Our Secret Sauce: Boston

August 7, 2014
Brett Cooke

Those of you who are into startups may have heard of the Lean Canvas created by Ash Maurya.

If you haven’t, it’s basically just an exercise for refining all the essential details about your new business or product on one sheet of paper. It’s great for helping you hone in on the most important and riskiest aspects of your plan.

The sheet is broken down into 9 sections, such as:

  • Unique Value Proposition
  • Key Metrics
  • etc

One of those is called the ‘Unfair Advantage’ section. Basically, what’s your secret sauce? What do you have that can’t be copied?

Is it that you have a patented revolutionary technology? Is it that you have insider information? Have you built a community already? Is your team just absolute dynamite?

In thinking about this for BarUp, it was hard to pinpoint exactly what our unfair advantage is. The app itself is so simple (intentionally) - anyone could copy it. So the tech is certainly not it.

There are hints of the other parts. We are going to have a head start on anyone who attempts to mimic us, so there will be some advantage in the following we build. We certainly have a great team - maybe the perfect team for what we’re doing - but it’s not like we’re a bunch of Harvard/MIT grads who’ve already sold two companies. So what is it that we have that others don’t?

We’ve come to the conclusion that Boston itself is our secret sauce. Why?

Well let’s start by saying that we’re all from Boston. This is our home; our sacred ground. We all have connections here. We know the city like Tom Brady knows the Pats offense. We know the nightlife. And we have a passion to make it better.

But furthermore, this app couldn’t work in a lot of cities. They’d be too big and/or already have plenty of spots to go on any night of the week (think NYC). Boston’s the perfect size: small. If the Bar of the Night is on the other side of town, it’s only a ten minute cab ride away. Literally walkable.

An idea can spread quickly here, and Boston - being one of the leading innovation centers on the planet -  has an appetite for new ideas.

It’s loaded with young professionals, and has one of the largest student populations of any city in the world. With them, it’s got the right attitude towards drinking.

With all that said: we can’t wait to get this rolled out and see just how tasty that Boston gravy really is.

Til next time.

2 Comments. Leave new

richard carroll
August 28, 2014 2:46 pm

While I agree that your sentiment with respect to NYC is valid, what if you were to segregate it by neighborhood (bar of the night in East Village, Williamsburg, Meatpacking, UES, e.t.c)? People want to go out during the week but don’t always want to get on the subway or in a cab to go somewhere and would prefer to stay local. I think using a model like this, you could find some success even in a massive city like NYC.


Hey Richard,

Thanks for the insight! Having multiple Bars of the Night per city split by neighborhood is exactly what we plan on doing. We’re going to roll this out in Boston first. So, for example, we might have a Bar of the Night in Southie, Brookline, Back Bay, etc.

We’re also going to have college-specific Bars of the Night.

Nice to know we’re on the same page!


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