Screenshot for Sage

Ex RunKeeper VP Launching App to Help You Be Better At Life

Born and raised in Western, Mass, Thomas Boates follows a learn-by-doing philosophy and has a burning desire to better his life.

This desire had Boates wondering what is “normal” among his peers. That curiosity found him searching for answers. When he couldn’t find those answers, he realized this was his chance. His chance to throw himself into the fire, build something himself to find those answers and not only allow him to better his own life, but that of others as well.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Boates received his Bachelor of Arts, Music Business — Entrepreneurship in 2006 and “didn’t know” what he was going to do, he told me.

Landing a graphic design position with Nimbit, a Boston startup creating a music management platform, Boates was able to craft his UX skills by working on something he was passionate about… being a musician and a DJ himself.

Boates was the only designer in-house at Nimbit, where he remained for more than a year, and that trend would follow him into future lead UX roles with other startups, such as matchmine, Currensee and ultimatelyRunKeeper.

Boates spoke highly of his days at RunKeeper, specifically the karma and culture within — crediting founder, Jason Jacobs for being mindful and focused on that element of the business. In mid 2009, after roughly six months working part-time, Boates was fully on board as the only designer, something he says drove him to excel.

It wasn’t until January of 2012 that Boates hired his first additional UX employee (who now holds Boates’ former role).

Earlier this year, Boates, who says he always knew he’d start something on his own, began working on Sage as a side project to “help you be better at life,” Boates told me.

Last month Boates left his post as VP of User Experience at RunKeeper to throw himself at Sage full-time.

Currently in private beta, Sage is collecting insight through its website, but it will ultimately be a mobile application. The idea behind Sage (the way it will help you be better at life) is that “one can’t improve on things… if they don’t know where they stand,” Boates said.

So, Sage will provide answers to (eventually) any question one may need answered to improve their status in life.

Now, people take to search engines to find out this information. For example, what is the salary of people based on my age and/or field of occupation?

The results will return message boards and an occasional research paper (that happens to be 87 pages), neither of which is reliable or practical.

Sage aims to fix this.

In it’s first release, coming Q1 ’15, Boates says the app will feature curated questions and results to help people get a better feel for “what normal really is.”

Essentially, Sage will work as a polling service. In order to improve, you need to know where you stand and Sage will allow you to see where others, similar to you, stand in their careers or other aspects of life.

Boates said he’s focused on mobile as data integrity is of the upmost importance to him and maintaining that integrity can be realized though an app much easier than on a website.

As Sage is able to grow its user base, the app will add functionality, such as additional filters beyond “people like you.”

While it may take some time for the data to be scientifically viable, there is no doubt the answers will fill the curiosity void for Boates and many others looking to find what “normal” really is.

Boates hopes the app’s simplicity will encourage frequent use and ultimately help users “be better at life.”

This post originally appeared on VentureFizz— the pulse of the Boston Tech Scene.

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