New Year's resolutions: startup style

By Richard Nieva , written on January 1, 2013

From The News Desk

Here’s a little New Year’s fun for all the entrepreneurs and wannabe entrepreneurs.

FounderDating, an online network that links founders and other entrepreneurs to engineers and other potential team members, is asking folks to post their ideas for a new project or company online in the form of a New Year’s resolution. The campaign is called NoRegrets2013.

The idea is to get entrepreneurs off of their butts by being vocal about their projects. It’s motivation 101, based on the notion that the more people you tell about your idea, the more driven you’ll be to execute.

Jessica Alter, the head of FounderDating, says it’s a way to put a New Year’s resolution to good use. From working with entrepreneurs, she says she’s learned that the hardest part about pursuing a project is getting started.

Any person – you don’t have to be a member of the organization -- can go to the website and add their idea to a gallery viewable by anyone. Some ideas already up on the site are “consulting firm” or “golf academy.” While these are super general ideas, Alder provided some more specific mockup examples like “crowd sourcing tool for teachers” or “online community for sports fans.”

It’s a nice, small way to commit something to writing, even if just for personal benefit, though I’m sure ideas won’t get any more intricate than that, especially in a tech culture where, more often than not, mum’s the word. “I’m sure some people feel that way,” she admits, referring to those who might be reluctant to list an idea. “But the limit is 35 characters, so it’s not like you’re giving away your IP,” she says, laughing.

Alter says part of the goal is to get people connected with the right folks to help get those ideas off the ground. After you enter your idea, you provide your email, and FounderDating follows up with some general tips and best practices. However, the organization won’t help connect you with others in their network until you’ve signed up to apply for membership, and once you’re in, it’s a one time $50 fee.

While one purpose of the campaign is no doubt publicity, it doesn’t seem like just a ploy to collect $50 from desperate suckers: It’s a membership fee, not an application fee. In other words, it’s not the entrepreneurial version of paying to get your headshots taken after some scout “discovers” you at the mall.

Alter describes the network as an invite only LinkedIn, where members can browse the profiles of other members. She says the organization turns down more members than they accept, and she declines to say how many members the group has.

It’s not likely to kick someone’s ass into high gear – you need real, dogged accountability for that – but it is a good way to get your goals in order. If nothing else, it might take your mind off your headache while you’re nursing your hangover from last night.

[Image courtesy: Rennett Stowe]