2012 will change the way we look at social networks. There would be a deliberate shift from generic social networks to networks driven by social sentiments. Tyche’d is a move in that direction. It tells you to express your wish list and in the mean time the product discovers similar purchase intents. So the customer now controls what he wants to buy with better negotiation power. This is where Tyche’d differs from traditional deal sites.
1. Pravin, finally Tyche’d is out there live. How has the journey been so far?
Announcing public beta for Tyche’d is our first step. Earlier I had built products for both – B2B & B2C in domains including mobile, ecommerce, mail, search, social, online advertising, content and others. Every product has its own challenge, own approach; however unlike any of my previous assignments – Tyche’d started completely on a clean slate. We had no references, no benchmarks, no designs, no work flows. Every single module was conceptualized from scratch. There were lot of iterations, changes, enhancements we came out with till the current version of Tyche’d as you see it.
Lot of feedback came from our initial users who were invited to join the private beta. Most of the important features like – activity dashboard, Tyche’d insights, open group buys, custom wish tags are a result of the feedback we received. We delayed announcing our product launch by months because we thought it would be an incomplete product if expectations of our initial users are not met.
Consumer businesses are tough to build, we were aware of this when we started. Yes, it has been a very exciting journey, but this is just the beginning.
2. Social Graph is a term that was first used in the F8 summit and Tyche’d is based on the same lines. Do you think going further all social networks would be driven towards it?
Contrary to the popular belief, Social Graph as a term was first used by Brad Fitzpatrick in 2007 (http://bradfitz.com/social-graph-problem/). Most of us think it was introduced by Facebook, maybe because lot of social products popularized the term with reference to Facebook. Social Graph means different to different people, most widely quoted in context of online mutual relationships between people.
By this definition, there are 3 Social Graphs – Facebook (Friends & Family), LinkedIn (Professionals) & Twitter (Celebrities, Domain Experts, Like minded individuals who may be strangers). Building a new graph is tough. Tyche’d is not building a social graph, rather leveraging existing social relationships that are already established.
3. Some of the items in the wishlist like car, bike, house have a great offline demand. How do you plan to bridge the online-offline gap?
Automobiles, Real Estate, Travel / Vacations, Electronics are extremely large businesses in offline mode. Beyond online advertising & classifieds, not many web products are build around this domain, we aim to fill that gap with Tyche’d. Due to nature of these transactions, they will continue to be offline. But with Tyche’d, users can now aggregate online demand so that they can negotiate better in offline mode while they are planning for such transactions.
4. When we hear group buys then people tend to think – okay one more group buying site. How would you like to differentiate Tyche’d from them?
While group buying sites also have made a mark in last two years, we see most of them moving to product driven Ecommerce now for various reasons. Tyche’d is fundamentally and conceptually different than the traditional group buying or a deal site model. It’s a wish-list that discovers others with similar purchase intents. Deal sites focus largely on impulse buys.
Our focus is high indulgence purchases – which include Travel, Real Estate, Cars, Bikes, Gadgets & Electronics. These product categories essentially occupy a user’s mindset and have a longer purchase decision making cycle. Our aim is to connect such prospective buyer with more users from his own social graph and his own location. Once users discover more people, they have more negotiation power which leads to self service group buys.
5. When do you plan to bring brands on Tyche’d though it’s too early but any thoughts on monetization.
From a business perspective, Tyche’d is about buying intents. Monetization of intents is simplest thing to do – and we keep evaluating how & when. Its early days for us, and monetization for social products has two extremes. If you monetize a social product early, it takes a toll on user experience; and if we don’t – we have to ensure ongoing user engagement which is tough but we chose it.
Our current focus is building the product, scaling up the platform and we will continue to do that for a while. Successful social products are monetized at scale – we will wait for the right time. Having said that, we are already talking to few brands and exploring options.
6. Tyche’d is live in 12 countries which is not at all a small number. How do you plan to scale up the seller market to provide group buys for consumers across these 12 countries?
Our social contacts & connections are not limited by geography. Facebook friends across countries, same with followers on Twitter, or our email contacts. As a matter of fact, a good percentage of our users are from outside India and many even outside the 12 countries we started with.
When we noticed users were struggling while using the product – which led us to introduce custom wish tags (http://www.tyched.com/blog/2011/12/09/using-tyched-outside-12-listed-countries/). We are committed to serve all our users with similar product experience. The platform is built to be scalable geographically. Scaling up seller market will eventually depend on when & how we intend to begin with monetization, the good part being we have lot of consumer intent data to look when we start.
7. Finally Pravin, what do we have in store from the Tyche’d team? Any new developments that we can witness soon.
I believe we have achieved just 10% of our overall product roadmap, so there is definitely a lot more one can expect from our team. I may not be able to share specific details right now, only that it will be disruptive & innovative.
I am sure Pravin that the Team of Tyche’d will be able to show the market the real meaning of a disruptive idea.
So will you give Tyche’d a try?