Blurtt: The Startup That Did Not Stop Believing

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The idea to ‘blurtt anonymously’ from a website I used often while working on Wall Street where you could send anonymous tips to people. By Jeanette Cajide (Co-Founder, Blurtt)

Blurtt has a longer history than most startups as it originally launched in 2009. I spent most of my career funding and investing in leveraged and distressed companies. It was not a practical move for me to be an entrepreneur because I had a lot of school loans, but I felt deeply compelled to give it a shot.

Kuba Tymula asked me to join Blurtt as a founder in October 2010 and later in April 2011, I convinced Laura Gurasich, another Kellogg MBA who is consumer insights expert to join as a founder. Laura and I manage Blurtt day-to-day operations and product development.

Blurtt’s pivotal moment came when we became Archimedes Labs second acceleration company after Quixey. I convinced Keith Teare and his team to invest in us and we worked with Archimedes to fine-tune our minimum viable product, which is what you see in the app store today.

Our vision for Blurtt is that ‘blurtt’ becomes a verb like tweet. What makes Blurtt unique is that most photo sharing or social networking apps are about what you are doing or seeing in that moment, or where you are. Blurtt is about helping you convey the spontaneous thoughts and feelings in your heart or gut that come to you impulsively - things you wish you could just ‘blurt out’ but feel constrained because there is really no outlet other than maybe a quick text message to a friend “Ugh I cannot stand my boss!”

When you Blurtt, you can choose images from the web within our app and you can choose to blurtt under your username or anonymously.

I got the idea to ‘blurtt anonymously’ from a website I used often while working on Wall Street where you could send anonymous tips to people. It was hilariously fun.

I did not follow the popular startup methodology The Lean Startup. I used old school turnaround management best practices to run Blurtt. We do amazing work with very little money and no waste. I architected over 200 technical solutions while working for Accenture so while I do not code, I have a lot of experience working with technical operations teams.

I talk about how I handled competition in this interview on TechCrunch. Excuse the colorful language but I have a habit of ‘blurting’ things out. If you look at Blurtt, we do not look like any other app out there. I did that on purpose. I even used an irregular shape for the image frame (It is a speak bubble in the shape of a lower case “B”).

I did not want people to compare us to Instagram. I am still refusing to call Blurtt a photo-sharing app. I think it is becoming part of the brand actually. Blurtt is the photo app that is not actually... a photo app [deadpan face]. Someone needs to include this one in a video about “Sh*t people say”.

Blurtt has been through a lot, but Laura probably has it right when she says I am like a Saint Bernard rescuing an avalanche victim. My inspiration has always been the movie Rudy. I may not “fit the typical profile” or “pattern” for a tech entrepreneur but I have the heart and work ethic to make Blurtt a success.

Lessons we learned:

  1. In 99.5% of cases where we went against our instincts, it backfired tremendously. Trust yourself.
  2. Face your insecurities head on. You are perfectly capable of doing this.
  3. Don’t let someone else’s narrow view of the world rock your boat. Pattern recognition is confirmation bias. Innovation has no pattern.
  4. Don’t wait for permission. Just do it.

Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. Photo credit: Blurtt. jeanettec007About the guest blogger: Jeanette Cajide is the co-founder of Blurtt, an iPhone app that helps people better express what they want to say with images. She spent several years on Wall Street with Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs and was a technology manager with Accenture. She holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Bachelor in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Follow her on Twitter at @jeanettec007.