Did You Get An Unexpected Valentine?
Confession – I’ve been married for years. Valentine’s Day was never a big deal for my husband, who just isn’t a gift-giver. It’s OK – he makes up for it in so many other ways, I don’t mind (most days). He validates me with his words and actions every day. I hope I do the same for him.
I’ve never been a woman who needs a lot of approval from those around me. In fact, I think most of my friends would say that I don’t handle compliments that well. But I do need to see little signs that what I’m doing is worthwhile. I once heard a wonderful Ted Talk about carrying imaginary little silver boxes to hand out to people who make a difference in your day. So I try to do that – thank people who are helpful, share a laugh or a smile with someone giving special effort in their job, etc. It brightens my day to give out these little boxes. I hope they see it in some small way as a validation.
Since launching our new app, Tykester, I spend a good amount of my day looking for validation. Trying to find out IF people are using it. And WHY they are using it (or why NOT?). I can see visible proof that thousands of people are using it. But we see very little feedback on what their experience is, unless, of course, they are having a problem (spotty WIFI providers, you are my enemies!!!).
I didn’t go into this endeavor trying to be an app developer. My partners and I went into this project thinking “maybe we can help ease a new mom’s pain of being away from their brand new baby when they go back to work.” That is all. We didn’t know exactly how to fix the problem, we just knew we wanted to help – and specifically, we wanted to help our partner, Megan, see updates from her nanny for her baby boy, Ben.
We started with a purpose and let that purpose lead us to the answer. It was a loooong road, just in case you’re wondering if launching an app is a simple and speedy process. Validation came in only tiny little spurts. It was a lot like trying to save money by collecting pennies – it isn’t obvious you’re making any headway until you’ve got a full spare coin jar in front of you.
So it is so nice to find these little tidbits on my Twitter feed - or in my email inbox - that tell me, yes, someone IS using the app, and they love it! I get them from unexpected sources, like a brand new day care center in a small town trying to upgrade their daily communication, a summer day camp looking to stay in touch with parents, or a teen saving for college by babysitting who wants to use the app as a competitive advantage. These are my Tykester moments.
I will gladly take these as my validation – my little silver boxes that prove we did it. We are making a difference in people’s lives.
Happy Valentine’s Day to me!