Welcome to AnActionPlan blog! Now that AnActionPlan.com is officially a thing, I thought I'd start writing about what we're doing, how we got here and where we're going.
For the past seven years I've been a metaphorical whale hunter. My other businesses (appliedrelevance.com and epinomy.com) had software products targeted at megaliths, including world governments, multi-lateral organizations and Fortune 50 behemoths. These organizations have long procurement processes, inscrutable contract procedures and lots of zeros in the total contract value. The cost of acquiring those customers is huge, but the payoff can be even huger if you are able to make it through the long slog to the finish line and jump through the hoops required.
In March of 2015 I found myself at the user conference of one of our key partners, MarkLogic. I looked around the conference room and thought to myself "there are maybe 20 customers for our product, Epinomy, in the whole world. And we're competing with at least four other companies for those 20 whales.". Granted these prospects were organizations like the World Bank, the United Nations and Genentech, and the contracts could be in the millions. But with our tiny company, we were what is termed in the business a "vendor risk". That means any customers would be taking a chance on a small organization with just a tiny little neck to wring if things went all pear-shaped.
It was at this moment that I realized that our business model was not going to work. It was also at this conference that I decided to really start a new company and do something completely different.
For the past year or so, I've been toying with a few ideas for a self-improvement web site. I'm not really a self-improvement kind of guy, but I've been known to jump on a bandwagon after carefully studying and exhaustively researching the comparative benefits of every possible configuration of bandwagon that exists. I did enough research on LASIK in 2001 that I could perform the surgery myself. Since I hadn't actually practiced, and it would be awkward to do eye surgery on yourself, I had a local hotshot ophthalmologist do it. To this day, it is the only surgery I've ever had.
The Internet is lousy with online training for things like "how to build an IOS Application with Swift in 20 easy lessons" and "Look at these massive Python apps!". What I realized is that all those training courses are for skills that you use over and over again. That's a cool thing - and I've taken a few of these courses. But what these platforms do not offer is a common platform dedicated to learning about and executing major life events.
The example I like to give is pregnancy. If you are pregnant, you need an action plan. Pregnancy is a well known process with specific milestones and a static time frame. You get nine months, usually. Along the way there are multiple milestones and indicators that you need to track. At bare minimum, you have monthly doctor appointments, an ultrasound and need to figure out where you want to have the baby. In addition to the basics, there are lots of other milestones like "when do I interview a doula or a midwife?" and "when do I find out the sex of the baby?" and "what is the health range of weight gain I should expect?"
Pregnancy is far form the only viable action plan. Every life is filled with lots of first-time events that require research. What's the best way to buy a car? How do I sell my car? What do I need to do and when in order sell my house? Or buy a new house?
AAP is be there to help people get their shit together and display it on a timeline and turn it into a scrapbook for sharing with friends and family.
That's something I can explain to my mom!