THE WORTH OF AN IDEA
Are you the type of person who thinks the idea is the most important part of a business and that it should be kept a sacred secret for the world to never see? Or are you the type that understands that execution is far more important and without it, any idea will tragically expire? As you can tell from my highly biased tone, my personal opinion is of the latter.
I get to meet with many people wanting to share their ideas with me for feedback or help. Over time, I’ve come to see a very distinct difference between the two mindsets. Those who want me to sign an NDA before even meeting usually find that I have an unconquerable “conflict” come up and can’t meet with them ; ) (but seriously). Those that talk about their idea as if it is the long lost treasure of Atlantis immediately lose my full confidence. It’s not that I judge them or their idea, I’ve just seen how much slower the entire building process goes when you’re overly protective with your ideas from the beginning. Those that talk about their idea with excitement and freedom have it easier. Easier to recruit a team. Easier to build. Easier to get feedback, mentorship, and funding. Easier to EXECUTE!
That said, feel free to take this idea of mine if you’d like. It’s free :)
THE “CURSE” OF AN ENTREPRENEURIAL MIND
My mind is always generating ideas for new products, features, apps, whatever. It’s fun. I like it. But when it comes time to dedicate myself and focus on one thing it can become quite distracting. I’ll be 90% finished with one website when all of a sudd..SQUIRREL!!!
Since the beginning of Scan, I’ve really made special efforts to harness outside ideas and keep focused. But, to let off some steam, I’ve used the following 3 tactics:
1. The back page of my journal has been a perfect place for me to quickly jot down 1-line ideas. (ex. “Guestbook – iPad app for weddings using the front facing camera and a stylus”)
2. Whenever I go speak to entrepreneurial groups at Universities or conferences I’ll rattle off a few. (ex. “Website that connects professors wanting to give their students real world experiences with businesses wanting to connect with talent early on and outsource projects”)
3. For my favorite ones, I’ll spend a Saturday morning mocking up a logo/website/app and then shelving it away. (ex. Nicotine lotion. jk but not JK)
..and now..for my first time, I’m going to experiment blogging out an idea..
I MET A COMPANY CALLED MATCHMATE
Maybe 2 years back I met with a company called MatchMate. To my understanding, their goal was to better facilitate online dating by combining the OFFline tradition of “match making”. I really liked the team and supported what they were trying to accomplish. After hearing them out, my 1 suggestion was to start with something more simple than in-app matchmaking. Something where a user could immediately begin browsing potential love interests and request an intro.
Not too long after, I had one of those experiences where you see your exact ideas and thoughts alive and working in the real world. But it wasn’t MatchMate. It was an app called Tinder.
IT’S GOING DOWN. I’M YELLING TINDER!
So before I go any further, there are a couple disclaimers to be made:
1. I’m married and have never used Tinder. I courted my wife during the pre-swipe-era. However, I currently play college soccer and just about every one of my teammates lives on Tinder. So my Tinder knowledge is all through second-hand exposure.
2. I have never and would never post about any companies I meet with unless to their benefit. However, it was just recently announced that MatchMate was acquired for all their assets. So with the purest of intentions, I thought it would be alright to write this post.
As far as I understand, Tinder is an amazing app. Brilliantly executed. Fun to use and very addicting. Perhaps most importantly, Tinder has developed a strong brand/culture/community. It’s not uncommon to hear users say things like “I have a Tinder date this weekend” or “I’d swipe that”. But as with any strong culture, it isn’t for everyone. Not everyone is looking for a “Tinder date/one night fling”. Thus the opportunity in the market for another product..
INTRODUCING “LEVEL 2” – MY FREE IDEA
Level 2, is a directory of all your friends’ single friends. Similar to Tinder, users can browse endlessly searching for someone they’d like to meet/court. However, whereas Tinder is primarily based on geographic location, everyone within Level 2 would be 1 mutual friend away. Or in other words, a 2nd level connection.
HOW IT WORKS
You sign in to the Level 2 app using Facebook. Immediately, the app is filled with single individuals of the opposite gender within 5(ish) yrs of your age that have at least 1 friend in common with you. Similar to Tinder, you can instantly begin browsing, swiping left to pass or swiping right when you’re interested. But, rather than this just being another appearance and geographic based meat market, with Level 2, you can know that you have at least 1 mutual friend. Having a mutual friend can immediately legitimize a person and bring trust and safety to the situation.
When you find someone you’d like to meet and swipe right, you are then presented with 2 choices. Message them directly OR message one of your mutual friends so they can make the introduction. Again, this would help avoid spam, distrust, horrible mistakes, and especially the recent popular outdoorsy sport of catfishing.
I wouldn’t build this to compete with Tinder. I would build this to satisfy the users that aren’t looking for Tinder hookups.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
So again, sign into the app using Facebook. Immediately browse through numerous individuals. Find someone you’re interested in and know they are just 1 common friend away. Simple.
Doing some off-the-cuff math, my Level 2 directory would be filled with about 18,750 individuals for me to browse through. Whoa. (ex. I have 1,500 friends. On average, they each have 500 friends. That brings us to 750,000. Divided by 2 for gender = 375,000. If even 25% of those are single then we’re at 93,750. If even 25% of those are within 5 yrs of my age then we’re now at 18,750.)
Obviously there are 1M+ features that could be built into this product. But I think it would do best starting very bare and simple. I also understand that Tinder could easily build this into their app (if they haven’t already) but, I think that would be a mistake for them. I believe it foolish for any app to try to be everything for everyone. Rather Tinder should keep being Tinder and stay strong to their reputation and community. If anything, I think Facebook should build this before Tinder/Match.com. Or YOU should build this : )
WHY THE NAME
Well even though I had this idea way way back, I just quickly came up with a name, a “logo”, and some mock designs so I could put together this post. I liked “Level 2” for a couple of reasons:
1. Every person in the app would be a 2nd level connection.
2. If weekend flings and “Tinder dates” are level 1, then being ready to move on to something a little more serious would clearly be.. Level 2 ; )
SO WHAT NOW?
I’m not going to do anything with this idea. But rather than die under my bushel, I thought it at least deserved this dedicatory post ;) I can already predict that someone will message me telling me the idea sucks. Someone else will message me notifying me about the 86 existing apps that are similar. Someone will message me asking if they can pursue the idea. Of course. But they will lack the execution and it will fail. BUT.. THEN.. maybe just maybe.. someone skilled and focused will come along, pump it out, and voila, the world of dating will enter, Level 2.