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Roamz Interview: Get A Real-time Look at What is Going on Around You

I interviewed a happy and charismatic Jonathan Barouch, CEO and founder of Roamz–the real-time, location-based, mobile app–via Skype from his office in Australia.

Me: Alright, so just getting started could you briefly tell me whats Roamz is all about.
Jonathan: Yeah sure. So Roamz is a mobile app and at the moment it is available for the iPhone on the app store. And what we have done is, we show users what is going on around them in real-time if we have access to content. So we are pulling really interesting content from Twitter, and from Facebook, and from Foursquare, from Instagram.

We already got 40,000 of our own users who are adding beautiful content and you discover things that are going around you that you won’t normally find about and I think the reason that it’s important is because there is great content out there. I mean, you know, there are 200 million tweets today. And mostly the tweets are about locations like having a great pizza you take a photo and you tweet it, but unless you are following that specific person at that time when you’ll need that pizza place, you never find out about it.

So, there is, you only learn at the moment through friends rather than through, you know, the whole social universe when it’s really interesting data pumping through the veins of Instagram for example.

Me: Okay, so can you walk me through what a user would experience using Roamz?
Jonathan:
 Yeah. Okay, so you download the app from the app store and you got two options. You can login using Facebook with one click or you can setup an account. The benefit of doing with Facebook is that we ask you for permission to some of your content. So, as soon as you agree to that, we are able to understand, you know, what … So, you know, if you are particularly into fashion and maybe, you know, a real coffee person and you checked in or commented.

We start crunching that data to build a profile about you and we might even look what your friends do as well. If you hook up Twitter and Foursquare we obviously get access to all that rich data, so what we are doing is, very quickly, we will be gathering a bit of an understanding about things you like and what you don’t like.So, once you have done that which is, you know, that only takes 10 seconds. We say, hey, what are you interested in and we throw up some really high level categories. So, maybe its kids, maybe its food, maybe its shopping.

The main thing if you notice is the animation going on in the background and as you toggle and turn the interest on and off, the animation in the background changes. So we customized the world in the UI that you see based on what we know about you. So that is kind of a setup and maybe that takes about 20 seconds and we try to make it a fun experience. Then the first thing that you see is a land in the stream that we call “nearby”. Now what nearby is, it’s intelligently curated list of conversations and photos and comments and tips with what things are going on nearby.

So, it doesn’t have to be business. It could be a business, it could be a park, it could be a beach, it could be, you know, something having a fair on the street. But, you know, when built some intelligence that pulls all that content and shows you almost like social goggles. What’s happening nearby in real time.

Me: Excellent. What kind of feedback have you been getting so far since you started with this?
Jonathan:
So much feedback. I mean, so we pitched it to Robert Scolvo. Obviously from my users, which have been giving amazing feedback. So the key things they want to do is they want more real-time content and we have heard that and mainly understand and that will all wok from now.You keep on staying fresh and fresher content until that gets better and better. We have got some, we have had some back parts about the UI which must be a little confusing.So people found it a little bit hard to navigate, but then I though it was fun. So, a lot of those requests are going to be fixed. And then there has been some other feature requests of things that we haven’t even thought which was a real good ideas. And i can’t really tell you now cause I’d have to kill you..

Me: Fantastic. It’s been such a pleasure talking to you. Thanks for taking the time out.
Jonathan:
 Okay take care, Bye.

 

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