VC funded Kashless.org created an online marketplace where everything was free. Branded as 're-commerce', the platform allowed members to find and redistribute any used or unwanted items, with the goal of reducing users' carbon footprint by consuming less. Also to serve as a starting point for disrupting parts of Craigslist. The company was based in Seattle, WA and funding was led by RRE Ventures (NYC and SF). In early 2010, Kashless.org pivoted to become Tippr.
April 2009 - January 2010
End-to-end UI/UX designer
Front-end development (HTML/CSS/jQuery/Rails)
After a few years of contracting and consulting through Fixie Consulting, I wanted to work on a project where I could dive deeper and make more of an impact in a company's long term growth. So I left the consulting world and joined Kashless.org a few months after it's initial alpha stage launch in February 2009. I was hired on as the sole designer doing end-to-end UI/UX product design and helping with front-end development within a five person development team. We developed using erb/sass/jQuery on top of Ruby on Rails.
Challenge: Transparency & Trust
In order for Kashless.org to succeed, we had to be better than the free section of Craigslist. After doing user research, one of the key problems (among many) with Craigslist was no-shows and trust. People wanted to give things away but they were weary about dealing with 'sketchy Craigslist people'. To try to solve this problem I helped design key features that would help establish trust within the community through user profiles, reputation system, and encouraging transparency via Facebook Connect and other social platforms.
Additionally, I tested using gate for a 'membership only community'. Using Google Web Optimizer I was able to A/B test multiple variants of this gate resulting in a 25% increase in conversions.
Challenge: Reduce Back and Forth
Another problem that was uncovered during user research was that Craigslist users complained about was the amount of back and forth needed to give away a free item. People didn't want to spend a lot of time and energy for something that they already perceive has no value to them. To help solve for this, I designed a conversation system that was linked with user reputation and profiles so members could quickly cut through the eventual flood of emails that come with quality free items. Additionally, added "What should I say" prompts were added to guide the conversation and helping reduce the back and forth.
Challenge: Signal to Noise Ratio
Another key feature we tried to solve was the problem of signal to noise ratio. People love free stuff but they don't love digging for it. By allowing for saved searches and SMS notifications, we allowed members to easily find and be notified of the stuff they they were looking for.
I was with Kashless.org right after it's alpha release and helped design and build the key features for a minimum-viable product. Unfortunately, even with 10x better features, great press, partnerships with Goodwill and RecycleBank, and a small yet passionate group of members, it ultimately wasn't enough to take on the classifieds juggernaut. In December 2009, Kashless pivoted to become Tippr.