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We hit our first-1000-user milestone today!

The first user, the 10th, the 100th, the first 1000 users — milestones like these are special for start-ups like us.

When our days are not uber-productive, when we face those minor hurdles, news like “We hit our first 1000 users”, is so refreshing! It gives us that bolt of energy to push ourselves further. It gives us the assurance that we are on the right path and genuinely making a difference in the lives of our users.

The journey of getting our first 1000 users is filled with over a 1000 baby steps. We did not go all guns blazing on user acquisition—no ads, no sponsored posts, no influencers, nothing.
Our mantra was simple, “You learn to walk before you learn to run like Usain Bolt.”

We reached out to our connections, to all those who are genuinely concerned about securing personal data from being hijacked or misused by corporates. Every one of us at Houm, reached out to our FRIENDS AND FAMILY. Just pure ONE ON ONE connect.

So, while we got our first 1000 users, we also got over a 1000 feedback. Feedback, that has helped us understand a 1000 perspectives on tackling data privacy and getting data ownership back to them. The learning and experience are so immense that it has filled our product pipeline for the next 6 months! We are all fired up, excited about the awesome features that we would be bringing into our product! Godspeed!

How did you get your first 1000 users?

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Check out houm.me.
Houm— A Digital Home... the only place on the Internet that you can truly own, and that is entirely private and personal to you.

  1. 2

    Congratulations for the launch and for the first 1000 users! Did you really get all of them through one-on-one connections? What's your communication strategy to go further?

    1. 2

      Hi Jimi
      Thanks!
      Yes. We did make a meticulous plan of everyone in the team speaking to x number of people, with a follow up cycle established, and internally one person managed it - going back to every team member as reminding that "you need to connect x people today", and enquiring next day "what was the response", and then going back with appropriate next steps. Only difference was.. we managed this whole process in a spreadsheet, and that worked so far.
      Hmm.. further, we plan to mount some paid digital campaigns... making the media plan now.
      We are constantly evaluating and re-evaluating because our product isn't something consumers get straight away.
      Any suggestions?

  2. 2

    congrats bijai!!

    1. 2

      Thank you so much John.
      It's always an uphill climb for any product with an innovative concept, and every bit of encouragement is extremely valuable.

      1. 1

        you've got this. you've got folks behind you!

  3. 1

    Congrats on the milestone!

    Visiting your landing page, I honestly have no idea what the site/product/service is or does. Consider adding some tagline or title that explains what Houm is.

    1. 1

      Hi Cristian
      Thank you. Did you scroll down the homepage?
      Well, still.. let me go back and relook at the landing page..
      Thanks for taking time.

  4. 1

    Congrats on the launch.
    As a person seeing your first product for the first time, I didn't understand the importance of it and why would I want to buy it. Yes, it is cheaper than a glass of wine, but seriously, it's not the money issue. It's what it does and it is unclear. At least I know that wine makes me drunk so I pay for the experience))

    1. 1

      Please think of it like this..
      In the physical world, many people go to starbucks and network there.
      In digital world, we go to facebook/linkedin and social/professional network there.

      In starbucks, people can see you and Starbucks can also see you. you don't expect and get privacy there. But after all the social networking and interactions in starbucks, all of us come back home. Home is a place where we get privacy. No one can come in without us inviting them. We keep our personal thing at home, and no one can see that too.

      In the digital world, after going to facebook/linkedin and doing all the social networking and interactions in that public place, where do we go back to, where we get privacy? Why isn't there a place in the digital world which is akin to our home in the physical world - a place that we can own.. where we get privacy and no one else can come in?
      About time..? We think.

      1. 1

        Not sure I follow your line of logic. So, in the new world owed by HOUM, how would I keep interacting in Facebook, LinkedIn and Starbucks?

        1. 1

          Thanks Alex. I wish it was easier for me explain... sigh!

          "in the new world owed by HOUM" - new world is not going to be owned by Houm. Houm is not a monarch.
          Think of Houm as a builder, building apartments for people who want it. People buy it and own it for themselves. People can sell it if they want (you can't legally sell your gmail account but you can sell the ownership of your houm).

          In the physical world, when you want an apartment, you don't go build it yourself. You get a builder to build it for you. Most normal people can't build an apartment themselves...
          Likewise, most folks can't build (don't know to code) a place on the internet for themselves. So they buy it. Houm is builder who can build it for them.

          "Facebook, LinkedIn and Starbucks"
          Facebook and LinkedIn will continue... they do fulfil a big need. Houm is not competing with them. One goes to facebook and continue to social-network there.
          In the physical world, your home and starbucks don't compete. You go to starbucks and meet people. Once done, you come back to your home where you get privacy.
          Likewise, once done with the things you do in public places like facebook and linkedin, you come back to your digital home, where you keep your digital stuff you own and where you get privacy.

          Makes sense?

          1. 1

            So, I still go to Facebook and there is no privacy there as I don't owe, what's the point to use HOUM?
            Is it just a file container similar to Dropbox and Evernote?

            1. 1

              Dropbox or Evernote are services where you go keep your digital stuff. They have access and so you don't have privacy. Also, you don't own that place.

              "file container" - Yes, at it's bare basics, Houm is also a container. And then it gets better.

              From inside your houm (container), you do a host of things...

              1. Make video or audio calls to other houms without it going through a central system, where someone can intercept. So you can actually make completely private calls - a lot of people would love it.
              2. Maintain and manage your contacts without anyone else knowing who all are there in your addressbook. That's actually a private information but as of today, there's no way for you manage your addressbook without another organization coming to know who all do you have in your contacts.
              3. Make a facility for someone to inherit all your digital assets inside your digital houm after your time. How do we do that today? There is no way!!
              4. Chat with other Houm owners in absolute privacy.
              5. Store all your photos and documents - tags/ folderization, the works... all with only you having access to them. No one and no other company can see.
              6. Click pictures and save it directly into your houm without it even going into your phone's picture gallery. You can click and store a 100 pictures without anyone else in the world knowing or seeing them. Can't do that today!

              Option for a whole host of other such services to come up and have them inside your houm.

              Yes a container, but a versatile container that you own.

              OK?

              1. 1

                So, it's essentially an external USB hard drive where you keep all your photos, contacts, etc.?
                To make phone calls, is it a local desktop app that is not hosted in a cloud, right?
                What's your innovation here?

                1. 1

                  Hi Alex,
                  Thought i'll take a breath :-)

                  "essentially an external USB hard drive where you keep all your photos, contacts, etc"

                  • Yes Alex, and you couldn't have said it better, except.. this hard drive is plugged into the internet and is available to you online 24X7, but no one else can access it. NO ONE.
                    It's almost magical isn't it that suddenly you are able to store all your digital stuff online.. access and update as you go.. and no one else can access , a luxury we don't have today. We have all gotten so used to storing our stuff on hard drives owned by other large companies and that too.. they give it to us free, but only in return of trading all our personal information with them.. every bit of our personal and private information with them, so much so that they are in a better position to influence our thoughts more than our family members or closest friends!
                    Yes, basically, it's like setting up a NAS but 99% of internet users don't know how to set it up, and so we have just automated it.

                  For calls - audio and video - we use basic frameworks of WebRTC and make some custom bending of it to bring in the privacy elements - and that's really the innovation. It's a call directly from your hard drive to my hard drive directly - without going thru any company's systems. Nothing like that exists today.

                  Alex, while it's only USD 4.99 per month, we have a free trial window on now - just so that consumers get a chance to use and understand the product before having to think about a credit card.
                  Why don't you give it a shot? I'd be sincerely grateful to learn how your experience was with it.

                  1. 1

                    For the calls, there is an app such as Signal or Telegram that encrypts your data and no one else can spy on it.

                    As for connecting USB sticks to the cloud, there was already such startup back in 2011, it was called "Infinied USB stick" I believe. It failed as no one cared about that feature. People still use external USB hard drives instead of connecting to the cloud. It's faster and it is yours.

                    Good luck on the idea. Maybe you should pivot and focus on phone/video calls instead.

                    1. 1

                      Thanks Alex for the input. Will evaluate.
                      Wish you luck with your venture too.
                      All the best! Cheers!

    2. 1

      Hi Alex
      Thanks for your response. Sincerely appreciate.
      In fact, this has been a problem and we have struggled with it.

      The concept behind houm is somewhat new and it doesn't get picked up easily. Let me try to explain (though worry is.. may not have the opportunity to explain to end consumers always):

      1. Everything we do on the internet is done on products or services offered by large companies. Social networking sites, email solutions, photo storage... all offered by large companies. Every place we visit on the internet is owned by some company. So how will we get digital privacy?
      2. What if there was a place that is owned by you? A place on the internet that you own, that you can password protect and encrypt data with your own personal key.

      If you had a place like that, whatever you keep there will be private to you and no one - NO ONE can see it. Currently, you (or ordinary users of the internet) do not have a place like that.

      We believe, it's time for people to start building their personal private place on the internet and be able to store their digital assets there - with the ability to make sure no one else can see it. That's what houm helps people achieve.

      Essentially, Houm allows you to build and truly own a private piece of the Internet – for the first time. Inside your Houm, you can safely store all your public and private digital assets without anyone else owning, accessing or analysing it, do absolutely private chat, video or audio calls with other houm owners, and gain true digital privacy on the internet.

      Sorry for the long winded response.

  5. 1

    Baby steps, so true! It sets the foundation right and scaling a product becomes better. I have seen business people go full aggressive from day 1, only to post aggressive losses in the first couple of years.
    Your team reached out to friends and family, and one on one connecting with them to get feedback, is so good to hear. Would like to know more about it. It would be an interesting read.

    1. 1

      Yes, sharing the product that you truly believe in through personal connects are always better!

  6. 1

    Good going! I read up about houm. It is an interesting concept and need of the hour. Wish u more success!

  7. 1

    Congrats to Team Houm 👍🏼

  8. 1

    Congratulations on the 1000! I totally get it... the josh, satisfaction of getting cant be expressed in words. Also your approach of baby steps is good. Kaizen! Looking forward to hear more.

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