A Lean, Mean, Startup Machine
March 16th, 2011
by Dan Johnson
Update – Mar 20, 2011:
If you like what we’re trying to achieve, please help vote for us in the Lean Startup Challenge. Winning this competition will bring us so much closer to realizing a world full of heroes. Thank you for your support! Simply click here or Tweet the text below to vote:
“Our entry for @AppSumo Lean Challenge http://bit.ly/dSBBdq #leanvote21 – Please RT”
So we hatched an idea. A germ of a concept. To encourage youth to perform more heroic acts (volunteering, running a 5k for a cause, donating blood, etc.) by giving them Hero Points and working with local businesses to reward their heroic acts. To change the world and create a world full of heroes.
The good folks at Startup Weekend Des Moines gave us lots of great feedback. These are thoughts coming from mentors, judges and fellow participants. Now it’s time to stand and deliver. And support from others like the Lean Startup Challenge will have a huge impact.
In terms of lean, today our site is a mere shell of the functionality we’ll launch in the coming weeks and months. We may apply a few new features here and there, bounce it off some of our prospects and refine as needed. Baby steps, babe. “We never fear to fail,” is an awesome mantra, knowing it’s fine to fail often as long as we also learn quickly.
As for mean, are you wondering how a group dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations and their volunteers can really be mean? More like cuddly, but competitive. Other startup weekend participants will say we certainly pulled out all the stops in an effort to pitch this concept to the judges. We had fun with it, but we also challenged each other to think through so many aspects of this project. Here’s one wicked aspect: we were able to leverage sponsor Twilio’s package for SMS integration. They made it easy for the uninitiated to enable SMS direct registration in our system — something we demo’d in that pitch to engage the live audience.
And if you’ve ever met our fearless leader Robert Hidajat — well, you haven’t seen his nasty side (honestly, not sure any of us will; he’s one of the nicest guys around). The reality is that our new team tends to be brutally honest within our ranks. We call it being passionate about a goal.
Startup organizations have to move quickly to deliver a useful product. Will someone else with more resources attempt to execute on our plans? We hope not. But it would almost be a bummer if they didn’t — imitation is the highest form of flattery, right? Precisely why we need to be there first.
Join us as we crank up this machine and we hope you’ll find it to be a fascinating ride. Always eager for thoughts on what you’d like to see.