Startup Team ManCard Spreads The Testosterone

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The first thing that popped into my mind as I interviewed Suzy Bureau about her Columbus Ohio Startup project called The ManCard was “This is all wrong. We should be shooting skeet, or tearing out drywall or fly fishing — anything but sitting in a coffee shop drinking lattes.” Despite the emasculating surroundings our conversation continued as the ebullient Ms. Bureau described the app she and her compadres built and submitted in a single weekend.

A product of StartupWeekend here in the viable Sili-Corn Valley of Columbus Ohio, the team of 5 developers, designers and marketers conceived, built and submitted the app in a span of 54 hours. They just issued an update to this 4-week-old app today.

How does this app work? You submit a picture of yourself or of your friends doing something “manly” and the greater community of people with the app vote on the masculinity of that photo. Simple enough.

I have to say, there are some pretty hilarious, over-the-top (and borderline inappropriate/NSFW) submissions.  But this is known territory for apps containing user generated content. They do have a system for flagging questionable content which is wise. I still probably wouldn’t download the app to your corporate issued iPhone. However, the picture of the guy shaving his beard with a machete was “safe” enough and was tops in my book.

I’ve seen a few other “ManCard-esque” websites and ecosystems out there, but none with a mobile app nor with a total solution quite this…elegant (is that the right word)? Clearly, a lot of UX work went into this effort.

In terms of being a startup, is this concept scalable or actually viable as a real business model? I’m not sure but it has been my experience that men have an enormous capacity and lengthy attention span for acts of immaturity.

This talent we men posses makes me wonder if there is real “influence currency” here? Are there potential suitors in bigger brands like Dos Equis, Old Spice or Red Bull who could turn these acts of jackassery into brand conversions? We’ll see because the team is busy drumming up sponsorships. Their first contest — a bracket-style virility competition called “March Man-ness” — was sponsored by the appropriately aligned energy drink Cojones Energy Shots.

Maybe an even better model would be a lottery? Or better yet, what if they took their “March Man-ness” bracket contest to another level and let people pay a buck or two to compete for a pool of cash. Certainly taking home a little Dough-Re-Mi could accentuate any red-blooded man’s bravado accumulated by capturing daring acts of idiocy on film?

Speaking of film, perhaps a video sharing section could make the competition even more intense (and more liable from a legal standpoint).

The iOS app is available at iTunes.