by David Weigelt
During the recent boom of websites geared toward baby boomers, TeeBeeDee was an outlier. But much like Barack Obama early in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, TeeBeeDee embraced its status and ran with it.
TeeBeeDee was founded by Robin Wolander, a former executive vice president of CNET and founder of Parenting magazine. She “had the idea for TeeBeeDee in the best year of my life — when I turned 50. I looked around at my amazing circle of friends and colleagues and thought about how much we learn from each other…And thanks to the Internet, we now have tools that help us learn from each other.”
The money behind TeeBeeDee (~$9 million) was nothing to scoff at. But my feelings on the site, and their recent decision to close their virtual doors, have nothing to do with the money and everything to do with their approach. They got it.
They seemed, from a distance, like a well-run business but, more important, they seemed to really value and understand their users.
TeeBeeDee was created by a genuine person with genuine needs. And for a while, it attracted a nice group of genuine people. But alas they couldn’t attract and maintain the kind of numbers that marketers (and investors) are looking for. Now, Wolander cites a “disappointing” business opportunity. It’s a disappointment indeed, but also a validation for my/our belief in boomers and online engagement.
With boomers, it’s not about destination sites. It’s not about building a place for them to call their own. They’re already online and going to most of the same places as everyone else. It’s not about creating a place for them to have conversations. They’re already having them.
What is it about? It’s about meaningfully joining the conversation when and where it’s already taking place. We talk about this idea and introduce the concept of Clusters in chapter 7 of our book Dot Boom.