After a whirlwind afternoon of many phone calls, endless emails, and long meetings, Jordi popped off his tie and sat down for a black coffee in a brick-walled Barcelona café. The soon-to-be 30-year-old founder and CTO is sunken into a chair, ready to share with me—and the world—an overview of Hashlider’s history and see a glimpse of what the future is holding for them.
Jordi, let’s just start off by asking you about the beginning. What inspired you to start your company?
“This might come as a surprise, but actually, the idea for Hashslider was born out of a mere coincidence. I was working with a very good friend of mine, Victor Arribas, the CEO of Fotomaton Barcelona, and he put me in charge of this one project. I had to build an app to print certaing photos from Instagram that were popping in real time under a given hashtag. Basically, this project triggered the idea to display those pictures on a big screen, also in real time, and that, in a nutshell, is how Hashslider was born.”
How did you turn that idea into a reality? How was the journey to get your company to where it is now?
“When the beta version of Hashslider first saw the daylight, I was almost finished with my IT engineering studies. In fact, Hashslider, or I should say its primitive version, was my final project. My teachers and classmates liked it so much, that it even got me to graduate with honors.”
What was that first version like?
“The first version of Hashslider was only a MVP, which means Minimum Viable Product, and although it was fully functional, it was far from being anything like the latest version of Hashslider. There have been so many changes and improvements to the app, that it is almost impossible to list them all. But you can take a look to the first design prototype I made, or I should say Victor made, that guy from Fotomaton Barcelona, before I started building the app.”
So, you have the raw version and you’re out school. What happened next?
“Once I was done with school, I had to decide whether if I was going to go 100% with Hashslider, or if I was going to seek for a regular job in a big company.
After giving it a lot of thought, I decided I’d try to balance both things, so I started working in an IT Norwegian company, while I was still working with Hashslider on the side. During my time in this company, I was surrounded by some amazing coworkers in the IT sector, which allowed me to grow professionally, to later apply all this knowledge to take Hashslider to the next level.
Every single spare second I had, I worked on improving the old features and also coming up with new and better ones for the app. After almost two years, things finally started picking up as the number of users kept growing and growing non-stop. That’s when I finally decided to leave the company and work full time with Hashslider.
From that day forward, I’ve been working on improving the app to gradually transform it into what it is today.”
And throughout that journey, which was the biggest challenge you faced? How did you overcome it?
“Well, I can’t really think of one “big challenge”. But don’t get me wrong, it isn’t because there hasn’t been any! It is the exact opposite of that. Every day is a new thing, a new challenge that we have to sort out and learn how to overcome. It can be overwhelming from time to time, but it is also very, very fulfilling.
Perhaps for me, personally, the most challenging thing is spending time on the “non-technical” paraphernalia of running an app, like talking to clients, growing the business, etcetera. And is not that I don’t like it, but I’m definitely a hardcore techie, that’s my kind of stuff. I’m a bit geeky in that sense. But being the founder of this company, I have to be on top of everything, and not just the things that I like. But that’s a price I’m happily willing to pay for Hashslider, and so is my team.”
What are they like? Tell me about your team…
“Right now, our full time permanent work force is composed by a very small group of people. We are a small team of 4 men and women, complemented by the hard work of many freelancers.
Roger was, and still is, my right hand for the business development. He and I met in Schibsted, a company we both worked for, and since then, he’s been a valuable part of our team.
Ina is a magnificent web designer who is responsible for everything related to user experience and customized designs for the app.
Astrid is a social media junkie and, therefore, our community manager. She’s the perfect person for the job.
And finally, there’s our freelancers, whom handle multiple task that go from SEO, to SEM, to marketing, to web layouts, to many different commercial tasks.
We all work hard to keep the Hashslider machine running smoothly.”
And finally, Jordi, where do you see Hashslider in 5 years?
“The ultimate goal, the reason why I eat, sleep, and breath for this company, is to make of Hashslider one of the largest providers of social media slideshows and walls all around the world. We are working on it, and I’m telling you now, we will get there.”