As I write this, it is close to midnight, and this has been a common work hour for these last four months. I can’t believe that Agapage is finally here, that it is finally launching. A lot of work went into this endeavour and it seems surreal to sit here and watch as something you poured your heart into, has been brought to life.
There are a lot of people who made it happen, a lot of people who cared and suggested. Who steered and paved the way for Agapage’s completion. I am amazed and humbled that all these people believed in me.
If you are wondering what Agapage is, let me share.
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So I was sitting in Church back in February, when the Children’s minister came up on stage. She mentioned that the Church’s current 60 pager paging system (retailing for $3k) was no longer adequate. The church had grown and needed about 100 more pagers to meet its need. Unfortunately, the pagers cost about $90 a piece (totaling $9k).
Pagers are used to notify parents when their child is having an issue. It also helps the flow of the whole church service by finding parents easily.
For the rest of the service, my brain was in a trance. It started working on a solution, and that night I began coding the beginnings of it. I went to sleep wanting to think of a good name, and like clockwork, I awoke with the “a good name”. By the end of that week I had a semi-functional program (though it looked like crap), and thus Agapage* was born.
*Agapage is a combination of two words. Agape is the Greek word for unconditional love and page just means “to notify or make known”
So what does Agapage do?
Well, it allows the church or organization to have their own personal website. And at their site, the organization members will register for an account (Same sign up process as in most online services). Once their account is created, the user will add all their parent or guardian information (Image, First Name, Last Name , Cell Phone Number), and they will add all their children’s information (Image, First Name, Last Name). Once all the information is filled out, the user will only have to go back into the system for routine maintenance.
Here is where it gets interesting. The staff at the church can log in, and if their credentials are correct, can now SEARCH for a child, pull up their record, and click the PAGE button. It will send a txt message to ALL the Guardian’s cell phones attached to the child. As the parent, you could also attach grandma, grandpa, auntie or uncle, and it would PAGE everyone.
- No hardware loss, theft, or maintenance. Basically the Organization doesn’t have to buy batteries or charge them, or order pager replacements.
- Piggy backs onto existing infrastructure. Most churches have laptops and wireless, and according to SNL Kagan, a leading mobile research firm. the U.S.A will reach 100% market saturation by 2013. That is one cell phone for every man, woman, and child. This affirms the thought that most families will have at least, 1 cell phone.
- No risk to the organization
- Not limited by distance
- Custom txt messages can be sent so that the Guardian gets some idea of what exactly is going on
- Pictures can be uploaded by the members so when staff or volunteers use Agapage to search, they can actually see who they will be paging
Startup = $3000
Annual maintenance = ($200 +/- N%) batteries and replacement units
Growth = ($90 +/- N%) per additional unit as well as annual maintenance going up rapidly
Total = Anitoch’s projected cost in just under 4 years of existence > $10k
I was reading about a large church in the Detroit area, they grew from 1997-2005. At it’s height, the church attendance was over 4000 people. I speculate their paging system (600-800 pagers) would easily have cost them $50k over that 7 year period. Now the church is in decline because there is a mass exodus from the area as people leave in search of jobs. The church’s numbers are way way way down. With Agapage, instead of having the church’s money tied up in a large piece of infrastructure, they could just scale back their usage and pay less.
And it works in the other direction, seamlessly scaling as your Organization grows.
- My church needs it, so I know it will get used if only by one organization
- Resume / Portfolio weight
- Low startup cost and NO debt (If I wasn’t a programmer this would not be the case)
- Potential to show a proof of concept along with case study and prove/see if there actually is a NEED in the world
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So that is Agapage, and I hope anyone or organization that needs it, will see it’s value. The best thing is that I am saving people a lot of money in a recessionary environment, while also offering a superior product. I feel really good about that.