During the spring of 2010, I enrolled in Professor Richard Donnelly’s New Ventures Class at the George Washington University (GWU) School of Business. Students had to create ideas for a new venture, form groups of four and present the idea to the entire class at the end of the semester.
My teammates were Daniel Lonnerdal, Jing Xe, and Mustafa Onerci.
“What I learned from the Foodspotting eatup at Burma Restaurant was the need to provide faceted search where users can choose their cuisine, type of dish, ingredients, and taste preferences,” I said.
“Not only that, but you can choose your mood and ambiance,” Jing added. “Last weekend, I went on a date with my boyfriend. I tasked him to find something romantic with a pleasant view and no distractions, and thank goodness he didn’t disappoint.”
“Lucky for him, he came through. And if you’re a fan of sports like me, you can select the team that you like to watch, and the site will tell you which pubs to visit. A Falcons fan definitely doesn’t want to stumble blindly into a Saints bar. Unless you’re game for an ass whooping contest.”
“Perfect example — what shall we name it?” Daniel asked
We brainstormed for a few..”How ‘bout Food Runner?” Mustafa suggested.
“Nah, some people drive or catch a cab.”
“How ‘bout Run this Town?” Jing asked.
“Nah, not a big fan of Jay-Z.”
“How ‘bout Dining Out?” Daniel asked.
“Meh, how ‘bout RUNINOut?” I suggested.
“That’s a weird name. Like running out of food, groceries, things to do?” Mustafa asked.
“Umm, yeah that’s an accurate expression.” I began to write the name on the notepad.
“Strange…Looks too much like RUIN tho. And isn’t running spelled with two N’s and one G?” Jing asked.
“Yeah, but that’s just too long to fit in an address bar. I like the shortened version even if we’re ruining the spelling.”
“It’s kinda catchy, but I think people will get confused and misspell it. Then they won’t be able to find it on Google,” Jing replied.
“Well tell that to Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they came up with Google or Jerry Chang with Yahoo.”
“Too bad we’re not in Silicon Valley. So are you going to hire someone local to develop the site?” Daniel asked.
“Would love to, but the prices in this town are up in the stratosphere due to high demand from government contracts.”
“Then why don’t you outsource the work to India, the Philippines, or Africa?” Mustafa suggested.
“We can outsource the content management once the structure is in place. But to build the foundation, I want to find a team from North America who understands our culture, our cuisine, our history, our beliefs, and attitudes. Someone who I can physically reach out and touch if I need to and someone that won’t break our piggy bank.”
“Where can you find such gifted talent whose willing to work below market price?” Daniel asked.
“Dunno, but maybe we can find a technical co-founder at the next tech meetup.
“That’s possible. And I hope we get good feedback from Professor Donnelly and the class during our capstone presentation next month.”