Behind the Brains of the SDC: Maddie and Jon answer your questions

We recently asked what you would like to know about Maddie and Jon. It’s finally time for the results!

The main theme revolved around waiting to know how they came up with this ‘brainchild’ (credit to member @Judio).

Our first question comes from member @Dennis, who asked:

What gave the pair of you the idea of this wonderful club? It is amazing, with the great team of people you have gathered, that you have expanded the number of members in what is a short time in business; the introduction of voluntary fees has given you the chance to extend things further and I, and think most of our members will say you and the team have done a fine job.’



Maddie: We started the Seniors Discount Club in the thick of COVID lockdown back in 2021. Jon and I were actually still working in our full-time jobs at the time. I think we both saw how isolated our parents/grandparents were and really missed them. I wanted to find a way to interact with them that wasn’t overwhelming, like through FaceTime or a phone call. That’s a big reason why we started the newsletter; it was honestly just to have a chat with the people we knew while providing news that wasn’t heavily COVID-focused and was relevant to my grandparents (and all their friends) as well as Jon’s parents.

My Grandma had also been scammed quite badly, which frustrated me because there wasn’t much online to help her decipher what was and wasn’t a scam; that’s kind of how the forum was born.

We figured we could create a ‘safe space’ online for Australians over sixty who could interact with each other but also read news, stay on top of scams, play games, interact with one another, etc.

Jon: I’d seen my parents, particularly my mum, struggle with technology for a long time, so I wanted to create a ‘safe space’ for her online to read news, play games, and connect with like-minded people.

In addition, while there have always been scams around, it seems like over the last couple of years, there has been a huge surge in the number of people, especially older Aussies, getting ripped off by cybercriminals. I wanted to help raise awareness of this and give the 60-plus crowd the tools to fight back.




What has been your biggest learning experience since starting the SDC?

Maddie:
Your mind will seek out the negative feedback more than the positive, and you need to make an active effort to seek out the positive. We get hundreds of emails a day, and I’d say a good 90% of them are praise for what we do; the other 10% are often telling us how much they hate us / what we do / what we stand for, and tend to attack Jon and I personally. At the start, I really let this get to me and get me down, even though the majority of emails we received were beautiful. Now I know that that’s just the internet and not everyone is going to love our club, and that’s absolutely fine. But in life, you have to search for the positives and not obsess over the negatives! I have very much taken these learnings into my personal life, too. :)

Jon: That it’s tough to please everyone all the time, so it’s better not to try. When you’re sending out a daily newsletter to nearly 300,000 people, a joke that 99 people out of 100 find funny still leaves around 3000 people who didn’t!


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Here’s a look at the first-ever SDC email. Were you one of the 87 recipients? Image Credit: SDC





Describe your a-ha moment at which point you knew the SDC might actually become a success.

Maddie:
Oh, this one is a hard one! I think it was when we built the forum. The newsletter was relatively easy for us to create, but the website was a whole other monster that neither of us knew anything about. Once we had an official website with members who actively visited it every day, I knew we were onto something. :)

Jon: When we started getting our first batch of ‘regulars’ – those amazing people who comment, post, or email us on a recurring basis. Once I realised we’d managed to create a virtual space where people liked hanging out and shooting the breeze; I knew we were on to something!


Who was your earliest mentor?

Maddie:
Definitely Jon! Although growing up, both my parents ran their own businesses, and I learned a lot from them, Jon was my first real mentor. He hired me when I was still at university and has taught me everything I know!

Jon: Looking back, I think my Mum tried to foster an entrepreneurial spirit from a very young age. I have fond memories of going door to door in our neighbourhood, selling bags of popcorn we cooked ourselves for 20 cents each.




What’s the last book you read / TV show you watched?

Maddie:
I’m currently reading Pandora Sykes’ How Do We Know We're Doing It Right: & Other Essays on Modern Life. It is very interesting and different from the books I usually read! As for TV, I haven’t been watching many shows, but I can recommend two Australian films I watched recently and absolutely loved: Tracks and Last Cab To Darwin.

Jon: I’m currently re-reading the Flashman series of books by George MacDonald Fraser. They’re incredibly politically incorrect by modern standards and would never get published today, but they’re a terrific read and really good fun if you’re into 19th-century British history.


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Look at the price of Panamax! Now, a 100-pack will set you back $2.99. Image Credit: SDC



From the Editor:

I hope this helped answer your burning questions while giving you some insight into the brains behind the SDC. As someone who joined the team in 2022, it’s amazing to see how far the SDC has come. And there’s so much more to come!

Do you have more questions for Maddie and Jon? Comment them down below, and there might be a part two!

If you’re interested in hearing from Maddie and Jon more often, as well as behind-the-scenes insights, our premium offering, SDC Rewards, offers all that and more for less than a cup of coffee per month.
 
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Thank you Maddie & Jon for starting SDC. I find your newsletters informative & was interested to read about you both. Would love to know a little more about other team members as well. Don’t worry about negative emails, you will never please some people especially those who have rather extreme views & simply love to complain. After all if an article doesn’t interest you then move on to the next one. Keep up the good work, most of us love what you do!
 
That's why humanity is so refreshing. You certainly can't please everyone., the old saying that variety is the spice of life is true. I pick what I wish to read ,scroll through at least 60% that doesn't interest me love the jokes most of the time .
 
First thing when I get up, I get breakfast and then hit the keyboard to hear what the SDC is up to today. Thank you so much, despite never getting more than 3 numbers in Bingo, I do enjoy all the mind bending quiz especially the OZwords. 3 cheers for you both Jon and Maddy and the rest of the crew. I am a proud 78 year old retired Registered Nurse of 43 Years
 
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SDC is my haven for discussion and banter. The HUGE majority of members are wonderful and provided me with a source of mutual entertainment.

The SDC administration have developed and maintained a wonderful website that provides an excellent springboard for thoughts and views for us folk who are over 60 years of age.

Thank you SDC! ❤️
 
As I sometimes skip through the newsletter when it arrives I go back later and read all the articles on here. I finally looked in About Us and was shocked (well maybe not shocked) but intrigued that everyone on the team is young. I imagined that someone on the team was a golden oldie. It's great that everyone on here Administration and us oldies have a common goal. I retired over 5 years ago and love my new lifestyle but sometimes not having friends around it feels a bit odd after so many years working. So thank you to my new friends for keeping me connected
 
I just thought of something - if we could have a rant section. Where we can get off our chests what annoys us. No profanities, or being put down for what is annoying us but it might also annoy someone else. Because what annoys me someone could write and tell me their view and it might make me stop and rethink. So I would see it from another angle/perspective.
 
I just thought of something - if we could have a rant section. Where we can get off our chests what annoys us. No profanities, or being put down for what is annoying us but it might also annoy someone else. Because what annoys me someone could write and tell me their view and it might make me stop and rethink. So I would see it from another angle/perspective.
No thanks that would be really annoying🤣
 
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