I met Gerome Sapp over a year ago at Austin’s SXSW 2014 Festival when he first started to introduce us of his vision of GINX.
It seems like I always get put in this situation of “wait you don’t know who he is?”
Embarrassingly I didn’t…born and raised in San Antonio/ Austin and after living in San Francisco I know more about Spurs Basketball and SF Giants Baseball…so my knowledge of football is not so great!
I met up with Gerome again at CES 2015 and he gave me a review of the beta GINX app and I was intrigued. In a time where social media is huge and connecting with people globally a simple # tag does not funnel a true connection or meet-up.
This year at SXSW the GINX app officially launched and it was exciting to see the app in action during the festival (I used it the entire time).
After meeting up again at SXSW 2015 I decided I wanted a Q&A with Gerome Sapp and his app GINX. Below are his answers to our Q&A and I must admit I learned allot about him and his vision.
What gave you the idea to develop the GINX app?
I realized millions of social media users, who weren’t connected, were using the same hashtag at the same time, which created natural groups of interest (defined by the hashtag) in the CLOUD. However, there was no way to connect these people around their hashtag interest and the media they post around it. So I borrowed principles of a FLASH-MOB to create a model that allowed strangers to come together to be social, around a single interest during definite moments in time. I realized that this created a concentrated awareness around that interest. So for Ginx, my strangers are millions of social media users and the interest are hashtags and the images they post around a specific hashtag. Anyone can create these hashtag themed visual communities and set a time frame around it. Participants can join into them from within the app or by simply adding an asterisk in front of their hashtag while their posting within Instagram (ex. *#VegasTech). Participants up/down-vote on the images to determine who best visually represented that particular hashtag to crown a person STAR of that hashtag. Brands can reward the STAR of their brands hashtag.
Where did the name GINX come from?
The name came from the childhood game called JINX. If you recall, when two or more people said the same thing at the same time you said JINX. Well, the app allows multiple people to be visually social around the same hashtag at the same time which creates a natural JINX. Only I spelled it with a G!
How long did it take to develop GINX from concept to launch?
From concept to launch into its current beta phase was 5 weeks.
Being a former NFL player did you already know you wanted to start a business?
Yes, I was a finance major at Notre Dame and actually worked at Merryll Lynch in the summer. That let me know I didn’t want to work behind a desk 5 days a week. I also got my executive MBA at Harvard Business School in the off-season while I was playing in the NFL. That program focused on Business management and Entrepreneurial studies, which really allowed me to understand the business fundamentals I needed to know to act on various entrepreneurial ideas.
You grew up in Houston, tell me your rise to fame as a football player to successful business owner?
I grew up beating odds every day of my life. The odds said I probably wouldn’t be alive to see my 18th bday. The odds suggested that I wouldn’t make it to college, let alone graduate. I had a better chance of winning the lottery than getting drafted to play in the NFL. So, because I was blessed enough to beat all those odds growing up, I developed the ability to not let the odds of being successful in business stop me from stepping off the cliff to chase my entrepreneurial dreams. In my mind football was always just a stepping stone to bigger and better things. However, the life lessons I learned from football have many parallels to principles of business which helped me transition from one to the other.
Who inspires you the most?
What’s coming up down the road for GINX?
Aside from the app evolving to be a better product, we are currently in conversations around partnerships with several notable brands and universities.
After reading the Q&A I not only have mad respect for Gerome and his aspirations but after a year I consider him an industry friend. Who knows maybe you will run into one of us at E3 2015!