"It's just amazing and easy to use even though it is still in alpha!"
"Even our not-so-geeky parents can use this open source application that sports a very rich UI."
"No way they could have done all this in 3 months."
Those were some of our initial thoughts on being walked through the demo of this new application from an young startup called Dimdim. By the end of the demo we realized two things: one, Dimdim absolutely rocks! secondly, DD (no we are not referring to DimDim but its founder DD Ganguly) is an amazing person as well. Learn more about Dimdim straight from the person behind the team that developed this easy to use, yet powerful application.
1. What exactly is Dimdim.com ? What does Dimdim actually mean?
Dimdim stands for Distributed Immersive Meetings, one DIM for you and one for me. I am joking of course. J. Dimdim is a brand name, it does not mean anything. The entire team sat down with thousands of domain names and found one that would make a good brand. Ten hours later we decided that it was going to be Dimdim.
2. What motivated you to start Dimdim when there already are quite a few sites that seem to provide such services? Also, within the context of this question, what is it that makes Dimdim unique amongst others offering similar products/services? Why should someone choose you over another competing company? Any significant features we should know?
Our vision is to make web meetings pervasive. We see a world in which organizations of all sizes and consumers would have access to this technology to meet over the web. This goal will be realized by our unique activities in 2 categories - business and technology.
On the business front our open source community model enables organizations of all sizes to use this collaboration technology.
On the technology front we have focused on 1) Usability - An attendee can join a meeting with just a browser and without installing any software on his machine. He needs to just click twice. 2) Integrated voice and web cam functionality: At present this is one way and we are working on making this bidirectional.
3. Who are your major competitors?
Airlines are our competitors. We aim to complement face to face meetings with meetings over the web.
Amongst software companies, we have not seen a company that s working on open source web meeting software.
4. How is Dimdim doing do so far? How well was it received by the community? What kind of demand/traffic does it see? Please share any significant achievements.
We have received tremendous response from the community. Partner companies from all over the world are communicating with us. Some have already signed up for our Gold Partner program. We released the Alpha version of the hosted trial on 26 July at OSCON (Open Source Conference). The Alpha release of the open source release was done on 6th September. Here is a review: Cool open source
5. Could you tell us more about yourself, your position & other key players, if any? What were you all doing before starting this company & also your previous work experiences?
6. How large is the team behind Dimdim. Are you all based in India?
The team size is 6.
3 are based in India, 1 in US, and 1 in Canada. The last person spends 50% of this time in India and rest in the US.
7. What responsibilities do you hold at Dimdim?
I am the CEO. My job is to communicate our vision and execute with the help of our team to make that vision a reality.
8. Who are the key stake holders and did you receive any funding? If not, do you plan on seeking external funding?
The company is seed funded by the founding team. We will decide about seeking external funding around the year end.
9. What are key technologies your service is built upon and why did you opt for them?
The browser based interface uses AJAX and Flash. For AJAX we use Google Web Toolkit. On the server side we use Apache, Tomcat, and Red5 (Open Source Flash server). The technology selection was guided by stability and open source availability.
10. Where do you plan to take Dimdim going forward?
We hope to make Dimdim a verb. Just as people say Google when they talk about search, we hope that people will say "Let's Dimdim" when they want to meet over the web.
11. Do you have a business/revenue model as well as any exit strategy on mind?
Just as JBoss did, we will make money by providing support for our software product.
12. What are some of the challenges in your business and how do you plan on tackling them?
As I said earlier, we have received tremendous response from our partners. Meeting these expectations is our challenge.
13. In your experience, what has been the most effective way to market a business?
An easy to use product that delivers value to users is the most effective way because it leads to word of mouth marketing.
14. Do you have any personal advice/suggestions for current/future entrepreneurs?
A number of people who are far better qualified than me to answer this question have written about the skills required for being a successful entrepreneur. I have written on my thoughts on Entrepreneurial Psychology in our blog - Entrepreneurial Psychology
15. On a personal front, who is your role model? Also, do you follow any other websites religiously?
My role model is Jamsetji Tata. I grew up in Jamshedpur and read a lot about him while growing up.
As far as websites are concerned, I don't have a lot of time to read websites. I do have an amateur's interest in Economics and like to read Greg Mankiw's blog. By the way, he's written an amazing textbook on Economics, it can be read like a story book.
16. How did Dimdim affect your lifestyle? Do you get enough time for yourself/family?
I really don't do anything apart from Dimdim and spending time with family. I enjoy my work and that's helps me to be a better father, husband, brother, and uncle. If my family ever reads this they will say - this a better version of you? J
17. Our final question, One thing that you love the most?
My wife's smile.
18. What is the question you would like to answer and still nobody asked you?
I am drawing a blank on this one.
That was our "Dimdim" encounter with the best and the brightest behind DimDim.
By the way one other thought we've had that wasn't mentioned at the start - "Is Dimdim going to kill Webex?"