Red Rover early questions: “What About Diversity?”

Red Rover early questions: “What About Diversity?”

We are starting to get a few recurring questions from people that hear about Red Rover for the first time.

These are great for an early stage project and listening to these comments and effectively processing them is paramount.

Listening is the first step. Effective processing is step two – meaning do the right thing with the information.

We have to listen and when we agree we can either:

– Change the product
– Change the way we market the product (the short version)


– Change the way we explain the product (add it to the FAQ, or re-prioritize the long version explanation)

Sometimes we must choose to stand our ground and simply disagree. This is important.

“Red Rover connects new students to groups and people with whom they share interests.”


This is the short version of the Red Rover explanation. It gets people in the ballpark.

The short version is the message that spreads. It hopefully becomes part of the brand. It’s what the product does. Of course Red Rover does more, but if we tried to say all of it, nothing would be memorable. So from our options, we have, so far, chosen this.

One of the early responses to our short explanation, that I’ve heard a few times now, goes like this:

What about diversity?**:

” . . . I just wish the money was going to a better idea. The money is apparently going to be used to help develop the Red Rover concept that leverages social networks (like Facebook) to help new students (freshmen) to better integrate into their new college/University by matching them with other students and groups visible on these social networks who share similar interests.

For me the whole point of going to college is to experience new ideas and new people. Inherently I believe this is also a key flaw in the whole concept of social networking, which tends to reinforce rather than refresh behavior patterns by creating “islands” of friends who share the same background/interests.”

This is Stewart’s reaction to Red Rover winning the first** competition. The good news is the he typed out our short version almost exactly (Red Rover collects from the school not from FB, though it is a small distinction with 95% of students on FB). So we are clear, that’s good. The bad news is that he thinks it’s a bad idea for the reason he listed below.

First step – we used google alerts to know about this post and read it.

Second step – we completely agree with Stewart. So, in a comment on his blog, we gave him the longer version explanation, which is something like “while they might have soccer in common, there will be diversity along almost every other facet of identity, and, we have to start with comfort zone commonality to increase retention and then move into diversity and growth slowly. The interface systematizes (and assesses for the schools) this process.”

Click over to read the full post and comment exchange here**.

Actively engaging everyone that is interested in Red Rover is also hugely important and it is a lot of time.

So, to reduce the need for this time, should we change our short version to try to include this concern?

We’re going to try to address it with the website first – put it in the long version materials available. Then we will keep listening and see if the questions change.

Questions are wonderful. We want to scale as fast as possible. Questions are friction – they are squeaky wheels. A good product, with good messaging, should have very little friction.

Stewart does us a wonderful favor by caring enough, about education and the world, to post his question about the Red Rover project. He points out a friction point.

I hope he keeps asking questions!

** Link Broken as of June/2019
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