Limpag: Cebu team builds social network for things to do

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Sunday, August 17, 2014


WHEN Dan Pantinople pitched his idea to build a website where people could share things to do during the first Startup Weekend Cebu in 2012, only three people voted for it: himself, his brother Daryll and real estate big shot Anthony Leuterio.

Undeterred, Dan went on to form a team anyway to build Dee-Oh, named after the letters that spell “do.” In Startup Weekends, only the ideas that get top votes — and Dee-Oh was far from the top — typically form teams and progress in the 54-hour event.

Dan and his team produced mockups of what they wanted to build and defended it before a panel of judges who included such Filipino tech and business luminaries as Dado Banatao, Winston Damarillo and Jay Aldeguer.

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Dee-Oh wasn’t among the top teams: the winner was an SMS queuing system.

Dan is a nursing student who dropped out thrice. He said he loves going on duty to care for patients but found documentation and paperwork tedious. He bought a computer to play games and discovered Photoshop. He taught himself design and started freelance work creating logos and designing websites for clients referred by family and friends.

He also built what was then a thriving online community called BisRevo for Bisdak Revolution. But Dee-Oh was always at the back of his mind and he kept on working on the idea, producing seven design iterations.

When Symph, a web and applications development company based in Cebu, started expanding, Dan got a call. He had met Dave Overton, the founder of Symph, and Albert Padin during Startup Weekend. Dan was asked to lead Symph’s user interface-user experience team.

A few months later, Dan said he decided to pursue his idea, with the support of Symph.

From Dee-Oh, which he described as a difficult brand to market — “you have to spell it out to people” — they renamed it to Outdoin’ for out doin’ somethin’.

His team now includes Richard Juevesano, Johhann Barba, Clint Bustrillos, Ashley Uy, Erika Lagunzad and Nicole Padin.

Last Thursday, they made available for public test their MVP or minimum viable product, a version that has just enough features to be used by people in order to get feedback to improve the service. Dan was initially against releasing it because he wasn’t happy with the product, it wasn’t perfect for him. Dave and Albert convinced him otherwise.

Outdoin.com, Dan said, is a place where you can tap online social networks to organize offline activities. It is a social network for people looking for things to do and people to do it with.

Dan said the first event to have been organized using the service was a table tennis match. “Let’s play #pingpong,” he posted on July 19. Jossy Onwude, a Cebu-based medical student who founded the MediFund crowdfunding platform, joined his activity. Dan beat Jossy.

Just a day after the public beta last Thursday, Outdoin was able to organize a board games night that gathered 20 people. By Saturday, the site already had 123 registrations and more than 30 posted events.

Dan said the site is still in its “earliest stage” and they are working to improve it through user feedback. A key feature they will incorporate in the future is to geolocate events, meaning you get alerted to events that are being organized near your current location.

To sustain the service, Dan said they will look into paid offerings like promoted listings of events, the ability for establishments to “claim” a location and get a dashboard to manage content as well as access to analytics and white label marketing such as creating custom badges linked to promotions.

He said they can also offer establishments a way to claim activity hashtags so that a sports shop, for example, can be promoted in the listing of #running hashtag entries.

Dan said his service can even be used in group deals such as those involving travel.

If people lack the numbers to avail themselves of a tour promo, they can just post it through Outdoin to get others to sign up.

To provide security to its users, Dan said they use Facebook for signups so that there is a layer of identity and social context to Outdoin users.

(max@limpag.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 18, 2014.

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