Ep. 32 Enrico Torres Founder of AppendMe

Ep. 32 Enrico Torres Founder of AppendMe
September 19, 2016 bradp

Brad Post, Create the Movement, host
Enrico Torres, AppendMe Inc., guest

Brad Post, Create the Movement, host: Welcome back to our podcast. My name is Brad Post. I’m the president and co-founder of Create Append Me CTM Podcastthe Movement. And I’m excited to be sitting with the founder of AppendMe.com, Enrico Torres. Hello Enrico. How are you?
Enrico Torres, AppendMe Inc., guest: I’m doing well Brad. How about yourself?
BP: I’m doing well. I’m doing well. So it’s AppendMe not OffendMe, right? It’s with an ‘A.’
ET: Correct. That’s right.
BP: Okay. Good. Good. Basically it’s a social-media platform. Is that right? And you’ve kind of boot-strapped this entire company, correct?
ET: Correct. Correct. Yes.
BP: Well tell us a little bit about Append Me, and what kind of makes it different.
ET: How we started this. Right. Well, we started this project about four-and-a-half years ago. A little bit over four-and-a-half years ago. And believe it or not, I didn’t even know how to send an email back then. Okay?
BP: Okay.
ET: But I remember at nights I have trouble sleeping so I figured I needed to find something to that occupies my mind. So, Facebook went public. I still remember when Facebook went public. And I decided, “Hey. How hard can it be to start my own social network?” Right?
So, I told my wife. And my wife thought “Well, you’re crazy. You don’t even know how to send an email. But go ahead.” I know. Right? So, I started things to Google. I started learning, and learning a little bit in this and that. At the beginning we had to hire a company, and then use their software. And it was limited. You know? And obviously, four-and-a-half years ago I noticed the power of mobile. And I’m like, “Things are going mobile. I know this is the right thing. We’ve got to try and make it mobile.”
So about two-and-a-half years ago, about two years ago, we decided, “You know what? I’m tired of using other companies. If we want something done, you know, you have to do it yourself.” Right?
So, we put in a team of iOS developers, Android developers, back-end everything and just started from the ground up. You know? Now, just to give you an idea of how crazy this was, I thought it was going to take us about six months to complete this.
BP: Okay.
ET: Okay? This was in August of 2014.
BP: Okay.
ET: And here we are now. We’re still developing. We’ve been developing nonstop since then. But to build something like this from the ground up, you know, is pretty overwhelming.
BP: That’s exciting. It’s kind of like, sometimes in construction, right, when you hope to be done at a certain time and it’s not.
ET: Right. Yeah, exactly. Except on this, it’s actually kind of like, you know, being that I’m still learning. You’re always going to be learning. Right?
BP: Right.
ET: So it doesn’t go as fast as I wish it would. You know?
BP: Right.
ET: I wish I knew how to code. Maybe then it would go faster. Between roofing in the day and doing this at night it’s really not enough time.
BP: Right. Yeah. I joke around. We have a creative online marketing company and we’re coming up on our fourth year. Three-and-a-half years. And I didn’t even know how to open up Photoshop probably about six months ago.
ET: Oh my gosh.
BP: But I knew how to run a business. And I was able to get a good team around us to help build websites and whatnot.
ET: Right. Team is key. If you don’t have a good team, you know, that’s a no-no.
BP: And so it sounds like you found a really good team around you, as well. Right?
ET: Correct. Yes.
BP: To help build this vision of what you’re doing.
ET: Yes. Correct.
BP: Has that been a fun or painful process?
ET: No, it’s been fun. But you know, like I mentioned before, the hardest part is you know, being in construction and doing roofing during the day. You know? I leave at three, four, you know, four in the morning depending on how far I’m working. Right? Because I’m self-employed. So, I go and do the roofing. And it depends. I don’t know if you noticed, this summer has been a killer.
BP: Yeah.
ET: I mean it’s been hot hot. You know? On the roofs it’s 10-15 degrees hotter than it is on the ground. So, trying to communicate with my developers, you know, through Skype while I’m hanging up on the roof, you know, it’s pretty difficult. What do we do here? How do we move this? And still manage to come up with what we have now, you know, at the App Store and Google Play. That has been, like, really crazy.
BP: Right. I bet. And so, what excites you the most about your business right now? I know before the call you mentioned a few things that are going be happening really soon.
ET: Right. Well, I’m very excited for the fact of, you know, that we are going to be introducing e-commerce to this – to our social part.
BP: Okay.
ET: Like right now, the social part of the application is out. But our e-commerce, you’re going to be able to sell. Businesses are going to be able to sell to people; and people are going to be able to sell to people. It’s so integrated. You’re going to be to use PayPal. Right now we’re trying to get Apple Pay. So, we’re trying to pretty much simplify your life. You know? That’s what’s exciting. And that’s how we, like the project, kept evolving. Because it was like, “Oh my God. Now I need an app to chat. Now I need an app to do this. Now I need an app to do that.” You know? It was kind of like, “Wow, there are so many applications you have to download to do, basically the same thing.”
So, it was kind of like, let’s try to pull everything together. Just simplify. Because let’s face it. The one thing we don’t have a lot of is time. You know? That’s why we wanted to just make everything as simple as possible. You know? That’s pretty much AppendMe.
BP: Yeah. Streamline the process. I like it.
ET: Right.
BP: So, you said you do construction during the day. Wake up at three a.m. Man that’s a long day.
ET: Yeah. That’s when I wake up to get my lunch and stuff ready and then I leave. You know?
BP: Have you always been an entrepreneur? Or
ET: Yes. Yes.
BP: What was the first, what was your first job? I’ll kind of throw you for a loop here. What was the first job?
ET: No. My first job was actually, I came to United States in 1991, and I started working at a restaurant.
BP: Okay.
ET: As a dishwasher. You know? Obviously I was 14 back then. So, you know, then I had to go to school. But, yeah after the restaurant, I was in the restaurant business for over 12 years. So I worked my way up. You know how it is. Like, that’s the beauty of this country, is you can go anywhere and if you work hard enough, you know? And I move. And I know this might seem like little steps. But they’re steps, you know? And if you’re willing to take them and work hard. Look, I mean I’m nowhere there yet. But I’m a lot better than a dishwasher. You know? A little bit higher, you know? But, yeah I went from dishwashing to then, you know, cold table, and then the executive chef. I mean obviously that was like over 12 years. You know?
And then I started construction. And I was, I’ve been doing construction for the last 12+ years. You know?
BP: Okay. Okay. So the funny thing, my first job was actually in a restaurant. I was a busboy. Yeah, so I cleaned it up.
ET: I think everybody’s job is like, their first job, is I think restaurant. Isn’t it?
BP: It seems like it. Yes.
ET: I know.
BP: So, you were in the restaurant business for 12 years. You moved up to executive chef. I guess you enjoy cooking and you wanted to
ET: Oh, I love it. I love being in the kitchen. I’ve always been, like, in the back. You know? I always like being in the back running the scenes in the back. And it was just, my goal was always to try to do, try to find ways to simply. You know? The procedures of how fast and how many people we needed and everything. So it was always like, I always had that goal in mind. To just keep doing the best I could. You know? Which it worked. I mean obviously. I was there for a long time. And when I left, you know, it was sad but at the same time I was like I feel like it’s time for me to try something else. You know?
BP: And so, you got into construction. You’ve been doing that for 12 years.
ET: Yes. Twelve plus, yeah.
BP: When you had the idea for AppendMe was there anything that was holding you back? Anything that concerned you to launch this?
ET: No. You know when we got the idea it was not just solely, you know, the vision, okay. It was pretty much, I wanted to build something, you know, from my perspective of a person who’s worked, worked, worked. You know what I mean. Just kept working. I mean I started, I’m almost 40. So, I started when I was 35 and a half. You know? So, I had already seen, you know, how the trends of other businesses and how they just kept growing and growing. And it’s almost like you make it to a certain point and you stop listening to, you know, the people who got you there. So, it’s kind of like, you know, why is our privacy being invaded? You know? Why are they doing this? Why are they doing that? Why can’t we do it ourselves? So, instead of being one of those people are always like complaining, I was like, no, I got to for it. I know I can do it. And obviously after my daughter was born and everything, that actually made me really be like, you know what I’m only be able to do roofing for so long. I need to do something that can actually, you know, that I can do sitting at home from my computer – versus labor. Because roofing is labor. I’m a sheet-metal mechanic which is one step up from a guy who puts shingles up. But it’s hard work nevertheless. You’re talking three stories up in the air. Hanging metal with winds. And it’s no fun.
BP: What, Enrico, what’s some of the best business advice that you’ve ever received?
ET: The best has been, I was told once, by obviously my father. Who also is a businessman. He told me not to ever talk down on any other business because those businesses have paved the way. You know? So, to always make sure you always try to do better than what they’re doing. You know? So, which, you know, I was like, “Hey, that’s beautiful.” That is pretty much what we’re doing. You know? There’s no sense in, I don’t want to say, like, bad talk. You know?
BP: Yeah. Talking trash.
ET: Right. You can’t do that because, hey look, they started. Everybody’s successful. You just keep moving and then you come along and you might have something better. The market is open. Let people decided what they want to use.
BP: Right. That’s good. That’s good. In kind of your career, is there any books or podcasts that you would recommend? That you listen to?
ET: Well, I’ve been listening to yours and I like yours.
BP: Thank you.
ET: I like Tony Robbins
BP: Yep, Tony Robbins, definitely.
ET: But I don’t know why is that lately a girl is doing it not him. So, I’m kind of like thrown off a little bit by that. I wonder what’s happening.
BP: Yeah, I’m not sure. So, you said with AppendMe, as we kind of wrap up, you’ve got the e-commerce part is coming out soon. Correct?
ET: Yes. Correct.
BP: Okay. And then, there’s just kind of looking through it, you can download it in the Apple Store and also Google Play right now. Is that correct?
ET: Correct. Correct.
BP: And then also the Android?
ET: Yes, correct. The Google Play store for all Android devices. Right now we have it on iOS and Android.
BP: Okay. Okay.
ET: That’s pretty much the only one we have it for. We don’t have it for Windows.
BP: Okay. And then, you guys it seems like you’re pretty active on both your Facebook and your Twitter accounts, as well.
ET: Yes. Yes. That’s Rachel. She’s my little angel for that.
BP: It’s Twitter its @AppendMeapp, correct?
ET: Correct.
BP: And Facebook is AppendMe App as well.
ET: Correct. Yes.
BP: And then on your platform it looks like it does connect with Facebook, right? And Twitter?
ET: Yes. Correct.
BP: Are you looking at adding other social media platforms as well?
ET: We have Instagram there too.
BP: Okay. Okay.
ET: You can sign up with Instagram. Actually what we’ve done on the application is we’ve made it so that what you post on AppendMe you can share it simultaneously on Twitter and Facebook.
BP: Okay.
ET: Eventually, we want to try to do Instagram, but they don’t allow this. So, it’s kind of like we have limitations. Just to give you a quick run about the application you also have the ability for a ‘like’, ‘dislike’, and ‘sympathy’ button. You know? Because I just got tired of the ‘liking’ everything. You can’t like everything. There are some things that are just, you know, not likable.
BP: Right
ET: You know what I mean. If you are disagreeing, you know, it’s kind of like, “Hey, you know? This is not how you are supposed to do that.”
BP: Yup, exactly. And then you also, it looks like you have ‘events’, ‘hangouts’ that you can get into.
ET: Correct. Make them very quick. One of the feature that our users really like is the ‘collections’. Okay? And this is why, you know, I was talking about, not obviously talking bad about other companies because they paved the way. Right? But the one thing I really didn’t like about, you know, Facebook, was every time I saw something I really like and I wanted to save it and show it to my wife. You know? We’re talking three years ago. You know I would come home and I would be looking for it. And I’m like, “Oh! Where is it? Where is it?” I couldn’t find it. And I was like I really need to make something with folders, you know, where you can actually store everything. You know? In a way that you can share it and it makes it easier. So that’s pretty much what we did. We made folders so anything you see on the application that has ‘add to collection’ you can create as many folders as you want for as many ‘collections.’ And then you just start storing everything on those folders and then you can share those folders with friends, co-workers, whatever. For me, I do roofs. And I have my collection of copper roofs. Then we have a client, I’ll send them the entire collection. And they get to see the entire thing. You know? So, that’s one of the features that our members seem to really like.
BP: Okay. I kind of wanted to go through the process, too, when we we’re on the phone. It looks like it’s a pretty simple process to get signed in. To add just email, password, agree to the terms and conditions, and sign up.
ET: Right. And we don’t not share anybody’s information. Okay?
BP: That’s good to know because a lot of the terms and conditions, you know, they’re
ET: Yes. That was one of the main things, too, when we started. Let’s make sure privacy is our number one concern because you know how it is. Right now, data is king. Right? But it’s not king to the user. To us.
BP: Right.
ET: It’s king, you know what I mean, to everyone else but not us – the users. There’s other ways to monetize. You know, I’m sure the people are going to wonder, “Well, how are you going to monetize?” And that’s the reason we have not officially AppendMe yet. You know? Our e-commerce part. Once we get our e-commerce part in there – that’s our monetization model.
BP: Okay. Well, this is exciting Enrico. How can people get in touch with you?
ET: They can, if they download the application, obviously, by default. Because I didn’t want anybody to be lonely when they first sign up. They are automatically friends with our AppendMe account. They can just click the ‘search class’ and they can look up ‘Enrico Torres.’ And they’ll see me there, and they can send a friend request. I’m always, obviously, accepting everybody’s friendship. It’s always cool to meet new people, you know.
BP: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, I’ll make sure to include link to Enrico’s social media platform in our show notes. Enrico, is there anything else that I missed?
ET: No. So far that was, you pretty much nailed it. And actually, there was one thing that, we made this application, also, business-friendly. Okay? That’s why on your profile page you can load up and actual video. Like, you know, a YouTube video, or a personal video. Although the video’s limited right now. ON the back, to kind of like showcase what it is you do, what it is that you promote. So, once the e-commerce is tied into, as you can see, our goal is to maximize small business. Because, you know, small businesses are the backbone of this country. So, it’s like we wanted to make it business-friendly, as well as user-friendly just for regular people.
BP: Perfect. Well, Enrico, thanks for your time today. And we look forward to hearing more about AppendMe and where you’re going.
ET: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.