College Competition App Postmortem

While on-the-ground at Rutgers University launching Redcup and guerrilla marketing my face off, I stumbled into an interesting phenomena.

College students were interested in what other universities’ environments were like.

At first this did not make much sense to me- why would people care about other schools and people who aren’t relevant to them? I uncovered that due to the enormous school pride most college students have- they are fiercely competitive and want validation that their school is as good as they think it is. “Good” being defined by the athletics, tailgates, parties, campus, people, etc. Why not create an app that let students from different universities compete with each other to determine which college was the best?

As I went into HopHacks, a hackathon hosted by Johns Hopkins University, I had this idea in mind. I worked with my friends Alex Orsini and Dean Rexines, both CS students at Rutgers, and after two sleepless nights (and an unhealthy amount of Redbull) we had a 1.0 finished. We placed 2nd overall at the hackathon and had a phenomenal experience building something awesome under such the insane time constraints of a hackathon. After putting some additional polish on the app, I launched it in the App Store. With the help of some partners that had large college audiences on social media, we had hundreds of users in the first day. However, a significant amount of user submissions had content that violated Apple’s in-app content policy. These submissions were ironically the ones with the most upvotes. Ultimately, I pulled Play Harder from the App Store to avoid the enormous task of content moderation.


Originally published at ryanmckinney.me on September 4, 2015.

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