Exploring in Costa Rica

A Window to the World (in the palm of your hand)

When I was a kid, we lived at the beach. I watched the sun rise over a vast ocean and caught grass shrimp along the docks to sell to local bait shops. It sounds magical, but I honestly never thought much of it until we hosted a few kids from the Fresh Air Fund. As soon as the van pulled up into my driveway, I bounded up and excitedly asked, “Wanna play tag?”, “How ‘bout manhunt?”… they were cool as cucumbers not batting an eye at my requests, nor much else for that matter. Then it was time to take them up to the beach, still no excitement, just totally cool as if they were getting ready to go to the beach for the millionth time. Then, as we walked up the stairway and began to break the sightline at the top of the dune where you can start to see the ocean, all of their eyes popped so wide I thought they’d fall out. Speechless, with their mouths hanging agape, they ran to the water at full speed. When they got to the edge, they looked back as if to get confirmation that the ocean wouldn’t eat them whole… pausing briefly as if to throw their souls to fate. They didn’t come out of the water until dark.

The experience of watching them discover not only something new, but something that was so utterly foreign to them, made me want to figure out what I had yet to discover.

Today’s discovery experiences are similar to being on the other side of that dune before you climb up the stairs… you can’t see very much, and you don’t know what you don’t know (before you do). The irony to all of this is that we’ve got a window to the world in the palm of our hands and yet a sea of new destinations, experiences, people, ideas, and products remain undiscovered. Unfortunately, the way that mobile experiences are structured, users are still just getting a static feed.

We have a vision to change this by creating discovery experiences that bring users great joy and help them discover new things everyday. We are designing better matching algorithms based on simple human logic (not the complicated-I’m-a-genius-black-box-stuff), making experiences more entertaining, creating marketplaces that are community-driven, and evolving transaction intent to create enduring discovery experiences with significant commercial potential.

With those theses in mind, we are putting products into market to get live feedback, recently releasing a prototype version of a movie discovery app and incubating an app where users discover new people to chat with based on common values. These releases are just the start of our effort to improve the discovery experience.

And, because we believe that we go further together, we’re interested in talking to partners that can leverage our evolving platform for other categories like travel, food, fashion, gaming and a number of others.

As usual, you can get me at dan@foundermark.com and www.foundermark.com.

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