MINR’s Sol Weinreich aims to ‘power the curation generation’

One of the liveliest members at WeWork Fulton Center in New York City, Sol Weinreich is constantly on the move. The cheerful, bespectacled entrepreneur says he is always thinking about ways to improve the beta version of MINR, his smart news aggregator that creates personalized recommendations based on each user’s interests.

Weinreich chatted with WeWork about the one thing he wished he picked up before starting his business and how he recovered from his biggest mistake.

WeWork: What inspired you to start your business? 

Weinreich: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial streak. When I was 10, my mom, who is a published author, was asked to speak at a teen girls summer camp and I ran around selling her books that weekend.

I started MINR specifically because I found that I wasn’t able to keep up with news that was important to me, like sports, tech, business, and politics. So rather than complain about it, I decided to fix it.

WeWork: I heard that you love sports. Which team are you a die-hard fan of and why?

I love the Rangers. Hockey is a sport where the defining moment can be anytime. But I’m a die-hard fan of the New York Giants. I love football because it’s like a chess match — the offense has to out think the defense and vice versa.

WeWork: How does MINR exactly work?

Weinreich: MINR is focused on helping you share. Our goal is to provide enough stories that are interesting so that you’ll want to share. We want you to be more productive and use the time you’re already spending to grow your online presence. Once you download the app, we funnel in all the content that’s being shared in your networks. We build on that so there is no onboarding on your part. You won’t need to teach us what you like or want to read, and you can connect to multiple social accounts for sharing.

WeWork: What was your initial vision for your company, and has it changed?

Weinreich: Initially, we started off as a Machine Learning Twitter filter that removed irrelevant tweets from your timeline. Now we’re building a mobile app that helps turn consumption into curation. We all have our social channels where we share content at MINR, so our goal is to help you find content and rather than just consume. We are powering the curation culture.

WeWork: What has been your biggest mistake so far, and how did you recover?

Weinreich: In our alpha phase, we focused on how our product looked before we worked through all the kinks in the back end. I realized that a nice front on a bad back end is like putting lipstick on a pig. It looks pretty for a minute, but when it wears off you’re stuck with a pig. We recovered eventually by focusing exclusively on the back end for our initial beta.

WeWork: Was there anything you wish you had known before you started out? 

Weinreich: No regrets, but I wish I knew how to code. If I had picked it up when I was younger, then I could constantly move the needle on my product.

WeWork: Did you have any mentors? What advice did they give you?

Weinreich: Clark Valberg, the CEO of InVision, has been tremendously helpful. He recently gave me some amazing advice: “You should prototype to the point where someone doesn’t realize it’s a design and thinks it’s the app.” It’s great advice, because you should know what you want from day one. Once you start coding, you go down a rabbit hole and it gets much harder to make changes down the line.

WeWork: If we had a chance to peek at your schedule, what would an average day look like?  

I wake up to check my email, Twitter, MINR for the news, and I started sharing content. Afterwards I take my kids to school. Head into the office to check in with the dev team. Hop on a call or two and maybe a coffee meeting. I’ll eat lunch around 2 p.m. If I’m free, I’ll attend an event around 6 p.m. to network. Then I’ll come back to the office to wrap up the day and head home around 9:30 p.m. if I’m lucky.

WeWork: What is the most challenging part of your job, and how do you keep yourself from burning out?

Weinreich: It’s the ebbs and flows. Right now, we’re on an upswing. We’re building out the product, adding beta testers, and gearing up to talk to investors. There are times when things are quiet and there’s less to do. During those moments, I try to help friends in the different communities I’m part of. Honestly, I love what I do, so burn out is not a problem for me.

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