[Janis Krums takes & makes his shot for the Florida Lakewood Ranchers , an amateur league team. He also took another kind of shot in January 2009, which you probably saw. photo by Angie Tyler Jula]
It's one of my favorite stories in Twittterville. In January 2009, Janis Krums, the a 23-year-old entrepreneur from Sarasota, Florida was on a ferry crossing the Hudson River when US Air Flight 1549 careened from the skies, skidding to a halt on the river about 200 yards from the ferry and immediately began to sink as passengers poured out onto the wings.
Janis whipped out his iPhone and took the photo below, which you have probably seen. He handed the phone to another passenger and then assisted in the rescue of a flight attendant who had broken both her legs and needed assistance getting off the plane.
Helping the attendant to safety, Krums got his iPhone back. It was ringing and when he picked up he was surprised to find he was talking to MSNBC and his voice was being carried live on national TV. Viewers were looking at the photo he had taken less than 30 minutes earlier.
In Twitterville, I argued that the incident changed the relationship between professional and amateur journalists; that it has begun to braid the two together on social media venues. I predicted that braided journalism is how most people will consume news in the near future.
It also has changed Janis Krums. The following is an update on what he has been up to since that unintended moment on the Hudson River. He is simultaneously starting two business in two separate categories, one of which has been a passion for years. The second, something called InboxAlarm would probably have not happened had he not happened to be crossing a river at a specific moment in time; and if my favorite social media platform not been victimized by a DDOS attack that rendered it inoperable for several days in early summer.
Please see my recent interview with him below.
Q. How has the incident changed your life?
I am associated with an event that changed the perception of citizen journalism and the evolution of news and media. The coolest part is to see that my one tweet changed the way that CNN, Fox News, and others interact with their viewers. They are actively engaged with viewers now, and seek the opinions in realtime from all the available resources.
Plus, I have a great story to tell at parties!
Q. How active were you in social media before the "Hudson River Miracle"
incident? How many follower/following did you have going in to that day? How
many do you have now? How much time did you spend on social media before the
incident. How much now?
Before the incident I was exploring all the different services and seeing which one made sense for me. I had about 170 followers before the incident. Now I have almost 5,800. Before the incident, I was spending maybe 20 minutes a day on updates. I think right after I was spending a lot of time. Now I have learned some tricks and services (su.pr, tweetdeck, tweetie 2) that I use to monitor and use the different sites more efficiently.
Q. When I interviewed you for Twitterville, you were planning working on Elementz a nutritional enhancement drink for professional athletes. How long have you been working on it? How is it doing?
We started a year ago with the idea of what we wanted to do. At this point we have finalized 5 custom formulations and are finalizing the paperwork to produce the first two products, Vanilla and Chocolate Whey Protein. We have some very influential people on board and will be making some really cool announcements in the near future. You can check out our Facebook page for the latest news.
7. More recently, you announced InboxAlarm.com. Can you tell me what it does and how you got the idea for it?
InboxAlarm is burglar alarm for your email inbox. You are able to create decoy emails that can be as simple as fake password information or custom emails that cater to your specific security concern. After creating an email, you send it to one of your personal emails addresses, open it once, and then forget about it. It sits in your archives until someone opens it. Once opened, you are instantly notified by a text message that there has been a breach.
We got the idea after the Twitter breach happened. In that case the hacker had days to gather information and was able to go from one employee's email account all the way up to the CEO's.
We thought that there should be a way for you to protect yourself in the case someone breaks into your inbox. There are other high profile examples; Sarah Palin getting hacked; the latest phishing attack, and countless others that don't make national news.
8. Is InboxAlarm potentially a new business for you, or is it just a one-off from Elementz Nutrition?
InboxAlarm has the potential to be a new business for Eric and I. It is too early to tell how it will go, but the initial reaction has been very positive.
Q. How have sales gone since you announced InboxAlarm?
We have steady sales up to this point. We got some initial press from PCmag.com and BNET, which helped the site's exposure. As well as local Sarasota coverage ) We will be focusing on a major marketing push in the coming weeks.
Q. You have previously told me your two passions are health and social media. Can you compare and contrast starting businesses serving in the two industries? For example how are the the process and time-to-market similar or different? o
It's been very interesting to see the evolution of both Elementz Nutrition and InboxAlarm. For Elementz we had the concept few years ago, but only last year said, lets start the process and develop supplements that we can be proud to stand behind.
We were very naive in our projected timeline to get the products out into the market. We thought that it would take few months to research, develop, test, etc the formulations. That estimate was way off, it took us around a year to finalize the formulas. Right now we are finalizing everything with our manufacturer.
However, with InboxAlarm, we had the idea in July and were able to launch the initial site during the second week of September. We had the core functionality thought out in the first day and after that just kept refining until we thought it was good enough to be released to the public. I agree with Reid Hoffman's observation: "If you're not somewhat embarrassed by your 1.0 product launch, then you've released too late."
We wanted to get it out as soon as possible and then see what the customers did and didn't
like. We've improved the sign-up process and have couple of
other improvements that are directly linked to the feedback from our
No matter how different the market, at the end of the day it's about selling and getting the word out about your product. It doesn't matter what industry you are in, if you don't move product, you will not be around for too long.