How Similicious was started. August 28 2013
Hello everyone, my name is Adam K. Bacsalmasi and I founded Similicious. I thought I'd write a short little blog post explaining why I started Similicious. I hope to add more blog posts in the near future and continue a dialogue about the ever changing Canadian mobile landscape.
It all started in October of 2012, my wife and I were on vacation in Paris and we found ourselves having to schedule a little time each day to go back to our hotel room so we can get online. I spent this time checking Twitter, my RSS feeds (I miss you Google Reader), email and reading news about how my Leafs were doing. My wife spent this time updating Instagram, checking Facebook and finding restaurants for us to go to on Trip Advisor. Once we were both done we'd fire up Apple Maps and locate our next destination then take a series of screenshots of the maps for reference when we left.
We both had iPhones (which we still carried with us at all times for some reason, although they weren't connected to any network) as well as an iPad and laptop with us, and I had to plug the laptop into the wired connection in our hotel room and create an ad hoc wireless network so we could both get online at the same time. The crazy thing is that we still had to pay $20 a night for 24hrs of internet service from the hotel.
The iPad I had brought with me was the cellular version, we had purchased it specifically for when we travel thinking we'd be able to purchase a local SIM card. The problem was I had no idea where to get one. I searched online but nothing made sense, plans were confusing, data was expensive (outrageously so) and I couldn't even figure out where to go to buy one.
When we returned home we had a bill from our local carrier, not for our regular mobile service, but for an account we created for my wife's parents who had visited for a month in September. They required some basic service while they were here, mostly some talk time in case of emergencies, nothing crazy, and no data. Since carriers do not allow accounts with non Canadian billing address, we had taken care of it for them. When I looked at the bill there was charges for two months worth of service even though we had cancelled the account before the end of the first month. As it turns out you need 30 days notice to cancel an account. So for about 20 minutes of local calling it cost me over $65 in service fees plus I had to buy a new SIM card, which was $15 at the time.
That's when I realized there needs to be an easier and more affordable way for travellers to get access to local mobile networks.
It took me a while to figure it out and get everything up and running, but that was the beginning of Similicious. We officially went live in January of 2013 and we had our first customer in March (thanks Sarah!) and we've been learning from all our customers and trying to adapt to the market ever since. I'm happy to say that we're approaching our 500th customer and we believe our service is getting better and better every day.
If anyone wants to get a hold of me you can reach me at adam [at] similicious.com