Back in 2008, as a naive college student, I launched Weefolio. It was a basic portfolio builder for all sorts of artist, not just the traditional or techie. I spent the better half of my senior year learning as I built. What resulted was a shiny app with some positive initial feedback, that didn’t do a whole lot. Needless to say, I was stunned as the app gain attention from blogs, and the user base began to grow steadily. What was meant to be a 400-level student project for me, was resonating on some level with the online community.
Inevitably the traffic slowed down, and users began to realize the poorly-built app’s limitations. But something stuck with me. I couldn’t help but wonder why such a simple idea gained so much initial momentum. After all, this was as basic a portfolio builder as they came. What was all the fuss about? I began to look into some of the alternatives.
Currently the portfolio “big guns” seem to occupy two very extreme ends of the online spectrum. On one hand, you have Carbonmade, easily one of the most popular online portfolio apps. Carbonmade makes managing your portfolio fun and simple, while limiting personal creativity and expression in the actual portfolio itself. On the other hand you have apps like Squarespace, a robust & powerful CMS with edge on design & creative needs. I felt that most of these apps we’re either over simplified for their user base, to the extent that they offered little or no individuality, or incredibly customizable and completely out of reach for the non-technical. It seemed like the market portfolio builders should really be focused on were being completely snubbed.
I spent a while thinking about this problem. I had been wanting to rebuilt Weefolio for some time, but I wanted to be sure I came at it differently. I didn’t want to try and wedge into a niche, I wanted to create a niche.
I began using Tumblr a while back, and I couldn’t get over how well they catered to both a technical community (with many user building their own themes) and non-technical community (users using pre-built themes). They seemed to have the best of both worlds. Now, many serious bloggers or developers could argue that Tumblr is not nearly powerful enough to be seen as a serious platform, but it’s not trying to be. It’s trying to be a simple blogging tool with all sorts of great social and customizing tools built in. I decided to approach Weefolio the same way.
Last year, @mcmaloney & I began work from the ground up on an entirely new Weefolio. We launched in April, and just recently pushed a major update. The new Weefolio is not a powerful CMS. It’s not limitlessly expandable. It is what it is, a simple way to manage and display your work online. We made theme building simple, and familiar for those with even minimal technical experience. And we’ve created a theme gallery that we hope to grow in the coming months to meet needs of everyone else in the community.
We’re constantly trying to improve on what we’ve created, and are really excited about where Weefolio is going. We want our users to be involved in the process, so I hope you can check it out. If you love it, please tell your friends. If you hate it, please tell us how we can change that.
Oh, and don’t forget to follow us @weefolio or find us on Facebook!