Design

Interview with Hello Bar CEO

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How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

Driven, optimistic and focused on having fun as a design entrepreneur.

Tell us how it all started – where did your vision for Hello Bar come from?

As a user experience company, we are always striving to make the web experience better. We asked ourselves, “What is the minimum goal of any website?” The answer that we came up with was “To deliver a simple message and call to action.”

Since all websites are different, we wanted to offer an unobtrusive, yet highly noticeable and consistent way to deliver a message and call to action. At the time, we really only had flash bars within web apps to confirm your changes were saved or to update you on downtime…etc. We figured this medium could be transferred to marketing websites and Hello Bar was born.

How long did it take to put together Hello Bar?

We built the first version of Hello Bar in 2 weeks. After that, we spent countless hours of design and scaling optimization.

What was technically the most challenging part of developing Hello Bar?

Figuring out how to use WordPress to build a website and optimizing both the bar serving platform and statistics once we started serving 20MM+ bars a day.

What made you sell Hello Bar in June 2012?

We never planned to sell Hello Bar, however, we started to receive offers and realized that an acquisition would fund bigger and more impactful projects for the design of the web.

You are founder of SlideDeck and digital-telepathy. Tell us more about these companies.

digital-telepathy is a user experience design company and the mothership for all our projects and UX clients. We employ about 20 designers and developers with the goal of improving the design of the web with our products and services. Most of the products come from the DT Labs division. We perform a lot of experiments with new ways to interact with web content and eventually build products from them.

SlideDeck was the first official product from DT Labs. We built SlideDeck to allow people to better tell their story on their website. It was one of the first sliders to be built and sold with jQuery and WordPress. We now have over 250,000 users and counting.

Do you think entrepreneurs are born or made?

Born and developed over time. It takes a bit of crazy and a lot of experience to be an entrepreneur. You are driven by something different than most people and I don’t think you can make that.

You could only afford to pay yourself $300 a month when you first started out. What kept you motivated?

I had some of the most fun in those times. I had good friends, lived in sunny San Diego and I got to make things up for a living. As they say, the best things in life are free.

You co-founded TEDxSanDiego. What is the most inspirational TED talk you have seen so far?

You can’t go wrong with any of Sir Ken Robinson’s talks. But I think my friend Simon Sinek’s WHY talk has had the most impact on me.