The Grincubator: Making Delightful Deals

Here is an idea for our rollicking, roiling, politically aggravating times: an incubator designed to develop delightful businesses.

These businesses, products and projects would have in common a positive mission and a plan to become self-sustaining, because while one-off delights are fine and dandy, it’s the sustaining, evolving delights that will make our world a better place to be.

Let’s call it… the Grincubator.

Now, why place such a high premium on delight?

The raison d’être of any product should be delighting the customer. The faster a product achieves this goal, the sooner it embeds itself into a user’s work flow, creates a sticky consumer experience and makes it hard for the customer to walk away.

The moment when a user is delighted for the first time directly maps to when that person could be considered likely to convert into an engaged customer. Engagement is that point when the user has bought into the value proposition of the product and adopts it as a means to solving his or her problems.

Delight causes users to be transformed into a company’s forward-marketing team. Fueled by euphoria, these users talk about the product to friends and family and on social media and their thoughts are circulated across their networks.

– Kumar Srivastava, “Delight, The Awesome Product Metric That Rules Them All

Maybe you have the next fidget spinner. Maybe you have the next cheap fare flight finder. Maybe your 3D-printed ceramic coffee mug monthly box delivery service is one promotional video away from a Kickstarter.

To apply for a spot in the Grincubator, we’ll ask for a 2-minute video explaining your delightful idea, its current stage, and what 12 weeks of focused attention could do for developing it.

Over a 12-week part-time program, 12 teams would work to develop their MDP – their Minimum Delightful Product – and present at the end of each month to show their potential, their progress, and finally, their MDP.

Over those three months, each team gets $5,000 and an industry mentor. At the same time that they’re developing their own idea, they’re expected to contribute, critique, and help out with their fellow Grinners. While it’s not enough money to live on, it should be enough to hire freelancers and designers, or front a small digital ad buy.

As a bonus, each team gets weekly access to a rotating group of award-winning creatives from across a wide range of industries. Then, at the end of 12 weeks, we host a live event where our creatives, board members, and investors listen to the pitches for new companies and products.

Some, blown away and smiling at the innovation that’s taken place, will undoubtedly invest. We’ll celebrate their achievement, and await the next crop at the Grincubator to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.


Now, this is whole idea is more than a little far-fetched. For one, where would the funding come from? Either we go the route of investors, and take a tiny portion of each company who enters into the Grincubator, or we find a corporate sponsor, one willing to front $75,000 every three months to be associated with delight, merriment, and creativity. Whether it’s a “presented by” sort of arrangement, or we, like the good content creators we are, endeavor to create a stream of interviews, videos, updates and more about each of our cohorts, to keep the sponsor’s name present, remains to be decided.

And secondly, and perhaps more fundamentally, is a delightful mission enough to sustain regular entries and interest? Are there enough economically viable ideas that could be delight-heavy?

Who knows?

What I do know is that sincerity, effort, and collaboration can take us all much further than we can go on our own, so why not add a sprinkling of delight to the mix? If we have to be the change we want to see in the world, then let’s make a space for more delightful products, projects, and businesses.

“Ideas on Fridays” is a weekly effort to test, flesh out, and/or purge ideas from my brain. If you want to use one of these ideas – or collaborate on one – please get in touch.


Also published on Medium.

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