Social Influencer Series | Sawyer Billings, Founder StoryClip
I met Sawyer Billings on a baseball field. He was a kid and I was a coach. There is no greater memory for me than being part of Marblehead Youth Baseball and watching these incredible kids play our nation's pastime at Gatchell's. It was quintessential Americana.
Today, I get to see all of those kids making their way into the real world and Sawyer who is graduating from Bowdoin College in the Spring is already making waves as a tech entrepreneur and an incredible developer. In college he launched a dining app called PolarEats, bringing mobile restaurant ordering to Bowdoin for the very first time. Rule one of entrepreneurship - find a gap and fill it!
Our paths have crossed again as he has developed an App for social media influencers that is really beepin' cool. Instagram has become the go-to social channel for social influencers, but publishing long-form content has always been a challenge. StoryClip allows social marketers, publishers and influencers to produce, edit and post video content to Instagram with ease. It is available today in the App Store and if you publish content to Instagram - you have to check it out. It is simple, clean and easy to use and designed for consumer publishing.
I caught up recently with Sawyer to hear about his life as a Polar Bear and his plans for his latest tech endeavor. Here is a snapshot of what he had to say:
What an incredible APP! What was your inspiration to launch StoryClip?
My inspiration to launch StoryClip came from indiehackers.com which is a forum for like minded tech people to discuss their side projects, bootstrap software ideas, and collaborate on open source work. Like me, the people of indie hackers are always trying to solve the world's problems no matter how big or small with their technological skills. Someone posted about an app they had built for Instagram photo editing and all the success they were having. This got me thinking about different utilities I could build that could help individuals and brands better their social media presence and experience. StoryClip is not an original idea - through my research I found a bunch of apps that were charging a boatload of cash for simply cutting videos into 15 second clips that could be posted to Instagram Stories. Some of these apps have over 30k reviews on the App Store! I had to be a part of it and I knew I could do it with cleaner code, cleaner design and I would sell it at a more affordable price.
How do you envision long form content changing the game for Social Influencers?
At first I honestly didn’t give this much thought. I am not very social media savvy but I definitely understand the impact it has had for some brands and individuals so I am not surprised that utilities like StoryClip are so popular. Once I launched I did a bunch of research to try and figure out my target audience and through that realized that this kind of long-form content is HUGE for certain individuals and brands. Social Influencers can utilize long form content to separate themselves from the rest of the pack, making their presence more professional and engaging.
How can brands benefit from using your app?
StoryClip lets brands and influencers trim their advertisements and endorsements into clips for Instagram stories which engage an entirely different audience than platforms like television or YouTube.
Exciting space you decided to get into in terms of APP development and social. What drew you here?
App development has been my thing since high school. I was turned on to programming by Bernie Gilmore who taught a bunch of Computer Science courses at St. John’s Prep where I went to high school. Once I got to Bowdoin I knew I was gonna major in CS and have never looked back. Im actually moving to San Francisco this August to work for Raizlabs as an iOS/Android Engineer.
You are young graduate - already making an impact. What advice do you give to college kids today, ambitious future entrepreneurs coming up the ranks?
Over-commit to something you are passionate about and attack it. 99% of what I have learned about developing apps has been outside the classroom. I have learned and improved my skills through constant practice and research of the best techniques and I have a LONG way to go.
1. Celebratory Cocktail - A cold beer - doesn’t matter the type just has to be cold.
2. Proudest Accomplishment - Built a mobile ordering app called “PolarEats” for my colleges on campus pub which has been widely adopted with over 600 users between the Android and iOS platform.
3. Go-To Social Channel - Twitter because it seconds as a news source. Follow the right people and you have your finger on the pulse of any industry you are interested in - for me that is tech.
4. Book You'd Recommend - Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez
5. Inspirational Hashtag - #HWPO (Hard Work Pays Off)
About the interviewer:
Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With over 20 years of experience in the media industry and a wild ride in the world of tech start-up & social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX at Lithium Technologies, where he is the Regional Vice President of Sales for the East and Central. His mantra is - Brand Globally. Market Locally.
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