I’ve known about GroupOn for a while, but finally made my first purchase today. Some time ago, I fell in love with a friend’s startup, MyDunkTank, and another localÂ Philly startup, LoseItOrLoseIt. What do all three of these services have in common? They’re using social power to drive change.
All three of these services empower your family and friends to help you fulfill your goals. Perhaps you want to try something new in your cityâ€”say a new restaurant or a flight lessonâ€”then, if you get enough people to signup for a deal when offered on GroupOn, you can make it a reality. Or you feel strongly about a cause, perhaps breast cancer or a local school program, then you can create a fundraising challenge on MyDunkTank to help them raise funds needed to carry on their work. Maybe you want to lose weight, a goal common to so many, LoseItOrLoseIt helps you structure a 10-week program with family/friends to keep you accountable and a financial incentive to keep you motivated. These are early examples of a new type of service, one that empowers people to help one another, harnessing their collective power to drive change they want to see in the world, their network, or in themselves.
Two of the three only make money when you fulfill your goals: if GroupOn doesn’t sign up X new customers for a merchant, the deal is off (and thus no one makes any money); MyDunkTank makes a percentage of the funds you raise, so they want to help you raise funds. Both of these are Win-Win services with a sound financial model. While sound, the other service is a Lose-Win model: LoseItOrLoseIt only gets paid whenever someone doesn’t meet their goal. In the long run, I suspect this is not a winning model, however innovative.
For more information on these three services and the origin of my thoughts:
GroupOn provides a service to select merchants, enabling them to offer deals or “GroupOns” to a young, well educated audience; the catch is that the GroupOn is only available if a certain number of customers purchase it, so there is incentive to share with your friends. (“You need X people to sign up for you to actually get the amazing deal.”)Â GroupOn refers to this as “Collective Purchasing Power.”
MyDunkTank provides a social platform to transform the supporters of a cause into its fundraisers. A supporter can create a fundraising challenge, something fun you promise to do for your cause, such as singingÂ karaokeÂ or wearing a funny costume. Then your friends and family vote for their favorite song or costume by making a donation. At the end of the voting, you fulfill your promiseâ€”singing the winning song or wearing the winning costume.
LoseItOrLoseIt helps you lose weight by giving you tools and incentives to keep you motivated. You make a weight-loss goal for the next ten weeks and put some money on the line. You might put up $200 to lose 20 pounds in 10 weeks. If you fail to achieve your goal for a week weigh-in, a “penalty” is deducted from your investment. If, at the end of ten weeks, you’ve reached all your goals, you get all your money back. You designate at least two people as “accountability friends,” who are kept informed of your progress and help keep you on track. This way your friends and family can help support you as you change your behaviorâ€”and ultimately your weight and health.