Two extremely important things are our time and our connections to others who can help advance shared goals. Significant time is wasted on low value introductions and meetings. But at the same time, projects are delayed, don’t succeed, or don’t reach their full potential because critical connections are never made. We are looking to build HearMeOut, a solution that will save your valuable time while facilitating valuable connections, by asking people to donate to a charity for your time, and/or enabling you to connect with others by donating to a charity.
HearMeOut is the platform where you can book time with someone by donating to the chosen charity of the person who you want to meet with. For example: you sell software that you’re confident company X wants, and you’re willing to donate €500 to The Against Malaria Foundation to pitch it to them for one hour. If you want to cut down on cold emails and meetings, you can tell anyone that you only meet with people willing to donate a certain amount to the charity you chose (e.g. I’m a founder and anyone who wants to sell me something can do that if they donate 100 USD to AMF). You pay for meetings where you’re confident you bring something valuable, and you can be assured the meetings scheduled with you are with people who value your time correctly and don’t intend to waste your time. We believe the net result to be meetings with a higher average value- eliminating intros with those who don't value your time, while enabling those who demonstrate that they do to get on your calendar- with charities benefiting from the signals. It’s close to zero cost to build and test this platform with some initial users, and it could be very scalable. We are seeking someone to lead this project and initial users who want to get donations before they take a cold meeting.
What HearMeOut Offers
- Ability for people (“Seekers”) to obtain introductions to people that could be helpful to their projects or goals by donating to a charity.
- Ability for people (“Listeners”) to help others that can credibly signal that they will benefit from their help because they are gated behind a cost.
- Charities can be the beneficiaries of these signaling costs.
Unfortunately, between working my own full time job as a lawyer and running a nonprofit (website will be changed soon- renaming to “Profit for Good Initiative”), I do not currently have the bandwidth to run such a project. Vincent van der Holst, founder of BOAS, also believes in the potential of this project, but is similarly unable to run this project because he is running the business. Both can advise the business and help attract resources. Vin already has connections to a designer and developer who are willing to help build the first version at no/low cost.
How Would HearMeOut Work?
Thanks to Jeff Reasor for developing some mockups of what HearMeOut might look like.
HearMeOut would provide a platform for Listeners: those who want to spend their time potentially helping others by providing advice, funding projects, connecting people together who could be helpful, using their influence to advance a shared goal, purchasing products or services that could be beneficial to the Listener, and/or otherwise helping people. Listeners would be able to choose the charity(s) that would benefit from the fee to connect with them, the time increments they could make available, as well as the donation associated with various increments. This donation cost would serve a dual-function: it not only serves as a way to raise money for a charitable cause the listener cares about, but also serves a screening function- the cost associated with the audience will likely imply people will only connect if they believe there is a reasonable chance they can significantly benefit from the introduction, and often the most significant connections would be mutually beneficial. A Listener could set a very high donation price to carefully guard their time, but still be open to those who would most value a connection.
“Seekers”- those who are looking to connect with others who can help advance their project would be able to connect with Listeners who can potentially help them advance their project in one way or another. The Listener may be more receptive and open to trying to help out of gratitude for the Seeker helping to advance their cause. Seekers can connect with Listeners that have accounts and pages on the website/app. The platform may also enable Seekers to reach out to someone who is not currently on the platform, with an offer to support a charity of their choice in exchange for some of their time. The cost associated with connections may also be more palatable, especially if the Seeker shares fondness for the charitable cause the Listener has designated.
The platform would take a portion of the fee and put it toward operating costs and generating profit for the platform to grow. We would want the business to be a Profit for Good business, meaning that the vast majority of the profit generated would go to effective charities. This would mean that regardless of the choice of charities that Listeners choose to benefit, some portion of the proceeds would be benefiting effective charities.
We Need a Leader and first users for this Project
Vincent van der Holst and I are interested in helping recruit people to help with the design, coding, and other work that would be needed for the project. We particularly are looking for someone who wants to lead this project. Please note that currently we do not have funding for this position, but, if the project takes off and generates revenue from portions of the fee, this could support employees including a CEO. We are also seeking our first beta users. If you get many meeting requests, and have a hard time figuring out which are most valuable, let us know in the comments or by DM if you want to test out the platform. Setup is 5 minutes (we really just need your meeting booking link).
If you have thoughts, concerns or can help in other ways, please let us know in the comments.