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# How I Can Help

I have a lot of knowledge in the web space. I specialize in front-end development, as well as Node.js on the back-end. I work at a web dev shop and have a lot of experience teaching and mentoring new developers, as well as resolving interpersonal conflicts. I'm also constantly tweaking my dev environment (editors, build tools, technologies, etc) and, as a developer, have a mini-obsession with productivity hacks; so I can help there (not usually a burning pain but if you need help, hit a brotha up).

I am also a designer (landing pages, UI/UX, IA, branding, and print) and am happy to help with whatever design-related issues you might have.

Finally, I have experience with online advertising and guerrilla marketing; if you're having trouble figuring out how to reach your customers (or figuring out who your customers are) I can help.

# Help Me Out

My idea: I've been thinking lately about building something called Startup Fantasy League. The idea is to give people a gamified platform for making pretend investments in startups.

Why (for context): I'd like to get into angel investing later in life (when I have the financial means) but I don't want to wait until then to start practicing.

Where I need help: I'm having trouble figuring out exactly how to accelerate the lifecycle of real world investments into a game-friendly timescale. I don't want players to have to actually wait 10 years before they see returns.

I'd like to give players a starting fund (say 5m), and then let them "spend" that capital by selecting from real investments (e.g. "Jason Calacanis invested $X in Swell Radio").

However, once they've spent their initial capital (which I imagine might happen somewhat quickly as new players try out the platform and hopefully enjoy it), I'm not sure how to keep them engaged. I imagine status updates on companies they've invested in would be nice, but that doesn't give them much room to interact with the platform. Thus, maybe players should get more capital whenever their startups are doing well? This isn't a very realistic model of how investing actually works, of course, so I'm looking for other options.

I want to keep this as realistic as possible (since ideally I'd like to practice with it myself) but I do also want it to be fun.

Advice from anyone with game-building or investing experience would be especially helpful. Thanks guys!

My email is hello at duncanmsmith.com.




Cool idea! A few random ideas and thoughts that may or may not be useful:

1) seems like a perfect complement to something like mattermatrk: http://mattermark.com/ perhaps try reaching out to those guys? They offer startup tracking so pairing it with this fantasy-investment style game could work well.

2) learning from fantasy football - perhaps you get people to sign up in groups and compete against each other with new money being released into the pool each month/quarter?

3) you could bring people back into the app when the startups they have invested in get in the news? This would involve building a lightweight RSS-scraper and some logic but might not be too hard and would add a nice feedback loop for the product.

4) maybe you let people use (small amounts of) real money to invest in the startups, and let people buy and sell their investments? Kind of like a second market platform? this would make it inherently more compelling for people to stick around but it's almost certainly a lot more work to build...


1) I've actually spoken with Mattermark before (not about this), they're really cool guys and if I get super-serious about this idea then I'll definitely reach out to them. I'm actually planning on using their API for part of this (see below).

2) Yknow, believe it or not I didn't actually think too much about this. I guess I assumed the details would be too different for me to borrow much from them. I'll definitely give it a look though.

3) Not a bad idea. I would hope to monetize somehow, but a monthly subscription would have fairly little value if I'm only checking in with them once every few months.

4) I wish! Chances are any accredited investors would already be using AngelList for that, and obviously I can't let unaccredited investors make investments (plus then startups would have to be on board, basically a whole giant mess).

Thanks a lot for your thoughts!

One thing I'm thinking for the whole "returns" mechanism is to have startups return a fixed amount per hour/day/week based on their Mattermark score (basically, how much mindshare momentum they have), similar to how properties in social games give you a certain amount of currency back every [interval].

I could also consider income: most investors have some sort of regular income they use for investments, as opposed to purely bootstrapping off of the first few investments. That could be interesting (perhaps as you level up, by making sound investments, your income rises?).




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