Hawser: Feed-Free Personal Media For Your Inner Circle


Hawser: Feed-Free Personal Media For Your Inner Circle

"Although algorithms that curate content are an extremely intelligent way of delivering ads and determining what users might like to see, we believe that no one is better qualified to determine whose updates our members want more than they are."

-Josh Sapienza | Hawser


This may come as a bit of a shock but social media does not deliver all of your posts to all of your connections.

So how many of your posts are organically delivered to your best friends and closest connections?  The answer is: Approximately 2%. 

That's about 2 out of every 100 people, who love what you do, that are actually hearing about it.

Don't believe me? Go to your favorite business' Facebook page right now. Look at all of the updates on their wall and then see how many of them made it through to you or feed.

Facebook's organic reach was between 6 and 7% not that long ago and is now at 2%. And it's sliding. In fact, Facebook executives have very openly and publicly admitted that their goal is to get it down to zero. Why? Because paid reach sees a conversion rate that is 68% greater than that organic reach.…which makes perfect sense: if more people hear about your product or service then more people are likely to pay you for it. So, monetized social media providers, like Facebook, have decided that they'll charge you a fee to ensure more people hear about that product or service of yours.

I'm sure we'd see conversion rates that are equal to or even greater than that with companies who advertise during the Super Bowl. But not everyone has the capital to spend millions of dollars on commercials during the Super Bowl. Many of us would probably find it hard just to boost a post or sponsor an ad every time we wanted to reach our biggest fans and closest friends (especially considering the fact that there's no guarantee your paid reach is to that portion of the audience who likes your page or even wants to receive your message). 

When you contemplate the inherent nature of social media, it becomes clear that the most indispensable tool for brand building, SEO enhancement and creating new relationships is NOT the most efficient or cost effective way to build and strengthen the relationships that are formed there.

Seeing that the most effective way to build any sustainable business is by first developing the relationships with the customer's you've already got; we built an app that allows you to directly and consistently reach every single one of them.

Now you can stay in-the-loop with your inner circle of best customers, closest friends, biggest fans and most loyal supporters without anyone or any thing in-between.

Our new platform is called: 'HAWSER'.

'Hawser' will deliver every one of your updates to every single one of your connections...and ensure that the only updates they get are those sent from the connections they choose.

Although algorithms that curate content are an extremely intelligent way of delivering ads and determining what users might like to see, we believe that no one is better qualified to determine whose updates our members want more than they are.

That's why we put our account holders in control of their own interface. 

By giving equal weight to every account holder and letting every user decide whose updates they'll see, we're able to level the media playing field so that the smallest local charity is on equal footing with the biggest paid advertiser.

With 'Hawser', there's no chance of your most important messages ever being missed or buried at the bottom of a never ending feed. In fact, there's no feed on our platform at all. There's also no advertising or sponsored posts to dodge and no scrolling needed to get to the good stuff.

Just the updates people want, organized by Sender and available on-demand.

We're looking to onboard businesses and organizations to share their: specials, discounts, event listings and promotions on Hawser and witness, firsthand, the impact Hawser personal media will have on their customer relationships and their bottom line.


To learn more about 'Hawser' you can call us directly at 484.800.1323 or go to www.Hawser.org today.


Can Personal Media Coexist with Social Media?


Can Personal Media Coexist with Social Media?

Anyone managing a social media account (or accounts) has heard that “A successful marketing campaign requires reaching your audience with the right message at the right time and that in order to do that, you need to focus on the channels with the largest audience base.”

But the more crowded a party becomes… the noisier it gets.

Sure, if you’re telling a better story, speaking louder than everyone else or talking more frequently than most — more people are bound to hear you. However, being “heard” by more people doesn’t necessarily equate with being heard by the RIGHT people.

Your odds of reaching the “right audience” are better in a venue with more people but just because there are a ton of people in a packed arena on a Saturday night, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re interested in listening to you.

As any sniper would admit, more targets doesn’t equate with the right targets.

A message is better received when it’s targeted to a specific audience comprised of the people who want to hear that message in the first place.

As the marketing and advertising firm Stunt & Gimmick’s puts it “Long before content marketing was a buzzword, we had decided that the best way to reach people was by giving them what they wanted — great content that was useful…” and I couldn’t agree more.

Similar to television broadcasting networks, social media networks carefully calculate which messages their users receive based on a constellation of previous online behavior and algorithms used to govern their monetized message delivery systems…which is a very intelligent way of determining what people want and delivering it to them.

Personal media, however, allow users themselves to determine whose which media (or whose messages) they receive. Hawser Inboxes (our new personal media and messaging app launched last month) not only empowers users to “be the algorithm” it also guarantees that every single one of the messages they want delivered is not only delivered… it’s organized and then made available on-demand. All without users having to do anything other than connect with other users.

Advertisers have historically directed their messages to wherever the attention of consumers/potential customers is focused. It’s why billboard space on the most heavily traveled roads is more expensive than billboard space on a less traveled road and why the most popular social media networks are rife with promoted posts, sponsored content and native ads.

But what if advertisers, businesses and beloved brands were to be the pioneers of a new platform instead of track and chase it? Would their inner circle of loyal customers and die hard fans follow? Or would this necessitate a tectonic shift within the entire marketing paradigm?

Granted, adopting a more active approach to marketing like this would be quite a departure from the more conventional reactive strategies firms and businesses seem to adopt but…in an age where consumers are able to obtain an unprecedented amount of data in the blink of an eye — and are less apt to making more emotional purchases; perhaps advertisers, businesses and brands can see the value in diversifying the time and energy spent on ubiquitous posts that ensure relevancy and discoverability to now include taking the initiative to opening the door to directly connections with those loyal customers who have been already been converted. After all, loyalty is a plant that requires constant watering.

Hawser Inboxes is the most efficient and user-friendly personal media platform since email. A reset button for some and for others, an opportunity to turn down the noise and escape the bloat of social with the ability to decide precisely who enters their inner circle and whose messages they’ll receive — instead of a network’s algorithm deciding for them.

Social media rules and no one will debate that — but the reality is, most of us understand social media a lot more now than we did ten years ago and are gradually seeing more channels that cater to users’ diversified interests that range from networking to novelty.

Five years ago, most of us had never even heard of an “algorithm” (and the powers of an intelligently designed algorithm are still far beyond my comprehension) but regardless of how intelligent the code is behind the UI, social media is still media and not messaging.

We enjoy having public media platforms where anyone can say or sell just about anything…and we accept the inherent negative aspects that accompany such accessibility…namely: obligatory “Likes” and the decorum that directs us to accept “friend” requests from people we know but don’t particularly like…not to mention the subsequent necessity to scroll endlessly past unwanted posts and interruptions from advertisers in order to get to the good stuff we really want.

scrollin' scrollin' scrollin'

Of course that endless scrolling often results in the pleasure of discovering something interesting or amusing or so random that we otherwise wouldn’t have found… but some have grown to hate it. For many, the endless scrolling has become more than a Pavlovian behavior, it has become the defining reason social media is the medium we love to hate.

Maslow's Hammer

From The Hawser Inboxes Blog Post: “Maslow’s Hammer” | Josh Sapienza

Love it or hate it or love to hate it, social media is the world’s new favorite pastime and consequently, the best value in advertising the world has ever known.

Without it, most of us would never have even heard of (or be able to keep up with) some of our favorite brands, bands, charities and retailers.

One of the most significant differences that sets social media apart from other forms of mass media like: newspapers, television, radio and magazines is that literally everyone with an internet connection gets to contribute. That open contribution creates an incredible opportunity for those who don’t have millions of dollars to spend on 30 sec. ads during the Super Bowl and, at the same time, an incredible obstacle for those who don’t have the time, money or marketing expertise to work through the ever-changing algorithm-driven monetized delivery systems.

Sure you can take classes, attend seminars, read books or hire folks to work the bloated system for you…and you’ll experience the benefits of an increased reach. But that reach is only increased marginally and although a marginally increased reach builds brand awareness exponentially; there’s no guarantee that your messages are reaching the people, whom you know, actually want to receive them.

Our efforts have been misinterpreted as trying to replace social media with Hawser Inboxes but that’s not the case at all. We’re introducing Hawser Inboxes as a supplement to social media that can facilitate a more holistic online media strategy. We believe social media is imperative to any and every business or organization from CBD’s Mom & Pop shops to Fortune 500 companies. But in an age where customers’ options are seemingly endless; there is a real value in being able to directly connect with those social followers who have already been converted into loyal customers.

We don’t believe we are naïve in thinking that there is a significant portion of the online population that will embrace both the traditional crowded mainstream channels that deliver a customized media experience as well as a more personalized interest-based channel that increases the amount of control they have in their of own media experiences.

balanced holistic media strategy with Hawser

It’s not just a “reset button” we’re offering. Hawser Inboxes is an alternate channel for the things people more than “Like”. Its an channel for the things they Love.

Hawser Inboxes for bands

In fact, we can’t help but liken the potential coexistence between social media and personal media to that which exists between broadcast syndicated television networks and their on-demand counterparts like: Netflix, Hulu and Roku… or their adoption of making their own programming available on-demand.

It hasn’t been easy pitching a smaller more intimate venue when so many millions of jobs and billions of dollars are generated by (and spent on) the promotion of social networks whose product is, much like their early-day television predecessors, essentially network managed broadcasts where the viewer ultimately sees what the network wants them to see…and their customers grow more and more accustomed to the increase in largely unwanted advertising that interrupts their viewing pleasure.

But the surging popularity of on-demand entertainment offerings, the increased number of restaurants adopting customizable menu items and the fact that text messaging still remains the most widely used means of communication among all mobile users- serve as compelling indicators of a significant demand for a new approach to media like Hawser Inboxes — where users can connect with the people and organizations that are most important to them unlike ever before.

As Nick Denton of ‘Gawker’ recently put it in an interview with Jeanine Poggi of Ad Age at SXSW:

“If I was doing it again, I’d make it even more personal…the more competitive digital media gets, the more noisy everything is, the more people are competing for attention the more important it is for people to step back and to recognize what it is about the internet that makes it special. Which is the ability for people to have a conversation…talking with people with as much authenticity as they can.

It’s the natural life cycle of the internet. You know when the blogs started, a bit more than a decade ago, they were a reaction to not just to stuffy traditional media, but they were a reaction to the commercialization of the portals and how the internet in the dot com boom got too commercial. So I’m waiting for another reaction like that. Another swing in the cycle. I’m really interested, myself in conversation. In messaging…”

We’re inviting marketing, PR, and media management & distribution firms to bring their clients with the most loyal followings aboard Hawser Inboxes to let their biggest fans decide whether or not a direct connection, that ensures they never miss another update, is a good thing.

You can learn more about Hawser Inboxes, the benefits of supplementing your social media activity with personal media or create your own Hawser Inbox and invite your fans to connect today at www.Hawser.org


Are You Looking For A Better Way To Reach Your Biggest Fans?


Are You Looking For A Better Way To Reach Your Biggest Fans?

We built the new Hawser Inboxes App to connect people directly with the individuals and organizations they Love.

Create your own free Hawser Inbox profile today.

When your friends and fans connect with you, they'll receive every single one of your updates.

There's no advertising or sponsored posts for them to dodge.

No feed for them to endlessly scroll through.

Just the updates they want - organized and available on-demand.


Hawser Inboxes for Restaurants


Hawser Inboxes for Restaurants

Using Hawser Inboxes is not only a great way for charities, retail shops, brands, bands and teams to connect directly with their own members and biggest supporters...it's also the most efficient way for restaurants & bars to deliver their daily specials and upcoming events directly into the hands of the loyal guests who connect with them via the Hawser Inboxes app.

Hawser Inboxes guarantees delivery of every single post, update, special or upcoming event sent out on the Hawser network.

This is not for the people who "Like" you. This is for the fans who Love you...and don't want to miss a thing. 

Watch this short video to learn more.

Running Time 00:40





At Hawser, our philosophy is: “Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.”. It’s a service-oriented mantra reminding us that, by adopting a greater level of awareness, even the smallest efforts can make service a lot smoother for everyone.
— Josh Sapienza

As any hospitality professional can attest: restaurants don't just sell food. They sell service. They sell an experience...and creating an enjoyable one requires a service mindset and culture where every guest feels welcomed and appreciated. Restaurants accomplish this in two ways. First, by understanding the fact that customers are not an interruption of their work, but are the purpose of it.  And second, by thoughtfully preparing for every dish in the back and every step of service in the front so that every guest can seamlessly savor every moment.

Like restaurants, charity is a service industry that relies as heavily (if not more) on culture and have plenty more in common than might meet the eye. Both strive to make every touchpoint as personal as possible. Both aim to connect their customers/supporters with what it is they're purchasing. Both must know the names and preferences of their most loyal supporters. Both rely on the tireless efforts of emotionally co-dependent people who acknowledge the presence of their most loyal sponsors and say "Thank You" as warmly, as frequently and as creatively as possible. And last but not least, both recognize the fact that there is no such thing as a small transaction. 

Those who do this (and do this well) often form a strong bond between their organizations and the people who support them. They create something no dish, no fundraiser nor any gala can provide: a fan who identifies themselves as part of the organization. That's the effect of a hospitality based culture...of basing operational processes on guest centered service - treating every customer, guest and visitor with the utmost respect and thoughtfully providing for their needs. 

[In India hospitality is based on Atithi Devo Bhava, a principle meaning "the guest is God". This principle is referenced in many stories where a guest is revealed to be a god who rewards the provider of hospitality. From this stems the Indian practice of graciousness towards any guest whether at home or in any social situation.

Judaism praises hospitality to strangers and guests due largely to the examples of Abrahamand Lot provided in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 18:1–8 and 19:1–8). In Hebrew, the practice is called hachnasat orchim, or "welcoming guests". In addition to to the practice of providing protection / refuge to strangers, hosts there are expected to provide nourishment, comfort, and entertainment to their guests as well and then escort their guests out of their home, wishing them a safe journey upon the conclusion of their stay.

One of the main principles of Eastern Iranian culture (including Afghanistan and Pakistan) is Melmastia. This is a lifestyle based on an unwritten law or moral code of eleven ethical principles not the least of which is hospitality. Pashtunwali people go to great lengths to show profound respect to others regardless of: race, religion, national affiliation or economic status and without any hope of reciprocation or payment.

Celtic societies also valued the concept of hospitality, especially in terms of protection. A host who granted a person's request for refuge was expected not only to provide food and shelter to his/her guest, but to make sure they did not come to harm while under their care.} Wikipedia

There's a big difference between hospitality based concepts that rely on culture to drive the bottom line and retail based concepts that rely on maximizing profits to build the bottom line.

The impetus to building Hawser was in realizing that more non-profit organizations seemed to employ retail-based strategies as opposed to hospitality-based ones which are much better suited for their similar service-minded pursuits.  

A dinner guest should never be expected to get up from their table and retrieve their own steak from the kitchen….the same way a potential donor shouldn’t be expected to: attend a gala, navigate a nonprofit’s website or even pick up the phone and dial a 1-800# in order to reach a data center dedicated to capturing their personal information and adding a 10 – 15 minute inconvenience to the process when they want to give a gift...if they don’t have to.
— Josh Sapienza | Hawser

Just as we wouldn't want to interrupt a restaurant customer's meal by asking them to participate in the process, we similarly don’t want to interrupt donors’ lives and require them to go out of their way in order to support a cause that's meaningful to them. We’re all already too busy to do some of the things we want to do for ourselves…let alone have the time to do as much as we feel we should or could do for others. 

In fact, most of us are so busy and strapped (for time and money); that we don’t even treat ourselves to vacations... or honeymoons.

Hawser doesn’t want to inconvenience anyone or ask like-minded individuals to increase their consumption in order to benefit others by amassing points, discounts or rewards that can pile up from retailers or creditors who will then support the causes that are important to them. We don't want to place contingencies on giving or minimums on gifts. We just want to make it easier to give and say "Thank You" to those that do. 

Hawser's mission is to weave social good into the daily lives of our users. Charitable giving, volunteering and conversations about charitable organizations don't have to be something separate from our daily routines. We're bringing the collection basket to the donors so that charities don't have to bring donors to the collection basket. Now, that collection basket can be found: on a couch, in a theatre seat or stadium seat, on one's bedside table or in the bathroom because it's on your phone.

Like restaurants, a charity's special events are great money makers but the restaurant business has taught me the benefits of being more accessible / open for multiple day-parts. 


At Hawser, our philosophy is: "Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.".  It's a service-oriented mantra reminding us that, by adopting a greater level of awareness, even the smallest efforts can make service a lot smoother for everyone.

It's with this mindset that Nathan, Bruce and I hope to leave the world a little bit better than how we found it. And it's with this mindset that we realized piggy-backing social responsibly onto the core structure of media and messaging might be a great way to get two things done at the same time...kinda the whole idea behind "Full Hands In. Full Hands Out.".  Its about efficiency and responsibility.  

So when we created our personal media platform for nonprofits, friends, bands, brands, restaurants and other small businesses; we decided to place every user (including non-profit organizations) on equal footing...regardless of whether or not they had a lot more "friends", "Likes" or deeper pockets to sponsor posts or promote their page.

The opportunity to integrate hospitality in the non-profit sector is evident in the tendency for many organizations to re-direct donors to multiple on-line pages or to suggest a minimum amount for a gift that a willing supporter may conveniently give...as is often the case with most text-to-give style donations.  Being transferred to a third-party website is inconvenient. And being subjected to a "prix-fixe" contribution is like saying "No" to any gift above or below that "recommended"  amount*.  The Golden Rule in hospitality is “NEVER say No"...which makes a lot of sense if you recognize every guest (or donor) is a boss who is paying you.


Via: Yelp | Virginia's Fine Foods

Via: Yelp | Virginia's Fine Foods

Putting a minimum (whether mandatory or recommended) on a gift seems counter-productive in the non-profit space and for me, produces a cognitive dissonance when giving a "gift".

You wouldn't include those sort of "gift options" with an invitation to your birthday party so why would you do it for a charitable organization? Hawser's focus is on increasing the overall number of small donations for certified nonprofits rather than on increasing the size of fewer ones. 

After all...a lot of small payments quickly add up to make a huge difference. Not just for restaurants but for nonprofits as well. It’s a numbers game. That's why most restaurants aren't prix fixe and that's why we don't set minimums on our giving platform. 

*A 25 cent donation, at the highest average non-negotiated transaction rate by a credit card processors today, would generate a donation of a little more than 3 cents. And, if the number of people who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (15 million+ people) gave that much...just twenty five (25) cents, it would have added up to more than $450,000.00. Not too shabby for a 3 cent donation.

If that same number of people were to have given from a debit card or some other transaction fee free method, it would have added up to over $3.75 Million.


This is a game of pennies and every one adds up fast when you employ the power of social influence. If 3cents out of 25cents could add up that quickly... Imagine what a dollar means to someone who needs it a lot more than you.

New technologies and payment systems are now making it not only possible...but more and more beneficial for nonprofits to accept micro donations that previously had been too costly to process.

Secure virtual terminals are now being offered by more and more payment processors as well...like Square, PayPal, Chase Paymentech and First Data Merchant Services. The lessening of transaction costs and creative technologies like these combined with the increasing accessibility of simpler integrated solutions synergistically work with Hawser’s mission.

Simply stated: Doing the right thing isn't that expensive for the donor or the person collecting and transferring the donation anymore. That's why we can offer our service for free and in-turn hopefully interest more people to use it. 

At Hawser, we're not trying to stage a media revolution, replace social media or convince nonprofits to abandon their text-to-give programs, postcard mailers or annual galas... in fact, we love social media! We're just offering the perfect free supplement to it.

Organizations that add Hawser Inboxes to their media tool kit are going to see the difference that direct connections and guaranteed delivery makes.

Native iOS and Android apps will be launching Fall 2016.

Interested in adding Hawser Inboxes to your media toolbox? Visit our informational page now. 


Maslow's Hammer


Maslow's Hammer

You may have heard of The "Law of the Instrument" or "Maslow's Hammer".

It's popularly phrased as: "...if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail".  

Essentially, this means that we make due with what we have... and if the only tool we have is a hammer, well then we’re likely to just go around pounding the shit out of everything that needs fixing. 

Social media is a perfect example. Most of us use Facebook to share updates, news, amusing memes and messages with our closest friends and family but social media sites were never designed to be messaging platforms and as hard as they try to spin one off of their platform; using private personal messaging from a social media platform is like eating dinner in the bathroom. Sure it's ultimately convenient but at some point you're likely to realize that the two are better when separate. 

One of the nicest things about monetized social media sites like Facebook also poses one of it's biggest drawbacks: Every feed is curated by an algorithm that creates  lists of updates / news that unique as the users own fingerprint which means I'm not seeing something just because you saw it, even if we're both connected to some of the same people.  

"with monetized social media sites like Facebook...I'm not seeing something just because you saw it, even if we're both connected to some of the same people."

You may not realize this but let's say you have 100 followers on Facebook and you post something really awesome... on average 1-16 of those followers will actually get the message. That's an organic impression rate of 0-16%.

"...on average 1-16 of those followers will actually get that message. That's an organic impression rate of 0-16%"

This is a huge problem for everyone —- whether you’re a small business, brand or band and especially for small nonprofits who have very limited resources and a very serious need to connect with all of their loyal supporters.

So we’ve all got this problem… but it’s not so much with social media as much as it is with the way people are using it.

At Hawser, we've have identified this very clear need for a more personal and direct communication platform…not only to level the playing field for nonprofits but to simplify everyone’s life and enable us all to spend less time online and enjoy more of our time offline. 

          Enjoy more time off-line. Your updates will be there when you get back.

"Hawser is not trying to compete with social media, we're just offering a complement to it."

With the use of creative technology, we have developed an app that delivers 100% of your messages to 100% of your connections 100% of the time. 

"Hawser isn't a channel that offers you the opportunity to push content or sponsor posts. Hawser lets users decide which content they want to pull in."

Hawser isn't built on algorithm driven feed-based platform. If you're interested in another opportunity to garner "Likes" and "click rates" or "go viral"....there are plenty of other entertaining channels for that. Hawser Inboxes is not trying to compete with social media, we're just offering a complement to it. Using social media is a great way to reach people who may have not otherwise heard of you but you're leaving a lot on the table if you're not developing and strengthening the relationships you create through social media.

Hawser Inboxes provides an alternative to bloated social media simply by ensuring that everyone's most intimate inner circle of friends, fans, customers and supporters are guaranteed to get every update easily and in an organized fashion.

         100% organic impression rate

And because Hawser Inboxes employs a two-way connect / disconnect, you never have to worry about being spammed by unwanted connections.

In building an alternative channel for media, we’ve also created an our own version of group messaging. Think of it as Group Messaging 2.0. Now you can individually message an unlimited number of your connections simultaneously - but that message is treated as a separate individual delivery to each recipient So basically... you’re not sending a "group message" that drags everyone along on a chain ride. You're virtually directing a single message to an unlimited number of people simultaneously... its just that everyone is going to get that same message at the same time. The biggest difference in that slight difference is that every response to that message is able to be kept strictly between the sender and the recipient...so that no one involved has to tolerate or manage negative or off-topic replies and responders who are self-conscious or have constructive criticism never have to be afraid to speak-up.

            Response are shared only with the person who posted the update

            Response are shared only with the person who posted the update

So whether you need to reach your friends, your customers, your fans or your supporters…  Hawser Inboxes offers a direct personal connection with every member of your inner circle..

              Hawser: Personal Media for the people who  Like you  Like you

              Hawser: Personal Media for the people who Like you Like you

Our platform is based on relationship building and social responsibility. That’s why we’ve made it easier to do both.

Donate or Volunteer at the push of a button.    Your social contributions are a big part of your profile.

Donate or Volunteer at the push of a button.  

Your social contributions are a big part of your profile.

We don’t charge a fee for donations.

We don’t let advertisements or sponsored updates cut in line.

We just connect you directly to the people and organizations you want to connect with.



We’re testing the beta version of our app right now and we’re looking for people to play with it, jump on it and try to break it. We’ll fix it - and make it better. 

If you'd like to hear all the juicy details re: the late summer launch of Hawser's native apps and plans for the future...please feel free to email us, call us, message us...find us on the street and tackle us. We love talking about this stuff!



Hospitality Driven Philanthropy

"Because of my background in the restaurant industry, I can’t help but see Hospitality and Charity as two very similar service industries... and the more I speak with charitable organizations, the more it becomes apparent that the non-profit sector heavily relies on marketing strategies borrowed from the retail sector instead of on more hospitality-based strategies that are better suited for their more unique service-oriented goals." 

-Josh Sapienza | Founder & Managing Partner



The Hawser Story: How It All Started

photo by ChicagoRushfan via: TripAdvisor

photo by ChicagoRushfan via: TripAdvisor

Four years ago I was standing outside a bar in Philadelphia with a few buddies who are chefs and had just gotten off of work. It was probably close to 1 or 1:30am - the time most bar patrons have begun that gradual decline from the pleasant “sing me a song you're the piano man” level of intoxication into more of that “You don't know me!" level of insobriety…which is why we were OUTside the bar as opposed to INside the bar.

So, there we were, standing by the front door catching up and sharing funny stories and I notice this homeless guy sitting a few feet away on the ground with his back against the wall and an empty cardboard vegetable case placed on the sidewalk in-front of him. Our eyes met and he looked at me, with his hands pushed deeply into his jacket pockets, as if to say: “ Can you help me out?” (as homeless guys in Philly at 2:00 in the morning usually do). 

I think there are generally two options with regard to how one might respond to panhandlers at any time of day. You can either ignore them and pretend like you didn't see them or you can be a little more of a human being about it by looking them in the eye and saying “I’m sorry. I don't have any cash on me.” And that’s what I usually do… not only because I don’t want be less human or because I don't want to give strangers the money I worked so hard for, but also because I usually don’t have any cash on me. 

But this time was different. I did have cash on me. I had just flown into Philly from Sioux Falls that morning and when I’m traveling, I usually hit an ATM to get some cash.

So before he could ask, I looked at him and said: “I can help you out brother...you’re in luck. I don’t usually have cash on me but tonight I do.” I was a little annoyed when I reached in my pocket and discovered that the smallest bill I had was a $10…but I dropped it into the guys box anyway.  

The man’s reaction of intense gratitude was trumped only by my friends’ who all agreed that $10 was a little crazy…and one of my buddies says: “Whoa! A 10!? You going to be giving those out all night?!" 

The truth is, that if I had a smaller bill, I would've given the guy less but it was the smallest bill I had and the guy clearly needed it more than I did…not to mention the fact that it was a heck of a lot easier to just give him a 10 than to go inside, stand at the bar (which by now was three or four deep everywhere) and then ask a busy bartender to break a bill for change…and not even buy anything. In short, it just wasn’t an option.

I thought, “How many times have I pretended to not even hear someone on the street asking for help?” Growing up in bigger cities, where homelessness is ubiquitous, I think we start to see the homeless more and more as part of the landscape. As a sort of white noise… like the sound of traffic. And stopping to talk to every single one would not only be too time consuming, but expensive as well! And dangerous (Not because people who don't have a home are inherently dangerous or anything, but because strangers in general can be dangerous).

So, after I give this guy some money, I notice that a few of my friends are still shaking their heads and smirking at me as if to say: “suckerrr…”

I realized something at that very moment. I didn’t mind being “suckered”. I appreciated the fact that going home with $10 less in my pocket that night…for the most part…was not going to break me. In fact, it wasn't going to negatively impact my life one bit. I wasn’t annoyed and I did’t feel hustled. I felt grateful. I felt grateful that later that night, I'd be headed back to a clean hotel room in a nice pair of shoes, with more food than I needed in my belly. I had a warm coat or my back and a free beer in my hand.

And then I had another thought... I had no idea who this guy was, where he was from or what he was going to spend that money on. For all I knew, he could have spent it on heroin…or a hoagie. And then it hit me: It’s actually easier for me to give 10 bucks to this complete stranger, who may be a drug addict…or a criminal than it is for me to give money to Feeding South DakotaThe United Way or LifeScape or any other one of the numerous organizations that I know help children and adults in serious need…and who are actually bonafide verifiable 501(c)(3) charities championing the causes that are really important to me.

And so there I was, with a group of restaurant, hotel and bar guys and it was just so clear to me - This homeless guy on the street understood something about hospitality that most others don't: The vital importance of accessibility and convenience... and he was executing it better than most just by being where the action already was instead of trying to attract people to where he wanted them to be. I then couldn't shake the idea of how much charities might benefit from adopting more of a hospitality-based mindset when it came to their fundraising efforts. 

I can't help looking at most organizations and comparing them to restaurants and I couldn't help myself then...not only because the restaurant business is all I really know, but because of the glaring similarities between the non-profit sector and the hospitality industry as well.

Instead of either one just hosting "special events", they should both be open 7 days a week - for all three day parts…breakfast lunch AND dinner….and like this guy on the sidewalk - super accessible & open late-night.

Instead of trying to get people to call in, log on or go to an event, I thought maybe I could help charities make themselves more accessible by bringing them to where the potential donors are instead of spending so much time and money trying to get potential donors to where the charities want them to be.

I thought maybe I could help charities make themselves more accessible by bringing them to where the potential donors are instead of spending so much time and money trying to get potential donors to where the charities want them to be.

I gave more than I usually would have given…to a complete stranger for no other reason than the fact that it was convenient. In fact, it was so easy - it was almost instantaneous.

So we built Hawser around that idea: to make charities more accessible to the people who are willing to support them and to make giving to those organizations easier and faster than ever.

We started by working with local and national nonprofits to learn what their challenges were and we learned that "friend raising" was just as important to them as fundraising. So we developed a unique messaging service to add onto our platform that enables charities to interact, on a more personal level, with their supporters and would-be supporters. 

Hawser has now evolved into place where anyone can directly reach 100% of their connections 100% of the time.

That’s a pretty big deal…not only for charities, but for: restaurants, small businesses, bands, bloggers, recruiters or really anyone who is simply tired of fighting to noise of social in order to get their message into the hands of the people who actually want it.

We started by using creative technology that enabled us to affordably provide a transaction platform that didn’t require customers paying to reach more of their followers or us taking a cut of donations in order to pay for it. Then we built in a monetization strategy that complemented our platform from the beginning instead of trying to figure out a way to add it in later.

Now, charities can use their Hawser Inbox as the venue for a 24 hour fundraiser that doesn't require event space...or as a convenient vehicle for handling a 15 second encore round of giving at any gala or fundraising event..without their attendees even needing to download our app. 

Now, charities can use Hawser as a 24 hour fundraiser that doesn’t require event space or as a convenient vehicle for handling an encore round of giving at any gala or fundraising event..without even needing to download the app.

Not only that, but because we realize the most valuable contributions are contributions of time, we realized that we needed to offer a way for people to volunteer theirs at the push of a button.

As a means to unclutter and level the media playing field, Hawser Inboxes ensures 100% of anyone’s messages get delivered to 100% of their connections 100% of the time.

Hawser Inboxes not only serve as a directory to all of our users' online activity but also as a place to showcase the causes that are most important to them and/or their organization.

Everyone on Hawser gets an Inbox dedicated exclusively to them. When they post an update or message to any connection (or all of their connections), the Inbox holds the message(s) and then pops up on their connections' home screen. 

So whether it’s your bestie or your local CoOp, you can go to their Hawser Inbox whenever you're ready and see what updates you may have gotten from them that day… instead of hoping to get them before they're pushed deeper and deeper under a never-ending feed.

So whether it’s your bestie or your local CoOp, you can go to those inboxes whenever you’re ready and see what updates you got from them that day… instead of hoping to get them before they’re pushed deeper and deeper under a never-ending feed.

The way we handle group messaging is a little different too. Instead of all the back and forth with traditional group messages; Hawser Inboxes sends one individual message to an unlimited number of recipients simultaneously. And replies are kept private. This means you can have a personal conversation with each and every one of the people that received your message directly as opposed to dragging them all along on a huge chain few appreciate.

Hawser Inboxes is a personal media and messaging app for people who value direct and meaningful communication.

We’re designing new features every day that make it easier to use mobile devices as tools that enhance life instead of tools that distract us from it.

-Josh Sapienza | Founder