Culdesac is a startup by Spencer Johnson, from the suburbia of Northern Virginia. He has been validating this idea for over a year and finally decided that his idea should see the daylight. So he dedicated a significant amount of time to learn Objective C and app design to start the process. Quite soon, he found that it would take longer than usual to do it by himself, so he’ll need people to help build an app. He was working and kept aside a part of his salary to pay the app development firm. “I designed the app in Sketch and put some minor functionality to it and searched for a developer. About 5 months later, I found a great team. I’ve been working on this with them in my free time and I’ve been bootstrapping the expenses.” Johnson says.
What is Culdesac ?
Kids have a rough time these days making their own decisions because there are so many already made for them. Culdesac is about sponsoring the younger generation’s original ideas and solutions.
“My friends and I have always made up games. As kids/teens, we would experiment with the junk in our basements, cul-de-sacs, and backseats until we stumbled upon something fun. The great games would spread throughout the neighborhood cul-de-sacs and soon we’d all be playing our games together. These games became more fun than any game or sport that was organized for us. I think there’s a reason that millions of kids quit organized sport leagues every year.and I think it’s because they’ve stopped having fun. Even today, as twenty-somethings, we endlessly search for fun, social games to play with our friends on the weekends. The best games we’ve found are ones spread by word-of-mouth. I’ve never seen an attempt to give people with the ideas a megaphone, so, I came up with Culdesac. ” He says.
Finding something new and fun to play is a pain today. You want to find something novel but you also want to find something that is relevant to your peer group. They’ve tried to fix both problems with Culdesac. The main feed, called “My Culdesac”, is populated with your Facebook friends’ games. So, right off the bat you’re seeing relevant content. Users also have the ability to “favorite” any game, which will save the game to their profile for future reference. When you check out a friend’s Culdesac profile, you can also see their “Favorite” games. In this sense, “Favoriting” is an attempt to replicate the word-of-mouth discovery.
Explaining how to play a game over the internet can also be a drag. In Culdesac game profiles, they’ve standardized certain information (equipment, # players, # teams, duration) but not all games can be explained the same way.So, they’ve given 4 optional tools to supplement explanations: a Rule List, a Positions List, Image, and Video. All games can be described with some combination of these tools.
As of late, there have been initiatives for kids like Let’s Move and Play60 that have attempted to curate active games for kids. They just don’t seem to be accessible to youth. So, in terms of the sheer amount of competition for content, there is a lot. In terms of the quality and focus, there is little. Culdesac aims to bring focus and relevancy to the content.
“Of course, I’d love for this community to get big. Though, I feel it would be presumptuous to say how big considering we haven’t launched yet. Down the road, I’ll be adding more functionality to the search and category list. I’d like this product to be a companion for kids, teens, and adults to find the best games wherever and whenever they want to play. All the next steps will be taken to get closer to that goal.” he adds.
Culdesac was made to keep every lifestyle in mind, but the content will be most appealing to those who have time to play. Their target audiences are 10-17 year olds, who would contribute a lot in terms of content. In terms of location, Johnson knows that every environment offers a different way to play and that most suburban neighborhoods already have a relevant community.
They’re discussing about the possibilities to provide pre-packaged equipment for kids to play with. Like a starter kit to create games with (including small/large soft balls, cards, batons, nets, etc.).
“The plan is to find health/fitness conscious partners to create sponsored games that are broadcast on the home feed. This will require a large, active user base so user acquisition is the first priority” he explains.