Founder: James Yang
Launched: August 2013
Based: Dallas, TX
The internet is a useful tool but sometimes it can feel like a giant black hole, sucking you in as you search for information. Google is great for searching for brands but the information isn’t well organized. For niche content, Google search isn’t very functional at all.
According to James Yang, an electrical engineer turned self-taught web developer, YouTube is much the same as Google. “YouTube is a hosting site but as far as organization it doesn’t really do the job. Most of the video organization happens on niche sites” he says. “Reddit and Digg organize links. There’s Pinterest and Instagram for images; Pandora, Spotify and 8track for music. But there wasn’t really anything to organize video.”
This is precisely the problem Yang set out to solve when he created Huzzaz, a video curation platform that enables users to create video collections and embed them on other websites. Huzzaz, which launched in August, has a custom search for finding videos on YouTube and Vimeo. Once the videos are added to your collection, they can be streamed ad free.
Yang says this can be particularly useful for the education industry. “There are lots of video how-tos, videos on history and science but they’re hard to find and filter through.” He believes what we need is people who are passionate about a topic to pull together a collection of what they consider the best videos.
Ryan Drury, a 21-year-old junior at Southern Methodist University says Huzzaz is useful for exactly this purpose. He’s been using it for a month and says that from the first collection he put together he was hooked.
“It’s so useful. I can see it being used by students, public speakers, football coaches, aspiring musicians, and even politicians,” Drury says, adding that what’s most interesting is that it’s so awesome and still in beta.
Indeed, Yang says that one of the challenges for Huzzaz is bandwidth and scalability. Since its launch, the site peaked at 40 percent growth in one week and is currently growing at a steady rate of 15 percent. Still, he says with limited resources he has to be careful about taking on too many users too quickly.
“Our vision was to cast a wide net but it’s difficult to implement,” he says.
While Huzzas is certainly intended to be social, Yang admits that the community building is another challenge resulting from resource constraints. For now, he’s squarely focused on building a useful and functional product. So far he seems to be on the right track with the bookmarklet for easily adding videos to a collection and a recently released WordPress plugin for easy embedding on WordPress blogs.
Ultimately, he says Huzzaz is a passion project. “I just want to create something that helps make the world a better place.”
Photo credit: Pmltadeo