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Sabrina Scott
Works at Canadian Tire
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Sabrina Scott

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(for my birthday)
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Think I'm missing anything?
Congrats, you got yourself a new job, are you wondering what you need to do after you quit to maintain a positive relationship? Give two weeks notice (at least) Your employer may not find a suitable r...
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World AIDS Day, December 1 - stats, ideas + more
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'So here’s some tough love for the Occupy movement: well done, you got us talking. Now move the conversation to a level where change becomes possible. There’s a wealth of anger, angst and frustration out there. Channel and harness it.

Revolution is a full time job, not a sleep over.'
This past Tuesday, twenty four hours before Occupy Toronto protesters were flushed out of a downtown park in a police operation that can only be described as delicate, I became part of “the problem.” ...
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After way too long, I blogged!
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Have you ever wondered if you actually need to include the link when posting a webpage on Facebook? You don't.. 
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Great read for those of you who haven't seen it and are interested in what Wahooly is doing.
Wahooly originally shared:
 
As we approach our launch …

If you weren't aware, Wahooly's official beta launch is scheduled for Tuesday, January 31st. The actual time of day has not yet been determined, but, knowing how excited everyone is, we're aware we won't get away without stating it at some point. Hopefully late Monday.

This is going to be a long post, so you may consider taking breaks in between reading. If you're so inclined, you might also consider grabbing a beer, glass of wine, coffee, etc. before going any further.

Ok, so before telling you where we are today, I feel I should start by telling where we started.

Conceptually, the idea for Wahooly began to come together last summer. Before becoming Wahooly, it was referred to as The Startup Club (lame, I know.) The idea came together based on two realizations, 1. Social influence is changing everything and 2. Start-ups, in general, are struggling immensely with gaining traction.

The first iteration of The Startup Club was really simple. Help start-ups gain influential users. Those users would be given a share of equity and together, they'd live happily ever after. The problem with that idea was there was no motivation/incentive for the users after the initial transaction took place. What was to prevent someone from signing up and never returning again. Time to iterate …

Version two came together about the time that a Minnesota business plan competition (MN Cup) was accepting entries. We submitted a plan that essentially did the same thing as version one, however we incorporated the notion of social sharing. In other words, if you signed up, you became part of an equity pool. But, you could increase your portion of the equity by sharing it online. Again, there was a problem with the idea. The notion that sharing is valuable is based on the assumption that influence can truly be measured by RTs and follows. We're not convinced. By the way, we never made it past round one of the competition. What a shame.

It wasn't until a bit later that we realized that we weren't actually proposing to deliver users at all, in fact, that really isn't all that valuable to companies. I mean, ultimately, that's what they become, but our value proposition is that we're delivering acceleration via advocates. It's a quality not quantity equation. We needed to build a system to bring the best out of influencers, which is what most companies struggle with. The key was the power of combined influence, which is how trends begin.

Most worthwhile companies get a fair amount of tweets, mentions, posts, etc., but the tipping point is when those actions can occur concurrently and repetitively. In general, there is little sustainability when it comes to brand advocacy in users, attention is fleeting. Just like in traditional advertising, messages need to be repeated before actions are taken. What we're talking about is delivering 1,000 mentions over a single day rather than over a year. And then repeating that behavior.

In the end, we decided that, we're not delivering users, we're delivering acceleration in the market.

That brings us to September, when we decided to change the name to Wahooly and launch. At the same time, we began to get advice regarding the legalities of what we were about to do. Up until this point, we knew of the inherent challenges, but we weren't certain of the solution. Regardless, in the end, we knew that we could figure it out. I mean, why would regulators put policies in place that would interfere with a companies growth. :) Of course, I'm being facetious.

Ultimately, we found a solution, but in the meantime, Wahooly had already begun to explode. Thrillist and Business Insider were the first to pick us up and then a storm of press followed. Most media outlets only took half of our story, leaving the rest up to imagination. Sensationalism at its finest. This led to our partnership with Klout.

It's been a very surreal experience thus far. Things have moved so much faster than we ever anticipated. Don't get me wrong, this is a great problem to have, but it also leads to some challenges. We were (and still are) a boot-strapped start-up, so staffing up has not been an option. The time to market has moved up, which means that we've been focused on several things at once. The result is that we've probably missed some things along the way, in fact, I know we have.

Where we are today

To be honest, we'd love to have another month or so before hitting go. Wait … did I say that out loud?

Don't get me wrong, we're extremely excited to get things going, but we're also very nervous. There is so much excitement around the launch, that we just don't want to disappoint any of you. We've got some really awesome features that we're building that won't quite be ready for launch day. Overall, the working system we've built is solid and the companies we'll be presenting on Tuesday are awesome. However, as with any beta launch, it's just a fraction of what's to come.

I guess my point is, please know that what you see on Tuesday is a work-in-progress. We're hopeful that you'll come in with an open mind and allow us the opportunity to roll out features as time progresses.

Another feature that we had hoped to be ready on launch day was an education portal. Basically, a quick tutorial on what to do and how to do it. This will be coming later, which will be useful for those who are new at the time. For you, our early-adopters, it will require a bit of navigation and intuition. Of course, we'll also be available to answer questions.

Start-ups

On Tuesday, we're planning to introduce you to either two or three start-ups. After that, they'll be rolled out individually, probably every other day. The reason we're doing this is two-fold: 1. We want to make sure that you get a chance to evaluate each start-up on its own merits and 2. we want to allow flexibility to change the type of start-ups we're introducing based on all of your interest.

Ultimately, all of you are the vetters of these companies. In terms of Tuesday's companies, they each have a minimum threshold of 2,000 users. If they don't reach that number, that's all of you saying that you're not interested. If that's the case, we'll remove them from the system.

Your questions

Many of the answers you see below will be the same that you'll see on the FAQ page that will be available on launch day. These answers we're based on many of the questions that you had asked. If you don't see something addressed here, you can ask it in the comments below.

How does Wahooly work?

Wahooly introduces start-ups to its members and they decide if they'd like to sign-up. Once a member has become part of a start-up, they are tracked based on three variables: Value of feedback, level of activity and result of influence. Based on those variables, they are assigned a score. The score is how compensation is determined. The total compensation available is dependent upon the success of the start-up the member is participating in.

The actual algorithm for each of those three variables changes for each start-up. User activity is measured based on factors given by each startup to indicate usage. Value of feedback is based on the response from the community. In other words, how many people agree with what you're saying. And, result of influence is based on the actions each start-up is looking for (sign-ups, downloads, etc.).

How does Wahooly compensate its members?

Wahooly members are paid in cash based on the success Wahooly has with the start-ups they're participating in. The compensation is determined based on the members score at the time an event occurs (see "What does Wahooly mean by "event"?"). The more successful the start-up, the more money the members make.

From a legal standpoint, Wahooly is the sole shareholder of the equity. Wahooly works on behalf of its users. The end net result is the same.

What about taxes?

I want to preface this by saying that we're not accountants. Users will only be taxed based on the income they've generated. The value of the equity will have no bearing on you as an individual. When you receive money from Wahooly, you'll be required to pay taxes. That's as much as we know.

Why is Wahooly the single shareholder, why can't the users be shareholders?

For several reasons, but here are the most import: 1. Private companies are restricted to a maximum of 500 shareholders before they're forced to go public. 2. The SEC requires that individuals must be accredited investors to participate in private equity (at least currently). 3. We're not a broker. 4. Working with international users would not be possible.

Aside from that, as a user, you would have several inconveniences to deal with: transaction fees, taxes, liability, etc. The process we've come up with is legal, less of a hassle and produces the same net result.

Social capital is a new idea, and one we're attempting to establish as a currency. There will be changes that occur in time, but for now, this is the best approach.

What does Wahooly mean by "event"?

An event, in our case, is when a Wahooly start-up is either sold (change in control of 51% or greater), gone public or purchases back their shares. When one of those things occurs, we'll probably introduce another type of event — of the celebratory kind.

The private equity market is not the same thing at the public stock market. In other words, private equity isn't liquid and cannot be sold or traded like shares in a public company. In most cases, to cash out, one of the events above needs to occur. What this means is that Wahooly and you (as a user) cannot cash-in at any point in time. This is the nature of this market.

Do I get to pick the start-ups I'm interested in?

Absolutely. It's a complete dictatorship when it comes to this. In fact, consider yourself a dictator and investor and evaluate each one as such. Our members ultimately decide which start-ups become part of the Wahooly family.

How long will it take to make money?

This is all dependent on the success of the start-ups. We'll be introducing companies that are very early stage and ones that are later stage. The ones that are later stage, in theory, will be quicker to exit. The reality of the start-up world is that there is a high failure rate. However, Wahooly is built to improve the success rate and at a much faster pace.

How does Wahooly track and reward its members?

Upon joining a start-up, you'll be given a point, just like everyone else who joins (#democracy). This is where you put on your game face and start fighting your way to the top (nicely, of course). Wahooly will track the value of the feedback you provide, how active of a user you are and the results of your influence.

Does a higher Klout score impact how I'm rewarded?

Simple answer, no. However, the higher your score, the better you'll probably perform in your resulting influence. We like Klout, we think they're pretty awesome dudes and dudettes. We encourage you to continue to build your online reputation and Klout score. We'll give you a high-five if it goes up.

What data do you track and how do you use it?

Outside of the confines of Wahooly.com, we track your use of each start-up and follow the links you send out. We do this so we can reward you, so it's all good. We use cache and cookies, so you'll want to be careful when clearing them. We don't make money off of your data, so there's no sense in giving it to anyone else.

What is required of Wahooly members in terms of disclosure?

Disclosure is uber-important. Wahooly will ensure that when members send people to start-ups, they'll be greeted with a proper disclosure statement. However, Wahooly members will be responsible for including a built-in hashtag to identify their involvement. It's the way of the world we live in. Don't shoot the messenger.

How I'm I protected as a user?

We've spent a lot of effort in drafting our user agreement, which you'll be presented at the time of signing up. This covers you as an individual and Wahooly as a company.

What happens to inactive users?

As a community of people who all have an interest in seeing a start-up succeed, it's not necessarily fair to have someone riding on your coattails. Wahooly is about being active, supporting the companies, sharing ideas, etc. If someone is clearly not active, we'll reach out to them. If they don't respond accordingly, we'll do it again. After fair warning, they'll be removed from the company, opening a spot up to someone who is willing to participate. This approach isn't without issues, but one in which fair to both the community and the companies.

I warned you that it would be long.

Let me leave you with this: We are giving 150% of our effort to make Wahooly a game-changing platform for both you as a user and the start-ups that need our help. We're doing this the best way we know possible, working within the confines of the legal system. It's not without its challenges. If you are willing to be a part of this process, I believe that we will make history (honestly).

See you on Tuesday!

Dana - Co-founder, Wahooly
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Work
Occupation
Communications, Marketing
Employment
  • Canadian Tire
    Communications Advisor, 2013 - present
  • President's Choice Financial
    Communications Specialist, 2012 - 2012
  • Enersource Corporation
    Communications, Marketing, 2008 - 2012
  • PowerStream
  • Cineplex Entertainment
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Female
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Introduction
Communicator. Loves: Canadiana, contemporary art, deep house, fashion, travel, food, single malts, politics, world issues, foreign films, untranslatable words, Berlin.
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Toronto
Previously
Stavanger, Norway - Berlin, Germany
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