Qajack- The Video Game With Excellent Messaging

by Nathan W. Burke on June 1, 2009

Last night I got an email from Adam Martin of Qajack, a newly launched "video game" based on Questions and answers. Think of it as Yahoo Answers meets 12seconds. Something like that.

Here’s what they say it is:

Qajack uses video to play with what you know and what you want to know. It’s deliberately simple, no profiles to fill out, just login and play.

Qajack combines competition, ie gameplay and reward with information exchange, ie questions and answers.
How? Simple: Qajack is all video and it’s a game.

You can ask anything and answer anything by webcam! Each video capture is a maximum of 60 seconds long to keep the game flowing. Feeling shy? then you’ve got 140 characters of text or feeling verbose, you can upload a video from your desktop.

 Though I have played around with the app a little bit, the real story is their messaging. It’s really rare that someone really nails down the personality of a webapp to make it seem "cool", but they’ve done it. Here’s the email I received asking me to try out the app:

Dear Nathan,

Trust you’re well, by way of recall I’m Adam who you’ve never before, but if we did I’d almost certainly purloin some branded stationary from your office.

I’ve been involved in a start-up for last 12 months which just launched and would love for you to take a look – the new missing link in online social media, with an unpronounceable name.

We’re big String tweethearts and would stalk you if we could and it was legal and we lived in the same country/town.

Qajack uses video to play with what you know and what you want to know. It’s monkey simple, no profiles to fill out, just login, play and gamble with your reputation.

If Twitter is about brevity and inanity, Qajack is about authenticity and rich relevance.

Beta 1.0 release only supports Safari and Firefox, but we’re pounding our chests to get IE working too… oo …. oo.

We’re 3 founders, bootstrapped with my Mum’s new window fund and based in London, Barcelona and Bogota.

Best Wishes,

Now let me tell you the subtle brilliance of this email.

1. It immediately addresses the fact that we’ve never met, but moves from the feeling of spam to the feeling of familiarity.

2. It is self-effacing, calling out the fact that it has an unpronounceable name.

3. It throws a shout out to the blog, and pays a compliment.

4. It gives a crystal clear description of what it is and how easy it is to start.

5. It frames the app in a familiar context with a comparison to twitter

6. It tells me that they’re a group of 3 entrepreneurs trying to make something great with no money, just guts…and does it in a really funny way.

Now you tell me, after reading something like that, aren’t you immediately on their side?

What’s even better is that the tone of the messaging doesn’t end there. It’s consistent in their site as well:

We bootstrapped with old boots, a kindly grandparent and selling pretty much everything we owned.

My wife has threatened to leave me, until I persuaded her I could make iPhone Apps for comedians to pay the bills and feed our kids. All the while Qajack bubbled away. We talked about a launch in July 08, what were we thinking?! We’ve iterated, procrastinated (mostly me), master…ed the art of UI simplicity and like feral parents bombed on smack we’re now giving our child up for adoption.

So come and take a look, whilst the parents are pooped, stressed, narcoleptics, the kid is kinda cute and very clever. She’s like Che Guevara and Monica Bellucci’s love child, if such a thing were even possible.

If Twitter is about brevity and inanity, Qajack is about authenticity and rich relevance.

Awesome job. After I play around with it a little more, I’ll be sure to write about how the app actually works!

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