Announcing LockerPulse – Our Next Venture

Yesterday Mike and I finally put the finishing touches on the splash page for LockerPulse, our next web venture that we plan on launching May 1 if all goes according to plan. As the site says, we’re promoting it as “an innovative new way to stay connected to your teams”

LockerPulse

The story behind how LockerPulse has unfolded is an interesting one.

For years, I’ve had a rather unique way of tracking my favorite sports teams using Google Reader, RSS feeds, and some creative tagging. It isn’t so much about the tools involved, but the process of researching the proper amount of news for a serious fan without being overwhelmed: this mix of official team and league sites, big sports sites like ESPN, fan blogs, newspaper blogs, and more. About a year ago I had the thought “how come other people don’t do this?” and the answer was that most people have no clue what Google Reader is, what RSS is, or how to research and find the unique sources of information that will improve their experience as a fan. That night I bought a domain name (not LockerPulse) and decided that it would be one of my side projects. I planned to spend a few weekends on it and release it around when I released Z.ips.ME. I figured it would be a small side project that might gain some traction and generate a small amount of revenue, similar to Music-Alerts or maybe even SportsLizard.

But then I started really researching the project and all of the great sources of information out there. I gave Mike a custom RSS feed to test in the fall for his favorite teams. A few days later he came back and he couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was. He said something along the lines of “this is amazing, how did you find all of these sources?” That’s when I knew I was on to something. So I kept digging and meticulously researched all 122 professional US sports teams (NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL).

I built a demo application that I showed my partners in December. At our annual meeting we really finalized that this no longer was a “side project”, but a full fledged business venture, with the opportunity to make money selling a premium version of our software and serving ultra-targeted ads through our own in-house ad platform. I might normally be a little bit skeptical about such a model…except for that it’s the same model as we’ve had great success with on SportsLizard with a far worse product (not to say that SL is a poor product, just that this is that much better). I also got the “freemium” model to work pretty well on iPrioritize for a while. Not that it made a ton of money, but it did have a steady flow of customers paying $10/month. Considering that it wasn’t really that innovative, and that the free version gave away too much, and that the premium version wasn’t even that good…well, it gives me confidence that if we build a great product that the business model will work.

We’re really going to pour as much as we can into this project. Even with Tastefully Driven we had to back out and couldn’t really give it our full effort because we needed Detailed Image to carry us into consistent profitability, as I sort of touched upon when we decided to close it. This is the first project that we’ve been able to approach as a long term venture that we don’t *need* to profit from immediately.

Greg has been using the demo for the past few months. He came to me the other day and said “Adam, I’m officially addicted to LockerPulse. I can’t stop checking it. I don’t check any other sports site on the web”. And trust me, the version he’s using isn’t even 10% as good as what we’re planning on launching with. The version I’m working on currently is already leaps and bounds better than anything I’ve ever used on the web for this type of stuff, and there’s still a long way to go.

Essentially, we’re building out my vision of what the perfect tool for sports fans is. The fact that the early feedback has been so good has really elevated my expectations for the whole thing. Even if it doesn’t catch on, I’m going to be extremely satisfied because we’re building something that I’ll use and that will make my life better. I am my own target market. Mike has already been working on some killer designs (I personally love the splash page design) and the other guys are starting to get involved in the planning and marketing, so it’s becoming more of a team effort and less of something I’m just working on developing on the side. I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to work on a project.

Oh, one more little thing: from a web business standpoint, it’s really important to get a splash page like this up as soon as possible. As soon as you have your domain purchased and server configured, just get something up and find a way to get it indexed. I talk about this in the SEO & Web Marketing Essay, but it’s important to know long before your launch that your site has been crawled and indexed by all of the major search engines. How easy is it? I had planned for this post to be what got it indexed, but just by adding a link to the Pure Adapt site yesterday and tweeting about it last night I noticed that it had already been indexed by this morning. Just one less thing to worry about…plus, for whatever it’s worth, you want to get that “domain age” clock ticking as soon as possible since the age of your site has some (probably minor) impact on where you rank.

19 comments on Announcing LockerPulse – Our Next Venture

  1. nethy says:

    That’s great Adam.

    You sound excited. I think it’s really interesting that you guys define yourself as a web design company rather then an ecommerce, or a detailing products company.

    Good luck

    • Adam McFarland says:

      This is a really interesting thing for me to ponder. Bottom line – we’re an online retailer of auto detailing supplies until revenue dictates otherwise. I believe it was Bill Parcells (football coach) who said “you are what your record says you are”. Well in business, you are what your balance sheet says you are.

      That said, I sort of see us as all 3 moving forward. I don’t think we know for sure exactly how and where the growth will come. Tastefully Driven showed us that for the foreseeable future we won’t have the cash to invest in the amount of inventory necessary to build another large online retail store. So for now, the growth will be relegated to web app stuff and detailing stuff. Thing is, a lot of the detailing stuff doesn’t involve me all that much unless there’s a new feature that needs to be programmed, so I’m focusing a little more of my time on what I (think) I’m good at, which is these web app type of projects that require very little upfront cost and have a pretty big upside.

      I tend to write mostly about the things that I’m working on, but that’s not to say that George and Greg and Mike aren’t doing some really awesome things on DI that I fully support but don’t involve me. The Ask a Pro blog on DI is a big part of our plans in 2010. So far it’s been going great – only a week after announcing it we have a post with almost 30 comments. But I’ve only really mentioned it once on here though because for the most part George is heading up that project. He’s the one interacting with the pro detailers who write for us. He’s the one planning out the future of the project. Mike’s did the design and is constantly working with him to tweak and improve it. We discuss it a lot at our meetings, but my involvement has been minimal so it’s not really the topic of my posts. Likewise, Greg is negotiating with some new brands to get their products in stock for Spring. Those will be huge for us, but again it doesn’t really involve me much so I don’t write about it.

      Down the road I could see us end up as an e-commerce company with several more e-commerce stores. I could also see us being a web company with a lot of web ventures like this one. Or I could see us becoming a fulfillment house because our warehouse operations are arguably are single biggest competitive advantage.

      The only thing I think is certain is that Detailed Image will remain a focal point for growth long term. Aside from that I haven’t thought all that far past the launch of LockerPulse May 1 🙂

      • nethy says:

        I guess that is an interesting side to having 4 founders. You essentially had your executive team before you had a single employee.

        Have you thought of having projects outside of Pure Adapt? Somehow asking that feels like asking Keith Richards when he’ll get his Brazilian blues album cut.

        • Adam McFarland says:

          You ask some good questions 🙂 We have it structured in our partnership agreement that no one can do any outside ventures without getting the approval of the other 3 partners…essentially stopping one of us from going off and building a website that makes them a ton of money without sharing it with everyone else.

          From time to time I do think about other businesses that I’d run once I’m done with this one (both online and off), but for the most part my focus is pretty short term.

  2. Tim says:

    First of all Congratulations in taking this huge leap, an announcement like this does not happen every day with you guys. Knowing a little about the inside track of this I am extremely excited and happy for you guys, this has to be a rush unlike any project you’ve tackled before, you’re living the entrepreneurial dream. You’ve had the drive in the past, but now you have the drive and motivation paired with experience of being a seasoned entrepreneur. This is a powerful combination, it can be a deadly combination as one gains success they sometimes forgo the basics, but with your system of checks and balances I don’t see that being an issue here. It seems as though every step, while not always how you planned it, is calculated and well thought out, this is no exception.

    The splash page looks great, as you know I am not a sports fan, but if there were a way to have it rotate at random the default image to the primary sports I think it would be way cool. Then again maybe it’s basketball season and that’s why it was chose? Like I said I am far from your ideal user so take that suggestion with an un-athletic grain of salt. That said I think the basketball image looks great, very good resolution and is easily identifiable as a sports related page.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Funny you should mention the backgrounds Tim. We do plan on having several “wallpapers” for launch. At a bare minimum the 4 major sports and one LockerPulse themed one for when you aren’t viewing a sports related page (registering, about page, etc). Mike actually finished 4 great ones and wanted to randomly use them for the splash page, but I thought we should leave the other 3 off so that those 3 would be “new” once we go live…of course, I don’t expect that many ppl to visit the splash page so the pt is probably moot anyway.

  3. Brad says:

    That sounds like a really cool idea. I love that I can read your excitement through the post!

    Any plans to expand to include college teams?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Yup, I think that will be the #1 requested thing from users. Everyone that’s heard the idea or seen the site so far has asked the same question. There’s a little bit of difficulty figuring out exactly how to do colleges so we left them off for launch. That said, if this goes well, it will definitely be added soon after. Once this bad boy is up and running I’ll pick your brain about a few things college related knowing that you’re a big VT fan.

  4. Rob says:

    I have absolutely no understanding of the American Sport system or the information that is/isn’t available but I’m excited for you! Can’t wait to see it when it goes live in May 😀

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Ha thanks Rob. I think I’ll be able to explain things a little better once it’s up and running and I can point to examples of “this is what most people do” vs. “this is how LockerPulse makes it better/easier”

  5. Joshua Holt says:

    I like the way you’re building the buzz for this site. As somebody who uses RSS, I’m intrigued (and of course I signed up) about the idea that lockerpulse is going to rock my world when it comes to aggregating sports news.

    Also appreciated your follow-up to Nethy’s comment. The fact you’re not working on Detailed Image as much as the other guys right now is probably the best sign that you’ve got a good diverse mix of partners and that you’re comfortable with your own boundaries. Besides writing on your timeline that your consulting work led you to your partners, have you ever written a post about how you guys met? Maybe it was just a high school thing, but if so it seems you all were pretty lucky!

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Josh –

      I hope it does rock your world 🙂

      Thanks for signing up. I’ll definitely drop you an email as soon as we launch and get your feedback.

      And I will do a post about how we met. I don’t think I’ve ever done a dedicated post to the story. It is pretty interesting…and we are pretty lucky.

      Adam

  6. paoix says:

    if you’re at beta stage i know of at least three people who would be perfect candidates to be beta testers. let me know.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Thanks Paolo. I will definitely let you know when we get to that point.

      I really appreciate all of the feedback from everyone. I’m definitely going to be emailing each and every one of you guys and taking you up on your offers to test and give feedback 🙂

  7. […] working on but now it has become our next major business venture at Pure Adapt. Read more about the conception of LockerPulse on Adam’s […]

  8. bobby says:

    very cool adam. you sound very excited about this. btw, i’m curious how in the world does music-alert even make you a little money? because i don’t see any ads or anything on the site. do you serve ads in the email alerts themselves?

  9. […] only a few weeks away from the launch of LockerPulse, our new venture that I introduced back in February. Assuming all goes to plan, we’ll be live on Wednesday, May […]

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