Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Water Polo is in the DNA of our App

Check this man's vision & creation out...

I love water polo. I started playing when I was 14. I’m 52 this year, and I’m still playing.
Two years ago I helped organize a beach water polo tournament. I was in charge of match scheduling and results communications.

We have many teams flying into Hong Kong for a fun weekend. People want to know when the next match is, and what the results are for matches in other groups. In the past, this was done by a quick run to the master table.

To ensure a good user experience, I wanted tournament details to be updated and published instantly, and to be easier readable on people’s phone.

I searched on Google, but surprisingly, there was no simple solution. There were tournament management systems, but they were way too complicated and expensive.

I just wanted a way to publish timetables and results on the phone.

So I decided to build a solution myself. I built a page that displayed nicely on the phone. And I linked the page to a google sheet, on which the scorekeeper can enter match results, and match time, referee and staff roster in real-time.

Prototype PikaPage

Comparing to what we have now, it was really ugly. But it did the work. And people loved it. So for a while, I thought maybe I could turn this into a commercial product for tournament organizers of the world.

But then I thought the market was too small, and I was busy with other stuff, so I put this idea aside.

One day, many months later, while sitting in my bathtub, I had my Eureka moment.

We have enjoy the beauty and convenience of sharing moments of our lives on the phone for 10 years. But we still have a paper-based mentality when trying to communicate detailed information.
Everyone is familiar with using spreadsheets to present data, but there is no easy way to show the data nicely on the mobile phone.
So I made up my mind to produce an app for that.
I thought that my original idea could be extended to a vast variety of other uses. Whenever people type up schedules and lists in Excel, and then share to others via an attachment, they should instead share the results in a PikaPage. (PikaPage has a function to convert Excel tables into nice-looking PikaTables).
It’s a huge market.

 Edit data in a PikaTable. All followers gets updates without installing any app.

Through introduction of a friend, I hired a couple of developers in Vietnam to start building the app: PikaPage.

In the beginning, my friends had no idea what I was trying to do. It was hard to explain something that hasn’t existed. Some friends even told me I was stupid and wasting my time. That no one would ever use an app like that.

It was a tough few months working alone.
Until I found Crystal, a water polo girl.

 By chance I was telling Crystal what I was doing. She immediately liked it, and wanted to help me with this startup project. Also, she introduced me to Eric. And Eric introduced Dennis. They are now my indispensable team.

With a passionate and highly capable team, I am now able to focus more on growth and fundraising.


Our vision is now very well developed. PikaPage is not just a tool to publish detailed information. Because PikaPage brings people together again and again, via activities, it can become the social media for active people.

PikaPage was soft-launched in App Store a short while ago. People are downloading it, and creating activity pages with it. We are seeing very good traction.

We have only just started our journey to make a difference in this world. I hope this is an inspiring story. If you have children, make sure they are engaged in sports or other extra-curricular activities. Activities bring people together, and people make the impossible possible.
And the mission of PikaPage is to make it easier for people to engage in activities.

P.S. Special thanks to Tsuki-san, in Tokyo, my good friend for twenty years whom I met via water polo. He and his colleague Ayako have been supportive to PikaPage since the beginning. Now that the English version is ready, we look forward to launching in Japan very soon.

Go PikaPage! And we will continue to find time to play water polo.

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