Interview with Alex Chizhik, Co-Founder and COO of Planypus
Posted by rexdixon on December 3, 2006
I posted the quick hit on Planypus on Friday. Well it’s the start of a new week, it’s early Sunday morning December 3rd, and it’s time for a quick hit “get to know you better 5 question interview” with Alex Chizhik, Co-Founder and COO of Planypus.
Q1: Alex, thanks for taking the time out of your busy day in order to answer some questions. The first question I have is – Planypus – how did you come up with that name, and do you feel that using the .us domain name is advantageous for marketing of your web site and company? Does the name stand for anything; ie.. is there a story behind it?
Rex, first and foremost thank you for taking your time to interview me and thanks to all of the readers our there for reading. Planypus arose from a need that our group of friends had. We had a little tradition of having dinners on Friday nights and it became a nightmare to coordinate them with 20 friends. We tried setting up a wiki, but it was not as functional as we would have liked it to be. Then we decided to build Planypus to help us easily and intuitively solve the casual planning problem.
Then naming process was a pain as none of the names we thought of struck our fancy. However, Alex Antonov, one of the lead architects had just came back from Australia and was talking about his trip to one of our initial users. He mentioned seeing a platypus and the user, jokingly said, you should name your site Planypus. The name just stuck. The .us was something we thought was cool (you can also use planypus.com).
Q2: How do you feel your company and business model stack up to the ever increasing world of social planning networks that are out there today? Case in point, right after I posted your companies information, TechCrunch posted about another company doing basically the same thing yours is. Do you feel there is enough business for everyone?
As you mentioned, there is heavy competition in the social networking industry. We, however, are slightly different than a social network. Although we have social networking features, we mainly focus on existing groups of friends. Think of it as a blending of the digital and real worlds J.
Even though there are many event sites out there, we provide a better mix of local event planning capabilities and integration with personalized websites and blogs than our competitors. Where as others such as Evite focus more on single, set, activity invitations, we provide a place to plan casual, dynamic, activities. Also, unlike our direct competitor Renkoo, we try to bring our users relevant local event information, in case they want to explore cool events going on in their cities. Our event listings on the front and the “My City” pages help many of our users create fun outings with their friends.
Finally, we listen to all of users’ feedback. We try to respond and address any problems or suggestions they have within a couple of hours of receiving them. We treat our users in the highest regard and would love to receive any feedback our users have.
Q3: Now I have called it social planning networks, and I don’t remember if I actually coined that or read it elsewhere, but do you feel that is a proper description of what your web site and company is all about?
As I mentioned earlier, I feel that we are more of an event planning website with social network features. We do focus more on helping groups of friends plan their get-togethers casually.
Q4: Please feel free to release any company data as in – how many people, if you are venture funded, looking for new hires or employees, who should outside VC’s contact (if you are looking for funding), etc.. Release what information you would like here.
We are 5 partners:
Yan Pritzker – Founder and CEO
Alex Chizhik – Co-Founder and COO
Alex Antonov – Architect
Anton Mostovoy – Architect
Stan Mazo – Strategy
We are looking for some sweet designers that would be able to help us take our site to the next level. We are based out of the Chicago (primary) and Washington D.C. (secondary) areas.
Q5: Alex, again I would like to thank you for taking the time to do my quick hit 5 question interview. Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers about your company and web site?
One interesting note to mention is that we have seen some really cool change in social behavior with our users. Many people that never used to plan activities are the most active activity planners on Planypus. We believe it to be because with Planypus, it’s easy to suggest a get-together, or initiate the plan, and then let your friends plan the activity for you. Also, users like the “I don’t want to be an organizer” option. It lets them have their friends do all of the organization for them.
We are also working on integrating with local blogs, similar to Chicago’s GapersBlock’s Slowdown. The integration helps local blogs offer event-planning capability to their users.
Finally, Rex, thank you again for your time and readers thanks for reading all the way through!
You can reach me for any questions or comments at: achizhik at gmail dot com.
Thanks again to Alex Chizhik, Co-Founder and COO of Planypus for taking his time to do this interview. Technically Speaking, I believe that interviews such as the one above are a great way to start off any week.
This entry was posted on December 3, 2006 at 1:53 am and is filed under BEHIND THE SCENE (Q&A INTERVIEW), event planning site, interviews, planypus, Social Networks, social planning site, Startups, Technically Speaking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.