Reading Free by Chris Anderson recently, I discovered that one of the first home computers was designed solely to organise receipes in the kitchen, as that was about the only task for which the engineers at Honeywell thought a computer might be useful. Â To enter receipes required a working knowledge of Hex. Â It is not known whether any units were sold!
Fast forward 40 years and it turns out that computes are pretty useful for collating and sharing receipes after all. Â Carol Savage from MyDish recently secured funding from the famously picky Dragons of Dragon’s Den for her food lovers online community. Â MyDish is also based in the Old Truman Brewery, where only the very best businesses are located.
Carole was nice enough to answer some of my questions.
Please give us some background on mydish.co.uk
I came up with the idea for MyDish when my husband came back from South Africa after his mother had passed away. He brought back two scraps of paper with recipes on: one for Banana Bread and another for Lemon Meringue Pie. For mu husband, the recipes were so much more than a list of ingredients, they were memories. They reminded him of being a little boy. I told this story to lots of people and everyone had a similar story.
I’d recently sold a business and was looking for a new challenge so I hit upon the idea of MyDish: the internet seemed like the perfect medium to share and store everyone’s treasured recipes.
What made you want to go on Dragon’s den?Â Had you exhausted other funding roots or were you attracted by the additional publicity?
Of course, we didn’t actually know we’d get funding but we thought DD was a good way of raising cash and our profile at the same time. It’s been a very rewarding experience and we’re all looking forward to working with Deborah Meaden.
The surge in traffic, registrations and new recipes since we appeared last week has been extraordinary and much more than we expected. We’re still getting a lot of traffic thanks to iPlayer.
What was the Dragon’s Den experience like?
It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve blogged it here: http://www.mydishblog.co.uk/
I didn’t see the programme before it aired, which meant I didn’t know what to expect. It was very nervous wracking not knowing what they would choose to show.
Any tips for building a community and driving traffic.Â Do you see likes of Facebook as a big competitor or are you in an entirely different market?
One thing we’ve found to be very successful is having an authentic and honest voice. That’s why we try and keep the site personal and friendly. We can come across as a site that people want to use.
I see Facebook as a vehicle. The great big communities are obviously very popular, but I think there’s space for niche, focussed and specialist social sites out there. We successfully use blogging, forums, Facebook, Stumbleupon and Twitter to generate traffic and buzz. Twitter in particular is very good because it’s such a conversational medium. During the show and since we’ve been able to communicate directly with viewers and visitors which has been great.
What are your plans for the future.Â You mentioned some interesting functionality on TV.
We have two main priorities. Developing the community and site to drive traffic. We’ve got lots of features that we want develop that we hope will be popular with members including the menu planner and a shopping planner.
Building revenue through partnerships. We’ve successfully done deals with brands like Heinz and Clover as well as linked up with Ocado and Asda, We can offer a highly engaged audience to brands which makes us a powerful aveneue for advertisier. But there has to be something in it for the members. We don’t want to bombard them with pointless, untargeted advertising.