Archive | August 2013

HearBy at Best of Philly Bash

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Last Tuesday we had the pleasure of attending Philadelphia Magazine’s “40th Anniversary  Best of Philly Bash”. For the past forty years, Philly Mag has been recognizing the best food, shops, bars, and people Philadelphia has to offer. And what better way to mark the anniversary than to throw a big-ass party at the top of the Rocky steps?

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Practically every restaurant on the list was in attendance and serving up the food that made them famous. For us, that meant stuffing our faces with about three dozen different dishes and washing it all down at the open bars.

Two people who aren't nearly important enough to be at this party (Matt and David)

Two people who really shouldn’t have been allowed past the front desk (Matt and David)

After emerging from our food comas, the highlights of our samplings included “Dip Sum Donuts” from Stephen Starr’s  Buddakan, a dim sum pun AND jelly donuts–what’s not to love? Best Chef’s Counter Menu from Michael Solomonov’s Zahav and the bacon and egg dumplings served up by Cheu Noodle Bar.

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Really, what evening is complete without a novelty cut-out photo?

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The Text Recommendation: HearBy’s MacGuffin

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A MacGuffin is a plot device in movies and literature that isn’t all that important to the story but kickstarts the characters into doing something interesting. Take the Sorcerer’s Stone in Harry Potter, “Rosebud” in Citizen Kane, or the titular Maltese Falcon, those are classic MacGuffins.

The MacGuffin for the HearBy story looks a little bit like this:

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I’ll bet you a hundred shares of our (valueless and imaginary) stock that you’ve participated in a text exchange like this in the past month.

Matt and I both went to colleges away from home that drew in kids from all over the world, then moved to a completely different city after graduating. I’ve got my hometown friends, my college friends, and my new city friends and we’re all constantly traveling and asking each other stuff like:

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Or,

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I’m always happy to help out my friends and it’s validating to feel like an authority on the places I know, but I often felt like I was giving the same stock responses. Wouldn’t it be easier if there was just a place where I could list out where I would recommend they go in the first place?

Matt described having the exact same experience when I met him. We thought there had to be an easier way to share info like this on a wider scale.

We tried making custom Google maps, but those were clunky and would require a map for every city I’d been to. We tried writing lists in Foursquare, but there’s no way to compile both of our lists onto one map. We found a new app called Posse that let you mark your favorite places, but only solved a couple of the problems with FoursquareYelp is so flooded with opinions that any new review is just a drop in the bucket, and don’t even think about finding your friends there.

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Google Map with a late stage STI

So we started talking about what our ideal solution would do. It would:

  1. Let you see all of your friends’ favorite places and why they like them.
  2. Compile the favorite places all of the other sources (blogs, magazines, celebs) you might be interested in so you wouldn’t have to search constantly for Jonathan Gold’s 101 or all the places Anthony Bourdain‘s been.
  3. Have information on both a list and a map to show you what great places are near your current location (or any location).
  4. Avoid a numerical rating system like Yelp, which can unjustly quantify the merits of a given place.
  5. Be embeddable and emailable, so you could post your own list map on a blog or website or even email it to someone without an account.

That’s when we thought, why don’t we try to make that?

Stay tuned for the next post for all the interesting things involved in “making that”…

Meet HearBy: David Shuck

Hi, my name’s David and I’m one of the founders of HearBy. I try to live my life as to what would make for the best story, not necessarily the sanest decision. This has taken me to a lot of interested places and people. In my 23 years I’ve been everything from a sprinkler repairman, an amateur MMA fighter, the editor of a conspiracy theory website, a rare book archivist, and a foreign language film director amongst others.

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Here’s me eating a hot dog in Iceland

I grew up in Littleton, Colorado, a suburb about 10 miles outside of Denver–yes, the Columbine one–then attended Bowdoin College in Maine. While there, I majored in history, rowed on the crew team, wrote for the school paper, ran the film club, wrote plays for the student theater, and spent six months abroad in the Czech Republic where I made a short film called “Dear Hunters” with Eric Binswanger. I wrote my thesis on how Keplerian light optics signaled the transition from Aristotelian natural philosophy to modern experimental science.

That's me on the left directing "Dear Hunters"

That’s me on the left directing “Dear Hunters”

After graduating in 2012, I moved to Los Angeles with dreams of working in the film industry. I collected a few jobs out there, I was a temp executive assistant at HBO, an intern on Robot Chicken, and a writer for the denim enthusiast site RawrDenim.com. While there, Eric introduced me to Matt (who had also composed the score for “Dear Hunters”) and we came up with the idea for HearBy while he was living on the couch in my apartment. We moved to Philadelphia in July of 2013 to actually get it off the ground.

That's me trying to grow a beard.

That’s me trying to grow a beard.

Now, you might be asking, that stuff all sounds pretty cool but how does that in any way qualify you to create an app from the ground up? It really doesn’t. But as you’ve seen above, that rarely stops me from trying. What we’ve done so far has already been one of the most novel and enriching projects I’ve ever taken part in. As a wet behind the ears humanities grad, HearBy has taken me on a crash course through market research, product design, rapid prototyping, full stack web development, social media marketing, and I’m sure a plethora of other subjects before we’re through.

I’m really excited about what we’ve come up with so far and I can’t wait to get what we’re working on into your hands. Feel free to drop me a line at david@hearby.co, or follow me @deshuck on Twitter and Instagram.