can go first here. What's something that people don't know about. You, they're not going to see this on your LinkedIn profile.
So I don't think they've even done even most, but, but I'm a. Good and fast knitter to like knit thing with, yeah, I've actually, I, I have spiders that I ended up in myself and then my pet. So I, who taught you this? My mom actually. And then And then YouTube videos of, of of a very nice old Scottish woman.
And she has dark two different ways of Jeanette's. One where you, after the fifth threatened your right then the other one, wait after bed on your left hand. And so then it's kind of the the. If you can do it, if you can knit with both, then you can have one color in one hand, the other one, the other, and then you can do these, these fair aisle style pullovers that with these patterns.
And I CA I can, I can't do that. I have, I have a hat that I did myself. JDO. Are you surprised? I was surprised that inspecting his car for my Christmas. You're with two different cultures.
Okay. Daniel, how about you? It's something, I don't know if you can top that. No, I know that people don't know. Marcus knows this. I, I brew beer at home while I kind of have stopped a bit because of having children, but I brew beer. So that's fine. There'll be that I from then, like,
you guys are like,
Okay. Okay. One more question for you guys. What do you guys like to splurge on? So let's say you've got some extra money you want to reward yourself. What is something that you can splurge on Daniel? You go for? Holly days and in my work environment, I, this is where I really spend a lot of. So holidays, I like to go to HII, grew up in Macau.
So I always enjoyed the Asian culture. My brothers still lives there. So I like to visit him while during the pandemic, it was impossible. And otherwise yeah, office, I, I just beginning of the pandemic, I spent 1000 year old on a very nice office chair, which still to this day, I really am happy. I did it because it's I spend most of my day sitting on it.
It's incredibly comfortable. So, or at least I want to think it is. Alrighty. Alright. Cool. Cool, cool mark. So some also do baking bread and pizza. And so quite recently I got an, a pits off this, this gas pits off, and that gets these really high temperatures with. Take a pizza in 90 seconds and also get out buying flour, expensive organic flour for my bread.
Hey mark, is I got to tell you. I don't know how many female listeners we have, but you may be getting some inquiries after the show. Right. Asking if,
yeah. This guy cooks things, knit sweaters, women.
All right, guys. Thanks so much for being on innovators can laugh. It's a pleasure, everybody listening. This is Marcus and Daniel from story arc working days. Where can people learn more about you? Guys' story, arc.edu.com. Where do you want people to go send a story? Talking to you on Twitter is story arc app.
Fantastic guys. Thank you so much. Thank you. All right. Cheers. Bye. What a fun conversation with Daniel and Marcus? I always find it hilarious when friends learned something about each other, although they may have known each other for years. My favorite takeaway from here. Don't hesitate to as friends for early feedback of your work.
Oftentimes we like to hide behind our projects and not reveal something until we think it's perfect, but often that's the wrong strategy because it's more important to get feedback early on also many existing apps out there today. Their entire business model depends on selling your data to willing advertisers.
So you should think twice when it comes to sharing your memories. Those are pictures and video. Of your loved ones. That's why story arc is such a great app for storing photos of our loved ones without worrying about privacy or security. I've included links from this show on the ICO website and newsletter it's number 49.
If you forgot, and if you enjoy this topic, feel free to give us a review as always. Thanks for listening. Keep hustling out there. This is Eric.
Thanks for listening to the show. If you enjoyed it, I'd really appreciate it. If you could give us a review and star rating, also, don't forget to sign up for the ICO newsletter at innovators, collab.com, where you can get the bio and details of each guest. Thanks.