Feeds & Features: Our Secret Sauce

The Colonel has a secret recipe. Coca-Cola locks up their secret formula in a vault. Our app has its own secret sauce: our feeds and features.


Feeds contain the stories told via your social media (Facebook, Flicker, YouTube, RSS, etc). The posts appear chronologically (most recent at the top), so if you include a lot of feeds, your app always has something fresh.

Since users want news that is both fresh and relevant to them, they select feeds important to them (e.g. engineering and football). Your alumni return for news they want to read.

Add as many feeds as possible (newspapers, clubs, blogs, and so on). With lots of feeds, you let users select niche interests from an institution they love.


Think of features as “special messages” from your office which you want to get read or responded to.

Features can include address update forms, event RSVPS, links to your website, and videos promoting your next event.

Features appear every third item in your news feed and never disappear (users can’t turn them off and they never “roll down” your feed). When Bobby checks his news, he’ll see your features.

Our buyers add and delete as many features as they’d like, and prioritize them in any order. Update a feature and your app updates immediately.

We think the reason our secret sauce works is its simplicity. Users read news they love in one simple place. Schools get their messages (features) read.

So that’s our secret sauce. We think it’s better than a bucket of chicken and a medium-sized drink.

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Celebrating Ten Years

Ten years ago, in the unfinished basement of our tiny Connecticut home, Jesse wrote the first edition of our flagship book, “life after school. explained.

What I remember most about that time are the late nights sitting next to each other in that damp New England basement – Jesse endlessly editing and trying out new jokes, making me laugh out loud while I was trying to write papers. It was our first year of marriage, my first year of graduate school, his first entrepreneurial venture.

The book was born out of a seminar series. In the beginning, schools would advertise free pizza to get their students to a taxes seminar. Jesse quickly learned that if you don’t make HMOs and 401(k)s funny, people will smile, take their pizza and leave.

The book has had its high moments: when a 22-year-old Marist College grad was elected mayor of his town and credited his early success to our book in his inaugural speech. And we didn’t even know the guy.

Photo from an article in the Hartford Courant, 12/6/05

And, of course, there have been low moments: like when the warehouse storing books caught fire. We learned that books are made of wood.

Over the years, we’ve loved watching our creative process spark the creativity in our customer schools – from amazing cover designs to cover photo shoots.

With over half a million copies sold, the book is very much still a living document. Over the years we’ve improved the customization options, revised pop culture references (Britney Spears out, Kim Kardashian in) and kept up with technology (Facebook didn’t exist, so neither did Facebook etiquette).

Most recently, we added chapters on Unemployment, Renters Insurance, and Travel Insurance. The book content is the foundation of our newest product – a mobile app called Crib Sheet.

A decade later, Jesse is still at his desk making edits to the book and I’ve joined him. We’ve traded in a damp New England basement for a humid Orlando office, and been joined by a local staff and a team working around the world to improve our products.

We hope you will give the updated book a read, and welcome your feedback.

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