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27.8.14

We are all on a journey: Incogo’s is to make the web meaningful

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A new kind of website, called Incogo, launched last Monday. I really didn’t get Incogo when I first got a call from co-founder and former PwC partner, Karen Crawford, but it’s an idea worth exploring. Why? It’s part of something new happening on the web.

Let me start with Karen’s explanation: Incogo is a place where we can all go to get support as we embark on personal journeys or goals. Anyone can start a journey, of any type, and it’s free.

Incogo illustrates the idea with the horrifying example (for me, personally) of Elisa Pertzel who, in order to conquer her fear of heights (I’m right there with you, Elisa), decides to go skydiving (oh no). Thankfully, I wasn’t one of her supporters … I would have been saying, “are you mad, girlfriend?” However, with just a little prompting from the supporters of her madcap scheme, Elisa did jump out of a plane. She survived; I nearly died!

There’s nothing quite like Incogo, Crawford says. We go to Facebook to catch up with friends, to LinkedIn to network with like-minded professionals, but where do we go to tell the world about our personal projects? Until Incogo, nowhere.

“This is about personal positioning,” she says. “Facebook is mostly about social interactions and what is going on, but it is a fleeting, passing way of connecting. People trying to use Facebook to say I am on this particular journey find it an increasingly frustrating experience.”

Why would we want to do such a thing? I wondered out loud.

It was only later that I remembered I had myself recently tried to do precisely what Crawford is talking about: I wrote some posts on the blog-of-blogs site, Medium, about my personal journey towards living sustainably in the city.

Incogo would be a much better home for this kind of post, I agree.

It’s like, but not the same as …

Crawford says Incogo is the evolution of social media to a new paradigm called ‘personal media’.

“Incogo recognises that we are much more than just our social lives, superficial interactions or area of expertise,” Crawford says. “Support, encouragement and guidance from other people helps us significantly in our own lives, and we get a greater sense of purpose by supporting and helping others in their lives.”

The idea is probably closest to the crowdfunding models, such as Pozible, Kickstarter or, for more personal projects, GoFundMe.

But Incogo is not at all about financial support: you can’t get money from Incogo. You get support, and you can even get what Incogo calls “sponsorship” – non-financial backing.

If you make your journey private, you can invite your supporters. If you make your journey public, they can choose you. “We all share different aspects of our life with different people,” Crawford says. “Some parts of our lives are very private and some can be more public.”

This sponsorship is Incogo’s revenue model. Sponsors pay for each journey sponsored. The sponsor might be a big corporation – like the accounting firm, PwC, for example, where Crawford worked for 25 years – or just an ordinary mortal. A specific search engine identifies sponsorship opportunities in their pre-determined fields of interest.

You can reject a sponsor, if you don’t like them for some reason, and pick another one from a list. (By the way, “in cogo” is Latin for bring together, but has a second meaning of restrict – that second meaning is probably relevant here).

Also, we ‘journeymakers’ can also pay to promote or feature our journeys if we want them to become more prominent.

Watch the journey of the Incogo team

There are brains and experience behind Incogo. Crawford is one of four founders. The others are Daniel Millin, founder of media evaluation service, Mediaverse; private investor, Edward Wittenberg; and Marty Jonas, founder of a small-business-focused print and web design company, SnapMedia.

I’m a woman who is very prone to new projects (journeys). Right now, for example, I am doing a program of creative reinvention guided by a book called The Artist’s Way; I am trying to make my home and the group of flats I live in more sustainable by putting in solar energy and growing fruit and vegetables; I’m building a content marketing practice; I’m participating in a new kind of capitalism called conscious capitalism, working in a new kind of space, a co-working space, and learning in a new way at the Slow School of Business. Perhaps Crawford is right. There are lots of sides to me and my various journeys. Perhaps Incogo can help me pull all the different aspects of me together, focus me on bite-sized targets and possibly garner support to become all that I can be. That would be cool.

 

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