This is the ninth in a series of Q&As with leaders / up-and-comers in the local space.
What does he do: One of two founders of MapDing (formed last September and self-funded) Jack calls himself a serial entrepreneur who wants to make life easier through mobile technology. “In a previous life, I published a year’s worth of research across Japan and the Netherlands on immigration. I also worked in city government, political consulting, and as an ESL teacher at a non-profit,” he said. The Chicagoan also notes “I will always be an autodidact.” OK!
Describe MapDing as if a friend’s mother asked, “So what is this MapDing?
Buy and sell anything locally using your location and smartphone. Set up a “wishlist” of things you want, and we notify you when they appear nearby. All messaging is in the app, and you control time and
search radius of notifications. If you want to sell something, take a picture on your phone (iPhone or Android),put in a few details, and send it to the map.
If you were not involved with MapDing which service would you use to satisfy your needs?
I would use craigslist, and continue to be scammed and spammed.
All messaging is in the app, and you control time and search radius of notifications. If you want to sell something, take a picture on your phone, put in a few details, and send it to the map
Why should people use your product over, say, watching a ball game, reading to their kids or taking a nap?
Actually, that’s one of the major selling points – passive searching. Our app allows users to set up a wish list of anything they want. You can set up a search radius and notification preferences. Then just put your phone away, and live like any other day. So, go ahead and watch the baseball game. If those tickets appear, we’ll let you know, and you can head to the stadium.
Tease us with a hint of what’s in your pipeline product / contentwise (and give us something real!)
Not just classifieds… Gamifieds. And in-app transactions.
What is the future of social + local + mobile, in 15 words or less?
What I want, where I am, when I want it.
Why do you think MapDing is important enough to put your time into it?
I learn something new every single day, and, for me, that is incredibly important. That being said, I believe in MapDing for a number of reasons. First, I am convinced we are only scratching the surface of the mobile revolution in computing. Mobile has introduced a set of features that, when wrapped around old media like classifieds or marketplaces, enable a completely new user experience. Second, there is yet to be an established mobile-to-mobile marketplace that takes full advantage of this feature set. And lastly, mobile is huge! By the end of the year, half of all Americans are expected to own smartphones. And in the rest of the world, this will be the default way to access the web. In India alone, 60 million people are registered Internet users, and 600 million own cell phones. MapDing will be the commerce engine that connects these people who are unplugging themselves from computer screens.
What was a critical change in direction for your company / product that brought you to today’s release? (or was this always the plan?)
We are actually in the middle of re-writing the application from scratch, back-end and front-end. Our 1.0 version was just a way to throw the idea out there and see what sticks – what features people like, what UX is right for a marketplace experience on a mobile device. A lot of non-mobile entrepreneurs forget that building for smartphones is different. Screens are small, and apps aren’t websites. People have to download your app onto a private screen that is always in their pocket, they have to get some immediate functionality out of a very small screen-size, and they expect it to leverage amazing features like GPS and notifications without violating privacy or peace of mind. We have always wanted it to be a marketplace.
This post originally appeared on Locl.ly.