Re: Launching June 15:
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2016 10:27:34 -0700 (PDT)
> On Jun 17, 2016, at 1:05 PM, Mary Baker, Solid Communications <mary [at] 
>> wrote:
> An application engineer doesn’t always need a highly trafficked app, if 
> he/she can point to a fully workable app with satisfied users. I am currently 
> working with Dick Yates of to build a county-wide gleaning 
> site—the site is free, along with one year of free mentoring and hosting.

But it is a website design service that focuses on organizations related to 
food resources and offers advice related to that service. That is a veeeery 
broad field. And you expect people to pay after one year.

Cohousing communities are not interested in this kind of service because they 
aren’t client oriented. People looking for cohousing use Cohousing Directory, 
which has a list of forming communities, and read this list.

Sites like Glean don’t produce people who are interested in investing money or 
time in a cohousing community. Even with a developer who assumes construction 
costs, there is still a ton of work to be done. People usually don’t want new 
members “off the street.” They want people who ill assume responsibility for 
the maintenance and social life of a specific community.

> And it’s a very complex site with a lot of data gathering. I have yet to find 
> out if the software is directly supported by grants, but I know it didn’t 
> start out that way—it was simply created to fill a need.

But the need it filled was for a non-profit cause. Cohousing communities are 
not charitable or educational organizations.

> * assumption that apps cannot succeed in a niche audience 
> Current advice to app creators is to focus, focus, focus on very small niche 
> markets and build apps specifically for their needs. The more specific the 
> solution, the more likely they will succeed. GleanWeb started out with just 
> one client. 

“Small” is relative. In the condominium Property Managers Association, small is 
400 units.

The advice is focus on a dedicated audience, but there still has to be a 
significant population. For email lists, I’ve found that 200 members is minimum 
for maintaining an ongoing conversation.

> I’m feeling very positive about the networking potential for cohousing. 

The minute you start charging, you will see the interest drop. I haven’t looked 
at the Facebook sites but my bet is that one person in each community keeps the 
conversation going. With 110 cohousing communities that is a “market” of 100 
people. Most of our residents have no interest in cohousing beyond living here. 

Ann Zabaldo is one of the most active cohousing promoters out there and has 
worked with the Cohousing Association since it began. She attends every 
conference and knows everyone. When she talks, everyone should listen. You 
don’t have to agree — I often don’t— but she bases her opinions on a ton of 
knowledge and experience.

Sharon Villines, Historic Takoma Park, Washington DC 
Where all roads lead to Casablanca

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