June 18, 2016

Sometimes we just want to be told what to do

June 18, 2016
Sometimes we just want to be told what to do
Written by Robert Fabianski

We've grown accustomed to relying on technology to make decisions. Spotify and Netflix can recommend playlists and binge-worthy television, Amazon will help us load up our carts with books, clothes and household supplies. We expect every online service to fill a gap in our lives as consumers, to make every action more and more seamless.

Often times, these services are relying on the power of big data to make targeted recommendations. Our own behaviors are being analyzed alongside the behaviors of millions of other users to make suggestions: tags like "Frequently bought together" and "Trending" are subtle reminders that our individual decision making is inherently linked.

For most services, this system works. For others though, it doesn't. What happens when the input of millions of people doesn't help us narrow in on what we really want?

Take online reviews, for example. While nearly 70% of people say online reviews influence their purchases, these reviews aren't very reliable. People are more likely to review things that elicit strong feelings. The boring but functional toaster gets no love. Same goes for the good but not particularly memorable restaurant. And while most review platforms scrub their pages of suspicious content, it's still very easy for businesses to post fake reviews — and many do.

Even honest reviews don't necessarily make things easier. A search for the best burritos in Austin results in eighty three pages of results on Yelp, with each result averaging three and a half stars. With most review sites, instead of one clear choice, there are too many, leading to frustration, bad decisions and sometimes, the avoidance of a decision all together.

But it doesn't have to be this way. How did I find the best burrito in Austin? I followed the recommendation of a friend. He pointed me in the direction of Las Trancas, a food truck in a mechanic's parking lot. It has decent reviews on Yelp, but I probably wouldn't have ventured there on online advice alone. And that would have meant missing out on their excellent al Pastor burritos, a dish I have now recommended countless times to newcomers and visitors to Austin.

This is the idea behind Nomly. After too many years of seeking the optimal stars to dollar signs ratio, we realized that sometimes you just need to be told what to do or where to go. And so we built an app that connects people looking for recommendations with those happy to give them. All you have to do is ask for a recommendation — "I'm in town for the weekend, where's good coffee?" — and wait for someone to respond.

Nomly isn't just a new community. It's a tool meant to get you out in the world, doing things. Our goal is to connect travelers with locals, the curious with the experienced, and anyone else who's looking for something new to do with someone who's already done it.

Online reviews won't go away, but we believe people need a more direct and personal option. So if you're tired of searching and you're ready to try something different, sign up now for Nomly and be the first to get the app when it comes out.