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article imageInterview with David Chen, CEO of Special

By Cendrine Marrouat     Aug 29, 2012 in Technology
Born and raised in China, David Chen studied at the University of Chicago. He is the CEO of, a service allowing users to create one page websites. He also manages marketing and customer relations for the company.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello David, thank you for answering my questions. When was launched?
David Chen: We launched the very first beta version of in September 2011, and we've just launched Beta 3.0 on August 15th.
CM: What gave you the idea of creating
DC: During summer 2011, we saw a number of well-designed and simple single-page websites, including portfolios, landing pages, resumes, and pitch decks. The slide-based viewing experience and minimum pageloads of these websites were perfect for presenting a small amount of content.
We were surprised there wasn't an easy editing tool specifically for this style of site. To test it out, we designed's landing page in this style and put up a form for signups. We received a lot of interest, so we started building the editor!
CM: How big is the team? And how did you all meet?
DC: We have three people in the team: Dafeng Guo is our back-end developer, Teng Bao is our front-end developer, and I am the business person.
Teng and I both attended the University of Chicago, where we lived in the same dorm. We've been working on a number of projects together, and Teng has always been my CTO.
I met Dafeng during an internship in Hong Kong. Towards the end of our internship, we decided to use the money we had made during that summer to start our first venture. We've been working together since fall of 2010, and eventually we began developing
CM: What makes different from services like Wix or Weebly?
DC: The main difference between and more traditional website builders is the single page format. One user has described us as bringing the mobile browsing experience to desktop, and we think that this description captures the essence of our work.
We see an emerging trend of a converging browsing experience across different devices. With the rise of mobile devices, sliding and scrolling becomes a more natural way for people to browse through content online. Compared to a more traditional website, one-pagers offer a smoother browsing experience, and are simpler to build and maintain. Because of this, our target audience is different from Wix's or Weebly's.
This format is better suited for showcasing small amounts of content, such as for a portfolio, a project landing page, a resume, or an event. Traditional website builders, with their multiple layers of information and unnecessary functions, are often too complicated for these simple showcases. Our users have described us as the simplest website builder they've used.
CM: How many people currently use Who is the average user? And how do they leverage the service?
DC: We have about 550 beta testers and over 1000 signups. Our average users are creative people and young entrepreneurs. They've built their portfolios and project landing pages using Some of them have used to create resumes.
CM: What are some of the things companies or entrepreneurs should pay attention to when they want to build an attractive website?
DC: We think simplicity is beautiful. A common pitfall is to include too much content on a page, which often adds to clutter and confusion, as well as bounce rates. But don't be afraid to be visual. Big, colorful images can do a lot to draw the eye.
Keep your website focused, announce your message directly, and guide users toward a call-to-action if you have one. A website's design is meant to help you get your message out there, so make sure that message is clear.
CM: In a world dominated by visual content and blogs, where do you think is headed?
DC: We envision as the next generation of online showcases. We want to provide the most modern web presence for creatives and starters. Many of our templates are designed to showcase visual content such as graphic designs, photos, and videos. These templates follow the minimalist design philosophy and allow the content to be the center of attention.
In terms of blogs, although we have seen people using for writing, we do not aim to be a blogging platform. We see a page as more of a standalone website.
CM: Anything else you would like to add?
DC: We are a small startup and always learning. We're focusing on improving the product now, and we'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions!
For start using, visit
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