Monday, August 26, 2013

A dream came true

Saturday, I woke up tense. Quite early, because I am still jet-lagged, and definitely tense.

Juve was going to play at 11:45 am and I had no clue what to expect. We had tested the servers for a peak of users, but the amount of downloads of Juventus Live since Thursday had been incredible. On top of it, I knew that baseball tends to spread the users during hours - and 15 games the same day - while the Juventus users would come in all together at the same time.

Before the game, I called my dad on Skype, as I always do every Saturday at 10 am. He tried to answer with Skype on his iPad, but it did not work. Therefore, he called me back from his computer. He told me he downloaded the app, so we tried a call on Juventus Live - assuming it would not work (since Skype wasn't). Instead, it worked perfectly. My dad told me: " is better than Skype". Dads are great.

That already made my day, until a minute later I heard tok tok on my iPad: my younger brother came online (he lives in Mozambique, Africa). I added him to the call and we started talking about the game, making all kind of noises. We took a social photo to remember the event.

Once we were done, I realized I was talking about Juventus from California, with my dad in Italy and my brother in Africa. Three continents, united by one passion. Amazing.

Then I went back to work. Found a problem, fixed it and started looking at the wave of users growing. I stopped accepting calls from friends, to make sure I was focused (although I had the game in background). Everything went smoothly, and I finally relaxed, once the first half was over.

At that point, my older brother called. I used to watch every Juve game with him and my best friend Alberto. I do not think we missed one in the ten years I lived in Pavia. We called our little group the Juventus Club La Mamma, because it is the one thing you cannot criticize. Juve is always right. The penalty against us are simply a mistake by the referee. Our goals are never offside.

We laughed about the game, and I felt like I was there on their couch. I was missing my sister-in-law's good-charm cake, though, but I am not convinced I can build a company for that (yet). We took another social photo, but this time they started it (therefore, it is in Italian, with the actual time in Italy. Clever app ;-)

When Juve scored, the amount of concurrent users shot up. Sign that people called their friends to celebrate, and to take a photo together (I definitely was one of them). When the game was over, same thing. Actually, the highest peak came exactly at that moment. People kept the app around for the entire game, coming back to it at the end. That is really great, for us.

Last social photo, to celebrate the victory, with my dad and the Juventus Club La Mamma.

Once everything was over, I stopped for a second. I was tired as if I actually played the game, but I had a big smile on my face. We had a ton of users, the servers worked perfectly, Juve won and I enjoyed the game as I never had in almost fifteen years living in the US.

I built an app because I had a dream. The dream to watch Juve with my family and friends. Yesterday, that dream came true. I am such a lucky man.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Going for that million

The day after the SuperBowl, I had mixed emotions. I was licking my wounds for the loss of the Niners, but I was really happy for the amount of users and the feedback TOK Football received.

Then, out of the blue, an email hit my Inbox. There was a logo in the signature. Big, visibile. The logo of my soccer team. Juventus. The best team in Italy, one of the top ten in the world.

There are few things in life that give a man emotions. One, it is the logo of the team he rooted for, since he was a child. For me, that is Juventus (the Giants, the Niners, even Ferrari are passions I acquired along the way). Juventus is the one love my dad passed to me. Something that is in my DNA, and will ever be.

The email said they tried the app and were really impressed by it, and they wanted to talk to me.

As any geek would do, the first thing I did was checking the raw source of the message. I have been the author of multiple pranks in my life, surrounding emails. This one looked like a potential good prank from a friend, but the SMTP server was, and the IP from Turin, home of Juventus. As legit as they come.

It was not a prank. Of all the teams in the world, it was my team. Out of nowhere. They wanted, for Juventus fans, like me. When my ultimate goal when I started was to talk to my dad and brother, during Juventus games...  What are the odds?? Unbelievable.

Today, a bit more than six months later, we are launching Juventus Live. The app that allows Juventus fans to talk to their friends, while they watch their team on TV.

It is a big deal for us. Juventus has 6.8M fans on Facebook. They are a huge brand worldwide. TOK Baseball is doing great: I am hopeful we can get to 100,000 users by the end of the season. But this is different: our little brand can do so much, but with Juventus on the cover, we are going to get to that million of users in a few months.

To celebrate the event, we even have a new logo, and a new website...

Go download Juventus Live from the App Store. It works for your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It has news when there is no game, and live stats during the game (plus sounds that make you feel you are at the stadium). We have it in English and in Italian. If you are a user, your friends will be there waiting for you, same backend. If you are not a Juve fan, still check it out, maybe you can jinx us ;-)

And if you want to know if there is a burp sound... No, there is not. But I am going to fight to get it back in. Maybe, before we get to that million... As usual, stay tuned.