Manage Your Personal Web With Michigan Startup: backstitch INTERVIEW

backstitch,,Michigan startup,startup,startups,startup interview, founder interviewImagine if HootSuite allowed you to go out of the “social sphere” and customize all the content you wanted across the internet. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what Michigan startup backstitch does. And, they do it well.

Husband and wife co-founders Jordan and Stefanie Warzecha describe BackStitch as a clean and consistent user experience for managing your personal web. Your personal web includes your social media feeds, your favorite news and blog sites and even your favorite daily deals sites. Now with backstitch you can take all of that content and instead of having an unorganized hodge podge of browser tabs open, everything comes together in a nice aggregated dashboard.

Moreso than just organizing all of your favorite web content backstitch actually saves the user a lot of time. Typically everyone has an internet routine. Although most people start their web routine on a smartphone or tablet, once you get to your computer for the day the routine picks up. For me I open up Hootsuite, Google Reader,, about five other blog sites and a ton of email screens. This is all before 8am.  With BackStitch a lot of that content is in one easy to find place.

backstitch comes out of the box with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Appdotnet. They also have a variety of popular new sites baked in along with all of the popular daily deals sites. They’ve also thought about people who read blogs and sites outside of what BackStitch offers, and allows users to add any site with an RSS feed (although they should add to the catalog).

We got a chance to talk with Jordan. Check out our interview below:

What is backstitch?
backstitch is a clean and consistent user experience for managing your personal web.
In layman’s terms, how does it work?
backstitch lets you easily organize, filter, and share content from your favorite news feeds, social networks, and daily deal sites all in a personalized and consistent interface. For example say you browse multiple daily deal sites a day, well with backstitch you can quickly see them in one place, add filters to show only products in your budget, share them to your social networks, and when it comes time to purchase; the important information such as price, shipping cost, and even the buy button are always in the same location regardless of which site the deal came from.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?

Jordan (26) and Stefanie (27) are a married couple from Southeast Michigan that met while both studying Computer Science at Lake Superior State University.

Jordan most recently worked as a lead architect building data processing systems to help employers receive U.S. government healthcare subsidies. He has a passion for human-computer interaction and working with large complex datasets.

Stefanie has a diverse technology background and has commercially developed with the obscure Lua & Delphi to the more popular PHP & Ruby. Most recently she has worked building accounting systems for dealerships of one of the largest earth moving equipment suppliers.

Where are you based?

Currently we are based in Plymouth Michigan (half way between Ann Arbor and Detroit)
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
It is definitely an interesting place to be right now, to the west you have Ann Arbor and the great culture that’s sprung up around the University of Michigan. To the east in Detroit there is a sense of a renaissance with projects such as the M@dison building that houses a lot of tech startups and even a Twitter office. You really can’t have lunch downtown without seeing some new company or restaurant that’s recently moved in.
How did you come up with the idea for backstitch?
Over the years working in offices and cube farms we realized that everyone has their own ‘internet routine’. Like clockwork most people take a break a few times a day to check the various news sites, social networks, and daily deals. While this is not a new phenomenon the last couple years has seen a dramatic increase in the number of sites and services we use on a daily basis.
How did you come up with the name?
Well we knew that we wanted something that was a play on combining or ‘stitching’ different websites together. We probably have a list somewhere with about 50 really horrible ideas for names. After a couple hours of googling we landed on the wikipedia page for ‘backstitch’ which stated how versatile and easy of a stitch it was. Right then we knew the name perfectly echoes our product. Working in the background + stitching content together + easy and versatile; that’s backstitch.
What problem does backstitch solve?
We aim to solve the complexity of our ‘daily internet routine’.
What’s your secret sauce?
What’s one dilemma you’ve encountered in the startup process?
The dilemma that we face everyday is summed up in the question “Are we making things better without being more complicated?” Every new feature or idea for backstitch goes through this vetting process where if we cannot immediately answer this question it gets shelved.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the startup process?
Probably the biggest challenge we have overcome was that we worked in a vacuum for way too long. You read article after article about MVP and ‘just getting it out there’ but when it comes to doing it you sort of get that lump of fear in your stomach. Once we finally started to show backstitch to people that fear sort of quickly went away as we saw the reaction we got and the great ideas that come from seeing someone actually using our product.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
Right now the entrepreneur that we admire the most has to be Jack Dorsey.  Splitting time between Twitter and Square?  That takes a lot of hustle.
What’s next for backstitch?
We are currently talking with users and deciding what features and services we want to integrate next into backstitch.

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