Inspiration

The weekend todo list often looks the same from weekend to weekend -- what can we do to declutter, what stuff do we need to get to make the week ahead run smoothly.

I was looking as this weekend's "pile" and I just "knew" there was someone nearby who would love the baseball equipment my kids outgrew in less than one season...

Feet grow so fast.

I'm long past filling bookshelves with tomes I will never read again, but I feel like dropping used books off condemns them to oblivion. There "must" be someone nearby (maybe there is some socio-economic or geo filter for book selection) who would drive two minutes to grab some books.

I want them to have a good home.

Ugh, and I'm helping my nieces move in two weeks and I am not going to cough up $500 to get moving boxes. I have a couple, but surely "someone" has some boxes I can "give a second life"?!

I want them to have a good home.

But getting these things done sporadically pop into my mind somewhere between putting chocolate chips in the pancakes and trying to reassemble everyone's baseball back pack before today's game.

Alexa, please help.

What it does

Tell me your zip code and I'll help you find local resources you can give a second life. For now, we've focused on a couple of high value resources like boxes and home materials and furniture, but we plan to expand over the next few weeks to sporting goods, books and building materials. It's a "two sided market", which means you need to quickly ramp up both the "givers" and the "re users", so to begin we're leaning on a couple of third party sources to help us "find" resources. Later this month we will allow Alexa users to originate and fulfill on giving resources second life.

Challenges I ran into

Product classification will determine whether this service is awesome or annoying. We still have a way to go to normalize the lack of uniformity in resource listings. We will continue to map more and more phrases and concepts into the generalized concepts of "moving boxes" or "landscape resources".

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We are launching with decent coverage of available resources across a pretty broad geography. We just missed getting sporting equipment in under the wire (the taxonomy wasn't as simple as we had thought), but when we add that, it will be sweet.

What I learned

Mostly we learned more of what we already know, free form data is hard to build search dialog around and voice search has an incredibly high accuracy requirement.

What's next for Reuse It #alexatechforgood

Phase I (submitted) can be described as...

Outcome Focus: Give a specific set of important resources a “second life”

Materials Focus: boxes, building materials, furniture

Listings Source: National 3rd Party Classifieds

...and Phase II will see us growing towards...

Outcome Focus: Expand resource targets Identify repair opportunities Help DIY repair discovery

Materials Focus: books, sports equipment, electronics, power tools, plastics, manufacturing materials

Listings Source: Alexa initiated

User Features: clipping and sharing

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