Two Media Mentions, and Context on Horizon's Long Term Vision

Most entrepreneurs believe there is a “wrong” in the world, and they are the ones that need to “right” it. For me, that wrong is the very real life lottery that exists in this world, which is as simple as where you’re born. From my point of view, access to community is the only way to break that cycle and lesson the opportunity/income inequality that exists worldwide.

The Long Term Societal Danger of Screen Addiction

A week in Cuba with absolutely zero internet for 7 days made me re-realize the reality that screen addiction doesn’t exist everywhere. Yet. All the time people in the developed world spend browsing Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed, People Magazine, and TMZ – as well as countless hours indulging in Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime – people in Cuba (& most other places in the developing world) spend actually talking to each other, strengthening relationships & helping each other.

Horizon for AirBnB Hosts

As a result of our latest product changes allowing hosts to provide a text description and link to an external website, we believe there is a compelling proposition for existing hosts on AirBnB (and other vacation rental & homestay platforms) to use Horizon as a complementary tool:

Find 12's Round the Globe

One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive in Seattle is the presence of 12. You can’t walk or drive very far without seeing a 12 flag hanging off a balcony or in a window – or, at the top of the Space Needle.

Join us for Horizon Hackday at Impact Hub in Pioneer Square - December 13

Those of us working on Horizon from Seattle are planning a hackday this coming Sunday, November 13th. The Impact Hub Seattle team has graciously agreed to let us use their fantastic space in the heart of Pioneer Square. I was an Impact Hub member in 2013, and recently re-joined after settling back in Seattle after being in Santiago for Startup Chile for much of 2014 – thank you to Brian Howe (an advisor for us) and the rest of the team for being so supportive and generous.

Horizon's Appearance at Galvanize Pitchers and Pitches

Last night, I pitched Horizon at Galvanize’s Pitchers and Pitches event in Pioneer Square. It was a 3 minute pitch, along with 2 minutes for Q&A on our concept and business model. The lineup of 8 presentations was quite impressive - including Givesafe, a project by Jonathan Kumar, who told me about the monthly pitch event last month and convinced me to sign up as a presenter. For those who have presentated at public pitch events, you likely know 3 minutes is not much time to give a complete overview of your business. Conciseness is critical when alloted only 3 minutes. Fortunately Startup Chile’s demo day was a 3 minute format as well (you can see my presenation here), so we already had a rough outline and presentation to start from. I modified the the presenation slightly, to include our traction (we passed 5,000 community members yesterday) and some revisions to the business model – and practiced in advance.

An Added Incentive for Members of SigEp to Connect - $100, or $1,000 for your chapter

Since releasing our iOS app in March, we’ve been focused on a few core communities – Sigma Phi Epsilon (aka SigEp), which I am a proud member of (WA Beta class of 2002), is one of them. Every two years, Sigma Phi Epsilon hosts the largest national gathering of its members across the nation, the Grand Chapter Conclave. Grand Chapter Conclave was this past week in Nashville, Tennessee. 1,500 undergraduates and alumni from around the country celebrated brotherhood, and delegates considered new legislation and changes to its bylaws that will determine how the Fraternity operates. No doubt, many great connections were made.

Ben Kneppers and Kevin Ahearn, La Mesa Verde, and Bureo Skateboards

A number of amazing people stayed at our humble Santiago abode, La Mesa Verde. Jochen, Henry, and Amy are three. Two others were Ben Kneppers and Kevin Ahearn from Bureo Skateboards. In fact, they secured an extremely special place in the Horizon journey the minute they agreed to sublet their apartment to us. Without them, La Mesa Verde never would have been a “thing” (in our story), or the Wednesday tradition that bound our community together throughout our 6 months.

Horizon's 2nd Customer, Amy Kerman, and Finding a New Co-Founder

I’ve written about our first paid customer, Henry, as well as our 3rd, Jochen. Our 2nd customer was Amy Kerman, a former product manager at Intuit who spent the better part of a year traveling through South America in 2014. Turns out, she also led us to our newest co-founder, Oren Borovitch. Oren is in charge of finance, business development, and operations. Here’s a little bit more about him, in his own words:

A New Way to Join Horizon Communities - Unlock Codes

Facebook changed its rules, and shut off permissions to their groups APIs on April 30th as part of migrating all developers from FB Graph 1.0 to Graph 2.0. What this means for all those who have not yet signed into Horizon is that we can not automatically show you groups within Horizon based upon memberships of specific Facebook groups.

A Peek at Horizon's Founders

We’re applying to an accelerator that requires a 1 minute founder video. I thought I’d share it here for those interested in a behind the scenes look at the founders of Horizon.

Jochen and The Quest for Beef Balls

Jochen from LetsMake is a fellow member of Start-Up Chile generation 10. He arrived from San Francisco several weeks late due to having to finish another accelerator, Tumml, and crashed with us for two stints covering a total of 7 weeks.

Clearing Up The End Goal - Making Community More Accessible

This company has always been about connecting like minded people in person. That’s been our goal since the beginning. But why? We struggled with that for awhile. A probing question from my friend Taylor finally led to Horizon. Those who have marketed a product know it often takes awhile to nail your positioning in a way that’s clear to everyone. The only way to figure out great positioning, is to practice repeatedly. Up until a few weeks ago, I told people the end goal for Horizon was “enabling community on demand”. Unfortunately, not everyone understood exactly what that meant. I got a few blank stares. Questions. Puzzled looks.

Travel from your Living Room

We’ve all been there. Settled into the daily work-home-eat-sleep routine, wanderlust begins to take over. Suddenly, the local flavor doesn’t satisfy you anymore. You feel your city has little more to offer you and a weekend trip to the neighboring state won’t be sufficient. You want to get far away but don’t have enough vacation time. In essence, the travel bug has hit and you don’t have any antibiotics.

The REAL Reason to Travel

Think of a place you have never been, a place you would really love to go. Odds are you have gazed at it on google image for hours instead of working on that presentation for work, or that paper for class. Maybe it’s the background of your computer screen at this very moment, or maybe it’s a poster on your wall. Whatever the destination, picture it and ask yourself “Why am I so infatuated with this place?”

The AirBnB Hack that Helped Inspire Horizon

AirBnB started as a paid version of Couchsurfing back in 2008, though have successfully moved up the luxury scale and is now mainly used to book vacation rentals. While I certainly had heard about AirBnB back in 2010 when I spent much of the year traveling and contemplating various travel startup ideas, my first AirBnB experience didn’t come until 2012 in Barcelona, on my next extended trip abroad. In 2012, I stayed with 3 hosts over the course of 3 weeks. My first host was a Catalan lady who spoke no English, the second a freelance graphic designer, and the third was an amazing family that ran OurBnB.com (Phil and Fiona Morris). There are numerous reasons staying with a family is amazing; the Morris’ are just one of those families you can’t help but love.

Wanderlust

Will and I have both largely been nomads for the better part of the last 5 years. We met while living in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2012. Its safe to say we both have mild to severe doses of wanderlust.

Can Start-Up Chile Emerge as the Leading Travel Accelerator in the World?

With the continued growth of incubators/accelerators and the major value proposition of acceptance being “the network”, it’s highly likely a clear winner will emerge in every major vertical. Many accelerators are already verticalizing as a point of differentiation - TechStars, a clear leader, has realized this as a growth strategy and now runs accelerators for Qualcomm (robotics), Disney, Nike, Barclays (finance), R/GA (connected devices), Sprint (mobile health), and Kaplan (EdTech). The YCombinator’s of the world won’t have to go down this path because they have a massive headstart (aka brand & reputation) – but everyone else will be required to specialize, or risk a slow demise into obscurity.

Why Increasing Travel Opportunities Matters

There is a deep social mission behind Horizon - to organize every single trusted community in the world by location, in order to enable in person conversations, experiences, and friendships. Why? There is zero doubt in my mind community inspires travel decisions.

Application Submitted to TechStars, and Private Beta for Members of the Start-Up Chile Community

It’s been a busy week for Horizon. On Monday, we submitted our application to TechStars NYC, which would run from January 12 until April 10 if accepted. If you know someone on our team, or are just a traveler who wants Horizon to exist - please help our chances of being accepted to TechStars (only 1% get in) by leaving us a recommendation at the following URL: http://www.f6s.com/horizonapp

Tulane, and Why I Care

I’m a junior at Tulane University, and am serving as a student ambassador for Horizon to get some community building and marketing experience in the tech startup world.

Incentives for Hosts in Hospitality Networks

Hospitality networks need both supply (hosts) and demand (guests). It’s no surprise, in virtually every hospitality network – there are more guests than hosts. Who wouldn’t want to save the couple hundred dollars a hotel would cost by staying with a local? At least among millenials, the answer is virtually nobody. A delicate marketplace balancing act spanning thousands and thousands of cities all across the globe is required to accommodate the majority of guests within a given hospitality network.

A Little History of Modern Hospitality Networks

Hospitality networks are not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. The most well known is certainly Couchsurfing, which has been around since 2003 and now has over 9 million members. While the largest hospitality network on the planet, it’s certainly not the only one.

What is the Dream?

Our long term goal is, and always has been, to connect people with shared passions, beliefs, experiences, & interests in person. The mission is to increase access to travel opportunities worldwide by enabling shared hospitality among trusted contacts and communities; providing free or cheap accommodations and cultural experiences not otherwise available.

Do You Love People? Do You Love Travel?

Our core mission is to increase access to travel opportunities worldwide by enabling shared hospitality among trusted contacts and communities; providing free or cheap accommodation and cultural experiences not otherwise available to them.

First Impressions of Santiago

Just over 2 weeks ago, Will and I arrived in Santiago, Chile to spend 6 months as part of Generation 10 of Start-Up Chile. The morning of July 18th, to be precise.

The MyBlogLog Impact

In 2005, MyBlogLog was the first real “community” platform that I can remember existing. Of course, blog communities existed prior to MyBlogLog, primarily in blog comments. But if you didn’t leave comments, no one knew about your existence (everyone knows most people don’t contribute content). MBL brought transparency to the faces of those reading specific blogs.