Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, SnapChat, Salesforce, Dropbox, Workday, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, Amazon, Pinterest, Uber, Tesla, Airbnb, the names of multi-billion dollar tech startups ring out like the names of New York rappers in the post-Notorious B.I.G. late '90s.
Technology helps us get information.
Technology helps us connect to the people we care about.
Technology helps us work better.
Technology helps us create and share.
Technology helps us shop smarter.
Technology helps us get places.
Technology helps us experience.
From Airbnb and EatWith to Sprig and Zenefits, so much of what we’re seeing in technology today is about continuing these progressions by enhancing the experiences for the user, for us, be it a business or a traveler or a hungry person.
As investors look for potential winners, businesses look for game-changers and users look for delight, it’s important not to forget that everything comes down to the experience.
Users once thought MySpace would beat Facebook, but Facebook won by focusing on the experience. From the NewsFeed people thought they didn’t want to the Like button everyone lives by.
Tech commentators didn’t think the world needed another photo-sharing app, but Instagram won by truly delighting users with a simple, yet well-designed approach to curation over clutter.
Investors didn’t think Airbnb would amount to much, but their tenacity, coupled with an idea that now seems extremely obvious made for a powerful combination that has seen them disrupt a $1.3 trillion global travel industry in just a few years.
People say when you start a business, you should start with a problem you’ve personally experienced and can be passionate about solving. Chase found himself in Park City, Utah, wondering where the locals go. I’ve found myself in dozens of cities around the world wanting to know where the locals went rather than where the travel guidebooks said to go. This may not seem like a huge world-changing problem, but when you think about the macro economics behind small business ownership – from the mom-and-pop restaurants and nail salons – to the micro level impact of supporting people’s passions and creative pursuits, I do believe that helping people experience local is a worthwhile endeavor.
Localeur isn’t connecting people or organizing the world’s information, we’re helping people experience new places in the best way possible. Imagine meeting a local chef fresh out of culinary school and giving her a compliment that will push her to continue taking risks in the kitchen. Imagine watching a local band perform on stage for the first time and buying one of their t-shirts after the show. Imagine finding the love of your life because you worked out at a yoga studio down the block from your hotel during a weekend stay.
When you experience local in the way Localeur aims to make possible, all these things and more are possible. If they aren’t today, they will be soon. That’s what I’m about.
We haven’t graduated from some elite Ivy League MBA programs or tech incubators with the who’s who of guest speakers. We haven’t raised millions of dollars from big-name angel investors or gotten covered by TechCrunch or Re/Code.
But we’ve built a community that spans 16 major U.S. cities and has demand all over the world. We’ve served over half a million people, travelers and locals alike, with recommendations that locals took the time to share not because they had to, but because they wanted others to know the best places in their cities to eat, drink and play. And, yeah, we’ve gotten some press and accolades along the way too.
Most of all, we’re still here almost 3 years since Chase and I first started sharing our travel experiences, working diligently and passionately on the same damn problem. No pivot, just more tenacity and focus on our mission.
It’s a personal problem that we’ve come to learn is one others around the world share.
We want to experience local. And we know Yelp isn’t doing shit for us nor is TripAdvisor. So until we fulfill our mission, and until we completely annihilate the billion-dollar competition standing in our way, we're going to treat our problem like it's the most important thing on the planet for us to do.