Today we’d like to introduce you to Rich Williams.
Rich, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We met working on a food truck startup as marketing and legal. The idea was good, but the implementation proved difficult. One day, our tech lead said we should appraise the startup. Doug and I were the only team members who correctly agreed that a great idea minus implementation is worth exactly zero dollars.
When I needed legal for the PollCart social commerce concept, I hoped Doug might assist pro bono. The concept was so aligned with his current thinking that he insisted we partner. He has a unique skill set I lack, so we make a great team. We’re both killer guitar players, though.
We began by identifying Shopify online stores as an ideal platform for our B2B prototype, but after a year experiencing little success trying to convince small businesses to upset their checkout flow, we’ve begun work altering the platform for direct consumer use with an affiliate model for income. Anyone can use Shop/Agree at any store on any platform, and we believe the B2C success will fuel customer development with the API integrated checkout B2B.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
We lost a team member who was my best friend and a brilliant designer. He moved to the Pacific Northwest where he and his wife are thriving, but chose to stop participating.
I’ve had two front End development contracts terminate and been unemployed for a few months of the year and a half we’ve been operating. I spent most of that time working on PollCart, so it was productive, but stressful.
My family moved to an apartment, then a new suburb on account of some criminal activity in our neighborhood, so we’ve lived out of boxes for most of PollCart’s existence.
On a lighter note, our tech lead is based in the Mediterranean, so we spend much of our development time communicating with an 8-hour time difference.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
PollCart stops what we call the e-commerce black hole. It’s when a customer leaves your site with good intentions, but may never come back. We give customers the ability to seek feedback from friends, experts, family and coworkers during their first visit and even seek purchase determining feedback after they checkout which can confirm or even cancel their order. We have the PollCart API that integrates with ecommerce checkout and are creating Shop/Agree, a way for consumers to use the PollCart platform without retailer integration. We’ve coined this retail messaging and polling interaction Social Commerce. My proudest moment would be the projects we’ve completed using Fiverr talent.
What were you like growing up?
Smart. Moved a lot. Religious. Musician. Got a lawn mower for my tenth birthday and built a landscaping empire. Liked one on one relationships, but also performing comedy and theater for big groups. Started a band and wrote and recorded some songs. Skipped 12th grade. Wore a purity ring. Techno, death metal, grunge, folk, hip hop. Always got in trouble for not shaving after school breaks.