I don’t think SocialScope needs much of an introduction, but for those of you who are curious let me spell it out for you. SocialScope is the one true social inbox for your BlackBerry. Connecting Twitter (1-2 accounts), Facebook, Foursquare, and flickr into one super client.
This actual product is actually in private beta, and has been now for nearly 3 years. I’ve been using SS now for about 2 & 1/2 years. There’s a huge cult following of this product unlike anything else in the BlackBerry Community. I recently got more acquainted with Amit Kumar CEO of SocialScope and ended up landing an exclusive interview.
After a few scheduling conflicts he and I finally found a day that worked for us both. Friday, May the 20th, 2011 at 2pm I sat down and started rattling an aresenal of questions off to Amit, and got some provoking answers, some unexpected answers and a lot of unanswered questions. Let’s get into it shall we!
[Berryfication] Question: So besides yourself, how many people do you have working at SocialScope and what do you all do there?
[SocialScope] Answer: “We have 4 engineers, who do the coding, design, ect and then myself CEO, I take care of meetings, a lot of support issues, public relations and more.”
[BF] Q: I read somewhere that SocialScope received a fair amount of start-up money to get things off the ground, with the product being absolutely free, no ads, open to anyone who waits for an invite how do you fund even future updates and manage growth over time?
[SS] A: “We have venture investors. Venture capitol similar to angel investing and seed funding helps companies like ours which is rather small and we make no profit off our product.”
[BF] Q: That’s pretty incredible. Well why not charge users for a membership? I’d pay $15-20 dollars easy for guaranteed updates. I’m sure a lot of users would be happy and less intrusive if they owned the app.
[SS] A: “Unfortunately as nice as it would be, right now we just don’t have the infrastructure set up to sell the product right now. Our focus is to build something much cooler first.”
[BF] Q: Okay so what’s the deal with the in-app invites some users have been given access to? It’s been months since that originally went down and I still see users sharing them.
[SS] A: “We do still have some users (tester) trying this feature out. But we maintain a close watch on them and where the invites end up so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. But mostly they are just left overs that some of the users received. Most have been redeemed now.”
[BF] Q: Speaking of new features, do you guys have any plans to add any new social networks to SocialScope? Just off the top of my head I’d suggest Tumblr, TuneIn Radio, GetGlue, LinkedIn, ect..
[SS] A: “I’d love to give you a solid answer here, but I just can’t share anything here right now. There’s a lot of cool changes coming that I think everyone will love. There’s a huge change of very cool services on the rise. And there’s going to be a point when we bring in products like these. Innovation takes time. We definitely don’t want to be limited to just Facebook and Twitter.”
[BF] Fair enough. I think the Foursquare integration early-on really helped jump start them so now would be the best time to bring in another social community like that.
Question: So what are your thoughts on this new BBM Social Network ability RIM opened up to developers? Is this something we can expect to see in a future update?
[SS] Answer: “We were very excited when we first heard about this! Of course we got news about it from some of our inside sources prior to it becoming public knowledge. But even with all close relations to those involved at RIM, we’re still kind of unsure. Do we develop for 7.0 or start on QNX? It’s really important to remain cautious and see how things develop on their end first. I am pretty excited about RIM’s new BlackBerry Touch 9860 that’s coming out”
[BF] Q: Good answer. Well then while I have you on the subject what are you thoughts on a PlayBook or web version of SocialScope anytime in the very near future?
[SS] A: “The PlayBook is on our radar. But first users will see SocialScope embrace iPhone and Android. We hope to get a lot of solid support from users here that have already experienced SocialScope on BlackBerry and then go from there.”
[BF] Q: So does the current state of testing on the PlayBook sort of turn you guys away or have you mapped out a way to make it work so the same user base you have now could actually install without going though all the normal routine, SDK, WebWorks, App World? Or would it be only available to a tiny group of select testers?
[SS] A: “Absolutely not. We have some ideas about how it could work for us. We just can’t really share them yet. When we start moving to other platforms we’ll start doing so in stages. You’ll see, we have some very cool things coming soon. We’re very passionate about it.”
[BF] Q: Okay. Well then might as well just ask you, when can current users all expect to be on the update that a lot of users have or a newer build, and what about the iPhone and Android? It’s been a little while since these were first announced too. Can you give a more solid timeline for those users also?
[SS] A: “First of all let me just say once again how important it is for users to Send Feedback. We thrive off this. Users who need help need to use the Feedback option, send us an email and continue doing so to help us make better builds with less bugs. That’s my best advice to remain on the receiving end. Right now we are trying to solve some specific issues so the next build will be even better. As far as iPhone and Android users go, we’re shooting for years end. Our focus is on something very cool, it will blow your mind!”
Alright, so there we have it. SocialScope is still working hard to make sure they keep the product on the cutting edge and have oodles of secret weapons they plan to start igniting soon! Funny too, my lady just got the update and I still don’t have it. Guess it’s time to start cracking on support emails. Embrace SS and they’ll embrace you.