|Sushi by Matt Lehman|
This story starts one very cold autumn afternoon when I've met Manuel - totally accidentally we started talking at the sushi bar while I was having lunch. Now I feel honor to call him not only a friend but inspiration as well. Manuel together with his colleagues created an application which was an outcome of Stanford university course, that's where they all met. The very early stage of Garageo.us was produced as an assignment for the course, but a bunch realized what an opportunity they've touched and decided to bring this venture outside of education institution walls. Its now end of February 2014, 6 months from initial start and the team has produced apps beta version.
I haven't had a chance to check it myself yet, but Manuel was kind enough to demonstrate how the service looks. And sure, the experience is breathtaking. Value proposition is as follows: it helps you sell all your stuff in less than a minute. Pretty impressive, right? Mainly app is targeted at mothers because every mother knows kids grow like weeds. What to do with outgrown clothes and toys? We all have items that we no longer use, collecting dust in our garage or closet. Because selling unwanted items is a long and tedious process, sites like eBay are built for professional sellers. Manuel thinks that everyone should be able to sell their items quickly and easily! With Garageo.us all you need is your smartphone.
I'm also very interested in behind the scenes of Garageo.us. Because all the team is scattered around the globe the way they work represents already established trend - distance is not an obstacle. 4 People with average age of 32, live in 3 different time zones, truly international team consists of professionals from St Petersburg, London, Rio de Janeiro and Los Angeles. It is merely impossible to have everyone online at the same time hence BaseCamp is essential for Garageo.us workflow. 90% of communication is happening there. It makes you prepare and think thoroughly your questions and answers, because the next chance you'll have is in 24 hours".
Guys integrated testing deeply into their development process. Number of interviews were conducted with friends and strangers at the Starbucks and similar places. A lot of valuable realizations came from those interviews, for example old web page was changed to a new, a lot of people did not understand that they had to scroll down. Also message was not clear enough, a lot of text made it look confusing. Website was changed into conventional segmented website with navigation bar at the top, homepage now consists of one clear message and 3 bullet points and call for action. In first 10 sec you understand what's the service about.
I have some early shots of the app, but my understanding is that in final version it'll look a bit differently.
Manuel said that the app is not about features, Garageo.us want to change the way people sell. They want to reduce waste and the app is just a tool to accomplish that mission.
In upcoming weeks beta testing will take place with pre-selected users, after this test, final adjustments will be made and Garageo.us is going live. I can't wait to try it and see if I can sell my old printer using it. I'll come back with my impressions when the app is published. I'm very keen to see how they solved all of the UI and UX problems.