"We both became spiritless souls at work so literally quit our jobs simultaneously; she moved to Chiang Mai and I moved to Berlin. We built our app from opposite sides of the world.."

Say hello to Lisa N’Paisan the co-founder of controversial drinking game app Drink and Tell as she shares her story of building an app with a friend she once just partied with and how she did it with no previous app development background.

Drink and Tell aims to trigger interesting conversations between close friends, strangers at a party or people on their first Tinder date with the assistance of a database of 500+ questions and alcohol.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your app – what is Drink and Tell all about?

After being bored of playing the traditional drinking games such as Never Have I Ever and King’s Cup, my co-founder Neda Robatmeily and I decided to create a drinking game app called Drink and Tell. Jam packed with hundreds of taboo questions from categories such as love, sex, ethics, Would You Rather, pop culture and embarrassing, the aim of the game is for your friends to try and guess which multiple choice answer you would pick. For example, if the question was: If I was offered $10 million to never see my family again, would I do it? Your friends who don’t guess your answer, drink! We’ve had friends tell us they’ve played it on their first Tinder date to break the ice, with their mums during family lunches and at pre-drinks with close friends.

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your background and how you started your company?

8 years ago, my co-founder and I met in our late teens while bonding over drinking. After years of being irresponsible and reckless, she became a developer and I became a marketer. She’s had great success developing many apps including ‘Brain Games’ which has had over 300,000 downloads in the Play Store, while I worked in advertising. We both became spiritless souls at work so literally quit our jobs simultaneously; she moved to Chiang Mai and I moved to Berlin. We built our app from opposite sides of the world and people often ask us why? Our distance has forced us to communicate on a daily basis and be honest with each other. I sometimes feel like we’re in a long distance relationship, but more of the nerdy, platonic kind’ve love.

Q: How do you and your co-founder work from across the world?

Meetings – The most effective thing so far has been our ‘meetings’, which we try and have 3 times a week on the popular mobile platform, Slack. After many trials and errors, we discovered that 9:30am Berlin time, which is 2:30pm in Chiang Mai time, was the most realistic time for both of us to chat.

Spreadsheets – Since we’re often having 10 conversations at the one time, we document everything we’ve discussed across our many spreadsheets. We literally have 20 spreadsheets, titled: ‘financial expenses’, ‘growth hacking marketing plan’, ‘tasks development’, ‘designs’ etc. Without it I think we’d be headless chickens. We’ve surprisingly been more productive than ever as I think we were forced to become more organized due to the time difference and the fact that we weren’t able to just doodle down ideas like in rl.

Q: What are your plans for the future, how do you plan to grow your company?

Fortunately, people downloaded Drink and Tell so that validated all those hours we invested into our first project. And since our friendship is still solid after the whole process, we’re excitedly building our second app called The Naked Truth. It’s very much like Trivia Crack however the aim of the game is to ‘qualify for your PhD in Psychology’ through a variety of personal questions about your friends on topics such as relationships, sex and personality. Unlike Drink and Tell, we’re really focused on gamification by introducing a leaderboard, scores and personality statistics. We even have cute vegetable characters to make our users smile.

Q: How many users or clients do you currently have, and when do you consider your company a success?

Our busiest days (or nights) have always been during a holiday so it’s no surprise we had our busiest month in December since launching in August. Combined, we had about 40,000 downloads last month in both the iTunes and Android store. We still get shocked every time we see our numbers growing on a monthly basis. Not to sound cliche, but success is such a difficult term to define as it is ever changing. Right this very moment, success to me would be to comfortably live off our apps and to hire our first full-time employee. We’ve always dreamt of this day.


Q: How did you bootstrap your business with no marketing budget?

FB Start – Spontaneously applying for the FB Start app program was one of the best decisions we’d made. As a result we were provided thousands of dollars worth of tools to help optimize and market our app during the early stages.

App Review Sites – We sent our app and media kit to literally hundreds of app review sites and blogs for link building and exposure. For anyone who’s ever done this before, you’ll understand that the response rate is usually no higher than 5%. But if you write to 200 sites and 10 of them actually review your app, then you instantly gain exposure to 10,000+ readers. Just type in ‘app review sites’ into Google and save yourself the time and stress.

Social Media – No, I don’t mean posting on Facebook or tweeting about our app every day. We don’t even have a Twitter for our app. By social media, I mean we reached out to as many relevant Facebook fan pages and YouTube channels as possible. Instead of offering money (since we had no marketing budget), we offered a fair exchange of exposure to our thousands of monthly active users.

Q: What are the top 3 online tools and resources you’re currently using to grow your company?

Mobile Action – You could have the best app idea in the world but if you don’t optimize it in the Android and iTunes store, no one will ever find it. Mobile Action lets us not only track all of our keywords but also the keywords of our competitors, in any country in the world. It’s been a crucial tool in the development of our keyword strategy. There’s also a neat ‘recommended actions’ feature full of ASO, analytics, user acquisition and engagement suggestions.

Growth Hacking – Featured in Product Hunt, my co-founder actually linked me to this site ages ago. It follows all the steps the startup has taken to become successful, broken down into 4 stages: acquisition, conversion, retention and revenue. What sets it apart from all the other online articles is that the founders are very transparent with their resources and whether implementing a particular strategy was successful or not.

The Tim Ferris Show Podcast – I know his name and ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ are constantly being thrown around in the startup world. But when I’m working in Photoshop and using the right side of my brain, I like to listen to his weekly podcast. He interviews very successful entrepreneurs, entertainers and philosophers such as Sophia Amoruso, Jamie Foxx and Alain de Botton.

Q: What are three books or courses you recommend for entrepreneurs?

Q: How can our community get in touch with you?

Drop me a line.