The launch of jrrny.com (and why I’m thankful for critics).

This week, we’re announcing www.jrrny.com to the world. We want to become one of the great communities for travelers, where people can share their magic and connect with others who have like minded interests.

Before I left for a european cycling trip last May, I got down to planning and just assumed it would all be there — where to stay after each ride, and what to do afterward for some downtime in Biarritz. What I really wanted was a post that said “Biarritz for partying” or “Pyrenees for great food”. Instead, all I could find was a lot of info on hotels, churches and museums (nothing against churches and museums, they’re just not my bag when I travel!)

There’s been a ton already done on travel review sites have gotten down to detailed analysis of the hotel itself. Yet when we talked to people about how they find their travel information, we still find that almost everyone emails a friend and ask “We’re staying at X hotel. What’s good nearby?”.

It’s our vision to have travel information posted with the context of a full itinerary, with highly up-voted posts becoming that ‘friend’ no matter where you travel. And why only share your experience with your friends working back home? We want people to be able to easily post their story and images and connect with other travelers.

Back in the dot-com heyday, I founded the first online home hardware store. It seems obvious now — that everything can be purchased online. But at the time, I heard a couple things over and over: “Who is going to buy a hammer online?” and “How are you going to deliver a ladder?”. It came at a time when it seemed very few could really visualize that everything would be sold online. (We were acquired 14 months after our launch).

This time, it feels feel like we’re addressing the same problem in reverse. When we described what we were building — a way for people to really share the magic they experience when they travel, we sometimes heard the opposite initial feedback of “Hasn’t this been done before?”. Each time in the early going, it was a blunt reality check. But something happened along the way. We started hearing it less, and hearing more “Oh . .Wow, now I get it! It’s not just a review — it’s an experience!”.

It can can be debilitating if you listen to the cynics. But I’m thankful for our critics — the ones who pushed us to get better by clarifying and redesigning. The feedback we received from bloggers, hotel owners and travel pros and kept us building. We couldn’t get every feature installed right away, but today, we feel like we have a great start in allowing people to share inspired travel experiences that people can actually experience themselves and connect with other people who have similar interests.

By they way, we’re especially inspired by what’s happening with user generated content. Medium.com changed the entire dialog and tenor of user generated content and have inspired what no one else thought possible: Civility and deep thoughts on the interwebs! We’ve been inspired by Medium, and the whole community of thinkers, designers and intrepid entrepreneurs. Throughout the building of jrrny.com, you helped us rethink, remake and reconsider what we want jrrny to be.

So now, take a look. Let us know what we need to do better. Share that trip that was your favorite travel experience. We’re at the beginning of a great adventure and looking forward to sharing all the parts of this trip along the way.