I came across Nick Kellet of Listly on Twitter so thought I’d have a look at what was going on there. Listly is a simple way of curating lists and embedding lists into your blog encouraging sharing and interaction. The community has grown so rapidly I wanted to hear more from Nick about how it all came about, his background, GiftTRAP, tips on having an invention and even his ideal dinner party guests.
You’re originally from Britain – how did you end up in Canada?
Long story. The highlights are I was looking for lakes, mountains and a Tech community. Three years later I found Kelowna, a city of 100k+ people on a 120km lake surrounded by vineyards and powder snow at BigWhite.com in the winter.
It had an aspiring tech scene with a couple of big exits – Club Penguin is the most recent, the biggest and most famous. Disney snapped them up for $350M, which is nothing to sneeze at. The cool thing is the founders are here and investing in the community. There’s quite a hub of gaming companies.
What business experience did you have before becoming an inventor of GiftTRAP and Co-Founder at Listly?
I took my last start-up to exit in 2.5 years. That was in the business intelligence space. Prior to that I’d had an abortive attempt in the CRM space. It’s all a learning experience.
I learned most during and after my exit to Business Objects. That gave me great insights into how big software companies think. I also got to hear lots of start-ups pitch. That’s priceless. Learning that many deals fail on a single word or phrase.
GiftTRAP sounds like fun – what gave you the idea to invent that?
I always wanted to invent a game. I decided on moving to Canada that it was time to stop talking about it and time to do it. I’d pitched a load of ideas to game companies when I was 17. I still have the rejection letter to prove it, so it was very much an incomplete mission. I had to fix that.
The inspiration came from by 6 year old in 2004. She asked “How does Santa decide what gifts to give kids?” That simple question was all the inspiration I needed.
What sparked the idea of Listly? And what is it exactly?
Listly wasn’t my idea. It was Shyam Subramanyan’s idea, my co-founder. He conceived Listly and had done a great job of building Listly and the community. He’d got two interviews with Robert Scoble and built up the user base of many thousands.
I hadn’t met Shyam. I had the idea for something like Listly and then I found Listly and a bunch of other competing platforms. I really liked Listly’s simplicity and it’s focus on embedding live content inside blogs. So Shyam and I got talking. A month later we met in person and agreed to join forces.
I joined him as co-founder. It’s been 9 months now and our numbers have leapt up. We’ve really focused on embedding and supporting the blogger, publishers and brands. We have a really active community. The product of hundreds of tiny decisions.
Do you have any favourite Listly’s you can tell us about?
Great question. Here’s four favourite lists:-
- Denise Wakeman > Great example of crowd sourcing >> http://denisewakeman.com/online-visibility/ultimate-tool-building-list-post/
- Andy Crestodina > Great example of a common problem >> Guest Blog Post Lists > http://list.ly/list/1XQ-guest-posts-andy-crestodina?feature=
- Tonner Doll > A Blog Roll > An old problem revisited >> http://list.ly/list/1Sn-best-doll-blogs-fashion-collecting-photos?feature=widget
- I love this example of crowdsourcing speakers for TFT12 >> http://www.itskeptic.org/tft12
Who is your role model in business and why?
That’s a tough one. I can give you a list of my dream dinner party:-
- Seth Godin – He owns brevity
- Keith Ferrazzi – He’s rocks people networking
- Brené Brown – She’s leading thinking on vulnerability as a source of competitive advantage
- Jane McGonnigal – I’d like her job. And I loved “Reality is Broken”
- Nir Eyal – I’ve been following his blog. Habit is the new black.
- Amy Jo Kim – I followed Amy’s work, she’s one of the real practitioners in Gamification.
- Simon Sinek – Start With Why was a revelation for me
- Dan Pink – I loved “A Whole New Mind”. It made so much sense to me.
- Nicholas Carr – We’re all “InfoSnackers” – This guy supports his argument. A must read.
- Tim Sanders – Love is the Killer App – I love the way Tim suggests with write all over books.
I’m a big “Author” fan. I love to connect with authors when I read a book that touches me.
What is your favourite Social Media channel and why?
I like Twitter because it so inclusive. Anyone can join in. I invest time in Social Media because I believe in the power of the lurker. If you communicate and you can be overheard you can be more valuable to others (and vice versa).
If you were to give advice to someone with a great idea or invention what would that be in a few bullet points?
- Be careful who you listen to (too much advice can kill you)
- Don’t start if you don’t truly believe in your vision
- Testing is way cheaper than building.
- Don’t defend your vision. Listen to feedback from smart sources.
- If it was easy everyone would do it.
- Make your own luck by connecting ahead of your immediate needs.
What is on the horizon for Listly and Nick Kellet?
Listly Premium is coming soon. We’ll always have a free product but we have so much extra value to bring to bloggers, publisher and brands. Crowdsourcing and curating content marketing takes a fresh take on an old problem. We need a better word for Crowdsourcing, but that’s another topic.
We believe everyone wants to be a first class contributor. Comments are so 1.0. I guess you can throw in some global domination too!
Thank you so much to Nick Kellet for this interview. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and I’m sure Nick will answer any questions you may have.