[S1,E11] “I don’t regret it” — Peeple CEO, Julia Cordray on her controversial app that went infamously viral

Peeple app allows reviewing other people, much like Yelp allows reviewing restaurants, services and places. As soon as the app concept became public, media broke out accusing Peeple’s founders of creating a tool for bullying people.

Ironically, Julia Cordray — the app co-founder and CEO — became a bullied victim herself. She received thousands of aggressive messages and phone calls, accompanied by death threats. After the media nightmare in the fall of 2015, she’s now receiving a second wave of attention due to Peeple’s launch in March 2016.

We talked about the full story of Peeple app — from the idea to building the first version of the app, through Julia’s thoughts on the media attention, launching difficulties and future plans for Peeple.

Did Julia expect all the media controversy? Did she modify the app concept? How many people are using the app today? What does she think of their current 1.5 star review in the App Store? Does she believe the media storm worked for the better or worse for the company? Watch the interview to get insight on what was happening behind the scenes while press and social media were loosing their mind about Peeple.

A lovely shout out to our partner Galvanize, where me and Julia could comfortably meet and chat, and to our sponsor UnStock — an on demand community and marketplace for mobile videographers.

Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • Julia feels sorry that in their attacks media were relying on assumptions instead of checking in with her about the facts:

    “Unfortunately, we were misrepresented in that original article over 7 times and they wouldn’t fix it. I’m grateful for the attention that it got, and it’s just too bad that media used that as factual instead of checking in with me. (…) I was a bit naive at that point in terms of how media works. You think that they have your best interest in mind and that they are all excited and happy for you.”

  • Ironically, people were accusing Julia for creating a “bullying” app while bullying her on social media such as Facebook and Twitter:

    “For them to call us a bullying app didn’t make any sense and that was extremely frustrating, because we knew we were safer than most social media today. And what became ironic is how I became bullied on every social media platform out there.”

  • When asked about how she felt during the first media storm in fall of 2015, she says:

    “It was really intense really fast. Imagine, and I’m not exaggerating, hundreds of emails a minute, phone calls every minute. My private information was given out. After a day of managing it myself, it didn’t make sense.”

  • Julia defends Peeple app as being very safe:

    “If anybody receives a recommendation that they feel is inappropriate, or violates our terms and conditions, they can block the user or report the user anytime. We are relying heavily on our users to report people that are being inappropriate.”

  • Julia submitted the app a few times to the App Store until it was finally approved. Throughout this process, a funny situation with an Apple representative had happened:

    “It’s kind of funny story that we blocked Apple after they rejected us. They were misbehaving in our app.”

  • When her former home address was leaked and she started to receive death threats, she became extremely disappointed with human nature:

    “I realized that I lost the innocence in my view of the world where people are predominantly good. I lost that naive view.”

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