Your Hero Delivery: A Silicon Valley Startup Story 

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A laundry service picked up and delivered by superheroes between the hours of 6:30 am to 8:30 pm in San Fransisco, seven days a week.

Welcome to the members of Your Hero Delivery. Starting from the left: Ioannis Giannaros, Michael Dunworth and yours truly, Chris Baker.

So first of all the main question WHY and WHAT were you thinking.

The laundry service industry is stale, boring and overall a pretty naff experience. Which is why we were kind of amazed, when we heard “Y-Combinator” invested in one. Whenever this is present, there is an opportunity to act on it. So our main question to ourselves was: how can we take a really miserable service experience and make it exciting and fun? Your Hero Delivery was born….

1. Simply select your superhero. Batman, Spiderman or Thor.

2. Simply select your load size:

3. Make the call

Pick up at 6:30–8:30am and drop off’s the same day from 6:30–8:30pm.

Batman delivering in Dolores Park, San Francisco, 2013.

So here are the six lessons which were learned which may help you with your venture.

1. Validate your idea

A strong man learns from his mistakes, a wise man learns from the mistakes of others that have gone before him. Who has tried to do what you are attempting? This is always a good place to start.  Ask the big questions. Where did they fail? Why are they not doing it now? Put a post on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit informing your friends of your idea. Speak to shop owners. Try and get as much feedback as possible, early on.  Do not think your idea is gold dust from the start because it won’t be. Opportunities are gold mines, but you have to dig for them.

Every idea needs work and will always need to be worked on. Speak to people and get some sort of response before you starting gambling on your idea, validate everything before investing any time and money into it. Ideas grow and develop over time. For more on this I would recommend the Lean Startup byEric Rries.

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*Inner secret – there was only a Batman! We found out that outfits for the other two characters were quite expensive! If anyone asked for “Thor” or “Superman”, we would just say they were too busy saving the city, but Batman can come and  save your day 🙂

2. Make everything that little bit better.

Come in fresh faced and wide eyed. This should be your main thought running through your mind when proving your concept. How can we make every little step that little bit better than your competitors.

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When we picked up laundry, we would high-five the individual. Or chase the kids around the house upon arrival. Of course with permission before hand 🙂 We made laundry service like no other laundry service. What does the current market do? What is the norm? Now do the complete opposite of that. For more on this, read “Blue Ocean Strategy.”

2. UX — User experience

If you ignore this important aspect — you are disrespecting any user you may have. Make a list of all shit user experiences you may come across on the web, which annoy you and get under your skin. This will be your list of where you can possibly enter the market and do a better job. Here is our Facebook Page for ideas.

I have blanked out my number :) I do not miss the 1am calls asking for Batman!

I have blanked out my number 🙂 I do not miss the 1am calls asking for Batman! Even regarding this, we questioned everything and did the complete opposite what our competitors were doing.

3. Community

Everything comes back to building a community. Why should anyone care about your website, idea or product?

GO ABOVE AND BEYOND TO PLEASE YOUR FANS

Yeah we were loved! 🙂
If you are not growing and pleasing your users……what are you doing?

4. Toothbrush Test

Your first 100 are the most important. It is better to have a few customers that will do anything for you, rather than a ton of customers who just like you! Make die hard fans! Anyone who has gone out of their way to make a comment on your product. Surprise them and do whatever it takes to please them. Write a personal thank you note or re-tweet/follow them on Twitter. Do whatever you can to please them, they have invested time and money into what you believe in, so repay them and surprise them. You could even make a spreadsheet where you put your “superheros” die hard customers in. We did all kinds of things to look after our fans!

We don't currently offer any type of wedding services, but if we did, it would probably look something similar to this...

We don’t currently offer any type of wedding services, but if we did, it would probably look something similar to this…

The toothbrush test? I hope that you use your toothbrush a minimum of twice a day. This is the same mindset when creating your product. Would your users, use your service twice a day? If not, what can you do to ensure this? What product or services do you use twice a day? Facebook? Twitter? Gmail? Cliff Bars? I don’t think we reached this tipping point. But that is always the aim.

5. Know the WHY not the WHAT

Make sure you make this clear and apparent to any potential customers. Do not inform your customers what you are doing but inform them WHY you are doing it. This is the difference

WHAT

Your Hero Delivery picks up and delivers laundry between picks up times of 6:30–8:30 dressed up as superheroes — would you like your laundry picked up by us?

WHY

Hero’s love what they do. Our service is simple to use and you will not find a better price on the market. We just happen to be able to pick up your laundry and drop it off on the same day. Would you like to use Your Hero Delivery?

People buy into WHY you do what you do and not WHAT you do. Invest 15 minutes of your time and watch this video by Simon Sinek to learn more. People also buy into the “Want” and not the “need.” So if you are trying to sell a service, sell the want!

6. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows

You got it, prepare yourself to for long nights and some hard times. It really is truly hard starting out. I can’t say this enough times. You may spend more time questioning yourself than the business. It can be lonely and really bleak at times. Whenever you are creating something new, you are always going to get asked big and deep questions. Usually from friends and family.  You are hopefully going somewhere that no one has before. When you look back on anything, the true beauty is in the struggle, this is where you learn the most.

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Conclusion

 “Whatever you do in life you should want to do it on your birthday or Christmas day.” Ioannis 

If you do not have the desire to do it even on these days then you have not found what you truly love in life. So keep throwing stuff at the walls until something sticks. Laundry wasn’t it for us. But one’s thing for sure, we will never stop trying! And in this case, the laundry now and again did stick to the walls! We had a blast and learned that we should start with folding our owns clothes first! Your Hero Delivery – thank you for everything! San Fransisco, 2013.

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For another side of the story – https://pando.com/2013/10/11/superhero-laundry-founders-launch-startup-to-prove-a-point-then-shut-it-down-once-they-succeed/