Jean-Luc Nguyen

“Being the CEO of a start-up is being able to handle five things at a time when you only have the time for three,” says Jean-Luc Nguyen, founder of Storylation, a new mobile app developed in Malta.

“Bringing an idea to life requires me to stay focused on the long-term vision whilst dealing with the day-to-day operational tasks: from building the product to sourcing talent, doing the marketing and finding customers,” explains the CEO and founder of the app, which was created as a ‘positive social network’, with a view to revolutionise the social media space by changing the way people interact online.

Explaining the premise behind it, Mr Nguyen affirms that Storylation is about positivity, gratitude and recognition. “That’s not the most normal thing in the current social media space!” he quips, lamenting that people are used to talking about themselves first. “The floor is rarely given to those who rub shoulders with us on a daily basis. So, how could we change this way of communication? Isn’t it more rewarding when others share something about you and the energy you release in life or at work?”

With this in mind, the app founder’s idea stemmed from sharing the floor on social networks, focusing on building a community of early adopters who want to spread positivity around them. “We listen to their feedback and improve the product on a daily basis,” he says.

Describing the experience thus far as “challenging but exciting”, the CEO confides that he gets excited each time he reads a new story on the app. “I’m really happy to read a story by someone sharing some love about someone else. However, as it is a social network, we need to attain critical mass to become attractive. We acquire new users every day and even get interest from companies who want to use our tool for their employees, but we need to grow faster,” he attests.

The project started in March 2020. After six months, a beta version was released in September. “We have recently celebrated 1,000 users, and this month have also released a new feature to bring communities together which we are very proud of,” Mr Nguyen says, highlighting that the main difference between Storylation and other platforms is that you can’t use the app alone.

“You can’t talk about yourself – you can only tell stories and share memories you have had with others. We help people remember why they are connected to each other,” the CEO maintains, explaining that in doing so, you also discover people’s stories through who they are, not what they look like. “It is a tool that can be perfectly suited to companies (which sometimes lack solutions to bring their teams together especially during the COVID period), as well as for individuals (to communicate differently with loved ones),” he adds.

Looking back on the last year and the challenges brought about by the pandemic, Mr Nguyen believes that since COVID-19 began, people have felt very lonely. “In some countries, being locked at home and disconnected from colleagues, friends and family was very challenging. Students and older people showed signs of depression. Remote work has created a need for a tool to keep people connected while being isolated, and this is exactly what Storylation does through messages of gratitude and recognition from their peers,” he says.

In fact, as a result of COVID-19, the CEO sees a big opportunity for any tool helping employees work remotely moving forward. “Remote work is here to stay, and organisations will need to adapt to this new constraint. Being close to each other is essential for a business to grow serenely. As physical meetings are difficult to attain, companies will have to find new tools to keep their teams motivated,” he says.

Looking ahead at his own vision for his start-up, Mr Nguyen says he hopes to share Storylation’s vision and purpose with more people and attract people who want to join forces for the greater good. “We believe we deserve a better social media that unites and bonds people and shows the good in them. We hope to become a major player in the social media space.”

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