I can't believe that I haven't posted anything since June. It's definitely not from a lack of activity! There have been many highlights over the last 5 months - Vijilent's app launching in the iOS and Google Play stores, finishing Groundwork Labs accelerator program, launching our beta with Sweeps.jobs of Raleigh, NC and competing in Women Who Tech in Washington DC. But I wanted to write today about my recent attendance at the Collaborative Economy conference in San Francisco. It was an important event for Vijilent as we are starting to come out of stealth mode, but it was of greater importance because it confirmed for us that the sharing economy needs #trustandsafety measures.
As everyone knows, young companies typically go through a 'pivot.' A pivot is a substantive change to one or more of 9 business model canvas components laid out by Eric Ries in his #LeanStartup book. You can read more about these 9 components at 'Do Pivots Matter' at Entrepreneur magazine's website. In our Groundworks program, we were encouraged to interview potential customers. After 10 interviews, we came to a conclusion that the sharing economy companies aren't worried enough about trust & safety to pay for our services. Our mentors suggested that it was time for the pivot. If the customers you thought could use your product aren't willing to pay for it, it's time to rethink the company. At the same time we were reaching this conclusion, we received an interesting request to use our data mining skills to help improve sales lead generation performance. Here was an industry that valued what we had to offer, which is a way to quickly access the likelihood of someone being a good prospect - in this case - for being a good prospective buyer.
As we pondered this pivot, I also attended the BCorp Retreat in Portland, OR. Here's a video of the BInspired Event #BInspiredPDX that well, inspired me. It inspired me to stay the course, to focus on what is we think is important. What drives Vijilent is that we can help the sharing economy promote trust and increase safety in an industry that is based on strangers trusting each other. The Collaborative Economy conference further confirmed our convictions. It was a small group of people, but an excited and driven group that sees the power of sharing of assets. We may be early in our offerings. But as sharing economy/collaborative consumption/conscious capitalism companies (whatever you want to call them) grow, Vijilent will be ready to serve these companies with proven data mining techniques and a really cool app and API that in less than 30 seconds can take the 'strange' out of stranger. Stay tuned for the pivot because it hasn't happened yet. We're committed to the #sharingeconomy.
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