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A Better Immigration Experience

Monday Oct 27

What will my MVP consist of / look like?

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Sunday Oct 20

WIZARD OF OZ & LEGO PIECES

1. The San Francisco Bay Area is full of immigrants. Find some in my personal network who are going through this process (or preparing to) and ask them if they'd be interested in meeting with another person(s) who were in a near-identical situation and were successful, or whether they'd just prefer to go it alone or with a lawyer.

LEGO PIECES --> None, just a lot of Facebooking, messaging, and in-person solicitation.

2. Study a few key immigration "types" that I'm most familiar with and can easily work with, and manually collect all relevant forms and related samples that I can find on the web (Immihelp, Nolo, VisaJourney) and on people's personal blogs.

LEGO PIECES --> Create a Wufoo form with questions about an aspiring immigrant's details (what kind of visa they're applying for, gender, nationality, current country of residence, marital status, occupation, etc.). Gain a database of interested people's answers, and then start manually matching them with the right forms.

3. Talk to people who used a lawyer, and ask them whether they thought it was worth the price and if not how much would have been reasonable. Talk to people who aren't using a lawyer because it's too expensive, and ask them how much would they be willing to pay for my solution (i.e. being connected with a lawyer assistant or immigrant who used a lawyer). Later, test demand at different price points by running ads on FB/AdWords/Craigslist advertising the service (e.g. "Immigrating to the US from _____? Get lawyer-quality advice and save 95%!") and see how many people sign up.

LEGO PIECES --> Temporary landing page (e.g. LaunchRock) to collect email addresses and/or credit card information.

4. Check if people need "financial assistance" for filing their immigration forms, and help them set up a crowdfunding page for free. Ask them about the details of their immigration, and then I as the copywriter can help turn it into an emotionally engaging story. All they have to do is share it with their friends via FB/Twitter/email/offline.

LEGO PIECES --> Indiegogo crowdfunding platform

5+6. Find people in my network who have recently been through the immigration process AND/OR ex-paralegals who worked in immigration, and ask them if they'd like to volunteer X hours of their time to help other aspiring immigrants. These people will be my "team of experts". Connect them with people from #1 and #3 where applicable.

LEGO PIECES --> Connect Wufoo form from #2 with a Skype widget that (when applicable) connects them with someone from my "team of experts" when applicable.

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Saturday Oct 19

Note: Idea changed and starting over.

USER STORIES

1. As an aspiring immigrant to the US, I'd like to have a "buddy" to walk me through the process, someone whose situation is/was similar to mine and knows exactly what I'm going through.

2. As an aspiring immigrant to the US, there are a million forms I have to fill out and attachments I have to prepare, and it's hard just figuring out which ones are actually relevant to me. I'd love if I could fill out a short survey about myself and my immigration background and be provided with (1) all the right forms, (2) clear instructions on how to fill them out, (3) a lot of recent and relevant sample forms to refer to along the way, and (4) some kind of progress bar that lets me track my progress.

3. As an aspiring immigrant to the US on a tight budget, it would be great if there was an alternative to (A) hiring a lawyer and paying thousands of dollars and (B) going it alone ("free") but always having to wonder if I'm doing things correctly. Something that's much cheaper than a lawyer, while still giving me peace of mind.

4. As an aspiring immigrant to the US on a tight budget, even if I don't use a lawyer, I still have to pay thousands of dollars in processing fees ($1500 for green card for an immediate relative). It would be great if there was an easy way for me to crowdfund the $1500, with me "seeding" it with the first few hundred dollars and then asking my friends and family to help out with the rest.

5. As someone who successfully immigrated, I know firsthand how difficult and stressful the process can be, and I'd be glad to share my experiences with anyone in a similar situation.

6. As the (good-hearted) assistant of an immigration lawyer, I see that in most cases, immigration processing is pretty straightforward, which is why I end up doing most of the work. In fact, I'm pretty sure I could do this all on my own without my boss. I wish there was a platform where I could share my knowledge with a much wider audience of people who can use it.

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Saturday Oct 5

USER STORIES (EDITED) & WIZARD OF OZ BRAINSTORM

1. As a young working person, I don't have much free time but I do have some spare money I'd like to donate to a good cause or project. The only problem is, I also don't have enough time to research all the great causes/projects out there and choose one which I really love and can keep tabs on.

WOZ --> Identify friends (via Facebook post?) who are interested in donating to a good cause but just don't know what that is right now. Ask them how much they'd be willing to donate, and then ask them to "commit" that money to some kind of escrow. Ask them a few brief questions about their hobbies, interests, and past philanthropic experiences, and then send them a weekly newsletter of interesting causes/projects for them to donate to. Keep sending the newsletter until they find something they like, or eventually return the money upon their request.

2. As a fundraiser on e.g. Kickstarter/Indiegogo, I know generally who my "target audience" is but I would love if there were a way for me to see who in my target audience has money to spare right now, so that I can focus my marketing efforts on them.

WOZ --> Related to #1 above, once I get friends to commit/pre-pay money upfront, then based on their replies to the brief questions I asked, curate a bunch of causes/projects that fit the bill. When putting together the newsletter, have a mix of smaller, local organizations and large, well-known causes to see which one customers prefer.

As a churchgoer who tithes (voluntarily donates a % of my income every month to the church), I would love if there were more transparency and updates on how the church is using my donations.

WOZ --> TBD

As a taxpayer, I would love to have more control over where my taxes are spent and be able to track and see firsthand the progress of the project(s) it's gone towards.

WOZ --> TBD

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Thursday Oct 3

USER STORIES

People who have money to spare who want to donate it to a good cause, but can't find the right cause to donate to that really resonates with them emotionally and will lead to a tangible result that they can see and track over time.

People who already voluntarily tithe to their church but don't like the fact that they can't track where their tithe money is being spent. (They have some say over where it goes, but options are limited and determined by the church)

People who don't mind paying taxes but hate the fact that they can't track where their tax money is being spent and that they have no say in the matter. (Sense of distance and disconnect from government)

Fundraisers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo who are reasonably confident they can raise their target amount, but lack precise data on who they should be targeting i.e. people in their target market who have disposable income to spare, where these people are, who they are and what their habits are, etc.

Funraisers on Kickstarter and Indiegogo who don't have time to promote their fundraising campaign, but also don't want to use the 3rd party agencies that are cropping up that offer to promote a fundraiser's campaign for a fee/cut, because it feels weird and unsatisfying.

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Wednesday Oct 2

Crowdfunding is pretty cool, but there's a lot of people who want to donate their money (or time) to a good cause but just can't find the right one and whose needs aren't being met by the current "If you build it, they will come" model. I want to make it easier for willing donors to find awesome causes, and connect with others who share their passion. Now that crowdfunding is "in" and there's an established infrastructure for "demand"-ing money, I want to focus on the supply side and "grease the wheels" so to speak, to make it easier for people to supply money and make it easier for fundraisers to get the money they're seeking.

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