the future of the blog

MIT Graduate Thesis - Published 2018

Leveraging the Indie Movement in the Wellness Industry through a Waitlist Aggregator. 

A Waitlist Aggregator digital platform for:

1. collecting crowdsourced market intelligence to understand consumer behavior

2. gathering feedback and testing of new product ideas

3. product innovation, inspiration, and market research

4. promotion and early adopter acquisition

5. building an online community for innovators, entrepreneurs, early adopters, lead users, designers, engineers, and strategists

Existing social media platforms, blogs, forums, and crowdfunding sites that showcase new products thrive because early adopters and product enthusiasts are always looking to find out the next new thing, share it with their friends and even invest. However, these platforms have limitations that make it difficult for entrepreneurs to find and engage with quality early adopters.

Crowd-led models allow brands to have a constant feedback loop with consumers to gather loyalty, feedback, consumer product-testing, surveys, contact information – thus, democratizing product R+D and brand building.


A safe place for entrepreneurs to test their product ideas, a fun community for early adopters to discover new products, and a reliable resource for industry professionals to gather consumer insights.

 

Abstract: Startups are finding it increasingly difficult to engage with their target market. Particularly in the wellness industry, where there is a lot of competition and startups need to stand out, the early stages are critical. They seek to generate leads and assess customer expectations through a landing page they host on their own domains, where users can join a waitlist to test their product idea. This can become expensive in terms of the budget needed for public relations and social media to promote their site.
Landing pages and waitlists allow early adopters and product enthusiasts to discover new products and services while they are still being developed. Followers gained via the waitlist help to validate proof of concept, develop of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and provide a following for successful market launch and fundraising/crowdfunding campaign. However, it can be difficult to marry potential product enthusiasts with waitlists of interest because not all products are reviewed on blogs, not all social media ads target them, and not all startups are interested in crowdfunding. For example, crowdfunding sites tend to cater to hardware, are limited to certain industries, and do not allow entrepreneurs to generate leads and connect with their followers on their own platform prior to hosting a crowdfunding campaign.
This thesis aims to outline a business plan and minimal viable product for a waitlist aggregator, an online meeting space for entrepreneurs and early adopters in the wellness industry. Through network effects of this proposed two-sided platform, the traffic volume generated could significantly reduce the need for paid digital marketing campaigns and help entrepreneurs find quality leads. It would also inform interested consumers about new product developments all in one place, let them join the waitlist, beta-test the product and communicate directly with the company.
 

THE HOME FEED IS OPEN TO ALL,

MAY THE BEST ONE WIN.

The Wellness Industry is going through an exciting time for indie entrepreneurs; they are shaping its trends, making an impact and creating value.  The days of requiring a large budget for a television ad to access a critical mass are disappearing. As the barriers of traditional advertising cease to exist, the rise of digital marketing is allowing all entrepreneurs to reach customers at a lower cost.

This is the future of the blog, where all ideas will come alive in one platform and let the best one win through crowd voting, a digital democracy.

Original Pitch Deck and business plan was created by Laura Facussé, Akshay Harlalka, Dov Hochsztein, Rushil Batra, and Rameech McCormack for 2.961 Management for Engineers, MIT class. Please find conceptual wireframes and MVPs tested for this project here.

Please read thesis here