Pop quiz hotshot: Your significant other just flaked out on date night. You’re now sitting alone at home scrolling aimlessly through your newsfeed filled with people pouring ice water over themselves in the name of
sexual narcissism social awareness.
What do you do…What do you do?
No, don’t dump your significant other.
Mustard is a new app that allows users to see which of their friends are looking for something to do at any given time. Whether they’re free now, in the next two hours or all week, once these status details are updated on the app, users can message their keen-to-hang buddy and they’ve got their social life back instantly.
Matt Hurley is the creator behind this latest social app that is due to launch in the next few weeks. Its main drawcard isn’t that users can communicate over the app like every other messaging service under the sun, but more so that users can connect with bored friends who are also looking for something to do. It’s a simple concept but one that could potentially take social networking to the next level.
Hurley says that the idea came about when he had arrived home from work one night to an empty house. His girlfriend was working nights and he had longed for a beer but had no idea who to call.
“Although we are no more than a phone call, SMS, or DM away from literally hundreds if not thousands of friends, I had no idea where to start,” says Hurley.
With this social predicament Hurley did some research and found that while there was no shortage of services keeping people up to date with their friends, showing them where friends were and helping them organise events in the future was another thing.
“We spend a lot of time online, much of that time is spent on social networks, but there is really nothing social about it – in fact, we’re often sitting in a room by ourselves.”
“There was no simple answer to the question, ‘who is looking for something to do, right now?’ So I got a beer from the fridge and spent the night working on what would become the first version of Mustard.”
The app recently went through its preview phase with interested parties and Hurley has taken on board “interesting and exciting” feedback ideas in the hopes of adding even more features before its official release. These features will hopefully be enough to differentiate it from the masses of established competitors in the market such as Viber, Whatsapp and Snapchat.
Hurley who is optimistic adds that while there is clearly no shortage of services purporting to keep users up to date with friends and their whereabouts, most notably Swarm by Foursquare, many of these solutions are too complex for the relatively simple problem Mustard addresses.
At this stage, the app only has plans to generate revenue in the future through an additional feature Hurley is looking to implement. Mustard wants to help users decide what to do by looking at available information through shared interests and location-based data. The app can then compile suggestions for suitable activities – a move which Hurley believes will provide an opportunity to generate revenue whilst providing a valuable service.
The challenges of building Mustard surprisingly wasn’t in the coding and development phase of the product. As Hurley is currently bootstrapping the startup, he admits that the biggest challenge he’s faced so far is bringing the app to market outside of business hours.
“While it’s definitely a challenge, I’m always learning invaluable lessons about what matters most in business, such as the importance of focus.”
And what’s the prediction for its success?
“I’m blown away by the enthusiasm of those who have gotten in touch with us over the last few months,” he says.
“It means a lot to hear from people around the world who identify with the same set of frustrations I was facing when I started working on Mustard and I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out.
Hurley says that he is a strong believer in the importance of growing and supporting an engaged community around a service. This belief should ensure that regardless of the success of Mustard, Hurley has embarked on this project for all the right reasons and marked his place in the local startup scene.