For the last 4 months, my co-founders and I have been full-time at work building Orchard. We shared a little about what we’re building the other day. Although we’re still in beta, we’ve been moving fast and are on our 3rd revision of the product so far.
But during that same time, while our designs and product have developed significantly, so has our thinking on why this opportunity is important.
There is a long running meme in the startup industry about “changing the world” or “making the world a better place”, usually attached to something that has very little impact on the average person’s life and wellbeing like programmatic advertising, cat videos, or some ridiculous on demand service for the wealthy. This, of course, leads to a certain amount of cynicism around startup ideas, which I think is fair.
Sure, we’re not curing cancer (although I started another company a few years ago to help with that). We’re not fixing poverty or making a trip to the moon easier. So I’ll try to save you one of those ridiculous statements about how planet earth will be forever changed by what we’re building at Orchard, and instead tell you why we’re motivated to work on this problem.
But before I do that, I need you to do something first. I want you to look back on any successes or failures you’ve had in your career so far. What enabled those successes? What contributed to those failures? Think about the factors that led to the outcome.
If you’re anything like me, the answers to those questions usually come down to people. When I’ve had successes, it’s usually because of people I knew who pushed me, mentored or advised me, or introduced me to the right person. And conversely, my big career failures came when I didn’t know anyone who could help, or when I waited too long to seek advice or help.
That’s really just the power of networks. When you know the right people, it can make all the difference.
And most people already understand that. Networks are the real reason why millions of students (and their parents) try to get accepted to an Ivy League schools or work at high-profile companies whether it be Google, Goldman Sachs, or Tesla. It’s why startups clamor to join the ranks of Y Combinator, Techstars, and 500 Startups. Powerful networks are (one of) the built in advantages that the wealthy and elite have from the day they are born.
And yet, even when we understand and acknowledge how important networks are, how much time do we invest into building and maintaining our networks? This seems to be one of those things that humans are just not great at on their own, even when we know it’s important. Like sleeping enough, eating healthy, exercising, or saving enough for retirement — we need a little help.
And in the last few years, we’ve seen a ton of tools just like that become mainstream. We have Fitbits and smart watches to help us understand and stay active. We have personal savings and investment apps used by millions. But where is the tool that helps us build, manage, and be proactive about our network?
That’s what we’re building in Orchard.
Our mission is to understand the network of relationships between all humans and to help everyone meet and stay in touch with the people that matter most to them.
Sound interesting? Join us.