Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about our productivity partners, Fancy Hands. We wanted to give you a deeper look at who they are and just what they do. So, we talked with founder Ted Roden:
Ted, how did Fancy Hands come about?
Fancy Hands started because of a need. I was super busy with work, a brand new baby, (however unlikely) a book deal. During that time I was totally under water and needed someone to pick up some slack for me… doing researching, making phone calls, helping me schedule things, etc.
The thing is, when my life slowed down (babies get easier, I finished the book, etc), I still found myself needing this kind of help. Turns out that even on a slow day there are plenty of things I can use some help with.
What are some of the more common uses of Fancy Hands?
It varies widely based on the user. If you’re a CEO you ask one type of question. If you’re a graphic designer, you’ll ask another type of question. Stay at home mom’s will ask their own type of questions.
Having said that, we do a lot of light research tasks:
- Find me the top 3 restaurants in Gary, Indiana that cater to people with peanut allergies
- Can you find me a rental car place that has Mustangs and find out of a baby seat will fit.
Also we do a ton of scheduling (Set up an appointment with Brenda) and shopping stuff (Send my dad a French Dictionary for his birthday)
And the more unusual or unexpected?
We once had a gentleman at a conference in a hotel in Orlando, he was having a great time and wanted to do something nice for the room (I think it was 75 people or so). So he emailed us and suggested that we get juice or something delivered. So the assistant called the hotel and asked the concierge to bring in some orange juice to the room. They did and our user was quite popular.
The global theme for SMW12 is “Empowering Change through Collaboration.” Do you see the theme of collaboration and change emerging more in technology and if yes, how so?
Oh absolutely. Any technological advance that lets people work together easier has enabled us to do greater and great things. From the printed words enabling us to plan to build pyramids and through to time share computers allowing us to get to the moon, if a technology lets people work together better it leads to significant change. I think we’re just scratching the surface with mobile collaboration.
Fancy Hands does a great job of highlighting consumers’ stories. Can you tell us more about how you’ve been successful in launching a start-up? What advice would you give to others starting out?
Talk to your users. Do it sincerely. Tweeting, “Awesome article, what do you guys think?” isn’t interacting. I’m constantly emailing with users personally (so much I get called a “bot” on occasion). I reach out to users via email, my personal twitter, via the company handle… but I’m reaching out to actual people, not to our “audience” or anything like that. Sincerity is where it’s at.
Want to hear more? Watch Ted talk with us about productivity.