7B the migo IQ blog

June 15, 2016

The migo story, part 1: "It's a filter for the world."

By Annie Mueller

There are as many different stories about our startup as there are people involved in it. Here is Annie's story.

It was at the rebranding meeting that I knew I was in. Really, totally in. Committed. As in, "willing to get rid of our stuff, sell our house, leave behind our family and friends, and move our four kids to a new place far from home" committed.

I'll tell you why.

Why is because the day before that meeting, I'd been grocery shopping with our four kids. They're good kids, but when there are four of them aged 4 to 9, and you're trying to read a list, navigate aisles, and answer 2,374 questions about the universe and what's for breakfast next week on a Tuesday, your brain begins to fracture.

I just wanted some cereal that didn't come with 1/2 cup of sugar per serving. (Did you know that Raisin Bran has more sugar per serving than Froot Loops and Frosted Flakes combined? Seriously.)

Zeke and Lily were arguing over who got to sit where in the enormous car-shaped grocery cart. Robbie wanted to talk, right now, about his latest build in Minecraft. Mara had several knock-knock jokes that couldn't wait. Really. Couldn't wait. I finally just grabbed two of those enormous bags of cereal - I don't even know what kind - and sprinted for the check-out lanes.

I was done. Done. The next morning while they were crunching down their body weight in sugar, I'd feel guilty and regret all my choices. But at that moment of truth? There were too many options and too many distractions. I had to shut it down and get us out before we all went over the edge.

The next day the kids were at their grandparents and Joe and I were sitting in this meeting. Joe was already in, committed to this idea and ready to make it happen. That's because Joe is a relationship guy, and he commits on the basis of friendship, helping people, common causes and shared interests. He's a better person than I am.

I commit on the basis of "What purpose does this serve for my life?"

Yes, I'm kind of self-centered like that. Don't worry. I can live with myself.

We're in this meeting, and the branding team is throwing around ideas and asking for all of us to describe our product, our platform, in as many ways as we can. We're talking about machine learning, and algorithms. We're talking about real-world personalization, and automation for retailers. We're talking about increased sales in brick-and-mortar stores. We're talking about all these awesome features and the technology that brings it together, and amidst all these smart, snappy sounding terms, it hits me: this thing is a filter.

It's a filter that finds me the healthiest cereal when my brain is fractured into a million pieces and the kids are loud and I just want to be done and go home.

It's a filter that shows me where to look. It's a filter that does the finding for me, fast, and gets me out. It's a filter that blurs out what I don't want and highlights what I do want, so I can get what I want faster. And then I can get to the good stuff, the stuff I care about, sooner. I'd much rather be drinking a beer, chatting with my husband, and watching my kids play than feeling hassled and harassed while reading cereal boxes and shushing my children on Aisle 13.

This product isn't a handy little tool I will use sometimes, for fun, when I think of it. This thing is simple, and beautiful, and life changing. This is the solution I've wished I could find, the one I didn't even know how to describe: somebody help me sort through all the options. I don't want all the options. I want the right options. I want my options.

This is it. And I knew it then, in that room, and I realized that every other mom like me, every other stressed-out person, every other overwhelmed human just trying to get it all done, needs this just as much as I do.

That's why I went from a part-time content writer to a full-time "do whatever needs to be done" person on the Migo IQ team. That's why we packed up our stuff and sold our house. That's why, four months after that branding meeting, we were on a midnight flight into Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

We finally landed and got all six of us and our drooling, drugged cat into the rental car. An hour after that we were in our new apartment, tucking our kids into unfamiliar beds.

Our bedroom in this new apartment faces the ocean, and there's a set of glass doors at the foot of our bed. In the morning, I can sit up and see a perfect view: this piece of the ocean framed by white curtains and an avocado tree and the rooftops of houses below. It's not the whole ocean; it's just part of it, brought into focus just for me. I can see it and appreciate it because it's just enough.

At the risk of sounding a little too startup-poetic, that's how I see Migo, too. Our world is connected and unlimited, and I'm thankful for all the options and opportunities. But I don't need, or want, to see them all at once. I need just enough, the right view for me, so I can truly see and appreciate what's in front of me.