A Q&A with Storylane founder and CEO Jonathan Gheller. The Palo Alto–based company was founded this summer and its social media platform moved into open beta in early October.
SUB: Please describe Storylane and your value proposition.
Gheller: Storylane is a community of people sharing things that matter. We get together to share the ideas and experiences that make us who we are. Users sign up and are prompted to answer a series of questions, such as, ‘What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?’ or ‘Where was your favorite vacation?’
The idea is to create a deeper impression of the individual, which is often lacking on other social media sites, and to position the user as a storyteller. Users can post audio, photos, and writing, in combinations of their choosing, to enhance why each story is meaningful. Users can also follow others on the site which adds to its community feel.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Gheller: Storylane targets a broad range of users from moms, to students, to world travelers, to passionate writers, really anyone who is interested in telling stories.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Gheller: Other extended forum sites such as Medium.com, which is still invitation only, and Quora.
SUB: What differentiates Storylane from the competition?
Gheller: We are built socially from the ground up. We are completely free and open to anyone. Our objective is to create a rich collection of stories from all walks of life.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Gheller: Storylane was founded about 90 days ago and launched earlier this month.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Storylane?
Gheller: The idea that who we are, our identity, cannot be simply a byproduct of communications. That we need a narrative approach to our lives.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Gheller: I love the song Penny Lane by the Beatles. Storylane is a play on that song.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Gheller: The big and important decisions are always what about what not to do rather than what you should do.
SUB: You recently opened the beta version of the platform to the public. Why was this a particularly good time to launch?
Gheller: We have been in open alpha since day one. We realized we could open up and invite more people in to what is now an open beta the moment the product was really working. It’s a matter of letting the product mature.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Gheller: One very interesting angle is the role of storytelling in branding. I believe there are many ways we can help brands tell their stories.
SUB: What are your goals for Storylane over the next year or so?
Gheller: The main goal is simply to build up the community.
Storylane – www.storylane.com