Uri Levine Co-Founder, Waze

  • The magic behind Waze: Using the same platform to collect information and then sharing that information with everyone else on the platform. The app needed a critical mass of users to increase the accuracy of the data. The more accurate data, the more users you attract.

  • Why do you think the problem you are trying to solve [sitting in traffic] is such a core frustration for so many people? The waiting makes people feel helpless and useless. The opportunity for Waze is to alleviate this feeling millions of times a year.

  • Waze started as a completely blank page: When people started driving they actually created the streets on the map. If there were 100 people going in one direction, and 0 going in the opposite direction, then the system would understand that was a one-way street. 

  • How did you find the first users? The key was to find people that cared about GPS and map data. We found them in different forums online. There are enthusiastic amateurs and hobbyists for everything. You just have to find them online.

  • Big things start small: Waze’s first headquarters was his mom’s living room. 

  • There are 3 types of people you don’t want in your organization: You don’t want a drama queen, a victim, or a non-conformist. I’m a non-conformist. I was at Google for 0 days. I left right after the sale. I don’t like large organizations.

  • How you know you are solving a real problem: We learned in the early days we just had to deliver a good enough experience. As long as the first time they used the app it was good enough they’d use it again. And after a few good enough experiences if they’d run into an experience that was poor, users were much more forgiving.

  • It is important to understand this: The faster you move, the faster you will make mistakes. This means you get better faster. 

  • Waze looks like an adult candy land: This was intentional to make the app feel like a game. It incentivizes people to use the app even when the data is not perfect.

  • Full podcast here.