Ocqur: Smart Enterprising

by Caz Parra

Joseph Stashko is one of the co-founders of Ocqur. He won the Guardian Student Media Digital Journalist of the Year Award in 2011. You can find him on Twitter here.

Ocqur is an upcoming platform for live-blogging events with the potential to change the face of online live reporting. It is sleek looking, super fast and able to work with a range of other platforms such as Twitter, Youtube or Flickr. Ocqur’s main feature is that it automatically displays new updates, without the need to refresh the page. Earlier last month we spoke with Joseph Stashko, who along with Andrew Fairbairn and Jonathan Frost, is responsible for Ocqur.

“The idea came about because we looked at the market of live blogging and we saw that what was out there already wasn’t affordable or was just terribly designed,” says Joseph, who also thinks that there’s no reason why design and functionality can’t work together.

In true 21st-century entrepreneurial style Ocqur was developed in parallel to Joseph, Jon and Andrew’s university studies. Ten weeks of hard work over evenings and weekends resulted in ‘Ocqur 0.1’, the first version of the service, which is currently in its testing stage. “We have over 100 testers. Getting feedback is amazing, we didn’t want to build what we thought was best [version of the product] and then find out that it’s not. We rather give it to people as early as possible so they can help build the service. We’ve given the raw ideas, now you fill in the blanks”. This is, potentially, what will guarantee the success of Ocqur. Through the testing stage and the feedback process the team are determined to build the service users want.

But can a side-project be considered a startup? “It’s hard to define yourself, I would say yes from my personal standpoint,” says Joseph. For him, being a startup is an attitude more than a business label: “It’s a mentality, it’s looking to disrupt what’s already available. We’re not trying to make a product that is a little improvement to what already exists, we are trying to rethink how something works and come up with a better way to do it”.

We can’t let Joseph go without asking our already infamous question: is this generation start up? Joseph believes it could be, as long as “people see things through and actually try to realise them”. Speaking from his experience developing Ocqur he tells us that the quality of the idea is as important as having “one or two other people who have the same one”. What do you think?