Owais Anjum (Founder & CEO Cricout) on providing social experience to the online followers of the game.
What is it?
Cricout is Pakistan’s first social network for cricket. Cricket is fundamentally a social experience, as you interact with a number of friends. But when you follow cricket online, it’s a very solitary experience, as you don’t have social interactions. So when you want to express something, you’ll do it via Twitter or Facebook and as we all know, it’s a very fragmental experience. Cricout combines all of it. There’s ball by ball update. It allows people to create hang outs and also share their expertise. You can also broadcast live pictures from the stadium. So it’s essentially a social platform for the love of cricket.
An Idea is Born
The idea was conceived in January 2012 and the first line of code was written in February 2012.
Generating the Idea
There was definitely a need for it. I myself am a big follower of this game for a very long time and I’ve been following Cricinfo for a very long time too. For cricket fans, it’s more of a news portal. It was designed as such. Now when you design a product, you have to analyze what is its global market. Cricket is a very popular in the local market, as well as it has a global appeal. If you develop a product which does not have local relevance, will become much more challenging. It will be difficult to get sponsorship and raise funds. Even the people working for you will not be excited about the idea because they will have no understanding of the idea .
When you get ball by ball updates, you automatically get connected with those events. Your discussions and the particular event are interlinked. For example, a batsman hits a six and you go to Facebook and you put a status like, “Wow! That was an amazing hit!” In those few seconds, his rest of the fans who are watching the match will comment on it but if someone comes after 30 minutes, he’ll not get the idea what’s going on. There are a lot of people who have a deep understanding of the game but their analysis and expert opinion is restricted to their friend’s circle. So we don’t want to produce our own content, rather we want the people to be empowered. We are enabling people to become experts, to give their opinions.
The major source of betting is the game itself. Presenting every thing in an arranged form in our site may not be an argument for providing an ease in betting. Our objective is to create a fun experience, an entertainment source. However, if there are unforeseen circumstances, we would definitely want to mitigate it. But it’s only natural that with every good thing there’s a potential of people not using it properly.
The biggest investment is time. You’re giving the opportunity cost. I had to quit my job in order to develop this site. This was the first biggest investment I made. Initially we poled in $50, 000 from our own pockets.
We were two people in the start but now we are 8 people. Most of the team members have equity in the company. They are shareholders. Their stakes are involved in it and they understand that this goes big.
Our key focus is social media but if we get B to B opportunities, so we’ll definitely explore those areas. Cricket is only a starting point for us. Cricket is basically a collection of time based events (delivery by delivery) and we have enabled people to interact with those events. It essentially means that Cricket could become Golf tomorrow and Golf could become Baseball day after tomorrow, so on and so forth. As a matter of fact, we are already working on a football app. Our goal is to replicate our idea into other sports, once we provide more excellence in cricket.