Social media has proved to be very beneficial to small business. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take that a step further by having all of your social media broadcasts available at a glance to you and your followers? Tune in as Paul Berry, former CTO of Huffington Post and Founder of Rebel Mouse, joins Brent Leary to share how this can be done.
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Small Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Paul Berry: For the last six years is I was the CTO of Huffington Post where I ran product and design. When I joined, there were a couple of people on my team and three million unique visitors a month. Which felt big, but by AOL acquisition, we were 45 million unique. When I left, we were 145 million unique and I had 300 people on my team.
Small Business Trends: So I just have to ask, where did the name come from?
Paul Berry: In testing a bunch of names on friends, family, and extended people, co-workers, colleagues etc., there were a few things that really worked with Rebel Mouse.
Also, I like that it doesn’t define itself so that I would be stuck in the word choice that I had made in the beginning. We have space the way Google did, to be able to be a lot of things, but it is memorable. I also felt it was humble, but ambitious.
Small Business Trends: How is it different today to create a presentable Web page compared to previous years?
Paul Berry: You want Twitter and Facebook followers, but you also know you need a domain name. But the Web has made it way too hard. If you get the design right, which is a very small percentage of people who feel they love their design, then with blogs you start to feel really like this content is old.
There are people that feel that pressure more than ever. It used to be a blog post from three weeks ago was fine, but now it is slightly embarrassing and you stop promoting it.
Rebel Mouse wants to power many millions of domain names, and make that an experience of being social, and actually giving you returns. Because now, you have this place that shows off who you are. Whether you’re a company or an individual, all the things you have been doing doesn’t get lost because it is hard to find. But also more importantly, you get to choose what are the most important things on the page. Technology will never know what is the most important thing.
Small Business Trends: Maybe you can talk a little about the importance of making sure, from a Rebel Mouse standpoint, that you are taking care of folks who are going to be viewing your Web presence from a mobile device?
Paul Berry: Being able to adapt to all the different devices really takes a lot of work, so we are doing all the hard parts. When we are fully there, you should be able to get an app from us that you submit to the appstore as yourself – you will have native apps. We are doing that first for Techcrunch. We did Crunch Scroll, they came up with the idea, and it took us a day to do it, it is CrunchScroll.com. We will give them an app. They can submit it to the market place as themselves, called the Crunch Scroll.
Any business who wants to have their website powered by Rebel Mouse also will have the options to have native apps. But beyond that, you also have a really good mobile Web view which we have adapted to whichever device you are seeing a page in the browser.
Small Business Trends: How does the company use your platform with eCommerce?
Paul Berry: There is a lot of stuff that we have learned from media about how things click, and how you would like to organize a page that can be applied to eCommerce; as a layer on top. Rebel Mouse can drive your front page and drive recirculation models, but drive it to your shopping cart.
Small Business Trends: So you are also able to help because it is a matter of not just creating good content, but creating it in a way that is visually pleasing and easily presentable?
Paul Berry: Yes, it has to look really sharp. You have to look at it and be really proud. And that design, we don’t think, has to be overwhelmingly unique and creative for each person, because the content should shine. It should shine in a way that the design let’s the content shine.
Small Business Trends: People will actually be able to point their domain to their Rebel Mouse page?
Paul Berry: Exactly. So if you are someone who is, for example, a social media manager, or community manager, or an entrepreneur who has been focusing on the Twitter and Facebook side, those efforts you are doing will actually be amplified all of a sudden by having the website taken care of. That is what I think is one of the most exciting things for us. Showing people how that can work and then having it go viral.
Small Business Trends: Is there any future in terms of integrating with a backend contact manager, or a social relationship management system?
Paul Berry: Actually, I think Rebel Mouse profile pages integrated into a CRM can give a much more fun and dynamic view of a person. Where you are actually seeing the articles that person has curated and the stuff that they have shared, you are able to get a view of that person.
Then the other thing is being able to launch events and concepts, and get customers responding to that. Rebel Mouse will make it incredibly easy to launch any page that is driven by a hash tag, that is announcing a certain event, that is a new concept someone wants to work on, just by starting to curate through Twitter and Facebook. Bookmark writing and blog posting suddenly starts to become this very vibrant thing.
Small Business Trends: People can go to Rebel Mouse to learn about what you are doing and also to pick up their account?
Paul Berry: Yeah, we are accepting everybody on signup.
This interview is part of our One on One series of conversations with some of the most thought-provoking entrepreneurs, authors and experts in business today. This interview has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click the right arrow on the gray player below. You can also see more interviews in our interview series.
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