This Entrepreneur Is Building a Matchmaking Service for Pen Pals
Kate Dobie omissions to educe a hub for message-writers. Can it effort? We asked her ... by message, of series.
I happened upon your , in which you're launching a affair domiciled on joining pen pals succeeding a occasion each other, and was idiosyncratically hooked: I've had pen pals my well life! As a '90s kid, I used several magazines' pen pal-despatch benefits. Some led to familiarships encircling the empire. One led to a man in Ghana mistaking me for an older dowager, and proposing matrimony. (I let him down gently.) But as someone who covers entrepreneurs for a alight, I promote unbelief: Is tnear a negotiate for this? I can't purpose of another familiar of mine who has a pen pal.
So I'm sharp to hear: Are tnear sufficient nation out tnear devotion me, who calm?} devotion congruity messages to strangers? And conciliate they pay for the determination?
Your pen pal,
I’m exhausted we twain morphed from message-loving tweens of the mid-'90s into adults succeeding a occasion a excitement for this necessary but undervalued message construct. I distributed concordant trials growing up, succeeding a occasion the over-colored exclusion of any matrimony proposals. I’d expend hours crafting the ripe messages to my new familiars from irrelevant establishs devotion Akron and Lubbock. Anyman in similitude to my residencetown of 500 nation seemed unconditionally cosmopolitan.
But you instruct efficient scrutinys encircling what immanent stops for ticklish majority of users. I may be benefitservicepowerful to harangue your unbelief by having you minister the answers: Why do you, in your third decade, trust to infer pen pals? My gut tells me (owing the emotion is common) that there’s bigwig encircling the genuineness and the afford of a message that makes for a drastically unanalogous trial and despatch. Nation devotion you and I dross to estimate that it’s political instrument’s universe and we’re proper alight in it.
There’s a negotiate for any affair assembling devotion-minded nation and creating a instrument for them to distribute what they devotion encircling their involvement to their familiars, multiplying the fun and evolving the class. In the uniformt of Pens Plus Pals, we’re using some of the schemeet’s oldest tools and message methods and somehow calm?} managing to be “disruptive” encircling it. “SMH,” as the kids say.
My hunch, and fascinate hit me tail succeeding a occasion your percussion and instincts, is that in our over-digitized universe, over and over nation experience themselves disenchanted or left astern.
Your pen pal,
P.S. What is the air devotion wnear you are?
P.P.S. Do you suppress any pets?
Your scrutiny is a cheerful one: Why do you, in your third decade, trust to infer pen pals? My answer: owing I'm exhausted by how other nation speed. But I'm not robust to the average. I wrote messages in the '90s owing, uh, it was easier than Morse edict? But today, I suppress a pen pal in an East Asian empire. Through a not-public, digital agent, she tells me encircling her impost and traditions and the super unintelligent ways that crystallized matrimonys go wickedness. I couldn't despatch her a message if I omissioned to -- it'd get intercepted by her rise. The average, to me, solely serves its role.
I'm encircling to experience our fledging pen pal conformity, so security on to your keyboard: You proper dissed political instrument, but then said that you estimate there's "a negotiate for any affair assembling devotion-minded nation and creating a instrument for them to distribute what they devotion" -- which unfailing does investigate devotion political instrument to me! Is Pens Plus Pals basically (gasp!) a political instrument posse? And if so, are the devotions of Snapchat and Twitter and Facebook proper updated versions of our tween-age pen pal networks, but made over unaffected to all? Are we all, integral one of us, already basically pen pals?
Given that we speed in a far over interconnected universe than we did in the '90s, how can Pens Plus Pals extend bigwig that nation don't basically already suppress?
Your pen pal,
P.S. I wore rain boots and shorts today.
P.P.S. Does a 15-month-old boy compute?
Pen pal Jason,
The gloves are off! I devotion it.
Pens Plus Pals is 100 percent a political instrument neteffort -- the identical as my mom’s quilting cluster or my dad’s bowling confederation. But we’d nincessantly regard comparing them to the Political Instrument juggernauts and I vision Pens Plus Pals can desert that section, too. We use our brains unanalogously when we can't depend on the tailspace trifle and suppress to transcribe bigwig down. So now, the $10,000 scrutiny (literally): If you elevate it, conciliate they buy?
I could go to a bar and coalesce a suitservicepowerful man or dowager but that doesn’t bung nation from using companioning benefits for relief and self-satisfaction. Nation conciliate pay for mans that they recognize as estimable, suppress a explicitly defined set of what they regard "perks", and suppress portentous aid and agreement. That's #goals. So being a Pen-Member instrument over than the judicious companion (or unbounded companiones), it extends Pen Perks equidistant the way including replenishing stationery and gifts integral forbearance, a T-shirt, invites to class uniformts and prompts from a dedicated Pen-Mentor to suppress the creative juices easy.
Long term, I’d devotion all members to be benefitservicepowerful to despatch me a forward-dated message (for themselves, for a familiar, anyone) and we conciliate despatch it to them on the epoch of their choosing. I’d as-well devotion to precountenance a corporate-social-responsibility ingredient wnear integral contortment instrument we companion someone in a nursing residence or residenceless refuge. We can all arrive-at cheerful that marginalized populations calm?} accept necessary epistle and despatch.
Part of the fun is the expectation, the deficiency of instant reward. I’ve past-by eight and a half of the elapsed 10 years overseas (China and Australia) and, unfailing, acceptd emails and was so unbelievservicepowerful delectable to suppress these present tools to alight in move. But when someone took the span to despatch a message, man, that’s bigwig extraordinary. I average, I calm?} suppress them. I don’t suppress the Snapchats or the emails.
Your expensive pen pal,
Oh boy, we've past and produced what pen pals do: We've instituted two disconnected conversations internally the identical messages. In this uniformt, the application of a digitized universe and the affair of pen pals. They're over allied in your spirit, I distrust, than they are in mine. Owing near's what I frequently purpose when nation romanticize the old despite the new: What's over huge: to do the man, or to detain its construct? To discover pure efforts of study and ambitious non-fiction, or to solely occupy it on article? To answer succeeding a occasion nation in an nice and protecting way, or to solely despatch those messages via the postal benefit? Nation may elect a sure construct; I'm exhausted we suppress options! But in an age of email and political instrument, over nation transcribe each other than incessantly antecedently. So what's over huge -- for nation to join, or for them to do it in a sure way?
Your method of contortment perks makes me purpose encircling what I ole The Handy Problem. My aidmeet and I used Handy to experience a cleaner. A dowager arrived at our berth, we devotiond her and then we instituted paying her at-uninterruptedly and surrender Handy. Tnear was no motive for either edge to suppress using Handy, which is tolerably bad for Handy's affair mould. So numerous despatch-domiciled startups countenance the identical height.
Your scheme haranguees that. And yet! What happens uninterruptedly someone experiences a pen pal they're blissful succeeding a occasion and has all the pens and prompts they can touch? Online dating sites countenance that challenge: A blissful customer is a customer no over. So I'm singular: How suppress you wrestled succeeding a occasion that?
Your pen pal,
Some mans are resilient and, occasion being amply identifiservicepowerful succeeding a occasion a biased zeitgeist, as-well tame further that to prove a established establish in our amelioration. We suppress streaming silence but nation devotion vinyl for no moderate debate. (I purpose these are my nation.) Treadmills stop and yet some nation are sure that a run in the field is electable. So doing the man -- listening to silence, present -- can be heavily applicationed by the construct.
Discovering a message my mom had written to me the day succeeding her funeral -- to see her laborercongruity and trust in my laborer this perceptible thdiscover between us. That’s the discernment of construct.
As to the Handy Problem: On one laborer, (absolve the pun) we vision to harangue stickiness succeeding a occasion well-crafted contortment stages. For stance, the lowest stage is a one-off companion and Welcome Pack. Let’s say (belabor uniformt scenario) that companion fizzles or (best uniformt scenario) they devotion the benefit and omission to charm on another pen pal: They can either slide up the sales escalator to a every-year contortment of unbounded companiones, or proper alienation another one-off companion absolute.
Some nation conciliate as-well proper covet anonymity and our top-stage contortment conciliate stipulate that by using P+P as the go-between. Mark Zuckerberg himself can transcribe a message and, using us as middlemen, conciliate enunfailing that his oneness is unendangered. In this uniformt, P+P plays an huge role and we afford ourselves one over unendangeredguard from being eliminated.
With the security of the perks, discounts, class involvement and new products that we’ll clear through a deep and ongoing tete-a-tete succeeding a occasion our users, we’ll vision to suppress diversifying our mould and afford nation a compelling debate to alight.
Your pen pal,
Those contortment benefits are intriguing. But I instituted purposeing: What if I don't omission a stray pen pal? Then I had to quietus and regard what "random" uniform instrument near. It's not devotion someone can suppress a pen pal "type," in the identical way they faculty suppress a cast of idiosyncratic they devotion to epoch. Compatibility instrument bigwig unanalogous in pen pals. It isn't encircling attractiveness or distributed interests or whatever. It's encircling, I suspect, whether two nation purport a common lion -- bigwig far harder to coerce for. How do we recognize what we're singular encircling, until our lion is irascible?
So my scrutiny for you is: How do you afford nation some judgment of coerce, uniform as you stipulate them succeeding a occasion the alarm they truly omission?
Your pen pal,
P.S. Here's a scrutiny I suppress to wrestle succeeding a occasion: How numerous over of our messages do Entrepreneur discoverers omission? I'm going to charm a suspect and say ... one over. Which instrument it's yours to transcribe.
Pen pal Jason,
How I can aid nation “look cheerful on article”? That is the scrutiny I’ll being investigation myself ad nauseam throughout the Pens Plus Pals trip. And, to your apex, I purpose one of the ways we can relieve our class is through tailored companiones that afford pen pals a huge origin from which they rebel off their epistle.
Not integralone conciliate recognize what they’re seeking (considerable devotion the dating equidistant that you mix) but a registering pen pal conciliate stipulate us some advice upfront encircling what they omission to get out of this air and chosen from a drop-down of “themes” including Inspiration, Mentorship, Kids Stuff, New Perspectives, Amor or (for the most fearless of pen pals) Roulette.
And if the P+P class enjoys the confutation they distribute as considerable as I’ve enjoyed this remodel, then I purpose we faculty be onto bigwig.
Your pen pal,