In case you haven’t noticed, we love highlighting incredible and innovative Kickstarter projects. Our latest find, Jumpshot, is no exception! Featuring unique USB flash drive design, the Linux-based software cleans your Windows machine of all of the daily crap that may be loading it down. I caught up with co-creator Pedram Amini to get a better look at Jumpshot- see the interview below!
1. As friends and colleagues, how do you and your colleague Dave Endler divide the work on Jumpshot? What specialties to each of you have?
Both Dave and I are accustomed to wearing a lot of hats. We write code, communicate with contractors, sketch designs, etc… It’s not uncommon for us to literally stand up and switch seats when we find ourselves stuck on whatever problem we’re each working on. That said, Dave is certainly better versed at handling the logistics ranging from drafting a business plan to managing finances, and my fascination with complexity allows me to code for days straight without sleep. We complement each other well and have done so for over a decade.
2. You say that Jumpshot was built from your passion to give everyone an easy way to keep their computers running in top shape. What challenges and obstacles have appeared along the way?
There have been many and we’ve come to appreciate them all as each overcome challenge represents a hurdle that a competitor would have to jump in order to catch us. Before we had a working beta of Jumpshot, a common problem we encountered when helping friends and family was the inability to even run diagnostic tools. It’s quite frustrating to sit behind a PC bogged down with so much grime that every interaction requires minutes of time, Googling and hair pulling. To address this challenge we took ourselves out of run-time. We “sedate” the PC, which translates to: we reboot to our customized Linux OS and run our software outside of Windows. In doing so we lose out on all the functionality Windows normally provides to developers. Creating this platform took significant technical effort.
From a user perspective our biggest challenge has been the construction of the experience. A plethora of tools exist, both free and commercial, that can be used in PC first aid. Finding the right combination of tools and understanding them requires time and experience. We aimed to eliminate all that with an effortless to use, easy to understand, fully automated system that overwhelmed techies can empower their friends and family with. User experience is a top priority and is a subject that is raised daily. We take pride in our attention to detail and look for similar qualities in everyone with partner with.
3. Other than Jumpshot, can we expect any other projects from the two of you? Besides computer security, what else are you interested in?
I’m certain this won’t be Dave and I’s last endeavor, but it will certainly consume all our cycles for the foreseeable future. We’ve built a lot over the past two years but we’ve dreamed a lot more. This was one of the main factors behind our decision to launch on Kickstarter. We needed a pulse check from the community on what we’ve accomplished so far and more importantly we need feedback to drive our direction. The overwhelmingly positive response from the Kickstarter community has been uplifting and added to our excitement. We’ve got a lot of ideas on the table and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Jumpshot.
4. Most of the PC “optimization” programs that I’ve had experience with end up bloating my computer even more by running in the background, or even corrupting my machine to the point of having to reinstall my OS. What makes Jumpshot different?
We designed Jumpshot to be “zero-footprint”. No installer, no background applications… no fuss. After running Jumpshot if the user is unhappy with the results for whatever reason, it’s a matter of clicking a single button to revert.
There are some great programs written by talented developers that serve as excellent arrows in the tech support quiver, but they require expertise. There’s also a lot of charlatans out there whose business strategy essentially breaks down to flooding the market with advertisements and profiting from those who fall into their net. We drew up an infographic which captures these sentiments:
At the end of the day what makes us different is that we are bridging the gap between efficacy and usability, all the while trying to make the process enjoyable. In addition to ease of use we’ve added an element of game play with the introduction of Karma, which you earn for helping rid of the world evil. Every time you run Jumpshot you’re earning Karma.
5. Each “minion” has his or her own specialty, but what sorts of things can every minion perform?
Let me begin with a clarification. The physical USB flash drive characters are functionality equivalent. We chose three of our characters to model USB sticks from but the software encompasses all the minions and their respective functionality. After running Jumpshot each of the minions who performed a task or have information to share communicate with the user in a conversational manner. The essence we are trying to capture here is the high level conversation I may have with my father when trying to explain details of what I’ve done to tweak his PC. By giving each minion a specialty we hope to create a sense of familiarity.
There are 10 minions in existence currently. The descriptions of each are available in the graphic on our Kickstarter page, direct link:
We have additional minions “in training”, who comes out first depends on the feedback from our backers.
6. Can you give us any inside information on some of the new “minions” that you’ll be releasing?
We have a lot of ideas on the table and again, this is a main motivator in our launching on Kickstarter. We have been having and will continue to have a dialogue with our backers. Their input is invaluable and will play a great part in driving our direction.
Thanks again to Pedram and Dave for letting us get to know Jumpshot a little better! You can check out their Kickstarter page here- there’s still time to pitch in!