What I'm Thinking About and Learning in 2021

I turned 24 this past Thursday. I always become a lot more introspective around my birthday and think about what I want to pursue for the coming year. It serves as a nice spring cleaning check-up for New Years resolutions before heading in to the second quarter of the year. Here’s to being 24 and working on interesting projects!

Something particular that struck me this year while reflecting is that I have all of these so-called “great ideas”, but I have nothing to show for them. I have yet to push one of my side project across the finish line. This year I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to try and work on only work on one project at a time.

In the past, I’ve struggled with focusing, being consistent, and not context switching between projects. I thought I could use this post as a brain dump to put my ideas, thoughts, and musings to revisit throughout the year. Without further ado, here we go.

Blynd: Food Serendipity

This idea has been in the works for awhile. So long that the domain I bought for it (classic side project mistake) is expiring April 27th. It works out nicely because this way I have a strict timeline to get an MVP out the door before the domain expires. If the project is worth continuing, I’ll renew the domain.

“Any year that passes in which you don’t destroy one of your best loved ideas is a wasted year.” — Charlie Munger

Blynd is a food ordering platform that sparks joy to customers while giving restaurants their fair share.

Here's how it works: Restaurants will serve only one dish at a time. This is their "Blynd Special". This dish is unknown to customers and can change at any time. Restaurants will snap a picture of the dish and the Blynd platform will use AI technology to classify the dish and generate a mystery caption. Customers can scroll through the captions and take the plunge into food serendipity by ordering from their favorite local restaurant or trying out a new spot with an interesting dish.

This concept is borrowed from my favorite breakfast spot in Madison called Short Stack Eatery. Short Stack does the entire experience right. From serving simple, fresh and local breakfast to supporting the local community as well as serving as a guide for other businesses to support and contribute to a food system centered around sustainability. They're women-owned, rule-breakers, and flat-out inspiring.

short stack blind special Short Stack's Blind Special
short stack yelp review My Yelp review of Short Stack (with a response from one of the founders!)

As illustrated by the above, I'm quite a big fan of this restaurant. I want to leverage technology to deliver a serendipitous and enhanced dining experience like I've had at Short Stack, at scale.

I was inspired to build this during the pandemic after seeing so many restaurants struggling while food ordering platforms have billion dollar valuations by charging wild fees.

door dash economics breakdown Sample transaction breakdown from DoorDash's S-1
short stack yelp review Chicago Pizza Boss' GrubHub invoice

In the case of DoorDash, for a ~$33 food order, DoorDash keeps ~$5 (~15%). The Restaurant receives ~$20 (~60%) and the Dasher receives ~$8 (~25%).

For GrubHub,

I fell in love with Chicago-based company Tock because of their simple pricing with no hidden fees and https://twitter.com/nickkokonas/status/1256007554074902531