Oh-hi: Pitching and Piloting

Our team has been working on the development of a tool for military spouses to find each other in their respective communities with the express intent of making new friends. We’re currently in the middle of trying to get a pilot up and running and spent the last week iterating on several things…

  • How we are pitching the idea.
  • The operational details of the pilot.
  • Our approach to acquiring participants for the pilot.

Our pitch has come a long way from the beginning of the quarter, but we are still needing to do a lot of research around the business model. Pricing has to reflect a fair exchange of value and allow the venture to support itself. More specifics to report on that next week.

As for the pilot, the work we’ve done so far and the feedback we’ve received have led us to the creation of a website where military spouses can see other military spouses in their area and invite them to meet in-person. The invitations are for low-pressure activities like going for a walk and getting a cup of coffee.

Here are two pieces of specific feedback that we’ve received after presenting our initial pilot plan:

  • Restricting users to only seeing a few people at a time that they are “matched” with has been unsuccessful for others trying to build dating apps (which is a close analog to our service).
  • On the other hand, allowing users to see everyone in the area will inevitably create situations where there are not enough people signed up in a particular area. It could feel quite lonely and not very valuable.

This puts us between a rock and a hard place, and we’ve yet to gather any clear evidence to go one way or the other. So we picked a direction. Through a combination of anecdotal preference and comparison with other businesses in the same general space, we’ve opted to go with an open community. At least for now, during the pilot, when we can hopefully explain to our few users why the groups are so empty, that’s the direction we are going in. This does not preclude us from offering suggestions for our users, but it won’t be the only way that users will be able to encounter each other.

As of today, we have a service that still relies quite heavily and unsustainably on us to manually move data around and communicate with users. We’re hopeful though that it’s sufficient to be able to learn from a small pool of initial users whether or not there is potential to turn the idea into a sustainable venture. The website is at www.oh-hi.us. If you happen to know any military spouses in the North Austin or Fort Hood areas, let them know! We’d love to see if we can find them a new friend.