Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest. These are all household names in today’s social media driven world. So familiar are we with these giants of digital that when a new social media network emerges to play ball with the big boys, we know they mean business.
Enter: Helpfulpeeps. The new social network built from a collective belief that life is better when we help each other. Wander onto their website and you’ll find a whole community of ‘helpfulpeeps’ asking for and offering their help to people all across the globe. Think of it like Gumtree but with less of a focus on the material gain. Cute idea, right?
Last week, Saf Nazeer (co-founder of Helpfulpeeps) hosted a workshop at Digital Gaggle. We got thirty heads in a room to talk about how to create Marketing Personas and why they’re essential for any business. On the night, Saf sat down with us to talk about the launch of the new social media platform, their journey so far and his vision for the future...
Can you tell us why you decided to set-up the Helpfulpeeps network?
The Internet and social media has connected the world and yet there’s an underlying sense that people are more disconnected than ever before. The explosion of apps like Uber, Deliveroo and many others have focused on efficiency and though that clearly has a place one could argue that it comes at the expense of humanity (or human interaction to be more specific). In a world that’s being increasingly automated and where most people don’t know their neighbours, Helpfulpeeps was setup to bring back the best elements of traditional community life.
We believe that humans are massively underrated and that given the opportunity most people are happy to help where they can. So we wanted to use technology to enable this interaction – to make it easier for people to find opportunities to help each other online. Often this leads to a real-world interaction offline and the quality of the interactions are much more fulfilling than interactions based on monetary transactions. We wanted to bring humanity back!
Your workshop at Digital Gaggle last week asked Gagglers to help you create your Marketing Personas. Why is it so important to you to get these right?
It’s important for us to get these right so that we can better understand our users. This will help us with product development as well design, based on the needs and wants of our core users. Getting the personas right will also allow us to create more tailored marketing campaigns, which is crucial as we have a limited marketing budget.
Founding a brand new social network must come with a few learning curves. Are there any lessons you have learned along the way which you could share with other entrepreneurs looking to set-up their own business?
It’s been one massive learning curve from the start. It was just two regular guys with an idea and we felt so passionately about it that we were willing to give up our ‘successful careers’ to pursue it. However the reality was that we couldn’t write a line of code between us and we were embarking on a journey to build a ‘social network’. There’s an analogy that Reid Hoffman uses to describe what it’s sometimes like for a start-up founder and that is jumping off a cliff and learning how to assemble an airplane on the way down. That is exactly how it felt. It still feels that way sometimes and we’re learning on the job every day.
So the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that naïve optimism can be a major asset. Just starting something, taking action is the most important thing and trust that you’ll figure out the rest along the way. Believe in yourself. It helps if you trust and believe in your co-founder(s). It helps if you are deeply passionate about what you’re building as it gives you staying power. Get comfortable with asking for help – it makes all the difference and moreover it’ll restore your faith in the generosity of people.
What’s ‘the big picture’ for Helpfulpeeps? Do you have an idea of where you’d like the site to be in the next five years?
The big picture remains the same – to build a global community with millions of people helping each other every day. We have plans in the near future to launch native mobile apps so in five years’ time from a product perspective we hope Helpfulpeeps will be consumed in the most relevant medium for the time (VR/AR/fill in the blank new technology). We would also love for your karma score to be a globally recognisable measure of your social capital. Most importantly, we are on a mission to make helping cool.