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weLOG #1: Thank you, and we're back

Updated: Nov 10, 2020

Hello Friends 👋

First and foremost: I’m sorry.


It’s been way too long since I last wrote to you. I know.


The crowdfunding campaign ended like a crashing tsunami -- with overwhelming force and with a lot of new building to do!


After the campaign, the team took a week and a half off, and as soon as we returned, we got to work. I’ll be sharing a part of what that’s looked like with you today.


Before I go into the details, I want to say once again: Those of you that supported our crowdfunding campaign, or made direct donations to our work via other means -- THANK YOU.


It’s only because of you that we’re able to do what we do. I feel it every day. The team feels it every day. Thank you so much. We are hell-bent on making every $¥€ count, and we cannot wait to convert your support into actual forests protected and regenerated.


Regarding forests, we’re planting 1860 trees for our crowdfunding campaign!


We’re finalizing sites with our partner, the World Land Trust. Updates are coming soon. Thanks for making this possible; for making an impact with us.


Now, to other juicy stuff.


What have we been building over the past two months? The answer: the app, a stronger team, and a strategy to grow our movement (among the numerous other things that fall in between).


Let’s start from the app.


The first bottleneck of any app related project goes like this: the app has to be built.


For a startup like us with limited resources, the popular way to ‘solve’ this bottleneck is to outsource the app development to an overseas team (usually in the global south) at a relatively low price.


But this ‘cheap’ option comes with its risks. How do you know you’ll get exactly what you want? How are you going to take care of the app once it's delivered?


weMORI is a team bound by passion, and so it’s important to us that we have passionate hands working on our stuff. Outsourcing to a team of strangers didn’t feel like a fit.


But then, what?


We don’t have the resources to onboard a team of code wizards.


So, where do we go from here?


Enter: Rob from Fluxweave.


I was introduced to Rob from a friend called James, who was introduced by a friend called Christian, who was… (this is how the nonprofit startup life has been for me).


Rob runs a service called Fluxweave, which is a bit like WordPress for apps. He’s got the basic code written down for most functions that apps require (wall, profiles, etc.).


He then fits these building blocks together like a jigsaw puzzle, paints it over with a beautiful design, and voila! You have the app of your dreams.


Fluxweave eliminates the need to develop every new app from zero. This allows development to happen faster while allowing for more flexibility.


They also have a dedicated team of developers that work closely with clients. For us, this meant we didn’t need to hire our own team of developers while receiving on-demand support.


Hands-on support, speed, and high quality; basically, everything we wanted! Fluxweave fell on our laps at the perfect timing, like a rope guiding us to the exit of the development labyrinth.


On top of this, Rob is passionate about the weMORI project. What more could we ask for?


(Disclaimer: This email is NOT sponsored by Fluxweave! We’re just super excited about the collaboration.)


I’m thrilled to announce that our app is now being built by Rob and his team, and we now have, already, a pre-alpha version of the app!


Check out the phone screen below:


Surreal.


It’s a funny and wonderful feeling to see a concept come into shape. A little like waking up from a dream, only to realize that the dream was reality.


Since this is a pre-alpha, we’re not ready to share it with you just yet. But the beta version is expected for delivery in November, and we hope you’ll join us in testing it.


Apart from the app, we’ve been doing a lot of internal work to create a stronger team, and prepare ourselves for the further growth of this regenerative movement.


We welcomed Joanna, who was instrumental to the success of the crowdfunding campaign, to the weMORI payroll. She’s been working hard to create a volunteer engagement strategy, which we’ll be putting into action soon.


We’ve also been implementing a radical transparency initiative so that our work is more accessible and inclusive. We’ve made the decision to make all of our financials, meeting transcripts, team calendars, decisions, and more, available to the public. We’re working on a system to make this visible to you right now. For now, here is a link to our ‘decisions’ document. Feel free to comment :)


Why are we doing this? Because we believe doing so will make us better and stronger.


Increasing transparency is one of our goals, partly because we think there could be more of it in the nonprofit sector, but more importantly because we believe transparency can lead to empowerment.


Don’t you think being able to see the impact your money has made, will empower you to continue taking action?


We think it may. Stay tuned for more on radical transparency!


Before I sign off, one update and one commitment.


All the orders for the crowdfunding shirts and posters have been placed. They should be arriving at your door in December. We received samples and they’re beautiful. We can’t wait for them to be with you.


Now the commitment -- we want to get better at communicating with you. We want to be on this journey with you. So I’m making the commitment that you’ll be hearing from me directly at least once every two weeks to share the progress we’re making and the challenges we’re facing.


So log #2, #3, and so on, are on their way. And I’m honored to be sharing Log #1 with you today. It’s a historic moment!


There’s so much more I want to share — about conversations we’re having with local groups in Ghana, about the ways we’re updating the way we work, about the ways we dream of involving volunteers in our work, about the functions we’re thinking of putting in the app.


They’ll be with you, one at a time. But don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (contact email) if you have any questions.


For now, I want to say thanks for reading to the end.


That’s all for now.


Thank you for your support,


Ian Shimizu-Pughe

Founder

weMORI

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