Hey all, it’s that time again!
Tiny update: We are about to get branding/logo/photoshoot stuff done(replacing that temporary stuff up top ^^) and a prototype into your hands in the next couple of months. I’m really excited to get the major pieces welded together so we can get this ship moving. The bigger the ship the slower we can turn it, though. The more momentum it has and the harder it is to make changes. The less we can adapt it to what truly works and the less feedback we will be able to integrate and test. For these reasons, we will start as a jetski and end up as a freight liner. We will make iterations and test it with you. What works, what doesn’t, what sucks, what’s ugly? This doesn’t mean we will get feedback from everyone and just dump it all in. But the voice of the user will be the main catalyst for driving this to be the best thing you can get your hands on.
It’s important to me to express something to you, because it’s a giant part of why I began this. My father is gay and my best friend is a lesbian. A lot of my friends are girls. I hear a lot about their frustration to just go out and do normal stuff. And that really sucks because I care deeply about their safety. There’s also a trend where when we get in a party mode or in vacation mode or just a state where you lose your inhibitions, we make potentially dumb decisions. It happens to all of us.
It’s about 11pm on Saturday night and Hansel’s Tinder goes off. There are 2 girls from Sweden, on vacation, who want to go out to drink. We start discussing where we’re going and about 15 minutes later they want us to come over. I hop in the car and drive over with Hansel and Ade. We get there, they hop in immediately and we drive them back to Hollywood, where I live. It made me think, “What if we weren’t great guys? Maybe they could just tell when we pulled up, I guess. But what if they were wrong?”
I wish we lived in a world where they didn’t have to think about those things. Where, yes, it’s perfectly fine to hop in a couple of guys’ cars and drive to some unknown location. But most of us know that isn’t always a solid decision.
It was the first time I truly started paying attention to this. How quickly and under what circumstances do people choose to do a trust-fall with people they have known for a half hour? Or less. I doubt this will change and it’s not my goal.
There is a need for safety nets and tools and the void isn’t being properly filled. This is what I do when I get off after work from 6pm and work until midnight. When I wake up at 6:30am before I go to work at 8. It’s what I’ve been waking up for on the weekends and why I skip most nights out at the bar -The reason I opt to not sit and watch the newest HBO series coming out. The more time I find myself investing, the more energy I’ve been getting out of it.
Having said all that.. We don’t have an app yet.
I came across a few that you can try though. I wrote down some overviews to give you an idea of what each one does.
Watch over me – ios and Android
I actually couldn’t find this one in the app store. If you find it, this is what I gathered it does, though.
- Function: You set a timer to walk to your car, walk home, etc. When the timer ends, if you don’t log in GPS gets sent to some contacts
- Price: Free but most features aren’t included unless you pay $4/ month. Without paying you can only add 1 person as a contact, only send a certain number of alerts and make a limited amount of predefined “events”. Still, can totally serve it’s purpose as a free version if you aren’t going on many dates.
bSafe – ios and Android
- Function: Add contacts to virtually “follow” you home. SOS button that sends GPS location to contacts, sounds an alarm and sets off a bright light on your phone. This one is to cause a scene. Definitely not for the person who wants to discretely reach out.
- Price: $20 per year subscription. Without it, the SOS button is the only thing that works. If it’s something you use regularly, 20 bucks/ year ain’t so bad though.
React Mobile – ios and Android
- Function: This one caught my attention. I found it really easy to use and everything was easy to understand in the app. You slide a button over to the “follow me” circle after adding people as contacts that follow you. It sends a text to the people with a link of where they are and the ability to see them on the map as they are on their way. When you’re fine you slide it back to that circle and it let’s them know you’re safe. There is also an SOS circle you can slide to to call 911 and reach out to social media sites, such as Twitter or Facebook, that you set up. While it serves its purpose well, that is basically the extent of it. Seems good for what it is.
- Price: Free.
StaySafe – ios and Android
Not gonna lie, I didn’t download this one either. It’s $6.99 to download it.
- Function: Set timer and if you don’t log in it sends GPS and messages to users. You have 2 pins, One is a safe pin, to cancel the alarms. The other one, which I thought was clever, was a duress pin. When you put this one in it appears to turn off the alarm but silently sends messages to your contacts. This is in the event that someone is forcing you to turn it off. There is a panic button so you can instantly send messages to contacts.
- Price: I was looking at this one thinking that it was promising, but I wasn’t willing to pay the 7 bucks to test it out. If you get this one, it would be great if you can post in the comments what you think of it. It looks like once you do download it, to unlock almost all the features you have to purchase the premium, however. The Lite version allows 1 contact to be added, is limited to e-mail notification only and gives you the panic button.
I hope that one of these apps can serve some kind of purpose for you guys as you go out. I know it seems a bit misguided and confusing for me to be sharing other competing apps with you when I am trying to promote my own. But if I let things like that get in the way of providing a potentially safer experience for you, I would feel really weird about it. Safety is the mission here.
That’s it for now. Have a great week!