Ever wanted to give them a piece of your mind?
One Friday, late afternoon, a few of us were at a sunny rooftop restaurant decompressing, moaning about the week, our customers, our bosses — familiar and comfortable complaints. Suddenly Fraser came blustering in, frowning. We were startled, it being Friday afternoon, and Fraser being pretty much the happiest person. “Darned Calgary drivers!” We laughed. We knew we were supposed to be supportive, not amused, but Fraser rarely curses and we couldn’t help it. He grabbed an empty chair from the next table, frowned dramatically at the sun (more laughter!) and sifted himself between us.
(Okay the real conversation on the real patio had more banter and salty language, but this is the gist.)
Fraser sighed and grinned as he leaned back. We all quaffed our bevvies, waiting for the story. “On 17th Avenue right here, just now. This rusty Civic wobbling along. I’m sure Hirohito built it! Changed lanes right into me almost. I was right there! How could he not see me??”
We put on our supportively annoyed faces. “That fool!” “Calgary drivers!” “What a moron!” and such noises. Fraser laughed. “I’d love to give him a piece of my mind!”
“Yeah!!” We exclaimed at once, all about taking umbrage on behalf of our friend. “If only!” “What a moron!” We laughed as the crummy world receded fast into the sky. From our table high above the street, we could see all the way to the Rocky Mountains.
“What if we could?” Kshitij spoke up.
We all snapped around to see what he was noodling about. Kshitij loves a moment of attention, so he reached for his beer, eyes nimble. “Well, what if you could tell somebody off? Like with an app, through their license plate or something?”
Fraser nearly blew the umbrella out of his drink. “Oh man! I’d pay a buck to let him know!”
“50!” Rashmi knows Fraser well.
“Yeah,” he laughed. “Probably!”
Claire put her palm up like a policeman directing traffic. “But you’d have to be nice about it. Would people be nice? Or just nasty?”
Rashmi followed up. “No one wants to use an app that yells at you, and it just wouldn’t be right. People make mistakes and a mistake doesn’t make them bad people so why be mean?”
We joined in though, warming up to it. “There could be a rule.” “You could have canned complaints to choose from.” “You could kick people out if they’re mean.”
Claire said, “What if we let people say thanks, too? Like for letting me in or waving me through or whatever?” Everyone thought that was at least a balance.
Kshitij usually takes things too far, so he went further, “But not just driving. What about everywhere? People are nice a lot! Sort of all the time.” Well that got everybody going.
A few minutes later, with fresh drinks, we had the shape of TendOrama.
Claire is the one who made it real. “But who can build it?”
She looked at each of us. “Fraser, you’re exhausted every day after work. Kshitij is busy with contracts. Rashmi, too much time at the gym!” More laughter — Rashmi doesn’t look like that just by luck. “And there’s no way I can do it.” That was definitely true. At 28 years old, she was in the middle of ramping up her career. She looked over at me and all their eyes followed.
So that’s what it feels like right before an accident. They all made fun of my stress-free job. “Yeah, Lav Guy, draining airplane toilets is pretty chill,” said Fraser. “You’re fresh after work, ready for a challenge!” I complained a bit, like about the horrible stress of what if the waste hose breaks? But they weren’t having it.
Rashmi started. “Who knew being the Guru of Gravy was so stressful!” Claire: “Professor of Poop!” Fraser: “Doctor of Dung!” Rashmi: “Maestro of Manure!” Not the first time these characters had listed off those hilarious nicknames.
Claire said, “Looks like it’s you, Warrick.” That got the hardest laugh yet because we all know one thing: Claire is always right. She paused half a beat. “And it’s gonna be awesome!”
So I did build it, pretty much as we talked about, along with some other things.
Want to hear what other things?
In addition to the “Driver Was Bad” part that started us off and the “Driver Was Nice” part we thought of next, people can reward just about anyone online or in daily life. You don’t have to know them. As long as you know something about the person, like their license plate, or if you noticed them do something cool somewhere, like on Instagram or Twitter. Or if they cranked out a superb Reddit comment.
Or if they did something nice for you at their work. Lots of people are customer-facing, but don’t normally get much reward or anything, even though lots of times people would probably reward them if they could. So I had to include “Tend Them At Work.”
I also built a module for publishers, which I wrote about the other day. It’s for journalists and their publishers in particular, but it sets up well for most publishers.
Like everyone, I knew journalism has been in crisis since the death of printed newspapers cut off so much revenue from news publishers.
What I didn’t know before is that there is a real desire amongst regular people to support good journalism. There was just no good way to do it. Subscriptions are not great because you can’t buy a dozen subscriptions, or a hundred — every time you read a good article in another publication.
So TendOrama lets people reward great journalism, article by article, wherever it is published, without making a commitment. You get to decide after you read the article, not before the article is revealed from behind a paywall. And you choose your own amount. Finally! We don’t have to be roped in to paying what a corporation demands; instead, we can pay as much as the value we feel we received, after we receive it. Choices and no commitments.
People want to be who they are. People are happier when they express the gratitude they feel.
Of course there are those few who just want to watch the world burn, who don’t offer help and just take what they can get. They are the losers amongst us. They do bad things habitually and terrible things occasionally. But they are becoming fewer and less relevant all the time. We kick unkind people off TendOrama. We’re not a giant corporation maniacally driven to get all the ‘users’ and profits possible and to heck with the consequences, so we don’t need mean people in our platform.
Almost everyone is good. We are born good. Babies understand ethics; they like sharing and shun selfishness. Toddlers recognize fairness and find unfair outcomes highly aversive. Adults, of course, are the same. Almost everyone wants to make the world a better place.
So TendOrama exists now and my four friends have been with me the whole way, offering advice, much-needed support, and help connecting with more people who love TendOrama.
Here’s where we are now: TendOrama lets people share their gratitude — even, and especially, with strangers.
And yes, if you’re nice about it, you can complain to someone about their crummy driving!
Warrick Harrison, Founder, TendOrama