Done.

A Neighbor-to-Neighbor Online Community

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Making Those Dreaded Ikea Trips Easier

By: Anna M., Seeker

I have a love/hate relationship with IKEA.  

What I love about it: picking out new, affordable furniture, convincing myself that I DO need more decorative pillows, picking out plants, finding treasures in the clearance section, and the $3.99 Swedish meatball dinner.

What I hate about it: Getting there (taking the horrid G train), the crowds, not finding my most needed item in that scary warehouse, getting it home (Urban Express takes how long to deliver?!?), waiting on one of my friends to come help me assemble everything, and the $3.99 Swedish meatball dinner.

We New Yorkers know what a pain it can be to bring home and set up the goodies we buy from Ikea. That is why I decided to get the job done with a doer to see how different my experience would be. I found that Done. can transform your IKEA trip to a cheaper, easier, and even enjoyable experience.



I hired Eric W., a “Man With a Van” on Done. and had him meet me at IKEA once I was finished shopping. He loaded up all my new (and slightly unnecessary) items into his clean van and drove me home while we listened to his band on the CD player.  Not only did he help unload, but he stayed and assembled my dresser, and hung my curtains, and installed track lighting.

All for $30/hr which ended up being $90 total.  Delivery in Brooklyn through IKEA’s Urban Express would’ve cost me $59 and take up to 2 weeks.  Furniture assembly would’ve cost an additional $79 through Urban Express.  I saved money and even more importantly, I saved time and my overall sanity (which is priceless).

Not a bad way to spend my Sunday. Although, I do regret the $3.99 meatball meal.

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A Very Happy Done. Wedding Story

By: Jesse Barton & David Carl, Done. Wedding Contest Winners

David and I got married on July 28th, and had a fabulously stunning and super fun wedding, all thanks to Done.  We were the winners of THE VERY FIRST (woot!) Done. Contest, and seriously, girllll, we COULD NOT have done it without the amazing people we found on the site.   We had the most beautiful, picturesque wedding in the Secret Garden of the Conservatory Garden, in Central Park.  It was truly more beautiful, and perfect than I had ever imagined.  So much so, that if it were someone else’s wedding, I would want to vomit.

One thing I learned during this whole process is that I AM NOT A WEDDING PLANNER!  Not at all.  In no way, shape, or form.  I hate it.  But this task was made 100000% easier through the site.  Um, DJ?  YES!  Catering?  Of course!  Videographer to tape your special day?  You bet. Photographer who you can trust? Yep!  Oh, and how about a man with a van to help you transport all those things you nearly forgot (and had a break down over in Party City, true story) to the reception location?  YES! Thank God he did.  There is a plethora of really great people to choose from on Done., and because they are super well screened before even allowed on the site, we didn’t have to worry at all about the quality of talent we were getting.  EVERYONE we reached out to was super responsive, and everyone we ended up working with was really, really great.  Truly.  Our food from Devin-Rose. Was. UNBELIEVABLE.  She knows how to make a mean pulled pork slider and possibly the best cupcakes in the world.  She wants to open her own shop soon though, so you’d better get her quick before she’s a celebrity chef and you can’t afford her!  Anna is a lovely and really great DJ who kept our guests (and us) dancing allll night.  As most of the guests in attendance are big hams,  our DJ and dancing were of utmost importance!  Meredith provided incredible, professional, and really detailed videography.  I’m SO excited to get the final result (it’s currently in editing phase).  Her other work is so amazing, that I’m sure we’ll be ecstatic with the result (and bore all of our friends with repeated viewings for the rest of our lives). Emily is a fabulous photographer who is reliable, super-friendly, and very talented.  She was with us all day, and though we’ve only seen a few of the photos, we’re already super pleased with the results. And Tony, our van man, is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  He’s extremely easy to work with,  very reliable, and willing to step in whenever needed.  Everyone was really, really, great. 

Because Done. Has members  who can basically provide whatever task you need (from ministers to yoga teachers), and all are pre-certified, it makes planning your event soooo much easier.  We were sooo fortunate to win the contest, and we will absolutely use the site again.

Thanks so much to everyone at Done.! 

Jesse Barton & David Carl

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Marshall McLuhan takes on Mikhail Cziksenmithaily, Marc Andreessen, John Hennessy, and Us.

By: Ken N.

Marshall McLuhan, in Understanding Media, says the media we use shape society’s behavior. McLuhan wrote almost 50 years ago, and died in 1980, before lots of things were invented. He was uncannily prescient, especially about electricity and automation.

He was so prescient, he beat lots of thinkers to the punch (are there any new ideas under the sun?), and we’re calling out four of them. Reading things we agree with, written a ways back by respected intellectuals, is as refreshing as a cool mountain stream and as comforting as a warm quilt (ooh, think about it!) so we wanted to share. 

1. First to be pre-empted: Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi, and his book Flow, about how we engage our skills and senses to achieve happiness. McLuhan says it like this, in 1964:

"Where in the mechanical age of fragmentation leisure had been the absence of work, or mere idleness, the reverse is true in the electric age. As the age of information demands the simultaneous use of all our faculties, we discover that we are most at leisure when we are most intensely involved, very much as with the artists in all ages."

Darn right. Mikhail, 1990:

"The best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times…the best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile." 

Mikhail expands on this at book length, beautifully. McLuhan moves on, examining how this changes the nature of work:

"The electronic age is literally one of illumination. Just as light is at once energy and information, so electric automation unites production, consumption, and learning in an inextricable process…The very same process of automation that causes a withdrawal of the present work force from industry causes learning itself to become the principal kind of production and consumption.” (emph. ours)

Awesome.

(Runner up for this one: Kevin Kelley, in What Technology Wants, speaking of his love of the internet.)

2. Next up: Marc Andreessen, investor/co-author of an early web browser called Mosaic, who declared that software is eating the world. Andreessen’s claim, 2012:

"Software is also eating much of the value chain of industries that are widely viewed as primarily existing in the physical world…Companies in every industry need to assume that a software revolution is coming."

He cites examples in books, movies, music, games, photography, marketing, telecom, recruiting, automobiles, retail, energy, finance, health care, education, and national defense.

McLuhan, 1964:

"As for technological acceleration, it now approaches the speed of light. All nonelectric media had merely hastened things a bit. The wheel, the road, the ship, the airplane, and even the space rocket are utterly lacking in the character of instant movement. Is it strange, then, that electricity should confer on all previous human organization a completely new character?"

and

"With electricity as energizer and synchronizer, all aspects of production, consumption, and organization become incidental to communications.” 

All industry becomes incidental to communications, indeed. McLuhan moves on the look at what this means not just for companies, but for governments:

"Naturally, this last stage encounters the entire world of policy, since to deal with the whole industrial complex as an organic system affects employment, security, education, and polities, demanding full understanding in advance of coming structural change." 

Andreessen points to it too:

"This problem [employment] is even worse than it looks because many workers in existing industries will be stranded on the wrong side of software-based disruption and may never be able to work in their fields again. There’s no way through this problem other than education, and we have a long way to go."

They both presage a coming struggle to hugely adjust social policies.  

3. Education time. When the world is like this, what do we learn? Multiple things, says McLuhan:

"Wealth and work become information factors, and totally new structures are needed to run a business or relate it to social needs and markets…the new kinds of instant interdependence and interprocess that take over production also enter the market and social organizations. For this reason, markets and education designed to cope with the products of servile toil and mechanical production are no longer adequate. Our education has long ago acquired the fragmentary and piece-meal character of mechanism. It is now under increasing pressure to acquire the depth and interrelation that are indispensable in the all-at-once world of electric organization. Paradoxically, automation makes liberal education mandatory" (oomph added)

Who’s song is he singing now? John Hennessy, president of Stanford. From the New Yorker, 2012:

"(Hennessy’s) principal academic legacy may be the growth of what’s called “interdisciplinary education.” This is the philosophy now promoted at the various schools at Stanford…the goal is to have them become what are called “T-shaped” students, who have depth in a particular field of study but also breadth across multiple disciplines. Stanford hopes that the students can also develop the social skills to collaborate with people outside their areas of expertise…"Ten years ago, ‘interdisciplinary’ was a code word for something soft,” Jeff Koseff says. “John changed that." 

4. What about the way people work together? (Especially close to our hearts). And, go:

"[Women and] Men are suddenly nomadic gatherers of knowledge…informed as never before, free from fragmentary specialism as never before —but also involved in the total social process as never before; since with electricity we extend our central nervous system globally, instantly interrelating every human experience."

We totally agree. And then: 

"Since electric energy is independent of the place or kind of work-operation, it creates patterns of decentralism and diversity in the work to be done. " 

Yeah! Say it!

"The social and educational patterns latent in automation are those of self-employment and artistic autonomy." 

Hallelujah.

Some think he’s wrong, and see the problems outpacing the gains from this era of change. Fair concerns. But one of our investors asks us to not extrapolate the past, but invent the future.

We, and lots of other talented folks, love working on doing just that. Happy doing!

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Shape Up Before the Summer Ends!

By: Paige W.

Are you feeling the heat, New York? It’s mid summer, and it’s the perfect time to head out to the Shore, the Hamptons or up the coast to Cape Cod. Wherever your summer travels are taking you this season, bathing suit weather is unavoidable, so you better put down that slice of Artichoke pizza, and start working off the excess baggage you’ve been lugging around all year.

Lucky for you, Done. has just the team to get any New Yorker moving and ready to soak up the sunshine!

  • The Motivator: Gato F. will get even the laziest person off the couch and in the boxing ring. Need a little kick in the butt? Hire Gato to whip you into shape.
  • The Ballerina: Always dreamed of a toned, flexible body? Let Coulisse B. help you achieve it. Her background in dance and physical therapy come together to create a harmonious workout for the body and soul.  
  • The Marathon Buddy: Why not get in shape and cross something off your bucket list this summer? Craig R. will be right beside you, helping you run your way to a unique life accomplishment.
  • The Martial Artist: If a disciplined course of study is more fitting to your fitness personality, Noel C. is the martial arts master that will get you fit and teach you some self-defense techniques in the process. It’s a win-win!
  • The All-Purpose Yogi: Ever thought of using yoga to supplement your regular workout? L.B. will show you how. Whether you’re into board sports, running, or cycling, it’s time to add a little yoga to your routine. 

How did you use Done. to get in shape this summer? Tell us! And don’t forget to send some pictures. We love success stories!

Also, keep your eyes open for announcements about the upcoming Done. run in September. Yeah, we’re getting ourselves in shape, too, and we want you to join us!

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Tips to help you declutter your life!

By: Debra T., Doer

Fall is a perfect time to get rid of the clutter in your home. I never want to accumulate so much stuff that it makes my living space uncomfortable, unmanageable or unsightly. Regardless of monetary value, no material thing is worth having if you have no use or space for it. Even though I’m not an impulse buyer — like many people — I must be vigilant about not bringing too many things into my apartment.
Here are my rules for keeping my home free of clutter:
  1. If you haven’t worn or used something in two years, get rid of it. Donate mistakes and things that are too big and too small to charity.
  2. Discard summer clothes at the end of summer and winter clothes at the end of winter, but never out of season when your judgment isn’t as good. On a hot August night, a pile of wool sweaters may not carry the same value as they do on a frigid, snowy day. Trust me; I speak from experience.
  3. If something comes in, take something out. Without fail, if I bring new shoes in, an old pair goes out. When new pots and pans come in, the old standbys go out. This strategy saves me money also; if I’m still attached to what I already own and can’t part with it, I don’t need a new one. Period.
  4. Buy for the present day.With few exceptions, nothing should sit around collecting dust waiting for another event to happen. Buy furniture because you have a place for it now, clothes because they fit you now, a yoga mat because you plan to take up yoga now … and for no other reason. Not as the motivation for losing 15 pounds, or because you have a weakness for beautiful, but impractical things that don’t fit your present lifestyle.
  5. It’s easier to part with things if they are going to a good home. Certainly, it would bother me to throw away good stuff, but I actually feel good about giving useful things to family and friends who can use them, or a charity. Housing Works, Goodwill and the Salvation Army are places where I like to take items in good condition. It’s amazing how helping someone else gives you a buzz too.
  6. Don’t buy things for emotional reasons. When you’re feeling stressed, bored or blue, make yourself feel better by exercising, or cleaning your house. Activity will improve your mood, give you a sense of accomplishment and prevent you from accumulating clutter.
  7. Look for merchants who offer liberal return policies, so you’re not stuck with goods that don’t work out.
  8. Rent movies and borrow books and music from the library when possible.
  9. Trade books you’ve read with other readers. On websites like Swipetree and PaperBackSwap exchanging books is free. Check out Swapacd also.
  10. Throw out old newspapers and magazines. If you don’t have time to read a magazine the month you receive it, are you really going to find the time to read multiple issues down the line? You’ll want to read what is current.
Whether it’s a closet or a room, having fewer, but carefully selected things is a great way to simplify your life. Less is more.
______________
If you love these tips from Debra T. but don’t have the time to carry them out, why not hire a doer to simplify your life?   We have everyone from cleaners and professional organizers to someone to cart your old clothes to Goodwill. Let us help you get organized! 

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Learning from Zappos. How I met my heroes.

By: Rachel A., Director of Community

Have you ever thought about writing an actor, author, musician, artist, politician, or entrepreneur to tell them how they’ve impacted your life?  I’ve been thinking about doing that since I was young. When I was 13, I wanted to write Elijah Wood and ask him to my school dance.  In college I thought long and hard about writing Angelina Jolie to see if I could nanny for her family on my Summer break. I still want Obama to know that I’d be willing to come watch Modern Family at the White House. Did I ever have the guts to actually write these people? Of course not. Until recently…


10 months ago a book called  ”Delivering Happiness" changed my life.  Written by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, this book tells the story of their rocky road to success.  When my childhood friend had asked me to leave my TV career in LA to help him with his start-up Done.com in NYC, he gave me Tony’s book to read. I don’t think a book has ever inspired me more.  This company had it right, create a company culture based on core values and focus on bringing happiness to everyone you touch.  I left the life I loved to follow my friends to build Done.


Everything I learned about my favorite online shopping site blew me away.  They went from being a start-up who could barely afford to survive at times, to a company that was acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion. How did they do it?  They focused on giving the best customer service experience possible. Most call centers reward their employees for the shortest customer service call. Zappos does the opposite. Their record for longest call is 8 hours! You can literally call Zappos after a breakup and just talk and talk (not that I’ve done that, I swear!).  They also create a culture within the company where employees are free to be exactly who they are. They can decorate their desks however they want, wear whatever they want, and be whoever they want.  The CEO sits at a cubicle like everyone else and employees are welcome to come up and chat with him whenever they want. The list goes on and on. Read the book. NOW!


Why am I telling you all of this?  A few months ago, I got up the courage to finally write the masterminds behind Zappos. I wrote Tony Hsieh and Jenn Lim (Zappos consultant and CEO of the “Delivering Happiness” movement) thanking them for all they’ve done.  Jenn wrote back and agreed to chat with me on the phone and help offer advice on how to create a culture of happiness in my own start-up.  I used to work with celebrities back in LA but I was truly a nervous wreck talking to Jenn for the first time.  I’m in such awe of people who are making a positive difference in this world and that is exactly what Jenn, Tony and the Zappos team are doing.  I kept in touch via e-mail with Jenn, and her incredible assistant.


This week, I had the honor of going to Vegas to meet Jenn and Tony in person. I went on the tour of Zappos which I highly recommend (it’s free and they give you a copy of the book at the end). Everyone I met there was so genuine and friendly.  It’s clear that they love where they work. How often do you see that in a giant company?!  Then I was invited to come meet Jenn, Tony and a few of their friends at local bar downtown not one but two nights in a row!  They didn’t even know me but they welcomed me like an old friend. I got to chat with Jenn about start-up life while looking at photos of her and Tony at Burning Man on her iPhone.  These people never ceased to amaze me.  


Now I get to go back to NYC and share everything I’ve learned with my amazing team at Done.  Start-ups can be unpredictable, exciting and even scary at times.  Zappos helped reinforce that if we are good people with good intentions, then we can’t fail.  A lesson that I will take with me always.


What is the point of all this? Don’t hesitate to reach out and tell someone how they’ve affected and inspired you. You never know where it’ll lead and what you’ll learn.

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And The Winner Is…

It’s official! Jesse and David will be the lucky couple walking down the aisle in a Central Park wedding.

They beat out 50 other hopefuls to snag the grand prize: a dream wedding in Central Park. But, the competition was tough, and the coveted $5,000 check didn’t come easy. Armed with homemade fortune cookies and donning hand-decorated t-shirts, Jesse and David hit the streets of New York.

They serenaded us with a song in a YouTube video and even made their own Facebook page to get votes. A little creative marketing can sure go a long way! Jesse and David successfully spread the word about the contest, charming their way to 1,267 votes.

…And they charmed their way into our hearts (what can we say, we’re suckers for a good love story). Jesse and David met a year and a half ago, and the connection was undeniable. Right away, they knew they had something special. To Jesse, David was “the funniest, most honest, and real person I had ever met,” and David says Jesse is “the smartest, funniest, most motivated, most inspiring, and most beautiful woman I know.” Come on, guys, this is too adorable! 

As two starving artists in New York City, their dream wedding was once just a fantasy, but now the collaborative Done. community will make their special day a reality. Congratulations, Jesse and David! We foresee a beautiful wedding in your future.

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10 Days left…Who will be the lucky couple?

By: Deepika I.

With only 10 days remaining in the Done. Wedding Contest, the competition gets strong with now 36 couples contending for the $5000 ($4000 Done. credit and $1000 AirBnB credit) prize towards a community-powered wedding in Central Park.

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that Jesse and David, who remain in the lead with 851 votes, visited various parks around the city wearing a sandwich board and offering free homemade fortune cookies in exchange for votes on Done. Others, such as Deleta and Jamal who are currently in second place with 663 votes, have tapped into their vast rolodex to garner support. This week, we have Steven and Jacinto on YouTube appealing to the world for votes with a beautiful song

These couples are so charming and inventive. Honestly, I wish I can vote for all of them, but only one can win, and we’ll soon find out who on June 1st.

Here are where the top 6 couples are as of today:

  1. Jesse & David - 851 votes
  2. Deleta Smith & Jamal Henry - 663 votes
  3. Steven Harrison & Jacinto Onofre - 426 votes
  4. Brittany & Alexander - 373 votes
  5. Gail Sanchez & Mozart Joseph - 267 votes

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Eric Stonestreet of Modern Family visits Done.!

At Done., we don’t like to brag…much. However, when Eric Stonestreet from ABC’s Modern Family comes by the office to say hi, we have to brag a little.  After begging for a photo with our mascot Leroy, he gave us tips on how to run a successful start-up and we coached him on how to be even more hilarious. We can’t wait until the day where Fizbo joins the community and becomes a “Doer.”  Thanks Eric! 

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Honor Thy Mother with Done.!

By: Paige W.

Hey Done. community! Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and we are here to help make sure your mom knows how much you love her. Try out some of these ideas (sprinkled with photos of some of our lovable done. moms) or come up with your own way to use done. on Mother’s Day. 

1. Breakfast in bed. Ah, remember the days when mom would choke down the runny eggs and burnt toast you whipped up because, hey, you were five years old and cute as a button? Well, now you’re a little older, you still don’t know how to cook, and you probably can’t get away with the same tactics. Time to bring in the big guns. Invite Linda S. into your home, and start mom’s day off on a delicious note. 

Paige with her mom in Central Park.

2. Smell the Flowers. It’s a busy time of year, and you’re juggling a million projects. So who can blame you for forgetting to order those flowers that mom cherishes so dearly? Don’t let her down. Hire Otto D. to pick up and deliver that perfect bouquet. And while you’re at it, you might want him to grab the card you forgot about as well. 

Kevin Mom

Kevin’s mom is all smiles at the launch party.

3. Namaste, Momaste. A mom-on-the-go does the work of ten people. Give her a chance to relieve all that stress with a private in-home yoga session, taught by Paula L.. But you don’t have to let mom hog all the fun; the whole family can join in for a spiritual bonding experience that will ease tension and bring everyone closer together.

Ken and his mother enjoying the Grand Canyon.

4. At Your Service. The days of making mom personalized coupon books are numbered. And let’s face it, how many of those did she redeem anyway? Instead, hire Adraine G. as her personal assistant for the day to tackle any task, big or small. Give that special lady named mom a whole day where she won’t have to lift a finger. 

Deepika and her mom love to travel together.

5. Work out those Knots. There’s nothing that eases tension like a good massage, and for all those years she’s scratched your back, you owe it to mom to return the favor. Noel C. is the perfect massage therapist for the job. After all, mom deserves at least one day of relaxation, doesn’t she?

Feel free to share with us how you used done. to pamper your mom on Mother’s Day. Whatever you need, doers to the rescue!