Because of a recent article I wrote on a fantastic 2-yr startup internet company, Minggl, this interview with Dewey Gaedcke, CEO of Minggl, came to be. Dewey Gaedcke is an accomplished technical visionary who now oversees the success of Minggl, an important internet-based company poised to provide its users a fix to managing the problems of identity protection, as well as, management of their social networking, from the other side of the social networks fence. Minggl is changing the rules of the Internet social networking scene. I’ll let him explain in this interview what that means to millions and millions of MySpace and other social network users.
Troy Pankey: If you could Mr. Gaedcke, and if it’s not too much pain or embarrassment (laughing), before getting into the professional aspect of the interview, what’s this all about you getting out of your car for a short hike and getting lost in a Hawaiian lava field for five days without food and water, a couple of years ago?
Mr. Dewey Gaedcke: Troy-getting lost in a 333,000 acre volcano park was a bit embarrassing, but my lucky innovations to stay alive highlighted a more competent dimension to my personality, and ultimately balanced it all out. I can laugh at myself now that it’s behind me (laughing). The Discovery channel has done a fabulous re-enactment of my ordeal on “Most Dangerous Survival Stories” so I’ll let their show tell that story. (See “The Year’s Most Dangerous Survival Stories.”)
Troy: What prompted you to start Minggl, was it an acute decision or a nexus of sorts? How did you set about getting Minggl together?
Dewey: When I was lost in that massive volcano park, I was still on an Island. But I couldn’t reach help or communicate with searchers and helicopters, unbeknownst to me, only a few short miles away. That got me thinking later, that the social networks were just as confining as that Island. I don’t like being confined, so I invented Minggl and called upon some former rock star team members of mine to help get it going.
Troy: You’ve been the CEO and President of a couple of companies. Speak to how that has helped you in your current endeavor as CEO of Minggl.
Dewey: I think I’ve learned almost every way NOT to do things. Today, I’m into remaining in the trenches, living with the customer, facing difficult emotions—servant leadership, if you will.
Troy: I’ve read that your personal work philosophy is having a “personal commitment to the needs of each customer and to deliver high quality solutions on time and on budget.” How does that translate to Minggl and its users?
Dewey: I believe Minggl represents a new paradigm for the web. I have friends on MySpace, video on YouTube, photos on Flickr, slideshows on Photobucket-Minggl allows me to consolidate all this content into portable suitcases (with privacy rules) that I can drag and drop onto my most popular sites. It’s no-hassle repositioning of content and disclosure.
Troy: You mentioned that you wanted to focus on the advertising aspect of Minggl. Am I to understand that users of Minggl will share in ad-revenue generated through Minggl? Speak to how that will work, and what benefit that is to the user and the company as well.
Dewey: Most of the details around this functionality is a big secret, as you can understand. What I can say, is that social networking Minggl users will be able to monetize their popularity, and create value in the process. We’ll have more announcements coming in these next few short months.
Troy: Are there any other financial incentives in the offing for those fortunate enough to find this great online tool in Minggl?
Dewey: Yes, but both of those are still company secrets as of now. We’ll have more announcements coming in the next few months.
Troy: “Minggl is the first service that lets you make money from fans and casual browsers on MySpace, Facebook, etc.” That’s an interesting draw. Heavens forbid a lot of MySpace users, individuals and bands alike, hear about that for fear you’ll have to figure out how to keep up with them server-wise. Speak more about that specifically, if you would, so that the uninformed and cheated masses that aren’t getting their due for making those sites what they are today can know what you are offering through Minggl.
Dewey: As it stands today, if you put ads into your native MySpace page, they may delete your content, or your account-it’s a breach of their terms of service. Minggl ‘wants you to put ads’ into Minggl notes and display them to other Minggl users via your MySpace and Facebook pages.
Troy: Perhaps it’s pie-in-the-sky to think so, but with this management tool delivering as it does for use by social networkers such as MySpacers and the like, I could foresee a lot of folks getting on board to the revolutionary concept at Minggl. How big do you see Minggl getting relative to current and future social networkers using the Minggl tool to their advantage?
Dewey: If I’m listed as a CEO on LinkdIn, a trapeze artist on MySpace, and a cross-dresser on adult friend finder (oops!), then I’ve got some problems. I probably don’t care about all communities knowing about the circus act, but I don’t want my CEO buddies knowing, for example, about the cross dressing. Through it’s privacy features, Minggl gives me “context appropriate disclosure” to ALL OF my online persona’s. That seems pretty big to me and we’re continuing to file patents related to our innovations in this area. In addition to those big revenue announcements, we’ll be promoting this power by some very innovative marketing activities.
Troy: In all fairness, does Minggl have any competition to speak of, in what I see as the next wave on the Internet, i.e., folks needing to better ‘manage’ all of these social networks they are now involved in?
Dewey: There are multiple sites doing simple “profile aggregation”, but none that I’ve seen give privacy control, content portability, friend portability, email consolidation, profile synchronization, etc. Furthermore, those that are “website based” (as opposed to the Minggl toolbar approach), are easily blacklisted, i.e., blocked, by the various social sites with a vested interest in controlling their users. We’re essentially giving the power back to the social networkers, a real jump forward compared to what is available today.
Troy: The concept of now making the social networker the center of his or her own universe rather than being at the mercy of the different social sites is a great one. Contextually, where the internet socializing scene is right now, I’d have to put that idea next to sliced bread. More specifically though, speak a little bit about what this means for minors and being protected from internet predators. And did this somehow have any influence on starting Minggl?
Dewey: I have two young girls, and my study of developmental psychology tells me that kids won’t be easily blocked from their socialization goals. I know kids who’ve installed tools to fill their parents key-loggers with meaningless chat to mask when they’re off doing something else. The parents, schools, politicians think they’re in charge-they’re living an illusion and my solution is to give kids the power and education to protect themselves, rather than trusting a bunch of well-intentioned, but ill-informed adults to do it for them.
Troy: Lastly, for those folks that aren’t able to use Minggl at the present time because of, say a social network community that isn’t supported by Minggl as of yet, where do you see the company within the next year relative to the amount of Minggl users and which social communities Minggl will support?
Dewey: Minggl users have a menu where they can request Minggl support for their favorite site. As soon as we’ve rolled out another big round of features, we’ll start adding support for the top new sites just about every week.
Troy: That’s fantastic news for the everday social networker! And thank you for taking the time out let everyone know a little bit about you, what Minggl is, where it’s going, and what it can do for them.
Dewey: Well, thank you for this interview and your support of Minggl. Go Minggl!
If you are a MySpacer and/or a Facebook user, you can now put hidden and unblockable content on your profile pages. In addition, Minggl also automates tedious social networking activities, like checking mail, logging in, moving content, and editing your profile. Mr. Dewey Gaedcke created Minggl to help folks get more out of social networking, while providing new ways to protect personal details from predators or strangers.
If you use sites like MySpace and Facebook, Minggl is the first technology that gives everyone, especially minors, full control over the privacy of the content they share in social networks. Dewey says, “this is my coolest invention so far.” Obviously this writer agrees, and wishes Mr. Gaedcke, Minggl, and its’ users success in using this revolutionary technology that is sure to change the way social networking is conducted across the web.