1 Million Cups 7/13/2016

Sometimes it’s the comments and feedback from the community that can help you define your product better than you can yourself. Pitching your idea, talking through your problem, and working with the smart minds around you is what defines “community.” A safe zone for conversation to generate solutions.

Marc Dugger and Mike Tobias pitched their companies, YouWorth and Byte Intelligent Systems, at 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, July 13th. In Marc’s instance the community took his explanation of his app, YouWorth, and helped to clarify his Zillow + Waze for the global job market into the more concise “Kelley blue book for professionals.” In Mike’s case, as investor and tasked with business development for Byte, he challenged the community to come up with other implementations of the technology. A great way to engage the community!

Moving on. Zillow? Waze? Kelly blue book for professionals?… What is YouWorth? YouWorth is a mobile phone application that tells you what you should be paid, based on the professional skills and experience that you bring to the table. (Like a beautiful car brought to a dealership for appraisal.) Marc came up with this idea after sitting in his first job where he found out that he was underpaid… we’ve all been there. YouWorth is the individualized solution to helping each subscriber figure out their fair market value. And they’ve created tools to help you look at your career as a professional development journey. With their AB skills testing feature you’re able to answer questions like, “What would happen to my salary if I added this skill to my repertoire?” or “Would my compensation increase dramatically if I spent the time, money, effort, and energy to learn this new language?” Wouldn’t you like to know? YouWorth is a freemium model with subscriptions for personalized data. Though seemingly cyclical for job-seekers, Marc is hoping to convey to each subscriber that they are their own “product” which can be constantly improved. Wouldn’t it be great if you could (actually) tie an increase in salary to improving yourself and your skills?

Speaking of improving oneself, that’s what Mike came to 1 Million Cups to do for Byte. As an entrepreneur, investor, and CEO coach, Mike invested in Byte Intelligent Systems and shared with the community a compelling implementation of its machine learning technology, Joystick. Joystick scours the internet and social media threads for gaming news, updates, and goings-on. It then delivers the content to the end-user in a customized feed based on their profile. It’s in the profile where the machine learning stuff takes place. If not in the gaming community (which has some of the most engaged and loyal consumers), then where would this machine learning technology apply? Think about it.

While you ponder the rabbit hole of machine learning applications and your potential salary increase, here’s a recap of what the community learned this morning at 1 Million Cups:

  • “Why wouldn’t you use this [product]?” is as helpful to answer as “Why do you like this [product]?”
  • Just because you can (expend the resource), doesn’t mean that you should…
  • “Puzzles solved have far more penetration and staying power than chores completed.”

The first lesson is the crux of The Ultimate Question (by Fred Reichheld). Which is to say that if you’re not going to like it, tell me why so that we can fix it. That last lesson is from The Art of Profitability by Adrian Slywotzky. Having heard these two pitches David Zhao might say “Tell me next time…” But, we’ll spare you the homework. That said, 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9:00AM. If you’re not much for pitches, at least enjoy some Kurtooo pastries (They’re delicious!) and sugar-filled networking.

Debra Swersky

Debra has spent her career building, scaling, and managing operations in start-up organizations. Companies such as Inside Sports & Entertainment Group, SCVNGR/LevelUp, Visible Measures, and High Start Group have used Debra’s enterprising energy to facilitate their exponential growth.