Vassilena Valchanova’s entry into the digital world probably wasn’t a calculated decision, yet she’s become the person in charge of managing communications and marketing strategy at Innologica.
Some people recognize her as a lady with a big heart and an energetic spirit. Even in high-school she was already determined to pursue her passion in communications, and later joined State Agency for Youth and Sports as an interpreter. While studying public relations at Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, she also worked with a local advertising agency and volunteered as a PR-coordinator for a student association before she took her Master’s in international communication.
She kept doing PR, event management and marketing work overtime, then finally ended up with a strong bias towards online communications and an interest in tech, which led her to her current path.
How did you end up working on Inoreader / Innologica?
I already used the platform before becoming part of Innologica. Then, finally, in the start of this year the need for a dedicated communications specialist arose and I had the chance to join the team.
How would you describe Inoreader?
We call Inoreader a “content reader”, as it expands beyond your typical RSS subscription service to give you a range of tools for content discovery, curation and sharing. With Inoreader you can follow your favorite blogs, get the news right when they appear online, monitor brand mentions or topic keywords, follow social profiles, searches and much more.
What’s the main concept behind Inoreader? What pain points does it solve?
We built Inoreader to fight one of the greatest issues people face online – information overload. In a typical day, you probably visit at least a couple of news sites, some influencer blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Google+ searches, you find the odd link that sounds interesting, but you want to read it later and inevitably forget… It can be really overwhelming! With Inoreader you don’t have to scramble for information and visit all sites one at a time – content comes straight to you the moment it appears, and waits for you in a neat and clean reading environment.
How long did it take for you and your team to build Inoreader?
As most news junkies, we were devastated to hear Google were closing Google Reader. The news of the beloved reader’s demise came in March 2013 and in the beginning of April we already had a running public version – it was largely a solo effort by Yordan Yordanov, our founder. Two and a half years down the line, Inoreader has grown a lot, with one complete redesign and a host of new features – and we still consider it a project in development, constantly trying to make it better and delight new customers. Now everyone in our company has some role to play in developing Inoreader.
I heard Inoreader won 3 Bulgarian Web Awards 2015. Congratulations!
Can you tell us the details of each award, and how did Inoreader achieve it?
This was a great accomplishment for us, as it’s the largest web competition on home turf, and it’s also the first competition we took part in. We won 3 awards out of the 3 categories we entered. Our iOS app won the award for Best Mobile App. We got an award for Single Page Application – Inoreader relies on Ajax asynchronous loading, so all the application code is loaded when you first open the page and then we only load the content data. The award I deem most impressive is the Complex Web Project award – there was great competition there, as Bulgaria has some of the best programming talent in Europe, but we still managed to take the prize home.
How do you differentiate yourself from the competitors? What makes Inoreader stand out from the crowd?
I always like to say that the best way to develop and market a product is when you yourself are its target audience – this largely applies to Inoreader. The platform is geared towards those who value efficiency and presents them with a full set of power tools for managing the information flow. There are a lot of services that can serve a decent role for news aggregation, but I think Inoreader stands out when it comes to power users and content curators.
How much user base does Inoreader currently have?
There are hundreds of thousands of registered users, but what personally strikes me the most is the sheer amount of information going through Inoreader – there are already 6 billion articles in our index, with 10 million new items coming in each day.
How do you think the lives of people have changed since they start using Inoreader? How do you think it makes them feel?
We have some very vocal users, which helps us know for sure when our audience is happy or dissatisfied with us. The best kind of compliment we get is that now people can’t imagine their daily information diet without Inoreader. It’s very satisfying to know you empower people to do more and find great content they’re interested in.
What’s the next step for Inoreader?
We’re constantly working on developing the platform further. After all, the Internet doesn’t stay still, so why should we? Currently, we’re focused on extending the mix of options for different use cases – it’s amazing to see how all pieces fit together to make the lives of users better.