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An Ode to SignUp Genius, TeamSnap and Evite

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Dear Amazing Online Tool Developers,

Before I get to you, I first need to thank Al Gore for inventing the Internet without which you could have never developed your awesome online tools. You have made my life (and the lives of countless other moms out there on this crazy Inter-web) a lot easier. You've de-cluttered our inboxes, and as result, our brains. I am forever grateful to you.

Thank you to the actual geniuses who invented SignUpGenius. Although a friend of mine claims to have come up with this exact same idea, she never did anything about it. I am so glad you did. I recall the days before you came into existence when I (and all the other parents in the class) would receive an email from the homeroom mom with a long and detailed list of items needed for the upcoming class holiday party. I'd briefly think about what I would contribute to the party, go about my day, and then go back to respond to the email that night only to discover 57 unopened email messages in my inbox all from that same thread. I got to read about everyone and their mother's (literally!) thoughts about pretzel M&Ms vs. plain or big or little paper plates and my favorite - cut up oranges or clementines. I can't forget about the 23 "thank you" emails followed up one by one with a "you are welcome" message.

I wanted to hit a massive delete on the whole thread but feared I'd be screwed not knowing what snack to bring in for the party. Not a problem anymore! Thanks to you my dear sweet SignUpGenius, we mothers can kick back, sign in to your site, and then sign up to bring in any one item on your oh so well-organized list. We have access to see what everyone else is bringing in too. There is still a timing issue though. We have to check the list quickly enough to sign up for something that won't send us into a late night Pinterest time suck frenzy. I always try to grab paper plates or pretzels and leave the "healthy festive treat" to someone more talented, capable and patient. I think you should also know that there are some users who choose not to go back and check your detailed list for a while in the hopes that everything will be taken, and that's cool too. You've given us options - all good.

Thank you also to the team behind TeamSnap. Before you came along my inbox was paralyzed by an introductory email from the soccer (or basketball or lacrosse for multiple kids mind you) coach followed by 72 reply all emails from every other parent on the team wondering if the kids needed to get to the game early and at what time? They wanted to know where exactly was this field? Where should they pick up the uniforms? What sizes were the uniforms? When would they be available? Did the kids need to bring their own balls? And of course who was in charge of the snacks? The coach would then reply all back to each and every question which only sparked more questions or thank yous or you're welcomes. As the season went on, and it rained, and someone forgot the snack and the field got changed and someone left a ball on the field, my inbox looked like I was important enough to be running a very large company launching several products at once. It was too much.

But then you came along, TeamSnap with your individual teams, rosters, schedules, refreshment updates and availability reports and made my life (and those of so many other moms out there) so much better! I could tell my kids everything they needed to know about who was on their team and what they had to bring to every practice and game. And when my kids couldn't make the practice or the game, I didn't feel so guilty because I didn't have to email the coach and tell him directly. I just had to update my kid's availability on your super organized and super sporty looking team page. And you guys at TeamSnap don't care if my kid can't make the game right? You get it. I know you do. You saved my eyesight too in allowing me to download each kids' sports schedule season by season right into my iCal. Gone are the days of printing out the coach's email (in size 9 Helvetica font) and then trying to highlight the home vs. away games so I had some semblance of where I needed to be every Saturday morning. You get me TeamSnap you really do!

Finally, thank you to the super smart and super creative peeps who came up with Evite. Thanks to you my kitchen bulletin board no longer looks like BounceU and Skyzone threw up on each other only to be mopped up with printouts of waivers asking me to sign my kids lives away. That's of course when I remembered to put those old paper invitations up on the bulletin board so that I wouldn't lose them. It also got tricky when friends came over and on occasion would notice that their kid didn't receive that same paper invitation. Perhaps I shouldn't have put them up for display like that, but if I didn't they'd surely end up in the bottomless pit of paper piles on my desk. Besides, I've noticed parties my kids weren't invited to at other people's houses on their bulletin boards.

None of that is a problem anymore thanks to you smart guys and gals at Evite. Now I just click on the pretty link you send me, and I can see all the details about the latest kid's birthday party. I can see which other kids are invited, which kids are coming and which kids are not. I no longer risk putting my foot in my mouth when I ask another mother if she wants to carpool to the party. I'm not quite sure though how I feel about that option you give to make the guest list private. I mean that's good when you are the party host and don't want people to find out if they are on the B (or even C) list, but it does cause those old problems to arise. I might add that I love all of your adorable and quite clever design schemes which seem to encompass any and every theme of a party you could ever want. Kudos to you Evite. Keep up the great work!


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