About every five years a company comes along and really shakes things up. Rather than try to make slight improvements over their competition they completely redesign the concept and reform the way we do things. Over the last decade many of us have experienced the painful, time-consuming task of making ourselves a website. We've probably all wished their was a better way. Fortunately in 2015, The Grid is about to change all that.
Chances are that many of you have already seen or heard about The Grid as it has received a ton of press over the last few months. It has been featured on websites such as Wired, TechCrunch, Cnet, Forbes, HowDesign as well as many others. It quickly became the most successful crowdsource funding campaign for software with already over 13,000 people signing up for the service and the number is still growing. Lots of big names in the tech industry have turned into investors and mentors for The Grid. For instance, Jerry Yang, co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo, just helped raise 4.6 million towards the site. Other investors include former President of Disney Interactive John Pleasants, former Facebook VP of Product and Engineering Greg Badros and the founder of Elegant Themes Nick Roach.
The Grid is not a new website builder, it is completely different than anything else out there, more like your personal website developer. The reason so many leaders in the tech industry are excited about it is because it is going to entirely change how we build our web presence online through a completely automated process. This is a perfect example of disruptive innovation. Not just taking a product and making it better but actually transforming it, making it more affordable, and accessible to a lot larger population. In short, what The Grid does is takes the content you provide it and automicatically creates a site for you and helps you keep it fresh and engaging for viewers, something many web users expect to see these days.
“The Grid’s cloud-based artificial intelligence will reinvent web design by eliminating the mundane, time-consuming parts of web development and creating elegant websites in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. This will completely reinvent modern web design for everyone.” - Jerry Yang (co-founder and former CEO of Yahoo)
The Grid co-founder and CEO Dan Tocchini was nice enough to take some time to do a video chat with me back in November and I was impressed. I got off the call, walked over to my wife and said, "I just video chatted with who I believe will be next big name in the tech industry." Tocchini was incredibly knowledgeable and I could tell he is the guy that will work his tail off to accomplish a task the absolute best he can. Even more than that though, what impressed me most with Tocchini was how he has surrounded himself with some of the absolute best minds in the business. You can read more about the team over at The Grid here. They currently have about 20 members on the team spread out throughout the world. One member of the team that has the photography industry excited about is Jeff Woods. Jeff and his wife Julia are extremely accomplished photographers, with numerous awards, recognized as Canon Explorers of Light and featured speakers at a number of different photography conventions. If you want to reach out to Jeff about The Grid you can reach him on Twitter @JefnJul or even email him at email@example.com.
Being as this is a brand new technology it really does make the most sense to watch the video I shared above to understand what The Grid is all about. Some photographers have expressed concern about the parts in the video that suggest The Grid will automatically crop and color your photos. Don't worry though as that will be a feature you can turn off. It makes a lot of sense for many businesses but as photographers we want our work to be presented just as we edited it. They understand that and made it possible to do. I think it's important when watching the video to remember this service is bound to change up how many different industries develop their online web presense, not just photographers. One feature that will be included that I do love is the ability to do A/B testing on your site. This will allow you to test subtle variations of your site to see what generates more clicks and leads.
They are planning on launching The Grid in late Spring 2015 but now is the time to get on board. Through their crowdsource funding campaign they are offering The Grid to Founding Members for just $8/mon pre-paid for one year. That is quite a discount! When it goes live in 2015 that price will jump to $25/mon. Here's the best part though. After signing up you receive a referral code link. Give that to your friends, your parents, your siblings, anyone you think that could benefit from having a website through The Grid. When one of them signs up they refund you $32. That means once three of them sign up you got your first year of The Grid absolutely free and you will always be locked in at the $8/mon price.
After watching the video I immediately signed up, shared it with my friends, 12 of them jumped on board and they've already refunded me every cent I paid for my first year. To date they have almost 14,000 Founding Members signed up and as I mentioned earlier quite a few big-name tech leaders backing them. While they haven't decided yet on a hard date to stop accepting Founding Members the word is that it will most likely happen soon or just after the New Year.
Can you imagine?
- No more having to spend those late night hours trying to tweak things just right.
- Writing emails back and forth with your web designer and taking 6 months to design a new site.
- Spending hundreds or even thousands on a design that after launching you don't know how to update.
- Dealing with a website that always looks the same and lacks engagement.
- Learning how to use your website builder each time you log-in because it's been 6 months since the last time you used it.
Some might question the abilty for The Grid developers to pull off what they are promising. The concrete evidence of course won't be available till spring. But I will add that I was impressed enough with what I've seen, with the team and the investors that have been willing to step up and endorse The Grid that I wanted to make sure and let our readers here at Fstoppers know about it before the opportunity to purchase it at the discount ran out. I do know their site http://thegrid.io was created with their program and they have already been able create the engines behind the scenes that make this thing work. Like a kid waiting for Christmas, I can't wait for Spring 2015 to get here so I can start playing with The Grid.