Why I Believe Crowdfunding Platform DonorSee Will Massively Disrupt Big Charity

Imagine harnessing the irresistible user experience and community-building aspects of social media apps — for pure good.

The DonorSee app crowdfunds support for the world’s poorest individuals, and uniquely allows donors to see how their money makes an impact through raw video updates.

When I met DonorSee Founder Gret Glyer for the first time, I thought his idea sounded interesting, but I had no idea how two aspects of DonorSee would soon shock me.

First, I downloaded the app and in a matter of minutes had made a small donation to a worthy cause: contributing to a well-building project in Chinguluma Village, Malawi, where a village of 300 families lived 45 minutes from the nearest “safe” water source. Multiple people were dying every year from contaminated water.

Across several weeks, 197 donors raised $9,000 and got a new well built.

Providing clean water for each family there for a year only costs $1.48.

The completed well. See the villagers holding signs recognizing each donor by name.

As the construction occurred and the village finally celebrated their new water source with infectious enthusiasm, I received video updates in the app. Real people. Real stories. Real emotional impact. Donors liked me piled on celebratory comments. It was incredibly positive and authentic. Almost the opposite of Twitter or Youtube comment feeds.

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My Top Ten Books of 2018 for Startup Leaders

If you’re a startup leader, these are ten book recommendations for you that I found helpful in 2018. Not all were written in the past year; it’s just when I read them. Hope you enjoy my recommendations by category.

Any you’d like to add? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Leadership and Self-Improvement

Image result for ego is the enemy
now don’t lose your head

Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

A must-read for any leader with a high opinion of themselves!

“The art of taking feedback is such a crucial skill in life, particularly harsh and critical feedback. We not only need to take this harsh feedback, but actively solicit it, labor to seek out the negative precisely when our friends and family and brain are telling us that we’re doing great. The ego avoids such feedback at all costs, however. It thinks it already knows how and who we are — that is, it thinks we are spectacular, perfect, genius, truly innovative. It dislikes reality and prefers its own assessment.”

Thank you to the hundreds of people who recommended this to me! (mostly joking)

Read more here.

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A Startup Within a Startup at Sonder

This spring, I joined Sonder, a rapidly-scaling tech company looking to launch their DC market. The company was completely new to me but the opportunity was too exciting to pass up.

Sonder aims to provide a unique, yet consistent experience for stays in beautiful hand-picked locations in cities around the world. Each Sonder is purposefully selected, designed and maintained — customized to reflect the vibe of its neighborhood. With thousands of beautiful spaces built for travel and life, Sonder is transforming the future of hospitality. And with 24/7 on-demand service, crisp linens, and over 200 other quality standards, we’re “taking stay further” for guests all around the world.

Why startups?

After college, I spent five years as a logistics officer in the Marine Corps. I found the excitement, leadership opportunity, and organizational challenges right up my alley. After starting a family, I transitioned to the more stable world of financial consulting, doing project management with Ernst & Young. Working with sharp, driven people at both of these organizations energized me, as did fast-paced and challenging work.

However, the stodgy mega-bureaucracies felt stifling. I was ready to lose the suit and tie and TPS reports.

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How We Applied Design Thinking To Employee Onboarding At Our Startup

Have you ever been frustrated with the way you were treated by a company as a job applicant?

I’m guessing the answer is “yes.”

Through my work with multiple startups, I’ve learned that design thinking provides incredible benefits to the organization by leveraging both the organization’s and applicant’s point of views.

Photo: Tim Gouw, Unsplash

Step 1: Empathize

We were a little frustrated, and a little embarrassed at our recruiting and onboarding

To service a potential avalanche of customers for our new product rollout, we set aggressive goals for hiring multiple specialties across a couple teams.

Our company, Notarize, was still young enough that there was very little formal process in place. Every individual’s onboarding experience was unique and disorganized.

We felt that we were failing to communicate our values to potential hires, failing to efficiently and smoothly onboard new hires, and failing to make a great first impression for new team members.

Time to reinvent our onboarding

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