Interview with Sam Yuen of Timable
What is Timable?
“Timable” means “able to time” or “able to be timed”, an original word created by us. It emphasizes timeliness of events, matching event goers and organizers in a real-time and highly targeted way. For example, you may discover what events are happening now around you in Hong Kong just by using one or two clicks on Timable.
Tell us about the history of your company and how you got to this point?
The idea arose four years ago out of the problem in my daily life: I was spending too much time planning my leisure time. Whilst working my full-time job during the day, I started prototyping a website at night. Gradually after two years we saw our first “one million monthly pageviews”. This was a turning point! My founding partner and I decided to quit our existing jobs and to devote ourselves fully to this company. As advertizers started to gain trust in us, Yahoo Hong Kong knocked our door for a content partnership.
Tell us about your team
Over the first two years our core team consists of only three Hongkongeses, whilst we tried to be as cost effective as possible. To start with, none of us were experts in areas like programming, marketing, etc. What we did have was a passion towards creating a good lifestyle product which users would value. We did once outsource our Android application development to a software house, but that was a real disaster due to quality problems.
What was the development process like?
The development process has been an incremental one and has never stopped. We focus much on stability, security and scalability as we expect a long product lifecycle. From our main website, mobile website, SEO, iPhone app, Android app, to external APIs, each of these are still continually evolving.
I see your website is in multiple languages, does that create particular challenges for you?
Absolutely. The challenge is multiplied when I decided to add things up: user-generated content, extendable number of languages, multi-regional events (coming soon). But I believe it is worth spending the early effort for long run.
Do your clients tend to favour the app over the web-interface?
From advertizers’ perspective the apps are undoubtedly better channels. From users’ perspective, both apps and webs are as essential. Loyal users primarily browse events using our apps. However when they share our content, or search for events through Google or Yahoo, the web interface plays an important role.
Did you raise funds to launch Timable or was it self-funded?
We are self funded, although we have also finished the Cyberport Incubation Programme to leverage its wide range of resources and connections.
What’s next for Timable?
Timable will encourage more and more direct connections and communications between event goers and organizers. We also plan to further simplify and shorten the process to match goers and organizers, and spend more effort in ecommerce in the event industry. We will double the size of our team in next few months, and plan for upcoming regional expansions.