How would you describe YAC in under 50 words?
YAC is a marketing management platform for business. Our engagement, publishing and push messaging features bring social presence into one powerful tool and turn keystrokes into happier customers, followers, fans, and subscribers. YAC gives one user the power to easily communicate with our client’s customers they way they like to be engaged.
Explain the name YAC?
Well it’s Y.A.C. but we find that everyone says “YAC” naturally so we went with it. It was a really organic name. “Your Area Code” is what it stands for and that name inferred hyper local service and customers with relation to text messaging. Plus a little influence of our roots as a social media site.
When I joined the company, a significant amount of time was spent throwing around name ideas. We wanted to bring our design concepts to life. Out of the 45 options we ended up with, YAC fit the best with our brand direction. After extensive discussion and some occasional second-guessing, the name began to feel right. I imagine, as we continue to grow and evolve, so will our brand and identity.
I’m a fan of new domain extensions, and short emails. That would probably be the core reason behind the company name. That said, I believe that we will see more iterations of these new domain extensions. So we might as well get ahead of the curve and embrace it.
Please tell us a little bit of your background, both personal and professional. Who is James Matthews?
I’m a very independent thinker. So I really built my business and personal philosophies on the necessity to survive with a dash of insatiable curiosity. I was raised in a less than perfect childhood environment. Having been completely on my own since the age of 16, I was forced to grow up fast and find creative solutions to survive. Due to these circumstances, I have always had a creative drive, and my entrepreneurial endeavors kicked in at early age.
A couple of funny stories that stand out: I trained myself in basic HTML at the age of 13. That same year I contracted with a hospital to build their website. And in 4th grade I sold popular candy fads like ‘war heads’ to my peers (at a markup of course). Professionally, I remain strategically involved in the wireless world. Right now I’m building multi-million dollar distribution programs for multiple wireless carriers (on both an agent side & carrier sides).
Yourareacode.com approached me after years of collaboration. They sought my opinion about how they could significantly grow their company. After some brainstorming, we initiated a rebranding and culture change (as you can see when comparing Yourareacode.com with http://yac.so).
Whenever I can get my like-minded entrepreneur friends together, we enjoy the outdoors…like white water rafting, paragliding, rock climbing, skydiving. In addition, I’m also addicted to TV & Movies. But most importantly, I have an incredible family that I love and spend the majority of my free time with.
What is the history of YAC and what is its future? Where will it be two years down the road?
YAC was originally “The 616”, a Grand Rapids-based social media platform very similar to Myspace (circa 2006). It actually had a large Grand Rapids bar culture following. Over the course of a few years it evolved to become the amazing software solution it is today. And now its a homerun for independent retailers and restaurants.
In two years we plan to aggressively to improve our distribution capabilities (both in the US but other countries as well). We will also continue to innovate – especially with regard on how to integrate with other customer engagement mediums, ie: ad words, ad networks, digital video networks, etc.. We recognize that this will help us become more valuable to our customers – who have better things to worry about.
How do you think YAC stands out from the rest of the crowded Saas & Digital Advertising industry?
For one, we integrate with new platforms rapidly by constantly innovating and improving the products that YAC offers. And while we are always adding new tools, we remain focused on our concept – having multiple platforms and contributors be able to perform a multitude of customer engagement tasks, all from one streamlined dashboard.
In terms of the product itself, the fact that YAC is completely cloud-based. This is a huge advantage over downloaded apps — no updates to install or permission required from office system administrators. YAC is designed to be useful for business owners, unlike other tools which are tailored to tech-savvy power-users only.
Finally, we always focus on building relationships with our customers. This not only allows us to provide more value to the user – by simplifying and pushing their message across social networks, email, text. & their website, – but also allows us to evolve our business model. User feedback is extremely important to us and plays a key role in our strategic planning.
Vice President | YAC.so