Thursday Three: David Shuck’s Philadelphia

I’d like to introduce a new segment on the HearBy blog,  The Thursday Three, where bloggers, guests, and friends recommend three of their favorite places. HearBy’s going to be all about finding the best spots from the people you know, so why not get a head start while we’re finishing up development? This first segment will be from me, David, a co-founder and marketing lead at HearBy and my favorites in Philly.

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When Matt and I moved to Philadelphia to start working on HearBy full time, I honestly had little hope for the food here. I was coming from Los Angeles where I could get as much cheap and delicious Thai and Mexican food I could ever want, and had low expectations for the sandwich (or “hoagie”, in the local parlance) capitol of the country.

But boy was I wrong! Philly’s been an amazing place to eat, drink, and just generally have a good time. Even though I’ve been here barely two months, I’ve found a lot of cool places. Here are just a sample of three:

1. Jose’s Tacos

$ Mexican, Tacos
469 N 10th St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Jose's Tacos

When I move to a new place, I try to absorb the local flavors for a few weeks, but soon enough I have to satiate my craving for the food I grew up on:  Mexican. I was a few days into my search when I stumbled into Jose’s just looking for a quick bite before a show at Union Transfer, and my God, what a find it was!

This place feels like a taqueria was plucked from a southwest border town and then dropped on a Philly street corner. There’s Jarrito’s and Mexican cane sugar Pepsi in the fridge, the chicken “de tinga” has been stewing for days, and the guacamole lets the avocado do the talking. Plus, unless you have a Joey Chestnut size stomach, you’d be hard pressed to finish more than $10 worth of food here–their massive burritos are only $6.

2. The Dolphin Tavern

$ Bar, Club
1539 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

dolphintavernphilly

I’ve been to a lot of bars and I’ve been to a lot of clubs but I’d never experienced a place like The Dolphin before. This South Philly gem has it all:  minimally clad go-go dancers, a  massive dance floor with light up Tetris-like walls, $2.50 PBRs, and thumping beats by some of the best DJ’s in town.

All of those things on their own are great, but The Dolphin is way more than the sum of its parts. Despite the certifiably hipster clientele, I’ve never been to a place that was so easy-going and unpretentious. Doesn’t matter if it’s 7pm on a Tuesday or 1am on a Friday, everyone there’s just looking to let go and have a good time. It may not seem like a lot at first, but The Dolphin will slowly work its magic on you and you’ll be thrashing your heart out on the dance floor before you know it.

3. Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

$$$ Shop, Clothing
116 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106

aita walk - 05I’ve been writing about menswear for over a year now at Rawr Denim and Repository, so I always have to scope out the local shops whenever I’m in a new city and Art in the Age is about as good as it gets. like all the best boutiques, it provides a wonderful confluence between what’s on trend in the fashion world with the local aesthetic.

Everything inside is immaculately curated, from their house label sprits and soap to Philly denim from Norman Porter, there’s even a full service Warby Parker shop and incandescent Edison bulbs for sale in this deep space. Make sure you ask for a sample of some of the house made spirits–their Root might be the best I’ve ever had.

David’s Map

Any interest in featuring your own Thursday Three? Shoot us an email at info@hearby.co or tweet us @hearbyco.

From MeetHook to Postitute: How Many Names Did it Take to get to HearBy?

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One of the most agonizing and frustrating parts of starting a new company, band, or even person is coming up with the name. It was no different for us.

A name has to communicate what your company does, be memorable, sound good, and also not be taken. Those first three are hard enough, but the last one gets more difficult every day–more companies are founded, more names are taken. Plus in the tech space, almost every conceivable url domain has been bought and camped since the early 2000s. So even if a company isn’t operating under your potential name, chances are someone already owns “yourpotentialname.com” and they want several thousand dollars for it.

This is why so many companies have drifted towards unorthodox spellings:  svpply.com, kiip.me, and plndr.com, are just a few examples. So when we sat down to name HearBy, “HearBy” it took us a couple months of running through a lot of terrible names to get there.

Below we present some of the good, the bad, and the undeniably stupid names we considered before we arrived at what you see on the masthead:

The overtly sexual ones:

  • MeetHook
  • Hookspot
  • Postitute
  • Skimpulse
  • Bonmo
  • Tiptect
  • Tiplist

The ones where we tried to replace “w” with two “v”s:

  • vveb
  • vvire
  • Novv
  • Novvel

The Latin American ones:

  • Peakador
  • Survéza
  • Piña
  • Piñya
  • Pinto
  • PIÑATA
  • Postata
  • Bolo
  • Piqant

The Italian ones:

  • Guidite
  • Guidita
  • Bizcotti
  • Buzzcotti
  • Sharetto
  • Postente
  • Sharo
  • Rave-ioli

The ones that sound like diseases:

  • Daptic
  • Spotstac
  • Listerial
  • Gobo

The ones that definitely would have gotten us sued:

  • Refn
  • Pinshare
  • Mapster

The ones that sound like synonyms for vomiting:

  • Recho
  • Yuproar
  • Barkout
  • Barkup
  • Binup

And the ones that are real words just spelled poorly:

  • Topick
  • Obzerve
  • Piqasso
  • Refind
  • Spique (pronounced like “speak”)
  • Heatre
  • Placemint
  • Spottes
  • Favered
  • Populaite
  • Upror
  • Megafone

And that’s barely even half of them. If you ever have to enter the naming process, make sure you give yourself an ample amount of time. Because if you don’t, you’ll probably spend much more trying to sell something called “Barkup”.

Welcome to the HearBy blog!

Welcome to HearBy, THE BLOG!

This blog tracks us, founders Matt Star and David Shuck, as we build HearBy, a new way to find and recommend the best bars, shops, and restaurants.

HearBy utilizes a Twitter style follow model to let you keep track of your favorite people’s favorite places. Whether that’s an old friend, your local paper, your favorite blog or magazine, or even your mom–HearBy puts all their top spots into one list and one map relevant to wherever you are in the world. That means no more relying on anonymous user reviews, scouring dozens of websites and magazines for recommendations, or forgetting that great bar your buddy was raving about–HearBy has it all in one app.

We’re close to finishing version 1.0 and will be launching a private beta in October. So if you want to be the first to hear updates, watch the ups and downs of founding a startup, or are looking for easy fodder to make fun of us–STICK AROUND! We’ll try to keep it interesting.

For more HearBy, sign up for our mailing list and follow us on Twitter, on Instagram, and Facebook. Or if you have any questions or comments, shoot us an email at info@hearby.co.

Founders Matt Star (left) and David Shuck (right)

Founders Matt Star (left) and David Shuck (right)

Meet HearBy: Matt Star

Hello readers! This is Rebecca, sister of founder Matt, and special advisor for HearBy. As Matt has been locked in the coding dungeon (HearBy HQ) and lost his ability to form sentences that don’t start with <p>, def, or <%=, I’m guest-writing to introduce this guy to the world:

Left: Matthew Star, Right: Actor Peter Barton as Matthew Star in NBC's 1982 TV bomb, "The Power's of Matthew Star"

Left: Matthew Star;   Right: Actor Peter Barton as Matthew Star in NBC’s “The Power’s of Matthew Star”

After his 1982 TV show was cut by NBC, Matthew Star relinquished his powers and made a bit of a life change from alien prince to child of the 90s. Matt has always had an incredible way of not only getting excited about new ventures, but also dedicating himself to making them happen long term.

His first interest was food; he loved to cook, and still does, even after his failed attempt to get on Emeril Live in 5th grade. Though he no longer shouts “Bam!” while seasoning scrambled eggs, he still makes a mean brisket, and his insistence that this year’s Thanksgiving Turkey be made with truffle butter (which I believe he had to special order – turns out the local grocery store doesn’t keep that in stock) was potentially over the top, but definitely delicious. And when not cooking, Matt can commonly be found trying new types of food in whatever city he resides – as a bit of a bland eater myself, visiting him in NYC was always interesting for the taste buds, to say the least.

Indoor Skydiving

Indoor Skydiving!

Matt has also had a similar relationship with music. When he was little, he learned as many instruments as he could get his hands on. This passion for music continued throughout his college years at Columbia, where he composed a few musicals and graduated with a music BA. After college, he bounced around a bit working for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in New York and BMG/Chrysalis Music Publishing in LA. In the meantime, he even produced an album, “made beats” for Under Armour commercials, and scored both a web series produced by Ashton Kutcher and a short film by David (yes, THE David!), and their mutual bud and other co-founder Eric Binswanger.

Left: Smashing the guitar;  Right: Slappin da bass'

Left: Smashing the guitar;   Right: Slappin da bass

“So why Matt, and why HearBy, Rebecca?” you, my enthusiastic reader are I’m sure just itching to know. As an excitable foodie/musician who loves exploring new places, Matt’s interest in this venture is almost a no-brainer. In his words, “We’ve always been passionate about the idea, and one of the best parts of starting a company like this is diving further down the rabbit hole, expanding, reinventing, and clarifying the product until it becomes viable—and seeing people get excited as they use it ain’t too shabby either! I keep thinking about something David and I talked about recently as we were editing one of the many incubator applications: The world’s already been explored by the people we know and the sources we trust. We just want everyone to access it.”

Ooh! And before I forget, you should follow him on instagram and twitter or shoot him an email if you want to talk about the virtues of taking 48 hours to make veal stock (or if you would like to talk more about HearBy, Ruby on Rails, or Javascript…i.e. his life for the past 2 months).

Michael Hartl or: How we learned to stop worrying and love the Rails

Matt and I aren’t technical people. The last programming related things I did were a satire conspiracy theory site in the ninth grade and a Lego Mindstorms robot to terrorize my dog when I was twelve. Matt’s not too far ahead of that.

A lot of you are probably wondering how the hell are we making an app if we don’t know a thing about computers? In the past five years the learning curve for web development has leveled out dramatically. With services like WordPress, Squarespace, and Tumblr you can make a customized professional looking site without writing a single line of code (eat your heart out, Geocities).

What we want with HearBy, however, required us to start from scratch. But where to even start? We had our mockups and our features list, but that’s like trying to bake a cake from a drawing of one. We could outsource the coding to a domestic development house but that’s very pricey. There’s a rogue’s gallery of web languages:  PHP, Django, Python, Json, Javascript, the list goes on. But which one would let us hack together what we needed without four years of comp sci classes?

ruby_rails_is_love

That’s when one of Matt’s friends recommended we try the hip, new development system, Ruby on RailsIt might sound like jewelry snorting cocaine, but it’s actually a powerful web framework that’s very user friendly and based in the Ruby language. We burned through the Ruby tutorials on Codecademy in no time, then Try Ruby, and even something called Rails for ZombiesEven though we now knew the basic grammar of Ruby and the structure of Rails, we had no idea how to deploy that into a website. That’s when we stumbled across this man:

mike_bw

No that’s not the tall robot suit alien from Men in Black:

mib_doppelganger

It’s Michael Hartl, author of The Rails Tutorial, and the man who gave us the skills we needed to start coding independently. What the Rails Tutorial lacks in name originality it more than makes up for in its 700 pages of text and 15+ hours of videos featuring Mike’s sultry voice. He goes through everything from setting up your development environment, version control via Git, basic Ruby syntax, test-driven development, and even online deployment. And at the end you have your very own Twitter-esque app.

Now Mike didn’t make us expert programmers by any stretch and every feature we code in requires lots of Googling, but he did take us to a point where we don’t need hand holding and can actually teach ourselves how to become better programmers.

If you’re looking for a place to get started, I’d recommend him. If you can make it through all 700 pages and 15 hours, you’ve got more than enough patience to code.