WASHINGTON, July 11, 2012 — We often hear about start-ups before they launch. Some don’t live up to the hype like Diaspora. While others, like Socialcam, are instant hits.
When a friend, who never beta tests, sent me a link this week about Sparkstir, I knew there was traction.
It’s Fiverr, best explained by Tosh.0, with a different twist and perhaps more professional possibilities. Both allow people with expertise to find an audience and profit from that expertise. With Sparkstir, I see instant potential for public speakers, personal trainers and anyone with a quick message or skill that needs a larger audience.
Excited about the possibilities, I contacted co-founder Kelly Burnette. Her thoughts provide depth to the intentions of Sparkstir and where they see it going.
What is Sparkstir?
Sparkstir is an education and entertainment marketplace that acts like a global social sharing platform. We like to say that Sparkstir globally connects people ‘who know’ with people ‘who want to know’.
Why should anyone care about Sparkstir?
Sparkstir is a global community of live, interactive online classes and experiences. It provides people the ability to participate in personal interactions with unique people—whether a yoga class with a celebrity instructor, an art class with a trendy Spanish artist or private tutoring for a child—these and thousands of other opportunities can be experienced live, from the comfort of one’s home or office. No travel, no additional expenses or hassles.
Sparkstir allows people to learn anything, anywhere, anytime, from any device, but here’s the thing—it’s simple. Sparkstir’s portal allows service providers to monetize their unique knowledge or skill by charging fees to view or attend digital classes or sessions.
The classes are then held, in real time, with real people, through readily available and widely accepted global platforms such as Skype, Facebook and Hangouts on Google+, just to mention a few.
What are the challenges in building a platform and bringing it to Beta?
Phasing in the “what if” possibilities for the platform and deciding what basic capabilities should be operational to allow for an initial, simple, easy-to-understand user experience. This will give the platform more opportunity for mass use and acceptance.
Sparkstir’s additional phases will provide users with gamification, ratings systems, charity options, as well as will feature partnerships with venues around the world, entertainers, musicians, sports franchises, and so on to provide Sparkstir users the ability to engage with live events anywhere on the planet.
What trends have you noticed in social media over the past couple years? How have you applied that knowledge to Sparkstir?
One of the biggest trends we’ve noticed is the idea of authentic engagement. People expect social engagement to be authentic, real-time interactions. They do not want to be broadcast to; they want to be talked with, have their questions answered and have the freedom to share great content with their peers.
Not only have we applied this knowledge to Sparkstir, it is the driving force behind the platform. We want people to be able to have access to live, authentic instruction and experiences, be able to interact others during the event and share and engage with like-minded people around the globe.
What are the long-term goals for Sparkstir?
Our long-term goal for Sparkstir is for it to become the global Ticketmaster for digital experiences and show people that live, interactive education and entertainment are no longer restricted to their local area. If someone has a mobile device then they can experience unique and exciting events and instruction from around the world easily and affordably.
When can people start using it?
The Beta launch is scheduled for late August, 2012. Early adopters can go to Sparkstir.com and sign up to be part of the Beta group.
How can people get in touch with Sparkstir? We are on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us at 800-609-0930 or Skype at Sparkstir, for any interested in learning more, or potential partnerships around the world.
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