Why Whale might be the next big thing
For those who are wondering, I have not changed professions. This will not be an essay about marine biology. I will talk about one of my favorite apps from the last few months which is called Whale. The idea of that Q&A app is that people can ask questions to experts who answer them via short videos. The company was co-founded by no other than Justin Kan who also co-founded Justin.TV, Twitch TV and who is a partner at YC. Today, I want to share four reasons why I think that Whale has enormous potential.
- I can imagine myself being a power user
Sam Altman and Paul Graham say that new startups should find 1000 people that love the product. I am definitely one of them for Whale. The community is fairly small right now, but I have the feeling that a lot of those members are very committed. Committed members are one of the best things a company with a beta version of a community app can hope for. I told a lot of my friends about the app and will continue to do so until they use it (Julius, you promised 3 times already, get it going)!
- Video is on the rise
There are existing Q&A platforms like Quora that have a multitude of interesting questions and very good answers. However, Whale has the advantage that its questions are answered via video. Video as a medium has some beneficial attributes compared to pure text. Firstly, it is much easier to create an empathetic connection via video, since our brains are wired to react to other people performing actions. Secondly, laziness is a factor. Reading a text appears to be much more effort than watching a video for most people. This is why Whale-users could easily watch dozens of videos in a row without feeling exhausted. Last but not least, Justin Kan is the king of video, bringing a lot of knowledge in the field and an extraordinary team to the table (they apparently even have a Sri Lankan Pop star).
- Efficient knowledge distribution
Experts and stars are asked the same question over and over again. One of Whale’s goal is to have a searchable history of answered questions by its users. This knowledge base can then be accessed by interested people and busy experts can just refer to their Whale-profile, if they get one of the standard questions again. Another point is that the direct connection with Twitter enables people to further discuss the questions in more detail and build a more personal relationships with their followers. Since experts are easily verifiable through their twitter profile, Whale avoids the problem of pseudonymity on a lot of Q&A platforms. This combination could lead to Whale becoming a widely adopted platform among influencers.
- Mobile first
Whale started as a mobile app and even though it is a beta version the User experience is slick. It is easy to navigate and most options are understood intuitively. More importantly, using my smartphone camera for recording answers feels easy and is not significantly different from sending a WhatsApp Video to a friend of yours. It even allows you to use some basic filters and includes an easy cutting process.
There are some other features that I really like. For example the direct link of Whale and Twitter. This is why you can usually find people quickly and build your Twitter community at the same time. To be honest, I think that I am a little addicted.
After asking a lot of intriguing people some hopefully interesting questions, I answered my first two questions this week. You can check them out here: Answer1, Answer2. You can download the app here (currently only for iOS). After you have done so, feel free to follow me and ask me a question! If you have not already read about the appon Techcrunch, remember where you heard it first.