From financial analyst to founder
BostonTweet started by accident. Twelve years ago, I worked as a financial analyst, downing Cokes, binging Cinnamon Toast Crunch and, guess what, gaining weight.
Unhealthy and bored, I needed to do something else.
I quit my job, tried my hand at a few internet startups, and then the financial crash of ’08 happened. I was desperate for a stable paycheck– back to the consistency of a 9-to-5 (OK, maybe 9-to-9), but now no one was hiring. So I started tweeting about local restaurants that I frequented.
The genesis of BostonTweet started out of desperation and ended up connecting me to thousands of people, places and events across the city. Today, we are a community of hundreds of thousands – there is power of people in numbers.
Ways to harness the power of this new community started flowing. Because of BostonTweet, I started attending fundraisers – but those around me donating large sums of money didn’t represent the community I was now so ingrained in.
I realized that like me, many people from the BostonTweet community wanted to give back to the place we call home but weren’t in a position to reach deep into their own pockets. My idea? 500 people donating $10 each to their local charities is more powerful than one person donating $5,000. That was the catalyst for Flutter, a way to encourage participation in charitable giving. Created in partnership with a buddy of mine, Flutter is an online platform that allows people to make small donations to charities across New England. Many of the first to donate were followers of BostonTweet.
This foothold in charitable giving inspired me to start my own non-profit called Stride for Stride. My Cinnamon Toast Crunch-eating days over, I started running competitively. It made me healthier and happier than I’d ever been. It changed my life and I wanted others to have that same experience. But entering road races can be expensive. Stride for Stride helps buy race bibs for those who can’t spend that kind of money to run a race.
I’ve had a lot of ideas over the last decade (I have a marble notebook filled cover to cover with ideas), but I came to realize that the ones that stuck are the ones that delivered the most social impact. A simple idea, like selling t-shirts, only became successful once tied to the goal of raising money for low-income runners to run races. And as I learned, sometimes the best ideas just creep up on you by accident full of potential and purpose.