A bit of history.
If you get to know me, even a little bit, you'll realize that I'm an ideas person. I know, it's cliche to say things like "out of box" thinker and I'm not saying that I'm an out of box thinker per se... But I do tend to see what I perceive to be obvious gaps or holes in industry. The RAHSTR concept is one of those gaps.
What are YOU into?
We all have different hobbies. The actions of that hobby are irrelevant, the point being that we all have things we enjoy doing in whatever spare time we have in our busy lives. For me, I love playing volleyball.
Disclaimer: While I am going to use volleyball as my use case, I'm sure that it is not difficult to insert your hobby in place of mine.
A problem that I've encountered often, is getting enough people together to play. Sure, I have people I can reach out to but do they know how to play, do they understand the rules, are they competitive, are they sore losers or worse, sore winners? As I really thought about this, I really started to wonder why there wasn't an easy way to find people of similar skill and similar goals who wanted to play together. It seemed absurd to me that we spend so much time putting together our professional resume, with references, exact dates of employment, skills, education, etc. when work is something we all do to survive, not to live. Why did we not have "life resumes" that talk of the things we love to do, the things that actually bring us life? A resource that talks about who I am, what I choose to do with my free time. I guess there is facebook or instagram or other various social media platforms, but they're a glimpse into a moment. A well-crafted, carefully stylized moment.
As I talked to other people about this, I found that this sort of problem persisted in every hobby or group. People who play Dungeons & Dragons would lose an adventurer for one reason or another and not be able to replace them, a band would lose a drummer or bassist and have extreme difficulty continuing without finding similarly skilled people to replace them. Hobbies/recreational sports are multi-billion dollar industries without the most amazing tools for doing what you're so passionate about.
I truly believe that we are all so much more than our resumes.
The idea for RAHSTR was born from this... A LinkedIn for what you live to do, not what you have to do to survive. A resource for who you are, not what you do.
DO WHAT YOU KNOW
After getting a lot of positive feedback, I got to doing what I do and started working on the concept. My hope was that instead of pitching just an idea to developers, I would pitch them something that they could see in action.
Do you know any developers with free time?
Armed with my little deck of screens, I reached out to everyone I knew. I started by going through every one of the contacts on my phone (messages like this):
Hey Dave, it's been forever! Life is crazy right? Speaking of crazy, I have this idea that I've been working on and was wondering if you knew any developers? If so, would you share their contact info with me? Thanks, we really need to catch up soon!
After a lot of catch up calls and a few awkward conversations, I had exhausted my phone contacts so I moved to my Linkedin network, followed by my wife's contacts and Linkedin network, then friends networks and then friends of friends Linkedin networks and you know what i learned?
Developers are rare and not surprisingly, they're really busy.
Between jobs, families and their own side projects (yes almost all of them had at least one), I couldn't find a developer to help. So what's a creative to do?
Create, of course.
I developed a pitch deck, with the idea being that the combination of a pitch deck along with the screens, I would be able to get funding and hire developers to get the project done.
Well, ain't that a pitch?
I took my deck and as much confidence as I could muster and attended several startup socials. My intent was to pitch my deck and find investors, who would be fighting over my revolutionary idea. I had also decided that developers would be attending these events, and that they would be hoping to catch my eye as I worked my way through a sea of qualified coders...
As it turns out, building a startup is really hard.
The vast majority of these events were packed with people doing the same exact thing as me. Taking their idea with their well rehearsed pitch and deck and trying their best to find someone to believe in them enough to give them money to make it a reality.
Anyone who was an investor at these events was looking to invest in something that was more developed than what I was bringing to the table. I heard a lot of "seems like a really interesting idea, contact me when you have a working prototype" or "I like where you're going, find yourself a technical partner and reach out to me when you're past the friends and family stage".
As a side note, the friends and family state of a startup is a cold splash of water to the face when you're a first generation American with a family that still lives paycheck to paycheck.
After the year that we've been through, wouldn't it be great if people had a really easy way to connect with other people of similar goals and interest to do things together that bring them joy and life?
It would right?
Sadly, RAHSTR has been shelved. While I think about RAHSTR all of the time, my situation hasn't changed, I don't know more developers today than I did before the pandemic started and don't have the funding needed to hire a team. I'm still on the lookout, so if you're an investor that somehow ended up here or a developer looking for that unbelievable opportunity, lets talk.