Benefits and Capabilities
HopHead was a hosted website that allowed bars to market their current inventories across all of their channels and platforms, as well as a mobile application that allowed users to search for and track beers based on their preferences. This was a limited partnership business I worked on with Chris Morbitzer that began as his capstone project for Praxis.
The website allowed managers to log in and update their current inventories on our platform. They then had the option of updating all of their integrated platforms at once. This included
updating their menu on their website, publishing a printable pdf menu for in-house use, auto-publishing on Facebook and Twitter, and updating the HopHead app. We also offered the option of hosting the bar’s website. This would allow us to optimize their page for better marketing results through searches if their page was not already optimized. We integrated through API with applications and databases already on the market to allow the user to quickly pull up known products as well as auto-load information such as the description and ABV for each beer.
The mobile app allowed users to search for and save their favorite beers, as well as discover potential new favorites nearby. Saving a beer would let you mark it as drunk and rate it, integrating with other popular applications. You could also choose to ‘follow’ a beer – this would allow the application to send you select push notifications when the beer was stocked in to inventory near you. If you wanted to browse the local selections, you could also go to the map and view the inventory by bar.
I was the co-founder with Chris Morbitzer. My responsibilities were administration, promotion, and business development, while Chris handled the technical aspects. We collaborated on the direction and strategy. Clayton Belcher developed our logo, while I managed the rest of our branding – website, social media updates, blog, and newsletter. I was also the main point of contact for bars and worked to determine the best layouts and functions on both the bar and consumer end. I handled the presentation of the product as well as the testing and validation of our ideas through minimal viable products.
Why It Failed – Needs vs ‘Cool’
Ultimately, I believe we were not successful because we started with a solution rather than a need. This was something that both of us wanted and would have used extensively, but the market was not as big as we believed. It may have grown slowly organically, but more than likely we would have needed to invest more heavily than we were willing or able in both the sales and marketing of this idea to increase adoption. The bars liked the idea, but having an up to date and digitally optimized menu was not a priority for them. Bar managers already had more than they could do, and they did not see this as a reduction in their duties, nor did they see it directly effecting their bottom line. This was in part due to our difficulty with the users – they also liked the idea, but did not see this as enough of a need to drive adoption by bars. Most people do not search for a specific beer, or go to a bar because of one particular beer – they go to a bar because their friends are there, the atmosphere, the food, or the overall selection and variety of their beer.