Taking care of relationships is not outsourceable

A few days ago a fellow blogger nearby, Sam Steiner, was giving away a startup idea. The goal would be to develop a web platform where upcoming parents can write and design birth announcement letters which will then be sent out through the company as soon as the parents complete the information for example with a picture upload via their mobile. The sending for the inner circle will then be made by sending physical cards whereas the rest will receive a nicely formatted email or facebook wall entry.

After reading his idea I immediately responded via a comment that he should make it happen, after all aren’t those the successful startups that fullfill an itch that a founder has himself?

Throughout the rest of the day my brain was occupied by coming up with ways to turn this idea into reality, thinking about partners in the printing business who would send out the printed goods and maybe also pre-fill them. What might their pricing requirements look like? - after all their struggling themselves in the world of the internet. After the physical side was mentally figured out the question was how to build the website? - which technology stack to use? - hacking it together over a weekend? - with whom?

Later that day I told my father, a non computer savvy person, about that great idea I saw on the internet today. He was looking at me as if i was out of my mind. He totally disagreed and instead suggested that women, in the week prior to giving birth when being bored and at home, could potentially pre-write the letters so that the husband could then just print out the pictures stick them into the cards and then send them to friends and family.

After having the discussion with my father i think he’s totally right in terms of not outsourcing the bonding part with people you care about. It’s not about time you’d gain by using such a service it’s about openly investing yourself into the relationships to others by sending a handwritten card rather than wrapping your personal writing in an emotionenless off the shelf card with corporate branding on the back.

On a sidenote to all developers, I know it’s all too easy to get stuck in the optimization trap without knowing it. We tackle the market analysis with the identical mindset as writing revision one of the service. The approach might work in an emotionless business area but is certainly not suited at all for private relationships. As a hint, talking to people with different backgrounds helps enormously.

Published: 2011-11-11

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