After all the time we’ve spent talking about COVID-19 and its impacts, we are ready to move forward with an exciting announcement.
We are just weeks away from launching PopViewers, an amazing startup we’ve had the honor of working with this year. PopViewers is a phenomenal venture founded by the ultimate media lover Chris Witherspoon. In partnership with Chris and his team, including Dan Woolsey and Ben Greenberg, we have built the MVP! Here’s why we’re excited to be part of this new platform.
In our overwhelming media landscape, PopViewers is the platform that helps you find what to watch next, invites you to react to the TV and movies you’ve watched, and encourages you to share the experience with fellow content-lovers.
The platform allows its users—the audience—to become the critics, recording quick and authentic reactions to what they’ve watched, giving the TV show or movie a score, and sharing their media across the platform’s network so that you can decide what to watch next.
Who’s in the audience? Not the elitist crop of critics you’ve seen on other platforms. What makes PopViewers unique is that it’s a cross-section of entertainment-loving-everyday people, many who look like you and watch like you. The audience not only curates your content feed but also wants to dish in a forum about what just went down—from that Oscar-worthy performance to that season’s WTF ending.
The higher the engagement, the smarter PopViewers becomes, and soon enough, that dreaded question of what to watch next becomes passé. PopViewers empowers its dynamic audience to drive what we watch and to find community in who else is watching.
So, how did we go from concept to launch of this highly creative and robust MVP in only six months? It’s a great story that reflects the strong relationships we build with our clients.
We were referred to Dan by a founder we serve as tech advisors to, and when we heard about PopViewers, we knew it was a good fit for Actualize. I then spoke with both Dan and Chris, and they agreed.
The next step was for me to meet Chris in person. So, the four of us — Dan, Ben, Chris, and myself — met for lunch at the exclusive Soho House in Manhattan. We just hit it off. We clicked. I was sold on the concept and sold on the person behind the concept.
Then, it was time to get to work. We put together a proposal, and we got going. However, the last time I met in person with the PopViewers team was Feb. 28. We had a focus group meeting with about 20 people to test an early prototype of the app.
We all know now that our world was about to change. Fortunately, the shutdowns that began in March didn’t slow us down a bit. We already had secured our initial funding, and we were able to continue work on the platform remotely.
In fact, we have 115 employees in the Dominican Republic, and we were one of the first employers to send people home to work as a precaution. It was a pretty radical decision at the time, but we are very glad we made it.
We put together a series of workshops to plan the product’s roadmap and its technical design. As we developed the app, our team had weekly (remote) meetings, in addition to multiple interactions each day. We were testing new versions of the app every two weeks and building a solid relationship with the PopViewers team at the same time. I have been serving as their fractional CTO and our engineering team was cranking.
Why am I excited about PopViewers? Here are the two main reasons.
First, Chris is such a compelling, vibrant person. He has the character, the presence, and the network to make this platform a success. He is the magic piece of this puzzle.
And secondly, we have a long-term broader vision for PopViewers that is so relevant right now. The traditional ratings services do not consider the opinions of Black and other minority communities as much as they should. For example, the entertainment opinions of people in the LGBTQ community are often not heard. We hope to set up valuable data for an underserved demographic.
Everyone who hears about PopViewers loves the idea, and I think these guys are onto something really special.
So, now’s your chance to be part of PopViewers. All you have to do is go to the newly launched website to sign up to be among the first people to try out this new platform. We know you’ll be glad you did.