You’ve been working on a project (a post, a website, a presentation, whatever) for a while now. It’s probably about 95% complete and you’ve been spending the last few days, weeks, or months reviewing and trying to get it just right. 1 more change, 1 more revision, 1 more day…
New Story and a new adventure
Earlier in June, I joined the team of a young, innovative startup that is championing donor transparency and long-term impact by transforming slums into sustainable communities. Reviewing their organizational structure, venture-backed funding, and Y Combinator participation, you might assume they’re a typical tech startup, when in fact, they’re a 501c3 nonprofit.
While I was certainly flattered to be approached about the opportunity, there were three factors that led me to consider, and later accept, their offer:
The plan is disruptive.
They are also blazing ahead of traditional nonprofits with a 100% donation model and the video proof that connects donors to the actual family they helped support. For anyone who has given money to an organization and questioned the impact it would have, this level of transparency leaves no doubt.
Challenging long-held beliefs and conventional methods, New Story is rewriting the rules on transparency for nonprofit giving. In turn, they are setting the bar for other nonprofits to emulate, lest they risk losing the support of donors.
With the lack of intentionality and accountability in so many nonprofits, disruption in this space is something I can get behind.
The grit is real.
As is the case with many early stage startups, the founding team had few resources and limited technical expertise. With a tremendous amount of manual ingenuity, they were able to piecemeal a working prototype. Within a few week, they reached their initial goal, funding 1 home for a single family. Even more impressive, they did it while ensuring 100% of funds donated actual went to building the home. They continued the process for more and more homes until ultimately getting a seat at the table with the world’s most powerful startup incubator, Y Combinator.
100% of funds donated actual went to building
You can teach a person many things, but passion and hustle are not among that list.
The team is crazy.
Very early in my discussion with New Story, a goal of funding 1,000 communities was mentioned. That’s nearly 100,000 homes, in the next ten years. While their current progress is no small feat, 100,000 homes is a far stretch from the 400-500 they have currently funded.
After scraping my jaw off the floor, I proceeded to ask more questions and listen while they explained their path to success.
With much reflection, the goal still remains rather audacious. However, observing their thoughtful demeanor, goal-oriented thinking, passion for the task, and the hunger that donors have for someone to trust, I’m convinced New Story is up to the task.
Are they crazy?
Absolutely! But the world is rarely changed by anything less.
What does that mean for Polar Notion?
It means we’re getting sharper than ever. Over the last few years we’ve built a solid team and we are more focused than ever on becoming a remarkable development and design company. As we improve, my day to day is spent on one idea: provide more value to the startups, entrepreneurs, and businesses we serve to help them thrive.
Fortunately, we’re now able to serve our clients with the relevant, realtime expertise and insight from hands on experience with a fast growing startup. I see my work with New Story as a natural extension of what we’re trying to accomplish as a company and what my own personal goals.
Origin :: A Free WordPress Theme
We built a WordPress Theme, to give away… for free.
The free theme is designed to be a turnkey solution for those looking to start writing, quickly. We’ve avoided the option-buffet, unlimited customizations, and unnecessary distractions. It’s not for everyone.
Fresh in Tech
Size Matters :: Test Email Length
Freddie Face Lift
Stumbled across the change today. MailChimp’s Freddie has a new look.
Do not disturb
Along with office work and Thursday meetings in 2015, I made another change that continues to impact my professional and personal life. Between the hours of 5:00pm and 9:30am, my phone is scheduled for ‘Do Not Disturb’, which means between those times it only rings when a select group of people try to reach me (family and close friends).
A mistake has been made.
- How can I fix the issue?
- How can I repair the damage it caused?
- How can I prevent it from happening again?
- Who do we blame?
- Who is going to fix it for me?
Mistakes will happen.
Our response determines the impact of those mistakes.
Along with transitioning to Thursday Meetings, we made another significant change in 2015; We moved into an office.
Since 2012, we worked from our home office’s, kitchen tables, and coffee shops. We stretched every dollar to sustain the business, grow, and stay flexible. Having a physical space of our own was always an interest, but never quite made sense.
As we added a new team member early in 2015, the simplicity of being nomads quickly diminished. The tension of environmental distractions, internet bandwidth, space constraints, and a myriad of other inefficiencies* begin to compile and affect productivity.
Weighing all of the potential factors, a few key questions emerged that seem fitting for any major business decision.
Does it allow us to:
serve our clients better?
be more productive?
focus more on the things we enjoy?
For us, in 2015, our decision to move into an office yielded a resounding ‘yes’ to each question.
So, we made the shift!
*Other inefficiencies (referenced above):
- Josh’s motorcycle got towed.
- AT&T internet at my apartment began cutting out every 10-15 minutes.
- Parents love to bring their screaming-crying children to coffee shops.
- Josh’s heat wasn’t working for an entire winter.
- Starbucks decreases their temperature during peak times (I assume to prevent people from squatting).
- My dog started to develop a habit of wanting to play fetch, in the house, with Ben… all-day.
- The roof in Josh’s home office started to leak water during a mid-day thunderstorm.
- Working late required equal commitment from of wives since we were occupying the kitchen table/living space.
- Since my apartment didn’t have guest parking, we had to walk downstairs so everyone could get their car in the gate.
- Meeting clients at our house didn’t exactly scream ‘professional’.
- We no longer had space to use our secondary monitors.
- Our projects and belonging had to be picked-up and transported each day.
tapStory :: Storytime reimagined.
tapStory is an ipad app for interactive picture books. With simple gestures, children can immerse themselves in the story, interact with characters, or tell the story it in a slightly different way.
New books can be purchased in-app or new stories created using characters and scenes from other books.