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The Journey of HashDash

Discover the challenges, inspirations, and triumphs behind creating a community-driven tool for informed cannabis decisions.

Scott LynchScott Lynch · Mar. 27 · 4 min read
The Journey of HashDash

As I sip on my morning coffee and reflect, it feels like just yesterday that I wrote our first blog article. Yet, it's been nearly four years since that momentous occasion, and five since the inception of HashDash. Our team has poured their hearts into this project, and yesterday marked a significant milestone as we shared our hard work with the world. Today, I want to share these morning musings with you.

Having spent over a decade in the cannabis industry, I’ve witnessed many consumers, myself included, grappling with the overwhelming abundance of options and information available, especially when it comes to navigating the myriad of cannabis strains. It’s like navigating a maze. We thought, “There has to be a better way, right?”

The Better Way

Driven by this challenge, my team and I embarked on a journey four years ago to change this narrative. Our goal was to provide consumers with the data and education necessary to make informed decisions, enhance their cannabis experience, and ultimately improve their lives. But before we dove headfirst, we had to address the big question: how?

We spent countless hours analyzing traditional industries, and one sector that captured our attention was entertainment. Why? Because two standout companies, Netflix and Spotify, had revolutionized entertainment discovery and simplified decision-making. These served as the inspiration for our platform. However, a significant hurdle loomed in our path: cannabis is far more complex than music or movies.

So, we started from scratch. Analyzing the chemical compositions of cannabis—terpenes, cannabinoids, flavors, and aromas—and worked backward from there. These formed the foundational elements of our database. But we didn't stop there; we wanted to understand the positive and negative effects of these strains on consumers and the symptoms and conditions they alleviated. This became the second layer.

Building the Pillars of HashDash

Through this data compilation, we identified 5,227 strains and amassed over 637,000 data points. Now, the real work began. Creating an algorithm to match consumers with cannabis strains based on their unique needs sounded straightforward, right? Not quite. We started creating numerous user personas to rigorously test our algorithm. This iterative process spanned months, but eventually, after countless iterations, we created an effective algorithm.

Yet, this was only one aspect of the platform. We needed to intertwine two essential pillars: education and community.

As the adage goes, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime." It wasn't sufficient to merely provide consumers with their cannabis strain matches; we aimed to incentivize education. We sought to equip consumers with the knowledge to approach dispensaries confidently and ask pertinent questions. This educational component became the 'learning' section of our platform—nine guides comprising 70 chapters and over seven hours of reading combined with gamification.

Given the plethora of information about cannabis, ensuring the accuracy of our content was paramount. Hence, we reached out to numerous doctors and industry experts to hold us accountable, which became the cornerstone of our Partnership Program.

Subsequently, we tackled the challenge of uniting consumers over shared cannabis interests. We developed user profiles, enabling cannabis enthusiasts to connect with like-minded individuals. This not only fostered a robust community but also provided another layer for consumers to make informed decisions about cannabis.

For example, Becky who juggles two jobs and struggles with stress and pain might connect with Stacy, who has similar preferences and who has found relief in certain strains. This might pique Becky’s interest and encourage her to research these strains that she would have otherwise not looked into.

All three pillars were critical to HashDash's structure, each complementing the other.

This journey has been filled with early mornings, late nights, packed weeks, and weekends, punctuated by painful lessons but, most importantly, monumental rewards.

If we can empower even a single consumer to walk into a dispensary armed with newfound knowledge and confidence, enhancing their cannabis experience, we can ultimately enrich their lives. That's what all the hard work has been for.

The Beta Phase

Now that we are in the beta phase, we're gearing up for approximately two months of fine-tuning. We'll be ironing out bugs, enhancing SEO, and optimizing mobile compatibility to ensure the best possible experience for our users.

I want to give a massive shoutout to the team. Their dedication and hard work have been nothing short of incredible. Each member put in long hours, with some even working straight through for 13 hours during launch to make sure everything ran smoothly.

It required extensive teamwork to reach this significant milestone of our platform launch. Several key metrics shed light on the scale of our endeavor and the dedication involved in bringing it to fruition:

  • 82 two-week sprints completed
  • 717 tickets addressed
  • 12,533 hours dedicated to planning and development
  • 5,506 pages integrated into our platform
  • 5,227 distinct cultivars cataloged
  • Over 637,000 data points were compiled across all cultivars
  • Algorithm incorporating 121 data points and user interactions with specific cultivars
  • 9 comprehensive guides comprising 70 chapters, totaling over 7 hours of reading material
  • A library of 100+ blog articles

But this is just the beginning for us. We have a ton of exciting features and updates in the pipeline, so stay tuned for what's to come!

Scott Lynch
Scott LynchScott has spent over a decade in the cannabis industry, witnessing many consumers grappling with the overwhelming abundance of options and information available, especially when it comes to navigating the myriad of cannabis strains he was driven by this challenge and embarked on a journey to change this narrative. His goal: provide consumers with the data and education necessary to make informed decisions, enhance their cannabis experience, and ultimately improve their lives.
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