A St. Albert company has created a website that helps business, government and non-profits find intelligent solutions to unresolved problems.
“E-commerce is backwards. At the moment if I have a problem, I go looking for answers. Why not flip it the other way? Let people who have a solution find me,” said Marvin Polis, president and CEO of Shout My Problem.
Now up and running, Shout My Problem is a web-based company capable of delivering solutions to business problems through the power of crowd sourcing.
“It’s basically a dating service for businesses. We bring together people who have solutions to people with problems,” said Polis.
The St. Albert resident spent more than 35 years working in marketing, product development and communications. He was employed in a broad spectrum of industries including energy, heavy industry, technology, communications, health care and local government. Many of the projects were high-level and his role was to solve some of the baffling issues that arose.
Every company, government agency and non-profit has one thing in common. All new projects face challenges. Most issues are resolved quickly. But what happens when there is an insurmountable problem with no visible answer?
Valuable time and resources are lost visiting trade shows or pecking through the internet searching for solutions, when perhaps the answer could land in your email box at the click of a button.
While tossing around new business ideas, Polis frivolously said, “A great business would be to solve everything.”
A light bulb went off. Polis contacted Claudette Larocque, now the vice-president of marketing, for a brainstorming session.
“Claudette and I go back to elementary school at Albert Lacombe. As I recall, I pulled her pigtails and she stabbed me with a pen,” laughs Polis.
In addition to the soft-spoken, articulate Larocque, Karen Eastland, another childhood friend, was invited to handle administration.
Shout My Problem is simple to operate. Click onto www.shoutmyproblem.com and briefly describe the organization’s problem. A human curator receives the request and validates its legitimacy. Within 24 hours it is posted on the website.
The post viewed on the website is anonymous. Personal names, company names or contact information are not included.
“We want to keep out spam. If you shout a problem, the last thing you want is people sending you wacky email or pornography.”
When a suggested solution arrives, curators vet it. Once validated, the solution is emailed to the matching company.
Shout My Problem has instituted a one-way paywall. For any organization posting a problem, it is free. However, anyone offering a solution is required to submit a $20 introduction fee.
“A pay wall reduces silliness. We want legitimate problems and legitimate solutions.”
Polis believes this service has the potential to go global. He compares it to Amazon and Airbnb, two international entities that enjoy hyper-growth through the power of the internet.
Depending on Shout My Problem’s growth, it also carries the possibility of becoming a significant employer in the information sector.
“Because of a need for curators, we see this as being employment for well-paid, well-trained people who understand the subject matter. We would need curators to put on their BS detector and understand both the problem and the solution.”
While the Edmonton-St. Albert region is the central point of communication, Polis foresees a time when curators could be employed at any point in the country.
As Larocque diplomatically points out, “We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can help facilitate them.”