Two weeks ago, Zappos founder Nick Swinmurn and BLITZ agency co-founder Ken Martin launched Threadlife, a social video iOS app that allows you to capture and share “threads” of strung-together three-second video clips they call “stitches.”
“We hope that when people experience it, they decide it's the best way to capture and share memories going forward,” says Swinmurn.
As for the three-second default constraint, Swinmurn says, “It’s about the right length for a scene. When you remember things you remember them as moments or scenes. Our value isn't in each specific stitch but how it's strung together as a series of moments into a thread.”
He adds, “We tested from one to five seconds for each stitch. Five seconds seemed really slow; two seconds seemed too short. So we settled on three. With that constraint people naturally do things you’d want them to do, like pick an establishing shot and frame the video properly."
In terms of organizing your threads, the idea is for you to name each, say it’s of your cat, Biggie. The next time Biggie does something cute, you add another stitch. Over time, this grows into an evolving video record of Biggie’s life.
This and other threads are posted to your “My Life” wall in the app.
As for the social aspects of Threadlife, it is easy to share a still shot from stitches and threads with friends on Facebook or Twitter – in the future, you’ll be able to share the videos. But by default a thread is set to “private” at first, so you have to choose to make it public in order to share.
There is also a Collab option, where you can allow F&F to share in the creation of the stitch. This seems likely to be popular when people go to concerts or sports contests, or parades, for example.
“It’s almost like conversational video when you're collaborating,” says Swinmur. “On YouTube you can comment on your friend’s video, whereas with this you and your friend's videos are fully integrated.”
Among the technical work behind Threadlife is making sure each stitch is both able to be copied to any thread but also remains as an independent piece.
“The biggest challenge is keeping the stitches independent,” says Swinmurn. “That is a hard technical feat. Each stitch has to be coded to be available in multiple ways depending on connectivity and bandwidth. From WiFi and 4G all the way down to audio only.”
The company, which started in June, tested the app in a small beta before the launch on Halloween. The team of five is now trying to react quickly to the data, requests, and feedback generated by early users.
An android app should be forthcoming in the first half of 2013.
As for the market opportunity for this startup, current research indicates that some 200 million video views already are occurring each day on mobile devices, and the number of people shooting video on their phones is growing at a triple-digit annual rate.