Five Minutes With: Shine Co-founders Talk Mindfulness, Bots

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In a sentence, describe what Shine is and what it's goals are.

Shine [targets] mindfulness and intentionality through the power of messaging. Our first product, the Daily Shine, is a daily text message experience with daily affirmations and tactical tips around living each day with intentionality.

Today, U.S. and global users can receive that product (the Daily Shine) on our new Facebook bot, allowing them to access additional features like “Ask Shine” that has interactive resources on common work and life topics that young people often struggle with.

What trends or stats convinced you to make this a mobile messaging company?

Messaging apps dominate the app market right now; collectively they're growing at a faster rate than social media apps. Our team has known this moment was coming for a while and has been in the original messaging space for the past 5 years: text messaging.

In our previous roles as CMO, Director of Mobile and Sr. Mobile Engineer for - the individuals that now make up the Shine team were all key players in growing our previous organization's user base from 0 to 5 million users, with a strong focus on engagement. 

After spending years understanding how effective text messaging can be at scale with it's 98% open rate and it's hyper-personal nature, when we came up with idea for Shine, using messaging was a no-brainer.

What sort of metrics are you looking at to determine health of the service?
Naturally, we care a lot about active users, we're happy that 30% of our users engage with us every single week.

That doesn't mean opening an email, it doesn't even mean opening the text - it actually means that a user has taken the effort to type a message to us. Building on that and continuing to grow our highly-engaged userbase for our daily product is our top priority (said every startup ever).

How big do you think chatbots will be for mobile publishers/?
Chatbots are having their Google Glass moment right now. Everyone's so excited about the technology, but not necessarily starting with the problems that technology can be leveraged for. We predict that there will continue to be some clunkiness and awkwardness around chatbots for a good while, as brands try and figure out the best platforms and methods to communicate with their audience.

But for those that see messaging platforms (a la Facebook Messenger, SMS, Kik, Line, etc.) less as distribution (“What should we put here?”) channel and more as a platform (“How is this platform the best way to do XYZ?”) to build inherent, messaging-first experiences that solve real user pain points, there is a massive opportunity to be the first to product-market fit.

What is the next big thing for mobile marketing?
“Bots as a buzzword” aside, it's true and incredibly exciting that in a few years, our phone will be made up of contacts that are human, AI, and a little bit of both -- and users will be okay with that, as long as the experience makes sense for their world.

The success of mobile marketing will come in relevance and tone. Disrupting a user on mobile has greater consequences if executed poorly. Spam me on email? A little annoyed. Blow up my phone via messaging? I'm probably done with you forever. Companies will need to understand (1) how to respect the medium and (2) create high-value, integrated experiences that are native to messaging to survive and thrive. 

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