It seems everything I read these days has one underlying message: stop talking about it and go build it. Clearly a lot easier said than done or everyone would be selling books and not reading them. The most ironic thing is some of my friends will talk to me about ideas they have and I’ll give them the same advice. It’s good advice but without ever having launched something myself I was being a bit of a hypocrite. I talked in my first post Career Hacking: Step 1 about the long term project I’m working on, I even said I would be launching it this month. Needless to say that isn’t happening, the date has gotten pushed back to January (another two months ish).
This brings me to the reason for this post. I tend to talk about doing stuff a lot, or used to, now I try and wait until I have something to show before I talk about it. But even still, I realized I shouldn’t be offering the “go do it” advice when I haven’t pulled the trigger myself. I have good intentions believe me. You know what’s a lot easier than actually doing something? Reading somebody tell you that you should do something. I don’t know whether it’s a human instinct to look for that encouragement or whether it’s procrastination but I’m a victim of it either way. I’ve watched Gary Vaynerchuk inspire audiences to the point of them cheering, I’ve read Mark Cuban talk about learning through failure on the job instead of in a classroom, I’ve even read James Altucher talk about acting on ideas (among many other things) yet I was still a virgin to launching anything other than this blog.
Enough of that. I’m about to go on a launching spree. But in my new fashion I’ll only talk about what I’m actually doing today. A little synopsis: I started thinking about what kind of product I could get out quickly a few weeks ago while lying in bed (I have a broken leg… that’s another story). Ideas aren’t the problem, It was making it simple enough that I wouldn’t have to deal with extensive outsourcing etc… since I can’t code. A blog post I had read a while back called The 9 Skills Needed to be a Super Connector (ironically enough it’s by james altucher and has a picture of mark cuban in the heading) sparked my creativity. I loved the thought of being a super connector, I know some friends who are bar managers who have 5000 Facebook friends and it seems pretty fun. A page of jot notes later and I thought a business version of eharmony with me playing matchmaker was a good enough idea…. no joke. The beauty of actually starting something is you get to quickly see if it was a good idea or not. Implement, test, either pivot or move on to something else. If you can get the “product” out with next to nothing invested what’s the harm in trying out an idea? Nothing. The hypothesis behind this idea is that A. more businesses would get started if you linked people together who had similar ideas/passions B. people in general want to meet new people, especially for business purposes and with a third party intermediary the stigma of the initial introduction is taken away.
In my head it seems rational and with this new strategy I’ll be able to find out without spending thousands of dollars and wasting months of time. The product is painfully simple. It’s a premium wordpress theme with a facebook plugin. Domains were a little bit of an issue but I liked the idea of incorporating the suffix to the url so I called it youherand.me. Obviously you can’t just make a site live and people will magically find their way to it, unless you have some amazing SEO I guess. But i don’t. I’m forced to use twitter and basically any other way of finding people I think might be interested.
Getting something to mass market these days doesn’t seem that hard, especially with something like this because there is very little resistance to signing up. My plan is to use guerilla marketing but not in the sense of spamming telephone poles with flyers. Guerrilla marketing has taken on a whole new meaning, maybe it should even be changed to Owl (they have good hearing) marketing because the goal is to listen for every conversation that is going on about your product/service/industry and be a part of it. These conversations could be on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or focus groups other places on the web, it doesn’t matter where it just matters you are a part of it. Not having time to interact with all these conversations is the number one complaint I hear from businesses. I don’t doubt that you are busy but like @Garyvee says; if the phone rings in your office your probably going to answer it, ignoring these conversations online would be like trying to run a business by constantly ignoring your customers.
Continuing with the do don’t tell mantra, I’ll be using mostly Twitter to start joining these conversations. The twitter account for this site is @youherme so if your calling my bluff you can see the ground work I’ll be putting in on that profile. Side note: the conversations won’t be completely open because If you just @ mention someone without them following you first it can be related to yelling at a stranger on the street, not very effective. My goal is to follow people who are talking about related topics such as networking, creating jobs etc and do quick research on the people who end up following me. I will then direct message them with something actually relevant to what they are doing and ask them to check out my site.
Before you can really judge whether something will catch on at least a few thousand people need to check it out. If the people who sign up have a positive referral ratio to their friends, you have something. If not it probably will never be mainstream. In this case having millions of users isn’t crucial and the service could be beneficial no matter how few of users however the more the better.
Let the sweat equity begin.