In 2015, after working on Medium (the product you are currently reading this post on!), I decided to leave and start a new adventure. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do but I had some ideas I wanted to explore.
Having worked on consumer Internet products for over a decade, notably Twitter and Medium, I wanted to narrow my focus a bit and see if I could build a small business.
During a fundraise for a previous company back in the early 2000’s I remember an investor telling me, “If you build something that 14 year olds can’t stop talking about, you’ve hit a gold mine!” That sentiment always stuck with me because I usually built products that I enjoyed using also, which meant my potential user base was likely to resemble me. This statement made me realize there might be tremendous opportunity to build something for a demographic that is unlikely to build something for themselves. In this case, not many 14 year olds know how to build software… yet, so there’s likely a good opportunity in there somewhere.
Furthermore, I’ve always enjoyed building products for my friends and family, which is why I led the Internal Tools team at Twitter, building products to make my co-workers more effective, efficient, and happier, and built The Grid for my family.
Amongst the ideas I set out to explore, one seemed to resonate the most with my two older kids. The concept was pretty simple… a jewelry charm of sorts that plugs into your phone’s headphone jack, which also acts a digital key allowing access to a private chat room that only people with that charm could access. The use cases seemed compelling…
- A clique at school
- A sorority
- A wedding party
- A boy scout troop
- A book club
The charms seemed like good group gifts that would not only act as a nice mobile phone accessory identifying who’s in the group, but also provide entrance into a safe, private chat room. I started working on a prototype to see if an iPhone charm could work.
The prototype was interesting, but it was dead… I needed it to communicate with the phone so the software would know what chat room to grant access to. Apart from one electrical engineering class I took in college, I know very little about building hardware, but I knew someone who did!
I called my good friend, Travis Ziebro, and ran the idea by him. He was already had a full-time job and spent many nights and weekends growing his DJ business, but he was intrigued and we agreed that it would be fun to work together.
After several meetings and various electronic prototypes, I had an opportunity to start Lucid, which I took while Ziebro kept hacking.
Fast forward a couple years and I couldn’t be more excited about what Travis, and his now growing team, have accomplished. They’ve taken the original idea and evolved it into something more beautiful and with more purpose! They have done the research, worked with jewelers, built a manufacturing process, and are ready to tell the world about it!
I won’t do it a disservice by explaining it here, so go check out the Kickstarter and help these guys make this a reality.