Today we have familiar face on AskAaronlee. Leon has written two guest posts here, and is one of the co-founder of Buffer. Today I was able to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Leon…. virtually… to get to know him a little better for our very first Sunday Coffee. Enjoy!
Aaron: Leon, before we start tell us something about you whom not many people know about you other than bufferapp?
Leon: Aaron, thanks a lot for having me here today.
When I grew up I desperately wanted to be a football (soccer) star and managed to get into football academy in Austria instead of attending a normal high school.
The problem was I wasn’t any good and it took me a while to admit that to myself – eventually dropping out and moving on to new adventures was a great decision I think! I still very much enjoy the occasional kick about 😉
Aaron: A soccer star? Who would have known! *laugh* Now tell us, how did you get the idea of bufferapp, and how did you and your partner @joelg87 got started with it? Most of us have ideas, but not many knows where to start. Could you share with us?
Leon: Sure. The idea originated from Joel (@Joelg87) who founded and launched Buffer all by himself. It entered his mind as he wanted to have a better solution to tweet consistently than existing tweet scheduling functions offered – so it was very much a “scratch your own itch” moment upon which he executed a great product I think.
It was about 1 month after launch, in January that was, that I joined Joel. Actually it is quite a funny story how this happened:
We were in touch for about 1,5 years by then, because we went to the same University. I hit Joel up on Skype to ask for feedback on a project I was working on and from there we moved to talk about Buffer. It had about 100 users by then and Joel wanted to start telling more people about it, but was quite tied up time wise with other commitments.
I suggested I would spend 30 minutes every day on Buffer’s Twitter account to help him out. Boy did I like it and before I knew it I was working full day on Buffer, telling everyone about it, because I was genuinely so amazed by the power of it.
You are absolutely right, we all have great ideas, yet sometimes it can be a pain to know where to start. In my case it was hugely important that there are like-minds around me, that motivate you and that you can share with.
Aaron: Like-mind, got it. Bufferapp, its certainly an interesting name, how did you come up with the name and so cleverly use the name “buffer” I believe it could be the next facebook me, or google it or tweet it.
Leon: Indeed, Joel did a brilliant job finding such a suitable name hasn’t he? Joel is just telling me came up with it quite organically when thinking about the functionality. Names like “queue” and “layers” popped up and “Buffer” was both easy to spell and described it vaguely too.
Yep, I immediately adopted a “let me Buffer it”, because it just suited so well and it’s great to see others are doing it already too.
Haha, I really hope so, I think it’s just good it’s easy for everyone to remember and spell.
Aaron: I got to say this, You’re EVERYWHERE. Like literally everywhere. I go onto blogs and I see you there. How did you find those blogs or people, and how much time do you spend a day connecting with people?
Leon: Haha, yes I try my best to spread the word about Buffer as good as I can.
I started out using 2 services at the start which were www.myblogguest.com and www.bloggerlinkup.com to get in touch with people. Today I mostly get in touch with people after they commented on one of my posts or on Twitter.
Hmm, my estimate is that I spend every day about 4-5 hours getting in touch with people, commenting on blogs and reaching out on Twitter. The rest of the day I would be writing posts for anyone interested in a guestpost about Twitter related topics.
Aaron: 4-5 hours a day? How the heck do find the time or focus? Don’t you get exhausted from it?
Aaron: That takes a lot of hard work! I am amazed by that. My next question is, I’ve got a product, how do I get the product out? How do I get people to use it? For those who have not seen it, you’ve got amazing testimonials from people.
Leon: Yeah, it’s a tricky one at the start, absolutely. This is why guestblogging worked so well for us. Also having built a community or blog before launch helps hugely. It wasn’t the case for us, so we just had to hustle for each and every user at the start.
A compelling pitch is definitely important I believe. Which problem do you solve? How does your product help others? I thought if we could put that into a short pitch naturally people would give it a go if it could make their lives easier.
Aaron: Congrats on doing so well. My next question is, what do you do when you’re not building bufferapp?
Leon: Haha, sleeping mostly I guess ;).
Aaron: Haha, I would too if I were spending 4-5 hours a day getting in touch with people.
Leon: I also study for a management degree at the moment, which fortunately doesn’t cost me a lot of effort. I will be taking a year out for Buffer now though.
I also spend a bit of time to stay in shape with swimming and gym, it helps me a great deal to stay focused.
Aaron: This is the shortest question ever, what’s next for you and where is bufferapp heading?
Leon: Next up is something I am very excited about. It’s a Buffer Button for blogs. You can already see it in use here.
I think it will be the first of its kind, allowing to either tweet now or add to Buffer. Also it is tied in with a generous affiliate program, which I hope will make it attractive for bloggers to install it.
Aaron: That will take buffer to a whole new level! Last question any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs like you out there?
Leon: Yes for sure. The most important factor for me is that you love what you are doing right there. You don’t worry about failing or becoming big in a year or “later”.
If you enjoy it right in that moment already, you have won and succeeded already I believe and everything else will come naturally.
Aaron: Thank you so much for the interview Leon, I’ve learned so much in this interview. cheers to an amazing Sunday.
For those who want to connect with Leon, you can find him on twitter at @leowid or on @bufferapp. If you have any questions for Leon, feel free to comment below and Leon will be happy to respond to them.
photo credit: chichacha