Entrepreneurs don’t just start businesses because they want to make a buck; they start businesses to solve personal problems because no marketplace solution exists.
Steve Wozniak wanted his own computer, so he and Steve Jobs started Apple. Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to search the web, so they created Google. Mark Zuckenberg wanted to help his pals meet girls, so he created a college site called The Facebook. Mark Cuban wanted to listen to his local college football games when traveling, so he created Broadcast.com, then sold it to Yahoo for $5 Billion.
My Cannacopia journey began during the 2014 holidays. I was working in a small town in East Texas and commuting back to LA to be with my family once a month. This was going on since 2010—it was tough on all of us, but sometimes you just need to go where you can find work, even if it separates you from your loved ones.
For years my LA friends were telling me how easy it was to get a medical marijuana card, so during the 2014 Christmas week, I did. With my medical recommendation in hand, I visited my very first marijuana dispensary and WOW!
It was an eye-popping experience. First, a uniformed off-duty police officer stationed at the entrance greeted me, and then cordially opened the door. Heck, it was a few decades ago the only door a cop would open for you was the jail door. When I entered, I saw a brave new world…and strain after strain of marijuana. They all had funny names, like Blue Dream, Strawberry Cough, African Mother Fu**ker, Charlie Sheen and on and on.
The person behind the counter—creatively called a “Budtender” – started to explain to me what effects each of the over 30 strains they stocked had. By the time she showed me the 5th strain, I was so confused, so I bought a few grams of a few different strains. The names intrigued me, but the fact that each of these strains provided a different effect was mind-blowing. Long gone were the days of choosing between just Columbian Gold or Maui Woowie – both probably grown somewhere nearby -- and if lucky, you’d find some pot leftover after removing all the twigs and seeds.
I’m a tech guy—not a coder—but I’ve founded a few tech ventures over the years. My last venture created the Morpheus P2P file sharing application, in its day the #1 Most Popular Software on the Internet, amassing over 200 million downloads before the US Supreme Court reversed years of hard-fought legal battles and forced us to shut down. I figured there was an app for everything so there must be an app that can show me each strain’s effects.
Ahh-hah—success. I found an app that had info on hundreds of different cannabis strains and promptly downloaded it on my Smartphone. Brimming with confidence, I paid another visit to my local dispensary the following week, whipped out my phone, opened the app, and began typing in strain name after strain name looking at the results of each. Absolutely amazing.
But by the time I was typing in the 6th strain, three things started happening that became the reason I created Cannacopia:
- My fingers started getting tired typing in strain name after strain name
- The friendly budtender behind the counter…not so friendly anymore because I was taking so much time
- Then I tried to remember the effects of those first few strains to compare them with the latest—and my short-term memory loss kicked in. I forgot their effects of the first few strains I searched
Now the app I was using was not just any app, it was the leading cannabis strain finder app available. But it became quickly apparent that this was not very user-friendly-- it was a tedious and time-consuming exercise. And this was touted as the best app available? Really?
Then I came to the realization that it’s not the name of the strain that matters; it's the effects that I want to feel that matters most. I scoured the web and the app stores looking to find an app that would enable me to just ‘dial-in’ the mood, the physical effects, the medical conditions and the taste preferences that I wanted; and then show me which strains would get me there and then where I could go to purchase.
Nothing existed. So, I went back to East Texas after New Year’s Eve and spent a year researching the thousands of strains available, creating a spreadsheet with row after row of different strains and then column after column of each effect. I would stay up night after night, many times falling asleep at my keyboard in the wee hours. A year later, after having compiled data on thousands of strains, I used my tech network and found an awesome CTO who had an overseas dev team. Then one of my East Texas friends invested funds so we could pay for development of Cannacopia—and IT WORKED!
My vision has now become a reality and I hope everyone can enjoy using it as much as I do.