There are so many recommendations floating around on the net. One of the things people often ask me is where teepee fits in all of that. I guess what they’re really asking is: Why should I bother downloading teepee when there’s so much information already out there?
They’re right to ask. The internet has given us instantaneously accessible information in a volume that would have been unimaginable even a few years ago. There are seemingly endless numbers of websites and apps designed to enable people to review stuff so that others can read their opinions: travel, movies, shopping, books, beauty … For anything anyone can legally (and illegally, I suspect) get up to, you’ll find a place with advice.
We don’t think that’s a problem for teepee – we think it’s a strength. I don’t tell people they shouldn’t look at TripAdvisor or Amazon reviews. That would be ridiculous. They complement teepee – and teepee complements them. Often, when people get a recommendation from a friend on teepee, they’ll check on one of those sites to see what other people think. Conversely, when someone sees something on one of those sites they might be interested in, they’ll check with their friends on teepee.
Review websites aggregate large numbers of reviews to give you an ‘average’ sense of how good something is. That’s useful, but you’re not average – you’re you. They also give you details in individual reviews. Useful as well, but once you’ve read ten, or twenty, or thirty reviews, the details start to contradict each other. Because, after all, the reviews are written by people with different standards, who think different things are important. But you never know what those standards are – who is similar to you, and who isn’t.
teepee gives you the opposite end of the spectrum – a small number of opinions, but from people who know you well, and who you know well. You’ve done things together, lived through things, shared experiences. When they tell you about something, they’re doing it because they have good reason to think it will help you, and you know them well enough to know how to use what they’re telling you.
teepee also gives you something else – the opportunity to make a difference. Say you’re really excited about a hotel you stayed at. Adding your review to the other five hundred that are already on TripAdvisor is going to have about as much as effect as adding one more drop to the ocean. But telling a dozen of your friends about it on teepee gives you a way of having your message heard – by the people who most matter to you anyway.
And this is when people say to me: ‘Sure, I get it. But I can contact my friends on WhatsApp. Why do I need teepee?’
Again, I don’t tell anybody not to use WhatsApp, or whatever their general messaging app happens to be. They’re brilliant apps, but they’re not great for recommendations. Every time you want to vary the friends you contact about a recommendation, you need to create a different group, which ends up on their Home screen as well. It’s hard to save stuff so you can quickly find it. It’s hard to share easily with others without creating yet more groups.
We built teepee with recommendations – and only recommendations – in mind. Once you use teepee, you’ll see how much difference that makes, and how much more you’ll use it to get help from your friends when you need it, and just as importantly, give help in return.
So to me the question is, are recommendations from your friends important enough to justify having one more app on your phone? Will it mean you make better choices and get more out of the things you do?
Clearly, for all of us at teepee, the answer is yes. To us, that’s worth one extra icon on your Home screen.