Madison Magnet: Where did you get the idea for Little Green Pencil?
Will: Little Green Pencil was actually born out of Madison Magnet. I was sitting in a Magnet board meeting and the board was discussing that year's golf outing. I thought to myself, "What can we add to this that will be cutting edge? Something cool and exciting, worthy of Madison young professionals?" Then, I had an idea. Live scoring.
I remembered the previous year's outing, where three groups were tied and happened to be next to each other. After one team finished, they watched the team behind them finish. It ended up coming down to the third team's last shot that determined the winner, a shot that was witnessed by all three teams as well as some others. I wanted to bring that excitement to the entire event, so I came up with the concept of live scoring. I knew enough about databases and programming that I was able to recruit a fellow Magnet member and a colleague of mine to put together a prototype, and Little Green Pencil was born.
Madison Magnet: How does Little Green Pencil work?
Will and Steve: It's extremely simple and fast. When a golfer checks in at the outing, they are given a registration code for their team. They text the code into the number for the event which signs them up to score. Then one person from each four person team texts in the team's score after each hole. The scores are posted to a LeaderBoard webpage, a link which each team is given via text. Overall, registration takes about 30 seconds per person, and you can score the entire round in about 87 key strokes.
Madison Magnet: How will we use it during MAGNET’s golf outing?
Will and Steve: At the Magnet golf outing, Little Green Pencil will be used for live scoring during the event. One of the features of the live leaderboard is a message feed. Participants who are registered to score can post messages via SMS on their phones, and maybe talk a little smack to other groups. It also displays Twitter messages that are tagged with the Magnet Golf Outing hashtag, #MagnetsDayOff. You can even post pictures via twitter, and they will instantly be displayed on the leaderboard page, my personal favorite feature. Check out the live leaderboard here.
Madison Magnet: Why SMS texting instead of an app?
Will and Steve: We get this question a lot. Apps are all the rage, but texting offers several advantages:
- Almost everybody texts (ages 16 to 66+)
- Texting is very fast
- Texting is less taxing on your phone's battery. We actually had a gentleman at an event last year that scored his round on a flip phone!
Madison Magnet: How can I learn more?
Will and Steve: Anyone can email us at clubhouse@littlegreenpencil.
Madison Magnet: Most importantly, are you going to win this year's Golf Outing?
Will and Steve: 2014 was Little Green Pencil's "soft launch" year and we managed to do over a dozen events. The travesty of it was that we were so busy with the business, that we didn't find a lot of time to golf. One of our goal's this year is to golf more, and so far we've played at least a couple rounds. So we hope to be on our game and maybe squeeze out a top 3 finish this year (but probably not)!