“We are building a database of everything in the world…” says Joseph Einhorn, the 29-year-old founder and CEO of ‘Thingd’, currently the tech world’s most buzzed-about startup. Sounds like a Herculean task but Einhorn and crew could already be well on their way with ‘The Fancy’.
Almost a year ago to the day, we spoke with founder of new social network platform The Fancy, Joseph Einhorn. With his story growing more successful by the day we glance back on our chat with the chap whose looking at a fancy future!
‘The Fancy’ is a service that allows users to upload and share images of things they like, thereby connecting through mutual interests. Einhorn has described the site as being “Twitter meets Vogue meets Barneys, or Twitter meets Architectural Digest meets Ikea.” Already being called “The Facebook of Stuff”, whether or not Einhorn and Fancy will become as popular as Mark Zuckerberg and his invention remains to be seen, but Fancy’s users are growing at a steady pace and Einhorn and Thingd have become the darlings of the tech set, who are as much intrigued by the ingenious idea of Fancy as they are amazed by Einhorn’s high-profile investors, which include Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook, and assorted other deep-pocketed venture capitalists. The fashion press have also taken a fancy to the site with French Vogue advising that you “add The Fancy to your favorites list immédiatement.” Going a step further, i-D stopped by Einhorn’s penthouse office for a chat.
Explain the idea behind The Fancy?
Anywhere you are, on the web or in real life, when you see something that interests you, you can express yourself, learn more about it and meet people with similar interests. Think about how we used to use magazines: I would flip through the pages and, when I found something that interested me, I would tear the page out. That torn out page would go in a pile somewhere and eventually lead to deeper exploration. With Fancy we want to get at that same behaviour but using the web and mobile devices. Fancy is a way to connect people to things, and ultimately connect people with other people!
How does it work?
If I’m bored at work and I’m in browsing mode, I just page through the site and “fancy” things that interest me, building up my profile. When I want to drill in for more information I can click through to learn more about that thing, or even buy it. If I am in self expression/curation/publishing mode, meaning I want to share something with the community, here’s what I do: from my computer I browse my favorite websites and when I see something that interests me, I hit the Fancy button in my browser toolbar and that gives me the ability to clip the thing I am interested from that page into Fancy. If I am out and about in the real world and see something I can snap a photo of and email it into Fancy.
Do you see it becoming ‘The Facebook of Stuff,’ as it’s already being called by some?
Facebook is an excellent service and company so being called the Facebook of anything is an honour. Where it may be different is that to some extent Facebook enables you to efficiently manage existing relationships. We are really interested in discovery of new things and people you don’t know. As long as we are playing the Facebook-of game, I will give you a different analogy. We are thinking Twitter-meets-i-D Magazine-meets-colette. Self-expression meets editorial meets shopping.
How do you plan to develop The Fancy and your other projects in the future?
The product roadmap from here is really about improving the experience around self-expression and discovery. There is some interest in making this a commerce engine, driving people to buy stuff. That is lower priority right now. We want to make sure that it is easy and enjoyable to both express yourself and learn more about things. We want to make sure that the websites that do the hard work of providing original coverage on a given thing get the credit and get the link.
Text: Ricky Lee