Vision

To master chronic illness with understanding and control

A funding application on the workbench prompted me for a “vision.” Oh that’s easy, I thought; I’ll write one while the kettle boils.

I sort of did that; and the next day, when I saw the turd I had created, I suddenly realized that I don’t know what a vision is. Actually that’s not true. I know what a personal vision is; and I know what a shared vision is; but I don’t really know what a corporate vision is.

That’s because corporations, in my nonlegal opinion, are not people; they are abstractions. They exist only when you’re using or talking about them, whereas a real human being, or a group of folks, just exists. So how can an abstraction have a vision?

Stumped and stymied by this weighty question, I did what everybody does these days instead of praying: I googled it. Lo and behold as usual, Google answered with delightful speed and precision (which rarely happens with my prayers). It linked me to an article from down under, the other side of the world, where day is night; an article that explains – not how an abstraction can have a vision – but what that vision should be like. It was now time to set aside philosophy and (re)write the damn vision of Humaginarium.

I normally don’t share external links in this blog, but because this one is particularly useful and may save other entrepreneurs some time, I am inserting it here. You may read it if you wish; if you do, it may help you answer the question at the bottom of this page.

So then, drum roll please. The vision of Humaginarium is: Popular video game entertainment that inspires regular folks to master chronic illness.

Romantics like me expect visions to be exciting, even breathtaking, like Elon Musk making a crazy announcement or Steve Jobs throwing down the gauntlet. That comes from the notion that a vision statement is a coming attraction, but according to the experts down under, it is not. It’s not a call to arms, not an expedition to the Misty Mountains, not something you run up the flagpole and salute. It’s humbler than that. A vision is a very, very short description of what will be different in the world when the work is done and the dream has come true.

Popular video game entertainment that inspires regular folks to master chronic illness. My vision statement is appropriately short and it does sound matter of fact. Nonetheless it’s aspirational. I shall explain.

The word “popular” in it means accessible, affordable, convenient, easy to use and much loved: different from all past and conventional health promotions. If Humaginarium makes health literacy cool, it will be f***ing amazing.

Video game entertainment” is our flagship product; not the only thing we make, but the main thing. Why? Because our addressable market of 100 million consumers who like video games and have a chronic illness may flock to Humaginarium if it’s really fun to play. A few hundred may come if it’s merely edifying.

Our work “inspires” by awakening ambition and self-determination. These conative attributes are supportive of self-efficacy (the pillar of our brand). I say “conative” with trepidation because, though the word is older than the English language and is just as meaningful as “cognitive” and “behavioral,” I have never uttered it in mixed company without being asked, “What’s that?” I’ll save you a trip to the dictionary with this handy definition of conation: the mental faculty of purpose, desire, or will to perform an action. Inspiring!

Regular folks” are the kinds of consumers we serve. I borrowed the phrase “regular folks” from Chris Anderson (the futurist and writer, not the TED founder). He uses it when referring to people who are not differentiated by affluence or education. Regular folks is pretty much everybody I meet who is not pretending to be somebody different.

These folks “master chronic illness” by means of understanding and asserting control over it – in our games and in their lives. The chronic illness may be one they have or one they risk; both kinds of threats are mitigated by health literacy that is generated by Humaginarium.

So what do you think. “Popular video game entertainment that inspires regular folks to master chronic illness.” Good enough?

Website

A new website for investors, sponsors, advisors, business partners, and employees.

One of my 16 milestones for 2019 is an overhaul of the Humaginarium website. This will be version 3 since getting the startup off the ground. Versions 1 and 2 retailed abstractions like vision and mission; stuff that feels good but doesn’t yield much traction. Version 3 has a higher calling. It’s about products and services. What we make and sell. What consumers buy and use.

Version 3 is streamlined. It tells a simple story in big scrolling pages that answer a few basic questions:

  • What is a “Humaginarium”?
  • How does it work?
  • Who’s it for?
  • What does it cost?

A Humaginarium in this context is not an idea but a thing. I’m focused now on how our pioneering product will be made; the experience it will create; why thousands or millions of consumers may love their Humaginarium and a few may decide to pay for it; and how much value a Humaginarium is likely to have for those who build or use or share it. We’re rigging a simple version 3 story along these lines in our online shop window and will invite passersby to come in for a closer look.

A few who are intrigued may enter; when they do version 3 will be ready for them. It offers nine substantial and practical resources for potential investors, sponsors, advisors, business partners, and employees. The resources are:

  • Business Model
  • Commercialization
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Fundraising
  • Elevator Pitch
  • Links
  • Paper Prototype
  • Evidence

My web design challenge – familiar to every startup doing innovative things – is to describe product and market in concrete terms without saying too much or too little. Saying too much too soon may eventually force the company to abandon choices that don’t hold up over time; to stop work that isn’t well thought out and shouldn’t be continued for technical or financial reasons. The agile term for that is “pivot,” but it feels a bit like “drift.” Fine for others, but I prefer to think carefully before acting, do what I said I would do, and stay the course come hell or high water. Hence my 16 milestones and the version 3 website.

Saying too little is also a problem but for different reasons. It betrays a lack of courage, one of the qualities we’re set to kindle in consumers with a chronic illness. And saying too little lacks excitement. I believe a startup that isn’t risking a moonshot is just another small business. So I have to say enough to ignite passion without making stuff up that I suspect isn’t true. That puts the challenge somewhere between Mark Zuckerberg (fabulist) and Elon Musk (dreamer) on the path of Steve Jobs (Zenist).

I’m designing the raw materials of humginarium.com version 3 and liking how it’s coming along. Technical wizard Dave Walker will take my bricks and mortar and craft a shop with a crystal clear window facing the world. We can’t wait to hang the OPEN sign.