The Grind is when you launch something, it fails to get product market fit, and you grind on it, week after week, month after month, year after year, until it does. Usually the entrepreneur who chooses The Grind is obsessed with the problem they are trying to solve and can’t let it go. This tenacity is often rewarded if everyone is patient enough.
I’d say, we are on the grind.
The goal has always been connecting like minded people in person. Community on demand, wherever you may be. Achieving that, of course, is no easy task - same as every huge B2C play that has been tried.
When did we actually start the grind? (Note: Charlie O’Donnell wrote a timely post about this exact topic today that I commented on).
If you don’t consider the domain name the starting point, the start dates back to membership in my fraternity (Sigma Phi Epsilon) from 2002-2005, continued in 2006-2007 when I become a massive fan of MyBlogLog, and continued while feeding my travel addiction during vacation time at Zillow.
If you consider the first domain name as the starting point, the grind started spring of 2010 when I purchased www.ohheyworld.com prior to heading to Europe for the summer, & launched a travel blog (1st post July 2, 2010). I sat on the core “Foursquare for Travelers” idea for 2 years, while traveling and working at a web design and development firm. We started working on “Foursquare for Travelers” in late 2012 after 5 more months of travel, spent 2 weeks in Bali for Startup Abroad, spent 7 months iterating prior to running out of money - while coming to the realization that location sharing is not a pain point for travelers outside the long term traveler segment. Then we spent a year consulting, while validating (& scrapping) a few other approaches (detailed below). We ended up open sourcing Oh Hey World early 2014. Finally, we started on our 2nd product focused on solving the same problem. We’ve been working on it since March, currently going through Start-Up Chile and about ready to push beyond a small beta.
So, as Charlie says, somewhere in there - the grind started.
The grind has included working on the following concepts in some capacity (many we spent zero development on)…
- Zillow of Travel - solve the scenario of “I’m going to SE Asia for 2 weeks, I’m visiting these 7 cities on a budget - what will the trip cost me?”
- Foursquare at the City Level: See Oh Hey World & my guest post on Pando with 12 months of learnings
- Travel Angel - Connect with a local expert in 60 seconds: Startup Weekend Summary
- Your Relocation Inbox: Complete Concept Summary
- Tinder for Things to Do - a Tinder user interface, on top of the Welcome Kits concept.
- Travatar - Gravatar for your Location: Complete Concept Summary
- Mobile, social Email Newsletter Reader: Complete Concept Summary
- Private Hospitality Exchange Networks: validated, and started building earlier this year.
It took us 2+ years to learn the ins and outs of the travel industry, but feel we’ve finally figured out the right product and go to market strategy: facilitating private hospitality exchange networks among existing trusted communities (service & religious orgs, alumni associations, fraternities/sororities, etc). We’ve proved revenue viability on a flat service fee + optional donation model, and raised over $550 for Kiva using our house in Santiago as a test.
What has your grind consisted of?