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  • Deciding on a product

    When I started on the journey with Zinda, there were a few principles I had in mind

    1. Create a product that bring people and communities together
    2. Work with people that enjoy working together and creating with a sense of urgency, but not super obsessed with winning at all cost
    3. Leveraging available technologies as much as possible and build as needed

    Before we started on the product, we had to identify a problem first that needed to be solved that was the right fit.

    With the small team we have in place we decided to look at our own lives and identify problems that we wished there was an answer to.

    The first thing that stared us in our face was … Giving

    Giving has some very interestingly dichotomic characteristics

    Giving is personal

    Giving is typically an emotional decision brought upon by our own experiences, biases and preferences. Each of us have our internal triggers that make us feel charitable or not at any given time. Having been on the asking and giving side myself, I know that the way someone asks makes the big difference on whether I feel like giving at that moment or not. There was one cause that I care about but I would delete their emails that they would mass mail close to the anniversary of a tragic event too close to heart.

    Giving is communal
    We humans are social and communal beings. Giving together as a community of friends, class mates, what have you, gives us a feeling of togetherness that is something else when we rise together and support a cause. There has been several occasions where we recently talked about doing something as a community. Sometimes we give due to peer pressure. How would it look if I did not give X $ when every one else did.

    Giving is selfless
    We know a lot of people who dedicate their lives go others as they get total fulfillment from helping others. I talked to a girl in India who left her job at Mackenzie consulting to work for a nonprofit organizations that works in rural parts of India and crowd funds projects. Another friend of mine sponsors a incubation facility in the city where he grew up as he feels like it is his duty to give back to the city that afforded him the great opportunities to be successful.

    Giving is selfish
    There are situations where we give as it makes us feel good about ourselves, or make us noticed. But no matter how we start on this path we end up finding our own selves through the act of giving (Courtesy M.K. Gandhi)

    Giving has a positive impact
    We see crowd funding for people who need money to take care of curve balls life throws at them and raising that money makes the world of difference to them

    Giving could have a negative impact
    We have also seen situations in various parts of the world where a disaster hits and the entire world rushes in to help, but the money might go to line the militias, terrorists or politicians pockets

    Giving is impulsive
    I recently was stopped in downtown Chicago on my way to lunch and signed up to sponsor a child every month. I think it was something about the words the young man used and I remembered thinking how I was counting my blessings.

    Giving is calculated
    We all know plenty of families including our own who might plan their giving budget for the year and know exactly what they will contribute to and who.

    The problem was that the amateur giver has to navigate through the choices out there while going through the roller coaster of emotion, rationality, individuality, community.. By themselves and find themselves a little lost and might do the worst thing – do nothing.
    Excited about digging into the problem further and see what we can come up with which could be our first product.
    I would welcome a dialogue/ thought/ advice on giving, what is out there? what is missing? what do you wish there was?