Matthias Neumayer and Dmitrij Rubanov

Make sure we're taking care of ourselves while still pursuing our entrepreneurial dreams.

May 4, 2023

Hello! Matthias background is video and producing and now web development and marketing, Dmitrij was an aviator, Msc in Finance, and a self-taught developer. The two of you together are like the fusion of Dragon Ball. Where do you meet and why you decided to build products together?

We have been best friends for over 20 years, having met during our school days. Even though we pursued different career paths in video production, web development, aviation, and finance, we always had a shared desire to create something together. With our diverse backgrounds and complementary skill sets, we recognized the potential for a dynamic partnership and decided to embark on building products together.

Did AI find you or you found AI? In other words, did you decide to build an AI product because everybody was doing or AI was something that you’ve been working on for some time now?

We've been interested in AI for some time now, and we actually started playing around with GPT-3 before deciding to build a product with it. It was during this exploration phase that Dima came up with the idea for Oscar Stories, and we saw the potential to use AI professionally. So, in a way, we found AI through our own curiosity and interest in the technology, rather than being drawn to it simply because it was trendy or popular.

What’s the story behind Oscar Stories? Sometimes it seems that everybody is around the same with AI and you built something different and that looks good. How the idea came?

The idea for Oscar Stories came from a very personal place - it was inspired by a little boy named Oscar who happens to be Matthias' godchild. Oscar had a real hunger for fresh and exciting stories featuring himself and his friends, and we wanted to create an app that could meet that need. We realized that there was a gap in the market for personalized, AI-generated stories that were truly unique and engaging. So, we set out to build an app that could deliver just that, and it's been really exciting to see how people have responded to it. We're happy to have created something that stands out in the crowded field of AI products!

Banner of Oscar stories

Did you validate your idea before? How?

Before launching Oscar Stories, we wanted to ensure that our idea resonated with our target audience: parents and their children. To validate the concept, we talked to parents and asked them if they would use the app, and we also asked their kids what features they would like tosee. We wanted to make sure that our product would be not only something that kids would love, but also something that parents would find valuable and useful. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, which gave us the confidence to move forward with the development of the app. It was a crucial step in the process of bringing Oscar Stories to life, and we're grateful to the parents and children who helped us refine and improve our idea.

How long it took from the idea to the first MVP?

We had the idea in December and the MVP was finished around February. Then we did internal testing before the release. So about 2 - 3 months.

Going more technical, what is the stack of Oscar Stories - Backend, frontend, AI?

Tech stalk is

Frontend: React Native + Redux + Expo + Firebase

Database: Firestore

Backend: Node.js + Express + Revenuecat + OpenAI

Landingpage + Share Feature: React + Gatsby.js

Do you have any new features planned for the near future or now you just want to get customers, get customers' feedback and iterate from there?

We're always thinking about how we can improve Oscar Stories and make it even more valuable and engaging for our customers. While we do have a lot of features planned for the future, we try to prioritize customer feedback and avoid adding features that nobody needs. Currently, we're rolling out extended story sharing features that will allow users to share their stories with friends and family more easily. We're also planning to release the app in more languages, especially for the Asian market. And we're excited to share that we're working on something really cool that we can't reveal just yet, so stay tuned! We believe that by listening to our customers and incorporating their feedback into our product roadmap, we can create something truly special and unique.

You won product of the day on PH. What was the strategy for it?

Winning Product of the Day on Product Hunt was a really exciting moment for us, and we're grateful for all the support we received from the tech community. To be honest, we didn't have a specific strategy for winning the award since it was our first launch. We read a lot about different strategies, but some of them seemed to contradict each other, so we decided to just launch the app and hope for the best. We were pleasantly surprised when we reached the top spot on Product Hunt, and we owe a huge thanks to the amazing Twitter tech and #buildinpublic community for their support and encouragement. It was a great validation of all the hard work that went into developing Oscar Stories, and it motivated us to keep pushing forward and striving for even greater success.

banner of product hunt of the day

Can we talk about numbers? How many paid users do you have, and on average howmany users became paid users after the trial?

We have about 3000 total users and a conversion rate of about 5%

What about marketing strategies? What you use?

Marketing is an important part of our growth strategy, and we've been experimenting with different tactics to see what works best for us. So far, we've had some success with doing PR work, and we plan to continue focusing on that as well as improving our SEO efforts. In addition, we're currently testing different paid advertising channels to see how they perform for us. We're always looking for ways to reach new customers and build awareness for Oscar Stories, and we're open to trying out new marketing strategies as we grow and evolve as a company. Our goal is to find the most effective and efficient ways to reach our target audience and build a strong community of users who love our app

How did you decide on your pricing?

Pricing was decided by talking to parents and also in comparison to children books or similar products in the niche

Oscar gallerry

You are also building Heyqq. Can you talk about it? What is it and when is going to be released?

Heyqq is a social audio Q&A platform where you can get fast answers to your questions in real-time, 1:1 audio conversations. You can connect with experts in various fields and have meaningful discussions about the topics that matter to you. Whether you need advice on a career decision, want to learn more about a hobby, or simply want to chat with someone who shares your interests, heyqq has got you covered. We will release an invite-only version in June.

How do both of you manage your time to be productive, have time for your personallife and build 2 startups besides all the other things?

Managing our time effectively is definitely a challenge, especially when we're juggling multiple startups and other commitments. However, we're both extremely dedicated and passionate about what we do, so we're willing to put in the long hours and hard work necessary to make our ventures a success. One thing that helps is that we have an office together, which allows us to work side-by-side and stay focused and motivated. We also prioritize our personal relationships and hobbies, and make sure to carve out time for them whenever we can. It's all about finding a balance and making sure we're taking care of ourselves and our loved ones while still pursuing our entrepreneurial dreams.

What is your take on AI? Should be worried or only good things are coming?

Our view on AI is that it's a powerful technology that has the potential to transform many aspects of our lives for the better. However, we also acknowledge that there are legitimate concerns and risks associated with AI, such as job displacement and the potential for bias and misuse. We believe that it's important to stay informed about AI developments and to have open and honest discussions about the potential benefits and drawbacks of this technology. At the same time, we also think that it's important not to fear AI or to resist its progress but to embrace it and work together to harness its potential in ways that are ethical and beneficial for all. Overall, we believe that AI will have a significant impact on the world, and it's up to all of us to work together to shape that impact in positive ways that benefit humanity as a whole.

Both products are really different. How do you get the inspiration going?

As entrepreneurs, we draw inspiration from a variety of sources such as our own experiences, customer feedback, and emerging trends. We stay open-minded and connected with our community to explore new ideas and approaches. Our key to getting inspiration is to stay flexible and iterate as needed, enabling us to create impactful and innovative products.

What were some of the biggest challenges you faced while building your AI tool?

We had to experiment for quite some time to find a structure for GPT that the stories are good quality, engaging, and have suspense. We also implemented the feature that it doesn’t generate the same story twice, which kind of goes against the core of an LLM.

What are some of the most interesting use cases for your AI tool that you've seen so far?

Some people use it to learn languages, which is amazing, because we didn’t think about it at first.

How do you see the future of AI tools evolving over the next decade?

Over the next decade, we believe that AI tools will become even more integrated into our daily lives. We expect to see advancements in personalized recommendations and voice assistants, which will help us be more productive and connected. However, it's important to ensure that AI is used ethically and transparently for the benefit of everyone.

If you could teach AI anything, what would you teach it?

Math, LLMs are by nature bad at math, which is kinda funny if you think about it.

Favorite tool and why?

VS Code, needs no explanation

Word of advice?

As an indiehacker we always try to not forget to have fun.

One book, one person to follow on Twitter, and one music ?


Book: William Gibson Neuromancer (especially if you like AI)

Person: well, you should definitely follow Dima

Music: Parov Stelar


Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Person:You should definitely follow Matthias

Music: Usually White noise or Charts

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