UE Founders Reflections

The team at uencounter.me is getting ready to pitch the site to a group of investors so we’ve been on a whirlwind of learning the ropes of putting together a pitch deck (a slide presentation) and refining our message. As the idea curator and CEO, this responsibility falls primarily within my job description or in my lap depending on which way you look at it. We’ve grown enough that we could use more people on the team with experience that would compliment what we have but we are not yet big enough to look at serious funding. Essentially, this ‘pitch’ will be for practice. The great part of spending (large amounts) of time on this endeavor is that I’ve been able to generate a more succinct way of describing uencounter.me.

In the beginning when people asked me what the site was about, I would spend a fair amount of time trying to explain how the idea first came about and then verbally move through the elements that were included. I’ve said before that starting a web-based business has been similar to entering another graduate program and I’ve learned so much since those first days. Today, my explanation of uencounter.me is simple….

Uencounter.me is the virtual experience of the tried and true concept of the wall and tack maps that allow you to geographically visualize what is important to you, wrapped within the culture of social interaction and collaboration.  

That’s it; one sentence. The next challenge is to explain who uses uencounter.me. This is a bit more difficult because I cannot think of anyone who does not have any use for a geographic visual of ‘something’. In my mind (one that loves geography), everything is more interesting if you can see it on a map! Of course, many of our users are travelers; maps just naturally lend themselves to travel interests. A great number of our users are Genealogists; using the map to plot family migrations and tracking surnames. The fastest growing segments of our user base are businesses. They are mapping customers, business locations, sales, and promotions. There are maps depicting prayer chains, memberships in churches, clubs, and organizations. I personally created a map to help my future daughter-in-law keep track of potential wedding venues – again, something more easily visualized when it is laid out geographically! I could go on and on about the ways that people can keep track of things via a map but I was guided to choose just three areas of interest to present in the pitch deck; a little frustrating when I can think of so many possibilities.

Finally, I am asked to respond to why people will want to use it.  I pretty much described that as I talked about who uses it but here I will outline and highlight the social elements that are so heavily woven into the uencounter.me fabric. Uencounter.me was originally conceptualized with the idea of serendipitous discovery in mind; accidently discovering old friends, ancestors, or even business contacts simply based on pins that are entered in the same place representing a common time frame. Maps containing pins of favorite restaurants, sports venues, or activities is a collaborative function between users and offer valuable information to people with similar interests. Uencounter.me does not solve a world problem but it is interesting none-the-less to look at ones’ interests based specifically on the basis of geography. Before traveling anywhere, I look at the pins on the map and may post a question to someone who lives or has already been there. I know my personal map will be a treasure to my children or my old mind when it comes time to remember where I lived, or worked, or vacationed. I’m likely to trust a business when I can see the reach it has established.

In my research, I ran across an article that suggested founders share with their readers and users, their vision. This Founder’s Reflection blog post is truly just that… a glimpse of what I believe is the description, intent, and value of uencounter.me. I will be attempting to communicate this same message in a couple of weeks when I talk with investors – wish me luck! And… the article also suggested letting our users know when we need something. Uencounter.me will be even more engaging with another 10,000 users! Can you help? Share the site and how you use it with friends and family! Think of what would be interesting to you to see visualized geographically and start a map! Thanks in advance!

Leslyn and the entire UE Team!

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/3121199491/”>Caitlinator</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/marc_smith/5010221272/”>Marc_Smith</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>CC BY</a>

 

What our lovely readers have said about it:

  1. Mike McHenry says:

    Nice post. We just had to slim our elevator pitch down to a minute. It was a painful process, but we’re happy we took the time to get it right.

  2. harlan kennard says:

    Well Leslyn, once again you have written a very compelling and interesting blog post.

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