Will Lucas, founder of ‘thankyouaga.in’ spreads good newsWritten by Emily Tucker | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Lucas dreamed about the domain name “thankyouaga.in.” Now he is acting on that dream to provide a means for people to celebrate the good in their lives.
Lucas, founder and CEO of thankyouagai.in, said the idea was inspired by a dream he had the night of Sept. 11 this year. He didn’t dream about sitting at a desk and looking at his computer, but instead dreamed about the domain name. After checking GoDaddy.com, he saw the URL was available.
“The day after this dream, I thought, ‘What do I say if Oprah asks me what does thankyouaga.in mean?’” Lucas said.
The concept of thankyouaga.in is “collecting the good.” Lucas is focusing on the mobile application, but he is having a website created as well. Users are expected to only post about the positive aspects of their lives. The point is to create a community on the Web that is supportive and celebratory.
“It’s meant to be the second thank you after you’ve thought about it, the one that means something,” Lucas said.
Celebrate the good
Lucas said he doesn’t want the good that happens in people’s lives to be drowned out by everything else. An example he gave was how the happiness of someone getting his or her first job could be drowned out by the football game on television. He said he wants people to be able to celebrate the good and look back on it when having a bad day.
“My favorite feature is the ‘looking back’ button, which allows [users] to look back and realize life is not so bad,” he said.
The logo, which is a smiling face shaped like a thought bubble, is meant to show why people are smiling, Lucas said, adding that he wanted it to be playful.
Lucas was motivated to try designing the mobile app and website himself. He bought books about development but eventually hired someone to help.
Similar but different
Lucas said thankyouagai.in is similar yet different from Twitter and Facebook. The app will provide the emotional connection similar to what people get out of Facebook, and it will have the micro-blogging function of Twitter. Users can select hash tags that reflect what is posted. Users will also be able to flag abusers on the app.
“The value proposition is going to be different than Facebook and Twitter,” Lucas said. “Rather than following someone, you listen to them.”
The app went live in the Apple App Store at 3:36 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 8, Lucas said. Fifty people signed up the first day and about 30 joined the second day. The app is also available for Android. The website is scheduled to be open soon.
About 30 users who are either friends of Lucas’s or engineers from San Francisco tested the beta version. The feedback was positive.
“They have been using it several times per day and for the right reasons,” Lucas said.
In the future, Lucas said he hopes to have companies advertise on the website. There is presently no revenue model; Lucas has invested about $2,000 of his money into thankyouaga.in.
Philip Cunningham has been working on the strategy and marketing aspect of thankyouaga.in. Lucas said he met Cunningham a couple of years ago through Greater Toledo Urban League, a local nonprofit organization.
“At some point I heard about what Will was doing,” Cunningham said. “We met up and started bouncing ideas off of each other. I took this on as a challenge and it pushes me to be better.”
Cunningham said a goal is to not let the app be one that “never gets to see the light of day.”
“People put out apps, and they never really get to the apps store front page,” Cunningham said. “A lot of times, new apps don’t get the downloads.”
Cunningham was one of the beta testers and said it was a new experience for him. He recently switched from an Android to the iPhone 4.
“I’m really excited to see what happens when there’s a ton of people using the application,” Cunningham said. “I felt like I was on the cutting edge.”
With a small budget but big goals, Cunningham is being as creative with advertising and marketing as possible. He said he is using multiple programs and websites to spread the word, and Cunningham and Lucas are using their connections in Toledo to help push the message.
“People can literally go and talk about the good things in their lives,” Cunningham said. “I feel like it changes the way people look at their lives because [they] look for it in a different way.”
Cunningham said there will be commercials on YouTube and other websites, which will include people talking about the good happening in their lives.
“I think it’s bigger than just a mobile app,” Lucas said. “I don’t know where it’s going, but I’m still realizing the value it’s bringing to people. I know it’s bigger than me, and I realize how it can help people. I feel blessed that it was given to me.”