Team Folklore Navigates FIELD 3

This column will follow a few RC teams through the process of launching a start-up as defined by FIELD 3.  Below is the first installment for Team Folklore (FOLK), a group of six sectionmates picked to start a business and have their progress blogged about in the Harbus.  Find out what happens when FIELD 3 stops being polite and starts getting real.

I was still in India plugging away on FIELD 2 when I received my team assignment for the final installment of the FIELD trilogy.  I was excited by the lineup.  My crazy/sexy/cool group combined a robust set of skills, backgrounds, and interests.  We were sure to come up with a million-dollar idea with just eight weeks and three thousand dollars.  The sky was the limit, almost. Obviously no sex, drugs, or violence; but who ever made any money in those industries anyways?

Energized by the entrepreneurial spirit sweeping campus, Team Folklore spent every waking moment during the suggested team time between 1:25 and 3pm on Mondays and Wednesdays generating business ideas.  Among our best were a dog rental service, a food truck parked outside the Kong, and an evening childcare center.  The group rallied around our strongest concept; Folklore would be a user-generated app that gives travelers audio tours of locales around the world.

Ours was certainly an original and creative concept, but the mechanics of launching and generating content for a wiki would be a challenge.  The largest issue, in our minds, was generating quality content.  Folklore would want to give users unique perspectives of the places they are visiting; this meant that the app needed a comprehensive set of guides for each city it covers.  How would we incentivize the right people to create content, and how would we control its quality?  The team hoped to answer these questions through its research plan, which included investments in focus groups and third-party surveys.  And after that, there was also the more logistical issue of creating a functional app on a budget.

The first investor day went very well for Folklore.  The pitch was well-received by Section J, the most attractive and intelligent group of people I’ve ever met, and our stock had the highest valuation of the bunch.  The six of us were excited about this outcome, and more motivated than ever to hit it big with FOLK.  But we realized this undertaking, if done right, would become more challenging as we moved from high level ideas to the nitty-gritty of logistics, budgeting, and design.  FOLK hoped it could live up to its high expectations in the coming weeks.