From idea to MVP – where it all began…

What we now all call Openr updated Aug 14 started out as yet another crazy concept-wall discussion late on a Wednesday night.

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Co-founder Vits had been mulling it over for weeks – as he likes to do – distilling a technical solution to the problem before throwing it out there for me to ‘pick apart’ as he so favourably says. It’s not like we didn’t have enough to focus on… running the award-winning socially-minded Brand Gathering; providing community software and management to our clients through YourGathering; as well as still mentoring and helping young businesses with their marketing (me) and their tech (Vits) respectively. But the thing is, we can’t help ourselves…

somewhere deep inside we yearned for ‘the big one’. For all those entrepreneurs out there that had a wry smile when you read that – you know what we mean. That is why we had these after-hours sessions – when the rest of the team had gone home. We’re not exactly talking incubator-style concept creation here – but you get the idea. We knew our scope – product-based, business tools, with a view to revolutionising marketing activities – especially for young or innovative businesses – and we’d throw about ideas, solutions and discuss market gaps.

Openr certainly was not the first. Many ideas had made it on the virtual concept wall, once there we’d always spend a few weeks reflecting – letting it bubble away like fermenting beer – then we’d reflect a few weeks or months later. Those we were both still passionate about (and could recognise a implementable solution for) made it to an MVP. Many made it there, where a few succeeded and many failed, plus one that will be built one day when we have the resources! Openr on the other hand barely made it on the wall. This was disruptive; there was no-one else doing it; and we truly felt the pain of the problem it solved with Brand Gathering, and saw the same pain on all the businesses we worked with.

Social sharing (sharing others’ content) is a corner stone of social media marketing. Yet – what does it actually do for you? Sure, sharing others’ content is a great credibility builder and all very nice and social – but at the end of the day every business wants to drive traffic back to their own site, not lose them to someone else’s. Somewhere we’d all been sleep walking into the accepted-norm that we should all tweet about ourselves 50% of the time and others 50% of the time – without ever really checking in on whether there was a better way. Put Simply, Openr would be that better way. Share external content with an Openr link and your Openr window would appear on the page you shared too – with a call-to-action bringing it back to your site.

They say you should piggy-back any start-up on a major trend, and someone it felt like we were on the edge of a social-media tidal wave, and we could jump in or run off scared. Needless to say – we just got on with it.

Written by Christina – co-founder at

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