Ever since I had a beta invite, I have been wanting to interview the founder and CEO of fflick. Kurt Wilms has built one of the coolest, yet simplest, sites I've used in a while. Have you ever wanted to see a movie, but the trailer didn't really give you enough information?
It's really cut and dry: any time your Twitter friends tweet about a movie, it gathers that data on their page. You can visit a movie page, and see all of the comments that your friends have said about that movie.
Click through to the actual movie page and see valuable reviews from everyone. You can filter by latest, interesting, positive, and negative reviews.
Below is a Q&A with Wilms. Enjoy the conversation, and let me know if you have any questions about the site. If you've tried it out, I'd love to hear what you think of it.
The Web Life: Tell me how you came up with the idea of fflick.
Wilms: I have always been interested in recommenders. I spent some time at the University of Minnesota working on a movie recommender called movielens. I was experimenting with different recommendation techniques using movie data from Twitter, and what eventually came out of that experimentation was fflick.
How many people do you work with? What is everybody working on?
Currently there are four of us working on fflick. I was extremely lucky to recruit a really world class team to help me get fflick off the ground. Marc Hemeon did all the design and user experience, Ron Gorodetzky handles all of our infrastructure and scaling, and Dav Zimak works on data analysis.
How do you classify someone's content as "interesting"?
When I was first starting with fflick I wanted a way to display what "interesting" people thought about films. This is sort of a funny idea, but the goal is to show what celebrities, actors, directors, etc. think about movies instead of professional "critics". The original algorithm to figure this out uses the ratio of friends to followers and it has worked out pretty well. We have some great ideas on how to expand on this in the future.
Most of the content on your site is casual social commentary. People don't actively write reviews of movies on fflick, it pulls from the social graph. Why did you decide to go that route?
One of the great things about Twitter is that there is so much content generated by such a wide variety of users across the world. Most of the major movie review sites on the web right now require a user to sign up, log in, and create a review. That process is so heavy handed.
I thought the simple approach of taking what people were saying on Twitter naturally would lead not only to better, more interesting, and more accurate reviews, but it would also be great for surfacing other interesting content about the movie such as pictures, links, and interesting film news.
The nice thing about this approach is it also lets people share their opinions and thoughts about movies with their friends easily and seamlessly without signing up for a new service. To see what your friends are saying about movies check out http://fflick.com/
What is the most exciting feature of fflick that you guys are workin on?
There has been no shortage of really great ideas. We've been working on a lot of great things and I think you'll see some really great stuff in 2011 :)
Do you see yourselves pulling other types of content like music, TV shows, or video games?
This is certainly something that we've been asked about by a lot of people. Twitter is a gold mine full of interesting content, and I do think the vertical applications space for things to be built off of Twitter is huge. I think the approach of using our technology to pull video games, music, TV, etc. is something we will consider in the future, but there are other great ideas we have too.
How did you learn to start a company? And did you ever think you would have your own company?
I spent the last four years working at Digg. I was one of the earlier employees there so I was able to get a pretty good look into a lot of the issues companies deal with as they grow. I think this really prepared me, and gave me a strong desire to try starting a company on my own. I learned a ton from both Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose. They both have been really great mentors and have been absolutely wonderful in giving me advice and help along the way.
What is the greatest lesson you've learned building fflick?
I think the greatest lesson I've learned is that trying something on your own isn't as hard as it seems, and it provides such a great lifestyle. I've never been the type of guy to blindly follow society’s status quo, and being an entrepreneur really helped to solidify that feeling. I don’t have to report to a boss, deal with bureaucratic nonsense, and abide by life’s template.
Life is supposed to be something that you create and enjoy. When I talk to people who are working full-time jobs and hate it I feel a sense of sadness. No one should be spending the good years of their life working a job they dislike. That’s no way to live. So, my biggest lesson learned from building fflick would have to be that trying something on your own is a lot of work, but it leads to an exciting and fulling lifestyle.