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The MySoli concept Picture by us. :)

Links: | Concept video | The submission | Twitter

A lot of exciting things happened during the last weekend. On Thursday, I received a mail on my student mailing list, containing information about a hackathon which would take place this weekend, arranged by the German government. The participants should develop solutions for problems arising from the whole Corona situation. Because of the ban on public assembly, it would be held digitally.

At first I wasn’t really that happy about it being online, because usually I really like the vibe of hackathons and similar events. But – surprise – it being digital would actually turn out to give rise to some quite cool effects as well.

So on Thursday, I talked to the team of my social startup and we decided to use this opportunity to develop a concept similar to the one we already planned on realising before. We wanted to develop a platform to match helpers and people in need of help. There are already many platforms doing just that, but over the course of the weekend, we invented some great additions to that simple concept that really distinguish us from the rest.

What makes our concept unique

The win-win-win situation: Instead of a win situation, we managed to create a win-win-win situation.

Every time you, as a helper, help somebody else, that somebody has to donate a small amount of money in return. You get to decide who (i.e. which charity) receives that donation, doubling the amount of “good” you generate. So instead of just helping, you can additionally decide on the receiver of a small donation, generated by your own help.

People in need of help can obviously get help quickly. But by donating, they become helpers themselves, instead of just people that benefit from the help of others. We believe this creates a valuable psychological effect that might allow people to accept help more easily.

And finally there are the people who receive the donation, charities or small businesses that suffer from the crisis.

Thus, instead of just one person benefiting from our platform, three parties benefit.

The self-enforcing loop: The whole process is also self-enforcing.

Receiving help motivates to donate. Donate help and help donating.
Generating a donation is of course a bonus incentive for helping people, thus donating motivates others to help.
One motivates the other, creating a loop of self-enforcement.

Friday, 20.03.2020

So on Friday in the evening, the whole thing started. There was a lot of chaos in the beginning, mostly because the organizers had to handle over 42.000 participants. They even had to contact the CEO of Slack, in order to get that many people into one single Slack workspace, but eventually they figured even that out. Huge shoutout to the organizers and also to Slack, their platform worked perfectly fine over the whole weekend!

The great thing about the hackathon being held online was that there were so many people offering their help and you could just search (as in ^F) for what you needed. This way, we found our fifth team member, Jasmin, who did great design work. So on Friday we primarily discussed our concept, came up with a name, MySoli, and made a plan for the next two days. We put our ideas for the apps layout on paper and sent it to Jasmin, who instantly created a logo and started working on the design. At 1:45 AM we stopped working for the day and went to bed.

Saturday, 21.03.2020

We met again on Saturday at 10 AM. Jasmin had already finished some beautiful layouts over the night. We contacted different people to find out more about required legal steps in order to manage the donations. Over the course of the day, Jasmin created a click dummy and also filmed a video of it. We also started writing a concept for the video we had to hand in on Sunday and started tweeting @MeinSoli.

Later that day, we called a mentor of the hackathon, who is a professor of law. He was really competent and gave us some tips and hints. We then decided we probably had to found a registered association later on, in order to manage donations.

For the video, we contacted Heiko Grauel, a really popular German TV speaker, he also did all the announcements for the German railway company. He agreed to lend us his voice for free! We also managed to implement the basis for client-server communication of our platform and finished this strong day at 1:30 AM.

Sunday, 22.03.2020

The final day started at 10 AM. We received a perfectly spoken audio file from Heiko and also a first version of the video from Jasmin. We had some trouble to put everything together with the deadline approaching very quickly, but we managed to put out a great video in time. We wrote some texts describing and presenting our concepts, which we also had to hand in at the end of the day. I purchased the domain and wrote a simple landing page for our project.


Over all, we’re really proud of what we achieved over the short timespan of 48 hours. We decided to continue working on the project in this team and hope to release a first version in about a month from now. Our next steps are developing the platform and founding the required legal form.

My role in the whole project was to organize and manage the processes and also do some development of course. I really enjoyed that!

A month later

It is now the end of April, about one month after the hackathon. In the last weeks we launched a first version of the platform and some helpers already registered and were verified by us. We requested and received a little funding from a local community foundation, which we used to break even and print flyers we designed to display at the dialysis station at our local hospital. We also had a chance to present the project to our mayor.

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