By his own admission, Marcus Bullock was a monumentally stupid 15-year-old. He stole a car at gunpoint and the judge decided this young man should serve 8 years in an adult penitentiary.
While in prison, Bullock’s mother decided writing every day would boost his spirits. Her letters always included pictures of mundane items like the hamburgers he would eat or mattresses where he might sleep when he returned home. Surprisingly, these pictures didn’t just boost Marcus’s spirits, they became very popular among the other prisoners. Prisoners can’t use the Internet or cell phones. They can’t post on Facebook or Instagram. They have no access to the mundane and everyday interactions most of us take for granted. When they do communicate with the outside, the companies that provide phone service are monopolies that charge predatory rates. Bullock’s mother’s daily habit prompted a disruptive business idea.
Before Marcus left the penitentiary his friends asked him to continue sending pictures but that wasn’t feasible. Printing images and writing dozens of letters every day would be costly and time-consuming. Plus, it would only help the guys he knew. Instead, Bullock created Flikshop, a company that mails cellphone texts to inmates. Now, families and friends can pay a few pennies to communicate with their loved ones serving time. Flikshop is easy, familiar, and cost-effective.
Whatever helped you in the past can help others now.
You lost weight or stopped smoking. You learned a new language or fixed cars. Or maybe you discovered that your mom’s pictures connected you to the outside, kept you thinking positively, and prepared you for life after a catastrophic mistake. Texts from loved ones to America’s 2.5 million incarcerated could do the same.
Let’s assume for a moment that Bullock never learned how to write software in jail; he didn’t. It’s also unlikely he studied web development or database design. It’s equally unlikely that the venture capital community overturned their wallets to fund a felon’s business.
This guy who never finished a conventional high school and is permanently branded a felon started a business that connects families with their loved ones.
He built something unique and meaningful that helps an underserved and forgotten community. What’s your excuse again? Get to it Entreverted. Get to it!