Geek Speak: Mathew Peake, cofounder of Thiink Strata
Mathew Peake believes the strata system in residential buildings is “broken”. He wants to see condo dwellers talking with each other not just at their annual general meetings, but 365 days a year.
Peake is the 34-year-old social media evangelist for Thiink Strata, the Vancouver-based company that he cofounded with Jonathan Hawkes in 2009. In December 2011, Thiink Strata launched MiCasa, a free web application that aims to change the way stratas operate by facilitating communication among condo owners, renters, and management. According to Peake, a paid version is in the works, but the basic features will remain free.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Peake splits his time between North Vancouver and Newcastle.
Peake spoke to the Georgia Straight by phone from near Sydney.
What is the mission of Thiink Strata?
The mission of Thiink Strata is basically the mission of MiCasa in itself. That’s to reinvent the way strata buildings currently operate throughout Vancouver. A little bit of an evolution of that is to get residents using technology, so they can work with council, management, owners, and renters, and get everybody communicating better in a more harmonious fashion. So, they can create a really harmonious community in these buildings.
Why did you develop MiCasa?
We developed MiCasa as a real evolution from our Thiink Strata product that we had rolling out towards the end of 2009. Really, what we wanted to do with MiCasa was create a free, lightweight, and easy-to-use version that stratas could sink their teeth into really quickly and get up to speed and get going really quickly with the communication tools and the notification tools.
How is your experience with condo living reflected in MiCasa’s features?
That’s a really great question. You know, MiCasa was really built out of the need for us to want to communicate better in our own buildings. We’ve all lived in this space for so long, both Jonathan and I. I would say that our own experiences are reflected in it 100 percent.
We have a wonderful building in North Vancouver, and wonderful tenants and owners. However, I do value the opinion of everyone when I run into them in the hallway. I really value the conversations that I have with people, and I do think that I missed that for a very long time in residential stratas. I missed being able to go and know people in my community. You hit the nail on the head. Absolutely, MiCasa is the product of our experiences.
What are some interesting ways that people are using this web app?
Really using it to come together, to bring their strata together, and to knock down the walls in their buildings. We’ve seen where people will use it as a simple notification and distribution mechanism, so that it keeps people notified on what’s happening on a week-to-week or day-to-day basis or when new documents are uploaded. These are very functional uses of MiCasa.
The greater use is being able to form communities and to really be able to put names to faces and to be able to bring value to that, which is the value that, in our opinion, has been lost, because of the way strata buildings currently operate inside that model which we think is broken and what we’re trying to fix with MiCasa.
Every Friday, Geek Speak catches up with someone in Vancouver’s technology sector, video-game industry, or social-media scene. Who should we interview next? You can tell Stephen Hui on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.