6 min read

Meet the Founder of Preciate: The New, Interactive Recognition App

September 21, 2018

Co-workers working at a desk together

Preciate is a recognition app with serious ambition: it wants to change the world, one recognition at a time. Preciate believes that through meaningful ‘preciation’ and recognition of others’ achievements that stronger and more powerful relationships will be built.

Founder Ed Stevens shares how Preciate came to be, the challenges that lie ahead and the impact he hopes it will have on the world.

What inspired you to start Preciate?

After living in the Central Coast of California for over 15 years, my wife Robin and I moved to Dallas, Texas in 2017. Robin and I were excited to open up a “big city” chapter in our life. We had lived in small towns much of our adult lives, but we wanted to shake things up and see what happened if we planted ourselves in a totally new place: away from California, away from the protective shells of our rituals and comfort zones.

We made the move, and I felt a big empty hole. I had to develop a whole new circle of friends and professional relationships because nobody knew anything about me and vice versa.

This empty feeling led me to wish that all the professional achievements I accomplished in California were available for people in Texas to see so they could understand who I am — quickly. I began to explore how relationships are formed and what we can do to build strong relationships faster and more effectively. No solutions existed in the world, and so, naturally, I started to build Preciate.

What is the core mission of Preciate?

The core purpose of Preciate is to build the strongest relationships on earth. Everything we do serves this single purpose. There is nothing more valuable to a human being than having strong relationships.

What is the GC Protocol and why is it important to build Preciate on it?

To give users a completely portable record of their professional accomplishments, Preciate is developing a new blockchain-based protocol called the Goodwill Composite Protocol. Also known as the GC Protocol, it is the world’s first recognition protocol and it is designed specifically to power the Preciate experience.

We believe our users deserve complete control over their data. With the GC Protocol as the foundation of Preciate, we can enable a user to export her data and still be able to show anyone in the future that it is unaltered. A portable record of achievements should be yours to keep forever, not held captive by any company.

Moreover, building our product on the GC Protocol means there are so many other ways to add value to third-party applications by integrating Preciate’s data. Partners and developers can be activated more effectively if they know the platform will remain open and cost-effective for the life of their businesses. In the old days, a social platform would put up an API and give access through a developer program. But the platform would have complete power over partners, and they cut off developers who threaten the platform. Or they extract high rents from them for building against their platform. We wanted to do things differently.

The vision of the GC Protocol is so big it will take the whole world to realize its full potential. And for the world to invest their time, they need to know a few things. One, the protocol will remain open to them, so they can invest and build a real business on it. Two, the protocol will be affordable. Three, they will have a say in how it is developed over time.

Before tokenized protocols emerged, it would have been a pipe dream to give developers these kinds of assurances. But now that there is a way to do it, we need to do it. For the betterment of the world and humanity.

How do you define relational wealth and what role does Preciate play in growing it?

Everything in Preciate is designed to build relational wealth because it is our company’s core purpose. Relational wealth is the sum total of the true value of all your relationships. Not just the number of those relationships, but how deep they are and what they can do for you.

Giving recognition, for example, is a central activity for our users. The Give-Get-Grow model tells us that we grow relationships when we give to others. And we grow again when others give to us. The cycle of giving and getting is central to building human relationships, and so it is central to the user experience in Preciate.

Preciate recognition badges- yellow rocket, blue bird, mountains


How did you decide on the recognition badges? Will more be developed?

We wanted to make recognition easier and more fun to give than just sending an email or a text to someone. In order to elevate the experience and bring it to life, we spent a tremendous amount of time and energy on our badges. We found that users love them. The more positive emotion you convey with a “preciation,” the better it is received. It’s not necessary to be circumspect and controlled — just let the positivity shout out!

We will continue to develop badges and new ways for our members to interact and grow their relationships.

What kind of recognition trends are you seeing in Preciate? Are users gravitating towards certain recognition badges?

We see a good spread of badges being given. There really isn’t one to call out as more popular than others. However, each individual user certainly has a couple badges they tend to receive most often.

One thing that is interesting is that about 70% of users give a badge and choose to write text with it. And over time, as users are on the system longer, they tend to write text on every recognition. This makes sense because recognitions with text written on them are generally received the most favorably.

What challenges lie ahead in growing the Preciate platform?

The biggest challenge in growing a platform like Preciate is time. Everyone is busy, and any new product they allow into their lives must deliver incredible value. It must be easy to use, effortless, and fun. We put a lot of time and energy into making Preciate the most awesome way you can give recognition to someone!

Another challenge is general negativity and selfish mindsets. Some people might not be interested in growing their relational wealth, and they might even resent it when others grow stronger relationships. Our goal with this group is just to win them over with love and appreciation. The power of “preciation” knows no bounds — everyone can be brought over to the light side if we just keep giving out the good vibes and recognitions.

Finally, some people may want to grow their relational wealth but might not be ready to trust another new technology company to help. This is understandable, and we just need to keep doing the right thing every day. One benefit of being a founder with a few grey hairs is that I have a broad perspective and the strength to make the important long-term decisions. I started Preciate after having successfully built and sold a large software company. And I only wanted to do a startup if it had a deep purpose that I could work on every day to help the world. I can afford to be patient and build the company the right way, without compromising.

Those types of challenges are typical, and we can handle them. I’ve seen them before in my career, and I know how to manage them. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t challenges!

The product will evolve, and we will need to make sure that we continue to add value for users and reduce friction.

How has using the app affected the Preciate team?

In my 30-year work history, I have never seen a team gel more quickly than the Preciate team did. And I know it is the power of the Preciate app because we didn’t have this level of cohesion during the five months we spent building the app.

There is nothing like building a strong culture. Culture and productivity are elastic; it is always possible to create a strong culture where it doesn’t exist. And we’ve seen that this is possible through recognition which is an incredibly powerful tool. It increases self-esteem, which enables you to think about lifting others up.

What kind of impact do you hope Preciate will have long-term?

I want nothing less than for Preciate to change society and make the world unambiguously better. The number of connections you have on social media platforms doesn’t matter; it’s the quality of each of your relationships that gives real meaning and satisfaction in your life.

There will be and should be critics who doubt our intentions and ability to deliver on this vision. Or they may believe that even with the best of intentions we will ultimately be corrupted, should we be successful in bringing Preciate to its full potential.

My answer to this is simple: our core purpose is to build the strongest relationships on earth. Everything in our app is consistent with this.

Kate Sheffield

Written by Kate Sheffield