Interview: Feedeed gives everyone the chance to “live off what you love”

September 23, 2014

Feedeed, a new startup website that serves as a regional marketplace offering skills and services, has landed on our Radar this month. Among many things, it’s a response to the widespread dwindling of employment opportunities nowadays as it creates the prospect for local creativity to take center stage.

We caught up with Dany Abu Jawde, the site’s Co-founder and CEO, to get a closer glimpse of how this revolutionary website came about and its practicality for the modern-day market.

  • What was the idea behind the name, “Feedeed?”

Well the word ‘deed’ has two meanings: an action (as in when someone does a good deed for you) or it denotes a contract between you and another party. So, we have a deed online; when you buy a service, you’re getting it with a contract. And the word ‘fee’ comes from the fact that there’s a fee to pay for the service. It’s also derived from the Arabic word meaning ‘there is.’ At the end of the day, the word itself has a good ring to it and can easily be remembered, which is the main reason why we chose it.

  • It’s safe to say that it’s almost always a given to have differences in opinion when it comes to working on a group project. What factors do you think played a major role in successfully launching the website despite any differences in ideas?

The four of us had always worked as freelancers prior to creating the site and when we decided to go forth with the startup, we noticed there was a need for having such a platform for people with skills to be able to easily offer their services. We started from that need, the need for helping people to make it on their own by giving them as much tools and exposure as possible. So we started building the website according to this need most freelancers have. We actually surveyed around 200 freelancers to see what problems should be tackled and found that they had many issues with people paying them on time, for instance, and problems that come with lack of contracts and so forth. We started creating features for each predominant issue. For example, if you’re offering a service, we receive the money before you start your work and if you finish, you receive it. We act as an assistant to make sure you get paid. Same goes for the contract; no one can take part without providing a clear estimation of when a service will be delivered, and when they will be paid etc.

  • How did you decide on the specific categories offered?

The categories we chose are mainly creative/professional categories. Having both types of fields go hand-in-hand in some ways. So we collaborated with designers, developers, translators, copyrighters (from the professional field) etc., and went for the photographers, music producers, videographers, even clowns for birthday parties, all as part of the creative field. We know that these kinds of services get strong exposure through word-of-mouth, but we wanted to aim for getting the same recognition but through being online.

  • With the rising present-day advancements in technology, many speculate that by the end of the next two decades, these developments are going to have negative repercussions on employment rates in certain fields. Do you think this will affect Feedeed- whether it’s in a positive or negative manner?

I think it’ll have a positive effect on our site. Our Feedeed slogan is “hate the desk and live from what you love” and this is what we really believe in. So if a robot can do your job, let them take it, because if a robot can do your job, then you should probably move into something else. You should always be able to do what you love whether it’s from home or anywhere else and whatever your skill or passion might be, someone will always be interested.

  • Would you consider adding an online store to your website, similar to Amazon and the Apple Store?

Right now, we have actual products that are custom-made. So for the moment, we’re focusing more on the services themselves so that the customer won’t get confused between buying what someone can specifically make; not when you’re looking for a premade/stock product. For instance, if you want someone to make you a necklace with a certain color that has your name on it (more custom-oriented), then that’s when you turn to Feedeed. Anything customizable can be sold on Feedeed.

  • The Web and App Development section on the website currently has a little over 30 services listed. What are the requisites for eligibility for listing and accessing such services?

We usually do a complete check on a service before it goes up on the site. And it’s not like we just choose the best of the best and most professional. We’re open to taking the services of amateurs as well, to give them a push to boost their career on Feedeed. For instance, we have services from amateur developers that can start at $20 to the more professional ones that can cost around $2,000-$3,000. We make sure that they’re really working in the field and that their prices are compatible to their work level. So a service can’t land on the site without going through our screening system.

  • How long does that screening process generally take?

Maximum three days. It doesn’t usually take longer.

  • Is there a certain limit on the length of time in which a service can be featured for?

Not really. As long as the service is active, it can remain on the site. If we notice that a user hasn’t been active on the site for say 4-6 months, we would just take down their service then. For the most part, if the one offering the service would like to make changes like altering the price of the service, etc., they can.

  • Feedeed already offers a large variety of services. In the near future, do you have any plans of adding more categories to those already listed?

We have around 200 shops online, but we’re definitely looking forward to growing the shops so that there will be a larger variety of services offered. Currently, you can find a great amount of services, but if you go on the site and don’t exactly find a specific service, you can just request it and we can cater to that need.

  • You’ve mentioned that alongside Feedeed, the #HateTheDesk social media campaign has also been launched. Can you tell us a little more about that?

This campaign actually goes in parallel to Feedeed but is not totally tied to the site. As we talked about before in terms of the slogan, it’s a campaign that encourages people to live from what they love, which is why Feedeed should be turned to as a platform that can help with that. The social media campaign is open to include people who take pictures of themselves, for example, working and doing what they love to do. It’s mainly most popular on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and just about any social media tool that utilizes the hashtag. We also created a viral video as part of the campaign showing a Lebanese guy breaking a laptop on a desk after being frustrated from working at the office, and even though it’s a fictitious video on YouTube, it’s actually gotten a lot of exposure. We’re actually looking into spreading the exposure around the city of Beirut through modems like graffiti art and working with NGOs to spread the motivation for everyone to utilize their skills freely.

  • What would be your main pitch to someone who has no clue about Feedeed? Basically, why should they use the site?

It’s a great option for freelancers to use and it’s unique; it’s not a copy of other platforms that are out there right now. We’re trying to create an e-commerce platform for skills not exactly act as an HR platform, where you just post your CV and wait for an answer. So any freelancer can come open a “shop” on Feedeed, just as if Sony is opening a shop on Amazon, for example, and selling its gadgets. Skills are sold as products, which is the basis of the new initiative we’re trying to spread in the region. You can easily search for the service of your choice on the site and view the ratings, different prices, and relevant information about the posted services. At Feedeed, we’re creating a marketplace for your services.

Make sure to visit feedeed.com to get access into its world and of course, a full view of the images displayed in the below gallery.

by micha
Micheline has a a sweet-tooth for dark chocolate and cappuccinos, an almost obsessive-compulsive aversion to dust on Blu-ray discs, and a passion for regularly playing tennis on her Nintendo Wii. Matched with her love of writing, she is the Editor of T3 Middle East's Levant English publication and English website, and the Associated Editor for the GCC English publication.