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Behind The Startup: Gary Atlan, Founder Of Pick Or Skip

Behind The Startup: Gary Atlan, Founder Of Pick Or Skip

by Gary AtlanApril 5, 2011

Editor’s Note: Behind every great startup is an entrepreneur. This edition of Behind The Startup was written by Pick or Skip founder Gary Atlan.

I founded Pick or Skip together with Alexandre Trink in 2010. We founded Pick or Skip as an easy, safe and fun online video chat service which lets you pick or skip people to talk to from around the world. It provides a way to get things done quicker and easier in today’s fast paced world where time and attention spans are short. We really think that we are in a world where people interact more and more through text and less and less face to face, and we hope that we will help make “direct human interaction” easier.

Pick or Skip has some great original features which make it stand out from the other online chat programs out there. So many of them suffer the same problems – too many dicks, not enough chat. Pick or Skip has a strict anti-abuse policy, which leaves it free from the problems of misconduct.

We also wanted to make Pick or Skip something our friends could use to talk to each other. Pick or Skip allows you to stay in touch with people you have met via the service – just “pick” them to add them to your contacts list. You can then contact them in the future, something that no other video chat program allows. You can also add contacts from other services, so you can chat to your friends via Pick or Skip.

Before we started Pick or Skip, Alex had active roles in a variety of companies, ranging from real estate to show funding. Before working, Alex did a Masters in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I did an MSc in Quantitative Finance and after working in a dealing room in Switzerland, Iworked as a consultant for a bank traveling to places including Sydney and Dubai. I am probably the problem solver of the two of us, and Alex is the serial entrepreneur.

We have been friends for a long time, and have always exchanged ideas about innovations we think could work. We decided to create Pick or Skip because we wanted to create a product that our friends and the world would enjoy using. We loved the idea of Chatroulette, but hated the practical experience, bumping into naked guys and being skipped before we’d even had a chance to interact. We decided that we could do better, and came up with the Pick or Skip solution.

When we started, we had a clear vision of what the product would look like. We just had to find the right technology to provide users with the best possible video chatting experience. After a few tries our developer found the perfect technical solution. We decided to make him a partner of the company. Yes, he’s that good!

We’re excited to keep developing Pick or Skip. Now that it’s been officially launched, we have some exciting new features that we plan to launch over the next month. We can’t disclose all of them, but one that we can share with you is a great feature that allows users to create their own video events. We also plan on launching iPhone and iPad applications.

Not every entrepreneur has the chance to self fund his start up. Thanks to the money earned from previous activities, we have had this opportunity with Pick or Skip. The main advantage of funding the company ourselves is that we didn’t have to compromise the quality of the product by adding advertisements to the website. We really focused on building a great product. Monetization is important of course, but it comes second. Nevertheless, now that we’re happy with the product we’re about to start the first round of funding.

We intend to make money by implementing value-added features for which the user will have to pay a subscription fee or watch a short video advertisement. However, we will always keep the main functionalities free and without advertisement because our first concern is to make our users happy.

We have been very lucky with Pick or Skip – we have developed an amazing product, and have had a great time doing it. We think that finding the right business partners is a massive part of making your start up successful. Think big, and never listen to those people telling you to give up – they’ll have a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t do something, but just focus on the reasons you should.

About The Author
Gary Atlan