We have so many modes of communication these days, it's hard to keep up with them all. But all of the options we have available haven't replaced the strong, sentimental feeling we get when we receive a piece of snail mail showing us that someone was thinking about us. That's the magical beauty that mailed postcards can deliver, and Jason Strauss is bringing that sentiment into the digital age with his startup The Simple Postcard. Strauss responded to my questions via email.
What was the inspiration for this business? What was the background to it? How's it work?
Strauss: I'm often sending, posting, and receiving photos on Facebook, Instagram, and text message, but they soon disappear, replaced with new posts and messages. I was looking for a way to share something a little more enduring. I was already texting photos, and thought texting would make a good interface for sending a postcard!
To get started, simply text a photo to 251-265-2848. It will respond asking you for the destination address and the message you'd like to send. Then it will send a secure link to pay $2, and print it and ship it! It's entirely automated.
What need does it fill? People have been able to send pictures to each other via their phones for a long time. What does the addition of text to a picture offer the recipient?
Strauss: To be clear, this will print and ship a physical postcard! Some recipients don't have phone access, like parents sending postcards to their kids at summer camp. Other recipients aren't "tech savvy," like grandparents!
Some users are looking to say something more meaningful than a text message might imply, such as "Thank you!" and "Happy birthday!"
Lastly, people seem to like to send photos when they're traveling!
Messages are limited to the length of a text. Does that get in the way of being able to deliver the full message?
Strauss: No, smartphones don't really limit the length of a text message anymore. The Simple Postcard might seem low tech, but behind the scenes it has some complicated software!
What have been the most surprising usages you've seen or stories you've heard for this product?
Strauss: I've been surprised by how well it's been received! A third of people send more than one.
At first, we received feedback along the lines of "My grandma loved my postcard!". Then we started receiving feedback "My grandma just sent me a postcard!" It's really simple to use!
Based on the feedback you've heard so far, what's next?
Strauss: We've been in talks with some really large companies for corporate partnerships. I'm more excited though about weddings! We recently configured The Simple Postcard, so postcards addressed to the wedding hashtag went to the new couple! For a few weeks after their wedding, the new couple was receiving postcards with pictures their friends had taken at the wedding!