&MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: FRIENDSPIRE

Neil Watson

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AT THE TIP OF YOUR FINGERS

Life has a funny way of going full circle when it comes to experiences. When we’re young, many of the things we do for fun are taught to us from our parents or family, and as we get older we fine-tune those experiences and chose what we think is most interesting. Then, we sort of ease into a pattern and often just get bored. Friendspire closes that loop and provides a platform for finding new experiences, all at the tip of your fingers. Pretty interesting and even more so when you dive into it. We spoke to the minds behind the app as they settled into Ampersand Studios’ office space and pulled a few gems out for your reading pleasure.

Inspiration, uniquely found.

&STUDIOS: What was the ah ha moment?

FRIENDSPIRE: Morten was working as a consultant and would often find himself in new cities wanting to explore the food and drink scene. As basically everyone can contest to finding recommendations off of Yelp and TripAdvisor is lackluster at best and will have you enjoying a piece of “authentic” NYC style pizza on Times Square. The best way to find great places to go and have dinner or drinks with friends was almost always through long email and WhatsApp threads from friends and colleagues. But these were difficult to maintain and use.

As a movie buff and fellow restaurant lover Markus experienced the exact same problem. They discussed the idea over a few (read: many) beers and agreed that it has become virtually impossible to really find great things. They dubbed this “The Sunday night problem” as a nod to the dreaded endless scrolling through Netflix. We thought there must be a way to bring people passionate about recommendations together, to share and discuss what they love.

Lots to see, what to chose?

&STUDIOS: With so many options, how do you narrow it all down?

FRIENDSPIRE:

If you rate 1 or 1.000 movies on IMDb, Shawshank Redemption is still their top recommendation for you. We flipped that logic on its head. Recommendations on Friendspire are tailored to you, based on the ratings you have made, the people you follow, and which genres you like. We couple this with algorithms that can spot trending items quickly based on user ratings and extensive scraping of the internet for what’s hot.

When searching on Netflix you are only searching on, well, Netflix. Friendspire is able to give you so much better content as it not only knows what you like but can also search across ALL content. That means that come Sunday night you can quickly select the streaming services you have and a comedy filter and find a comedy movie you can stream which is right up your alley.

APP BUILDING, HOW?

&STUDIOS: Is there a secret to app building?

FRIENDSPIRE:

That’s a really good question! We don’t think we are quite there yet, but there are two things that we think are super important to get there: product and community. We are laser focused on creating a product which is super useful in getting people the recommendations they need, while looking and feeling great. At the same time, we think our community is what is going to make us successful. So, we will go to enormous lengths to foster relationships between users and ensure that great content and great people are surfaced. One thing we have had enormous success with which fosters both product and development is creating a community for our “super users” within the app. This basically does two things. They are able to interact and get to know each other right there, and it allows us to get feedback on the app quickly!

in the know

&STUDIOS: So, being an app and all, what are your recommendations for Miami?

FRIENDSPIRE: 

A couple of suggestions near the office! For a healthy but pretty quick work lunch, Natura Eatery has some really good options. For after-work drinks BOHO Miami or Melinda’s both have a really good vibe. The latter also has some great happy hour options and oyster specials! If you love burgers and beers (who doesn’t) KUSH is obviously a great spot. For a few spots that aren’t right by the office check out Casa Florida, very instagrammable and a cool vibe, or Café La Trova, a classic Cuban vibe with amazing cocktails! For some really well-written and entertaining books check out Klara and the Sun or The Hate U Give. Both important and captivating books! Love true crime? Then the newest trending option here is the podcast Morbid! It’s both tantalizing and kind of weird. For a good laugh Dave Chappell and friends created a new thought-provoking podcast called The Midnight Miracle.

We also created a list:

 “Best Coffee, Lunch, and After Work Spots Near Ampersand”

WHY ampersand?

We really liked the vibe here. It seemed like a good spot to get shit done (excuse my French) but also be able to enjoy oneself. On top of that, it’s kind of in-between where we all live (Brickell and South Beach), so everyone can get a run in on the way home

personal note

Annie is from the UK, Morten is from Denmark, and Markus is American and Danish.

Also feel free to swing by any time and say hi to us or our office dog Tobster!



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