University of Toronto's Behrad Ghadiri wants you to think inside the box.
Ghadiri, in his fourth year of studying computer science, recently launched a web start-up called BowBox that aims to build the thrill of anticipation into online exchanges and its proving to be a popular concept.
Its like making a personal mix-tape with videos, pictures, and text, explains Ghadiri. Putting the different forms of media together is what makes BowBox unique and special to users.
What separates BowBox from other sharing services is that items are revealed in the order the sender places them in the box. This way, the surprise is similar to that when opening an actual gift box (with a bow on top) and taking out the items one by one.
Three months ago the website was only an idea, something Ghadiri thought hed develop for his own, personal use.
I never thought it would become something that other people would use, he says.
But BowBox a company which currently comprises Ghadiri and two friends - has accumulated a staggering 10,000 users since its launch a month ago. And Ghadiri accredits much of the sites growth to the social news website Reddit.
Ghadiri introduced BowBox through a simple posting. The post drew vast attention and even prompted a blog piece on The Next Web.
Reddit, a forum where critics give a quick thumbs up or down to ideas, isnt always nurturing. But users were quick to offer feedback, provide moral support and encourage the websites evolution and growth.
As programmers, we make the site functional thats the hard part but we may completely miss something else, says Ghadiri, as he jokes about forgetting to put a cancel button to the box creation process.
One crucial piece of feedback from the Reddit community helped Ghadiri refine the registration process for users. Originally, registering required synchronising a Facebook or Twitter account, but that changed when Ghadiri discovered many people didnt want to provide their account or didnt even have one.
Im not sure where we would be without the support of the Reddit community, says Ghadiri. Its hard to find users who are willing to sign up, especially for something they are not familiar with.
Still in the early phases of the start-up, the websites main priority is increasing the number of users and boosting their satisfaction. But Ghadiri has plans for monetizing the idea in the future.
One idea is to use affiliate marketing, says Ghadiri. So if I send you a box with a song inside, it can recommend similar songs or maybe link to iTunes so you can buy the song.
But for now, hes ecstatic about the growth and popularity of the website.
BowBox isnt just another photo sharing website, says Ghadiri. And its very exciting to see other people being able relate to this concept, and to know that Im not alone with this concept.
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