June 29, 2012
I can only imagine how difficult it must be for a man in this world. Always something to prove. Competition at every turn. And then, of course, there’s interaction with other human beings. Those are the moments where true manhood is either proven or stripped away very quickly. (Judgmental, those men are.) Luckily, there’s an app that can help a man win his case (or be more humiliated) with on-the-spot crowdsourced opinion.
ManCard is a mobile app community that launched during a Startup Weekend gathering in Columbus. You can post a picture of a person or situation to poll the network about, and they vote whether the post is “manly” or “unmanly.” And in typical man fashion, that’s it. ‘Cause all they want to do is prove a point.
I met with Suzy Bureau, a cofounder on the original Startup Weekend team for ManCard, to find out what’s going on with the network, which is now about 3 months old with a steadily growing user base.
Tech Cocktail: When you went to Startup Weekend, how did the idea for ManCard come about?
Suzy Bureau: Our backend developer Chris had the idea when he arrived, and pitched it. He basically went up and said, “I was at work today and my friend did something incredibly unmanly and there was an argument of whether it was or not. I just want one definitive way to figure out if an action should be recognized as something manly or totally unmanly. Post the action to an app community and let them decide.” So what we call them now is “Man Nation,” and every vote up is a point on your ManCard and every vote down is a negative point.
Tech Cocktail: So you’ve basically created a Klout score but for manhood?
Bureau: Yes. And it’s funny you mention that because we’re working on “Man Perks.” There are bigger, manly brands who we want to talk to about rewarding those users who’ve proved their manliness to the community.
Tech Cocktail: Are those same brands going to give you an opportunity to monetize the network and grow even more?
Bureau: We only want to partner with brands that fit ManCard really well so we’re very particular right now as to not jeopardize user experience. Two brands we’re working with now are good examples of the ideal partner. One is Cojones Energy Shots. Their slogan is “Get a pair today.” They’re seriously manly. Perky Jerky is our other partner. Their product is beef jerky soaked in guarana. Essentially energy beef jerky. Again, very manly. But not just trying to come off that way to get in front of an audience. So that’s our focus as we grow, but we’re not trying to make a ton of money. It’s about the fun experience. At the end of the day with where we are in the startup and entrepreneurial environment, your concept isn’t going to work if it’s not fun, doesn’t have good design, and isn’t creating a good experience.
Tech Cocktail: One of the creative ways you’ve been “going viral” has actually been offline with your business cards. Tell me about that.
Bureau: We came up with these miniature business cards that have the logo on one side and on the other side say “you’ve been caught doing something manly” or “you’ve been caught doing something unmanly.” It also says they should download the app and either take credit or defend themselves for what they’ve done.
What’s awesome about them is that they travel like crazy. My favorite story is from the SXSW conference in Austin. Our friend had a bunch of ManCards on him while at a party and was dancing around the room just handing them out to people. One of the people who was handed a card was named Diego, who he did not know. Diego took his ManCard from Austin back to Mexico City, where he gave an unmanly card to his friend Bill Bebo. Little did he know that Bill was from Columbus and a very good friend of mine! It was just so crazy to me how this little card could travel from Columbus to Mexico City and connect all these people to our network.
Tech Cocktail: ManCard has been growing quickly in the short amount of time since you’ve launched. What are you focused on next?
Bureau: We have a decent number of people who’ve downloaded the app, which has made it great for feedback. Our main focus is to make sure that we are offering this amazing, fun, manly experience. We want you to open the app, and laugh. Which is what people do. So that’s what we’re really focusing on. We have some really exciting features planned for the future and in talks with some bigger brands. But the key for us is to maintain the experience and make sure that it’s not compromising the entertainment of our users.
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