Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The face of the economic crisis

Today I just want to share with you this news. Homeless woman's plea to Obama draws flood of support. That is some thing encouraging.

Henrietta Hughes said to president Obama:
"I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in," she said. "The housing authority has two years’ waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help."

A web site has been setup for Henrietta (

This is just one example that is facing a difficult time at this critical time, while the government is evaluating its options and trying to do something, we should not stay quietly and wait. That is why we have setup the web site to connect those people who need help with those who are really eager to help.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

IhopeUhelp Beta Launch

Before I explore into the process of launching beta release, I think I owe you to mention what the idea is all about.

The idea in a nutshell is an online community of people helping each other to recover from the current economic downturn. How? People will sign up as a help provider or as help seeker or as both or as unknown to the site.

Help seekers provide their background, specify their particular need (money, service, good or any combination) and upload any supporting documents to their page (photos, scanned documents, videos…).

Help providers also provide their background; specify the type of help they would like to offer (money, service, good, any combination). They can search the database by location, key word, type of help… and once they find a particular person/family that they wanted to help then they can use the messaging system to start communication and proceed then after. Help providers can be individuals, representatives of companies or organization.

Enough said about the idea, let us shift gears towards the process of launching beta.

  1. The idea was born on Jan 3/09.

  2. Domain name registration and initial formal discussion Jan 4/09.

  3. Pause for two weeks (no work at all)

  4. Discussed what to do next (decided to launch the beta on Feb 2/09)

    • work on logo

    • modify style

    • arrange UI layout

    • write how it works

    • write some contents

    • create groups

    • find some one to record instructional video on how to use the system

    • find some one to help us understand what to be done on approaching media channels such as CNN, NPR as the site is to help others

    • Start on preparing marketing email content to send to our networks…

  5. Missed Feb 2/09 date mainly because of the person made promise for the instructional video couldn’t make it. And few cleanups were not completed.

  6. Still we couldn’t find a person to help us capture the video but decided to continue without it for now and officially beta version was launched on Feb 9/09. If anyone would like to help us on this and how to approach media channels such as CNN and NPR, please send us email using contactus at ihopeuhelp dot com.

Now is live out there available for public, what is the next step? Well bring as many people as we can and let the web site facilitate helping each other. Now our focus will be entirely on the marketing side. Still if you think you can help us in any way possible please don’t hesitate to shoot us email at contactus at ihopeuhelp dot com.

Monday, February 9, 2009

An Idea Born Of Necessity

While discussing of current economic meltdown with my friend (co-founder of, the idea emerged. We discussed/brainstormed about the concept for some time and we loved it, we saw its potential and decided to immediately start working on it. We went back to our places with appointment to meet up in the next morning at some coffee shop assuming that we could be able to launch it in the next few days (one or two).

The next morning, we decided to put together available products either from open source or products with minimum payment. The same day we registered domain name and selected Ning service to start with. We realized there need to be some more work get done that may take more than what we anticipated. Paused for some moment and started discussion, we were working on a different project before; that was under development for some months. Then this shiny new thing came along and distracted us. We then started to loose motivation for continuing on this new shiny thing.

Days passed by and one day in the morning my friend called and left a message on my cell phone (I am not a morning person). In his message, he seemed so enthusiastic about the idea and he wanted to work on it. Then we decided to work for a few weeks (two to four) on the new project mostly my friend will be focusing primarily on the new project while my primary focus will still be on our previous project.

During the next few days I stumble upon this blog written by Dharmesh Shah at (

I found the questions quite useful, so I tried to apply the suggested questions on our situation:

  1. Am I simply intrigued by the shininess and newness, or is there really a there, there?
    Yes, there is no question about the fact that there is a real there. We shall see it when unveiling the idea.

  2. What would I need to know and what minimal questions would I need answered to figure out whether this Shiny New Thing is worth my attention?
    When evaluating the idea's usefulness for the targeted audience, it really is worth to get attention; I guess everyone would agree to the fact that an idea is useful if it solves a problem, meets a need or want.

  3. How long will it reasonably take me to figure out what I need to know? Can I even afford that investment? How does it impact what I’m doing now?
    Most of the things that we need to know about the idea have already been understood well. Our intention is to invest very limited time, resource, use volunteers if applicable, open source or free stuffs as much as possible or services which have scalability option and at the same time require minimal cost at least during early stage. By limiting the effort needed to the new project and two of us keeping our primary focus on the new and existing project, we are making an effort to reduce the impact on the project that was under development before.

  4. Should I go ahead and….
    Yes we should!

Please stay tuned, I haven't mentioned about the idea yet.