[quote style=”boxed”]You really have to force them into existence. Things aren’t going to just happen on their own. You’re going to have to take your idea and sell it to people constantly. I’m not just talking about hype. I mean honestly convincing others that whatever you’re working on is a sound concept and that it has potential. Also, it’s important to let an idea evolve. If the original blueprint isn’t getting the job done or there is overwhelming feedback pushing you in another direction you have to be flexible, without straying too far from the core concept.[/quote]
Jim Schraepfer is a co-founder of TripHuddle, a social trip-planning solution taking a fresh look at group travel. After experiencing the difficulties of planning group trips first-hand, Jim and five friends set out to design an innovative application that could help people collaborate to plan trips and organize their information in a central location. As a co-founder Jim has taken the role of Managing Partner and is responsible for defining the vision for TripHuddle, as well as implementing that vision as Lead Developer.
Jim is a graduate of Ohio University and, prior to launching TripHuddle, gained valuable experience as a consultant for Sogeti and Deloitte.
What are you working on right now?
At TripHuddle we have a long list of things features we’re implementing based on the great feedback we’ve received from our users. We’re also in the design phase for a business travel management product that will make it easier for team leaders to coordinate plans, increase productivity and track costs. Add to those that we’re forming relationships with other start-ups in the travel industry, expanding our internship program and working with potential investors and there aren’t enough hours in the day!
3 trends that excite you?
Rapid sharing of news via websites like Twitter and Reddit. The ability for us to read multiple accounts of events happening on the other side of the world in real-time is incredible.
Mobile computing. Tablets and mobile phones may not be ideal for producing content, but they make consuming content much more convenient for lots of people. I’m anxious to see how they evolve as they become peoples’ primary devices for everyday computing.
Green Urban Planning. For real changes to occur, in terms of energy consumption and pollution reduction, they have to occur at the community level. City planners designing around public transportation and renewable energy production will have a major impact on the environment in the future.
How do you bring ideas to life?
You really have to force them into existence. Things aren’t going to just happen on their own. You’re going to have to take your idea and sell it to people constantly. I’m not just talking about hype. I mean honestly convincing others that whatever you’re working on is a sound concept and that it has potential. Also, it’s important to let an idea evolve. If the original blueprint isn’t getting the job done or there is overwhelming feedback pushing you in another direction you have to be flexible, without straying too far from the core concept.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
I make mistakes all the time. What I’ve learned over time is to calculate risk so that no mistake is going to be devastating, and then not to let any mistake snowball. If you screwed up, fix it or find someone who can help you fix it. No excuses.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I want to see an intuitive application that helps people build simple applications. Most of the people with great ideas don’t have development skills, so an easy-to-use application that could create workflows and offer pre-defined events could allow people to build a proof-of-concept with their friends when an idea pops into their head. It wouldn’t be an easy task, but it could help a lot of ideas get traction and get more young people interested in development.
What do you read every day, and why?
I read all the time, but not any particular thing. I get my news from any source that can provide insight on a subject, whether it’s a major network or a local paper article online. I’m not big on fiction, so when I read for pleasure I prefer biographies.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read, and why?
I would say find someone you admire and read their life story. You’ll learn how to emulate what you like about them and understand the path that led them to become a person you look up to.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
Pandora. I can’t get through the day without music, and not having to organize my media library means I can focus on all the other things I have to accomplish. I can just turn it on and go.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Tom Anderson, because he’s had an idea go through the entire cycle: infancy, massive growth, owners taking an exit and ultimately the decline of the network. His perspective on the process would allow him to share a lot of valuable insight with aspiring entrepreneurs.
How do you know an idea is ready for the market?
You really don’t. Like I said before, it’s important to listen to people and let an idea evolve after the initial release, so it’s never really “done” anyway. Get the idea out there quickly, and then continue to refine it to meet the demands of your target consumers.